The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, August 24, 1899, Page 8, Image 8

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8 Conservative.
[ Telegraph poles grown in loss than twenty
ycnrfl. The significance of nn experiment
nmdu by the Memphis railway startling
danger of nn impending luinlier famine in tlie
United States. ]
Some twenty years ago the Kansas
City , Fort Scott & Memphis railroad
began experimenting in the propagation
and growing of forest trees , looking for
ward to a probable future timber supply
for the railroad. Under the direction
and instruction of Professor Sargent of
Harvard university the company
planted about 100 acres near Farlington ,
Kansas , of the following varieties of
timber trees : White ash , black walnut ,
wild cherry , Osage orange , atlanthis ,
catalpa , bignarroid and catalpa speciosa.
The annual growth and general appear
ance of these varieties were carefully
noted for three or four years , and a per
ceptible difference was observed in favor
of the catalpa speciosa , and the follow
ing is quoted from a report made by J.
M. Buckley , roadmaster :
"The catalpa speciosa has certainly
proved to be the strongest grower , most
tenacious , standing the dry weather
better than any other variety and at the
present rate will come to maturity years
before any other variety is of sufficient
size to be of any utility. "
The result was that a contract was
made with the late Robert Douglas to
plant two sections of land , 1,280 acres ,
in Crawford county , Kas. , entirely of
this valuable tree. The railroad com
pany owned one section and Mr. Hone-
well , a director of the company , the
other. The two plantations , when com
pleted , contained about three million
trees. The last of these trees were set
about fifteen years ago.
A reporter for The Star visited these
plantations recently and made a care
ful examination and an approximate
calculation of growth with some idea of
the present value. The most important
fact disclosed by this visit was that the
experiment had resulted in a most un
questionable financial success. Had
better judgment been displayed in the
selection of laud on which the trees
were planted an even richer harvest
would be in store. A casual observer
can easily see that there are many acres
of "hard pan" within these two sec
tions of land and as "hard pan" pro
ducts inferior corn , it will also produce
inferior trees.
As it was unnecessary to plant the
trees in this unproductive soil , The
Star's reporter took note only of trees
growing on rich loamy land. On this
soil he found the trees had made notable
growths , many of them measuring
twelve to fifteen inches in diameter and
forty to fifty feet high. Counting
about 1,500 of the best trees to the acre ,
the average would be about eight inches
in diameter and thirty-five to forty
feet high. From this observation it was
calculated that seventy-five to 100 valu
able telegraph poles can be cut now
from every acre of the good land , besides -
sides thousands of fence posts.
The 1'roflt In Money.
It is a difficult matter to place a pres
ent valuation upon such timber lauds ,
for the trees are just reaching a size
whereat practical value begins. Every
additional year will add greater wealth
in a greater ratio. However , the indica
tions are that with judicious cutting , a
thousand telegraph poles could be taken
off of each acre within the next ten
years , besides a large quantity of fence
posts and cord wood. As telegranh
poles of timber as valuable as catalpa
are worth in our markets $3 to $8.50
each , and fence posts 10 to 15 cents
apiece , an approximate idea can be
made of the value of a cultivated tree
plantation. The whole cost of the land ,
the trees , the planting , the cultivation ,
the interest on the capital and the gen
eral attention for fifteen years has
amounted to less than $100 an acre.
The reasons for planting catalpa spe
ciosa in preference to other varieties of
timber trees were not alone because of
its rapidity of growth and freedom from
worms , insects and borers , but because
of its endurance when in or on the
ground , and its superior value for fur
niture and inside finishing for cars or
houses. The late Dr. Warder , of Cin
cinnati , a widely known horticulturist
and botanist , and Suel Foster of Musca-
tine , la. , speak of its rapidity of growth
and its lasting qualities.
John 0. Teas of Missouri says :
"In its native forests ( which are in
Missouri , Illinois , Indiana , Ohio , Ken
tucky , Tennessee and Arkansas ) , it
often grows to a fine size , like the grand
old ysllow poplars of Ohio and Indiana ,
many of them making trunks three or
four feet in diameter. The largest re
ported to me grew in Mississippi county ,
Mo. It was six feet across the stump
and nearly fifty feet clear trank. "
The late E. E. Barney of Dayton , O. ,
car builder , gathered information and
wrote a book entitled "Information Re
lative to the Catalpa Tree , " in which he
said :
"General William Henry Harrison
urged the extensive planting of the ca
talpa for timber in an able address at an
agricultural fair near Cincinnati more
than sixty years ngo. In that address
he told of a catalpa foot log over a small
stream in the Wabash country which
had been in use over 100 years. He
chopped into it aud found it sound.
Catalpa posts set by General Harrison
about the governor's mansion at Vin-
cennes , Ind. , in 1808 , were taken up a
few years ago and , being sound , were
reset in other places. "
Posts Nearly a Century Old.
In confirmation of this last statement ,
Mr. D. O. Burson of 1417 Broadway ,
Kansas City , visited Viucennes in 188S
and called upon Mr. Pidgeon , who had
been living in the old Harrison home
for over twenty-five years. Mr.Pidgeon
showed him some of the old catalpa
posts and gave him permission to take
one out of- the fence , which was found
to be in a good state of preservation.
Prof. F. P. Hynds of Tennessee ,
speaking of the catalpa tree , says :
"If one wants a shade tree , there is
none more beautiful ; if a post that will
last forever and then turn to a stone ,
the catalpa will come nearer filling the
bill than anything else. "
Mr. Burson has a writing desk made
from a catalpa tree ten years old from
the seed. It is a beautiful light wood
and is susceptible of as fine a finish as
San Domingo mahogany. "If , " said
Mr. Burson to a reporter for The Star ,
"all the shade trees of Kansas City were
catalpa , our superintendent of trees and
our police judge might live a little more
harmoniously by simply having the
hitching ordinance changed to read
'Hitch to the trees , ' for neither horse nor
mule will gnaw a catalpa. "
Mr. Burson , who has always been
deeply interested in the subject of fores
try , furnishes some interesting , not to
say , startling , information regarding the
necessity of renewing the forests.
A Lumber Famine Nigh.
Official reports sent out by the fores
try division of the agricultural depart
ment of the national government show
that a timber famine is rapidly ap
proaching. A carefully compiled re
port of the Wisconsin forests show that
within the past twenty-five years sixty-
six billion feet of white and red pine
were cut in that state , and that only
seventeen billion feet now remain
standing in the entire state. At the
post rate of cutting this will last only
about five years longer. At the lumber
men's convention in Georgia it was re
ported that at the present rate of cut
ting the yellow pine of that state will
be cut off within the next ten years.
Ohio , Pennsylvania and other Eastern
states report that their lumber supply is
practically exhausted.
The entire standing lumber supply of
the United States , as shown in these
reports , is placed in round numbers at
2,800 billion feet , and the annual cut
at forty billion feet , which shows that
the entire lumber supply of the United
States will be extinct in less than fifty
years. And , as 1,000 billion feet of the
standing timber is on the Pacific slope ,
which is far from commercial centers ,
it is evident that all the available timber
the timber east of the Rocky moun
tains will be cut off in less than thirty
years. That being the case , it is nat
ural to suppose that within the next ten
or fifteen years there will be a great ad
vance in the price of all kinds of lumber.
Climatic Amelioration.
"The true value of forests or the
planting and cultivation of timber