« ElőzőTovább »
plowed the ad rapidly from thes he found of no a
to the browsing of sheep or cattle, it seems rather to have invigorated than extinguished their prolific powers.”
Mr. Winchell, a Dutchess county farmer, details his experiments in destroying the thistle. “He applied straw over three feet thick, salted his sheep and cattle on the thistles for three years, and covered them with a thick layer of apple pomace; all this he found of no avail for their destruction; they spread rapidly from the roots, and grew thicker and ranker. He plowed the ground containing thistles from the first of June, once in two weeks, until the middle of September; a few only were left, which were next year destroyed by plowing. He also destroyed them by continually cutting them down with a hoe.”
In the Genesee Farmer we find recommended applications of brine, and swine to dig out the roots. Mowing in bloom, plowing repeatedly, hoeing and pulling up stalk and root. Plowing in the old of the moon in June, July, August and September. Also that mowing for three or four years at the period of bloom will destroy the thistle.
We find the same process recommended in the Cultivator, with the additional “ to mow them in the last quarter of the moon, in July, and while the sign of the zodiac is in the heart, will destroy them. Also by plowing three times in a hot and dry season. Cut them when in blow, in a hot day, by pulling them up.”
From the above it is seen that no one means used, but all, have succeeded and failed. The sure methods of extirpation seem to be summerfallowing, with frequent plowings, mowing when in bloom, and cutting with the hoe or spade-pulling them up. These processes repeated, as often as may be necessary, will ensure the destruction of the thistle.
Amid the general anxiety to destroy the Canada thistle, instances are found, not only of indifference, but also of solicitude for its propagation, as a valuable plant. We find some farmers very careful not to cut it down in their meadows and harvest fields, but leave thrifty rows along the fences and patches throughout the fields, to mature the seed for future crops in all the neighborhood.
It is related in the Annals of Agriculture, in the State of Vermont, that the opinion had obtained that the thistle was a valuable plant, furnishing food for hogs and fodder for cattle, and some writers expressed an apprehension of the loss of a great blessing in its extirpation. And the consequence was that in that State many farmers are seen almost entirely occupied with the thistle, as food for hogs and cattle.
The county of Chenango has the honor of furnishing a citizen extremely eccentric in his views on this subject. He thinks that all weeds are a great blessing-that none of them are noxious or injurious to the soil. In a letter to the Farmers' Club of New York, he writes: “I have ceased to regard weeds as enemies, but rather as helps and monitors to stir up the soil on plowed land, and keep it light and porous, for. I am satisfied the roots of plants need a portion of air as much as the leaves. As to weeds on meadowland, they are sentinels that tell us the land wants better tillage. Not to spend our time in digging up the weeds, or in pulling them up, but to put on manure. Put on the manure, plaster, ashes, leached ashes, barn-yard manure, where we can turn the street wash on to them, and if the grass is too thin, sow on some grass seed. White daisies cut in the blow make the best kind of hay. I like them sprinkled in with the grass, and where the grass is good, they will not blow till the grass is ready to cut. Canada thistles I do not think are pests, but good fertilizers, making a deep soil and enriching it every year by renovating the subsoil. You can kill them in one or two years in any meadow by making the ground rich and mowing them with the grass. Get them to grow large stalks—they will be hollow; then mow them and they will soon die out. But while they live they do not interfere with any growing crop, but, I think, increase it. When folks cut their grain with sickles, and bound and thrashed by hand, they were in the way, but in these days of mowing machines, steam plows and thrashers, we ought not to talk much about exterminating thistles.”
The county of Steuben has resident farmers who practice the Chenango farmer's views in relation to weeds and thistles. Their farming process is well calculated to increase and to propagate them. Their practice of "fall plowing," and of raising spring crops, has caused the Canada thistle and other weeds to spread over the county with increased rapidity. And their practice never to cut them down in mowing and reaping, but to leave them in patches throughout the field, in bedges along the fences and by the roadside, gives opportunity, for every wind that blows, to scatter them broadcast throughout the county.
Red Root, or Pigeon Weed. In some of the northern towns of the county this weed is found in grain fields, appropriating to itself all the fertility of the soil, and starving the cereal amid which it flourishes. If the soil be extremely rich, affording abundant food for both, the grain and the weed will equally grow and mature. If the soil is not rich, the grain must suffer, for the Red Root is a grasping, miserly pest, appropriating everything to itself, until it obtains entire possession of the soil. .
