« PreviousContinue »
Vines so treated were free from mildew, both fruit and foliage. Those not treated with the mixture were so badly mildewed as to be worthless. Experiments are being made with strawberries, testing all worthy varieties, likewise blackberries and raspberries. Full reports may be found in the bulletins of the Hatch Experiment Station. The system of instruction has been the same as that followed during the preceding year; it seems well adapted to the needs of the students. For only one branch of the teaching - botany — does any immediate change seem desirable; on this subject it appears important to divide the work in, such a manner that the students may learn more concerning the diseases of plants than they do at present. The modern science of vegetable pathology has in recent years made great advances, and it seems well worth while to train the young men in our agricultural college in such a way that they may be able to extend this learning, and apply the results in practice. The institution of an experiment station at the college appears to open a way to secure a very high grade of instruction in all that relates to the diseases of plants. Although this establishment is not a constituent part of the college, it may be possible to win from it material assistance in this most important branch of economic science, which will much increase the value of the teaching which our college offers to young men.
In conclusion, we commend the college to the farmers and citizens of the Commonwealth as an institution worthy of continued support.
GEO. S. TAYLOR.
REPORT OF THE STATE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE TO THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, UNDER THE ORDER OP FEB. 5, 1890.
On Feb. 5, 1890, the House of Representatives of our State passed the following:
Ordered, that the State Board of Agriculture be instructed to inquire into the condition of the forests of the State, the need and method of their protection for sanitary and other reasons, and the encouragement of tree planting, and report thereon to the next General Court.
The matter was referred by the Executive Committee of the Board of Agriculture to a sub-committee, consisting of Messrs. IIersey, Sessions, and the writer. No appropriation having been made for carrying out the provisions of this order, which is only limited in its scope by the boundaries of the State, the committee were confined in their work to narrower limits, especially as the regular appropriations had been almost completely allotted for special work.
The last census return, of the amount of woodlands, told us that thirty-six per cent of the surface of the State was in such condition, and this served as a basis for such work as could be done Each member then began to secure information. All have traveled somewhat, and have sought information from other persons and sources.
Among methods employed, the writer prepared a list of questions, as to what courses it would be well to adopt, and submitted them to Prof. C. S. Sargent of the Arnold Arboretum, to which he kindly replied. A list of questions, suitable to be sent tlıroughout the State, was suggested to the committee, but the way did not seem to be clear for sending them out, and that plan was abandoned.
As the American Forestry Association met in Quebec the past autumn, this fact suggested a possible means of obtaining light upon the subject; and the writer, a member of that association, with credentials as delegate from this State, submitted a communication of inquiry upon the subject of forestry, bearing on the order received from the Legislature, and it was referred to one of their members, Prof. B. E. Fernow, chief of the forestry division of the department of agriculture at Washington, whose letter in reply is submitted herewith.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOREstry Division,
WASHINGTON, D. C., Sept. 23, 1890.
FRANCIS H. APPLETON, Esq., Lynnfield, Mass.
DEAR SIR : Your paper, directed to Dr. Fisher, for the Quebec meeting, was referred to me for reply, since there was no opportunity to discuss it at the meeting.
I do not know that I can do much to aid you, except perhaps to throw out a few suggestions which occur to me as I read your letter. First, let us understand that the whole forestry movement is one that cannot be expected to come to an issue in a short time; it is as much a matter of economic development as of education.
As far as legislating can effect anything, I believe Massachusetts has done as well as any State in regard to her forestry interests. The effect of your act enabling towns to own communal forests, in creating the public forest at Lynn, shows that, where the citizens are really alive to the question, they will take advantage of the law. What is needed is, that citizens be made alive and aware of the advantages accruing from the application of the law, and they will apply it. This suggests an educational campaign on the part of the State Board of Agriculture, in which, at farmers' meetings, plain, practical talks, leaving out all theories of forest influences, timber famine, etc., show the advantages, direct and indirect, of caring for your forest property, by which care the distinction between forest and woodlands is established. If I were to define the word “ forest,” in contradistinction to woodland, I would say that the latter is the natural growth left to itself and without care, while a forest is an area of woodland, kept as such for the production of wood (timber or cord wood) under proper care and management. The woodland becomes a forest when it is placed under management.
The educational campaign, which you recognize as necessary, it seems to me should be conducted in all phases simultaneously, in the school as well as the convention, etc. Unfortunately, we are short of educators and educational means. There is no textbook fit to be introduced in the schools, there is no guide to be handed to the would-be forester; and here, too, we will have to be patient until these are provided, meanwhile doing the best we can for the time, to keep people on the lookout for scraps of knowledge we gather and disseminate.
As to the good effect of exemption from taxation, this is questionable; the tax amounts to but little ; and, after all, it is not that we want to prevent the cutting, but only the wanton cutting without care for reproduction.
If you want any definite advance in the forestry interests of your State, place them in the hands of one man, whose sole duty is to look after them, and pay him for that. We are doing too much dilettante work in this and other lines, and in the multiplication of our duties we cannot do any one well.
Your paper I have returned to Dr. Fisher.
Hoping to have, at least in part, suitably replied to your communication,
I am yours very truly,
B. E. FERNOW,
It is thereby seen that Professor Fernow compliments the State on being in the advance as to laws, but can see room for still further advancement in woodland management.
We thereby see that we must wait patiently for proper text-books upon the subject, and then look for a greater popular desire or demand for knowledge to arise, which shall result in its being gratified; and a scientific treatment of our woods follow, that should give us real forests in accordance with Professor Fernow's definition of them. We know that older countries have found such treatment indispensable, and it can be only a matter of time before forestry management will be deemed necessary here. We must “ be patient,” meanwhile, doing the best we can to keep the subject before the people, in the hope that we shall be provided with suitable text-books for both school and forester when they are needed.
It might be helpful to print, in some collective form, our State laws relating to our woodlands, which encourage their increase and aid their protection, and perhaps to incorporate them in the next report of the Board.
It has been suggested that the State present seedling trees to the owners of poor, uncultivated land, for planting in circular groups where the land would be improved by being turned into woodland, provided the owners will agree to plant and care for them; the object being to experiment to a limited extent in attempting to secure a new growth of trees that would eventually seed the surrounding land. The question however, arises, whether the State would be authorized to so act, while, from a hygienic or sanitary point of view, no actual necessity for more woodland seems to exist. In this connection it may be recalled that the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, with which two members of this Board are associated, has, within the past fifteen or twenty years, offered prizes ranging from $1,000 to $50, in the hope of encouraging tree planting on such land as has been referred to; but the extent to which they have succeeded in establishing new plantations has fallen short of what their very liberal and varied prizes might seem to have warranted.
But this experience is referred to in order that those who . have been familiar with it, or now have their attention called to it for the first time, may not be misled thereby, as the results have been of much value in the various localities where plantations were entered for prizes. Indeed, the good results, especially in the cases where the prizes were awarded, together with similar results in previous wellknown plantations of the Messrs. Fay at Wood's Holl and Lynn respectively, Mr. Kendrick, Mr. Pratt of Middleborough, plantations at Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, Mrs. Phillips' success at North Beverly, Mr. French's at North Andover, with others, are proof of the success that can attend like plantings in parts of the State where this work is now unknown, and where, it is thought, instructive and experimental plantations could be established to the advantage of this Commonwealth.
These would also increase the desire for a better treat