This weed, from the arrangements of its flowers and capsules, is placed in the triandria class, having three stamens or three sessile anthers. Its stigmata, or divisions, are arched outwards, and under these three concavi. ties may be found the three stamens. The whole of these parts of the flower are seated upon the summit of the germ, which eventually becomes a triquetrous, or three-sided capsule, divided into three cells, each filled with small, triangular and brownish seeds.
It belongs to the order dilatris, with its corols six-petalled, superior, hirsute, with one filament smaller than the other, and its capsule globose, three-celled, crowned. Its petals are lanceolate and downy outside. Its panicle is corymbed, downy, the leaves long, naked and linear, and from the color of its root, it is known by the specific name "tinctoria.” We have in remembrance the fact that before the days of rouge, the “rural belles * were wont to visit the wheat fields for a supply of Red Root, with which to redden their cheeks, and the delicate tint which it imparted was every way equal to any modern composition of metropolitan shops.
For a long time the Red Root was scarcely noticed as a noxious weed, injurious to wheat or other crops, but its increase has revealed to our farmers the hidden mysteries of its destructive properties in exhausting
the soil, and in stealing from the wheat crops the food necessary for their growth and maturity.
The seed of the Red Root will lie in the ground for years without destroying its germinating power. It will pass through the stomach of cattle and the gizzard of a fowl uninjured. The weed can, therefore, be propagated by beasts and birds for miles about.
In our inquiries as to its destruction, these considerations are to be weighed, as of importance; as all efforts for that end will be unavailing, unless they be combined, and unanimous. If a single farmer permits its increase and propagation, he will seed his whole neighborhood, notwithstanding the efforts for its destruction.
The Red Root is a biennial plant, maturing its roots and seed stalks the first year, and producing seed the second. It, like all biennial plants, is more inclined to germinate in autumn than in spring. Fall plowing will cause it to germinate, and followed by spring plowing, will destroy the · young plants, and a thorough cultivation of the soil will eradicate every plant.
He who would be free from this pest, must be careful never to sow any of the seed, and never to permit a single plant to arrive at maturity. He must pull up the weed while in blossom, and before a single seed has been formed, or he will find it peeping up here and there, amid his growing crops, and increasing apace through his fields.
• Snap-Dragon, Toad Flax. This weed is more injurious to the pasture than to the grain, as it chokes out the grass and imparts a disagreeable flavor to the milk and butter. It is extremely tenacious of life, and is difficult of extermination when it obtains root in the soil. It cannot be pulled up, as the stalks are extremely brittle, and the roots very fine and branching, and each small fiber of the root possesses within itself the germ of organic life, and the rudiments of distinct stalks and branches. These fine rootlets produce buds, from whence new plants grow and mature, and the more they are cut and torn asunder by the plow or spade the more they will increase and flourish.
The Snap-dragon belongs to the class of plants called “Didynamia,” the general character of whose flowers is their irregularity-being ringent, gaping,or personate, with lips closed. Hence, in the natural orders of Linnæus, the Snap-dragon is designated “Personatæ,” from the form of the corols. The stamens are four, in two pairs of unequal length, so situated in consequence of the inequality of the corolla. Hence the name “Didynamia," or two powers.
The Snap-dragon is placed in the genus “Antirhinum,” though in many respects it resembles the “Scrophularia,” being a five-parted calyx-a personate or ringent corolla, with a prominent nectariferous spur at the base. Its capsule is two-celled, bursted at the summit with reflected teeth.
It belongs to the species “Linaria," is erect, glabrous, leaves scattered, larceolate-linear, crowded together, spikes terminal, dense-flowered, and, from the colors of yellow and orange, is sometimes called “butter and eggs.” It is in flower from June to November, perfecting myriads of seeds,
which readily germinate and occupy the soil. It is a perennial plant, with running roots growing profusely wherever it is found.
In the Snap-dragon the display of vegetable vitality is very remarkable. In those plants which we term “Annuals,” the whole period of their existence terminates in a few months, and a new generation of the species is to be obtained from the seed alone. But in the perennial Snap-dragon, though the stalks die and cast off their leaves, and the sap is arrested in its motion, yet, aside from the seed, it possesses an ample source of regeneration in the innumerable buds formed, and ingrafted in the alburnum of the roots, by means of which, each year, an invariable supply of stalks are plentifully produced. Although its growth may be termed strictly annual, yet each year finds a growth of stalks produced by a curious conjunction of dead and living matter peculiar to the "agamous” race of plants.
Ox-Eye, or White Daisy. Twenty years ago this weed was scarcely seen in Steuben county. On its first appearance, many farmers made efforts to destroy it by pulling up every plant that grew, and for a time its increase was thus prevented. In the eastern part of the State it had grown for many years, and with the tide of emigration West made equal progress, until it has spread over every town and district of the county. It is not known that any one has succeeded in destroying the Daisy, or that any sure way for its destruction has been made known. The most that can be done, seems to be to check its growth and propagation. This can be effected by a series of rotation of crops of grain succeeding clover, by which the Daisy is smothered above ground, and then the roots are destroyed by plowing and hoeing the succeeding crops. The process should invariably be to prevent the weed from producing seed and to destroy the roots. The soil should be cultivated to cause the seeds therein to germinate, and then to destroy the young plants; all the seed gathered in the grain or hay crops should have their vitality destroyed by fermentation in the manure heap before it is spread over the soil.
The daisy is not only extremely tenacious of life, but also is productive of thousands of seeds from a single root. A single head has been known to produce two hundred seeds, and a single root to produce from 20 to 25 heads. Hence its immense powers to propagate and to spread over the country.
By a careful examination of the daisy, it will be seen that the apparent flowers are heads of flowers, containing several hundred minute and perfect flowers, which are termed flosculi or "florets, each having the anthers united into a minute cylinder, but separated as so many distinct stamens by the division of the filaments that rest upon the small corolla. It will also be seen that the florets of the center, or disc of the flower are all perfect, while the flat florets, which form the ray, are merely pistiliferous, and devoid of stamens. But it is distinguished from others of the same formation in the fact that all its florets perfect seed.
The daisy belongs to the class Syngenesia, of which we made mention in describing the Canada thistle, and of the order “Superflua,” in which two kinds of florets are produced in the same common calyx-those in the ray
styliferous only, and those in the disc tubular and perfect. The forets of the ray are “ligulate," resembling a ring of marginal petals; these rays are flattened, or ligulate florates, furnished only with styles, and are white, while the perfect tubular florets of the disc are yellow.
The daisy, for a great part of the year, continues to send up single stems, clothed with amplexicaule, lanceolate, serrated leaves, deeply cleft at the base, and terminating in large white rayed flowers, which have hemispherical, imbricated calyx, the scales of which have membraceous margins, and a naked receptacle.
It belongs to the genus Chrysanthemum, which contains some of the most beautiful flowers found in any of the family of plants, of which the Indicum is ever graceful in appearance, and an ornament in the train of Flora.
It is thus that in the vegetable, as in the animal world, families produce the perfect and the deformed, the useful and the pestiferous alike.
Connected with the daisy, in the same class and order, is the May weed, having divided leaves, pinnate and subulate, with naked seeds and bristly chaff. This weed is more easily destroyed than the daisy, as mowing or plowing will exterminate it. It grows chiefly upon hard-beaten soil, along paths trodden by cattle, in cow-yards, and wherever the earth is compact and hard. It is extremely injurious to grain, choking it out and preventing its growth and maturity.
There is also a species of daisy quite common in grass lavds, growing three or more feet high, branching at the top, with white flowers, blooming from July to September. As the root of this weed is an annual, it can easily be exterminated by early mowing before the seed vessels are fully formed.
The wild mustard is found growing in many parts of the county, where the soil is cultivated to winter wheat. The seed of this plant, if buried beyond the influence of the atmosphere, will remain for years uninjured, and when brought to the surface, will vegetate and produce innumerable seeds for future crops, to propagate and extend over the soil. The plant being an annual, every seed should be made to germinate, and the young plant destroyed. If allowed to bloom and to seed the land, extended and careful attention will be necessary for its extermination; plowing or pulling up the plant before seeding, or consumption of the young plant by cattle will destroy it.
The seed of the wild mustard will produce oil to the extent of about thirty pounds to the bushel. It belongs to the class Tetradynamia having six stamens in two sets, two of them being shorter than the other four. Hence the name “ the power of fours." It is of the order “Siliquosa," producing a long slender pod, almost cylindric, with seeds globose, and arranged in a single row. The calyx is spreading, and the cotyledons conduplicate, or folded together. It differs but little from the brassica, (cabbage,) but in the latter the calyx is erect.
Chess, Darnel—(Lotium Bromas.) This plant is found in fields of grain, sometimes taking the place of the cereal. It is extremely hardy, and where the soil is wet, and the wheat is