CHAP. 19.—THE DROPPINGS OF WATER FROM THE LEAVES.
A very few words will suffice for the water that drops from
the leaves of trees. In all those which are protected by a
foliage so dense that the rain will not pass through, the drops
are of a noxious nature.1
In our enquiries, therefore, into
this subject it will be of the greatest consequence what will
be the nature developed by each tree in the soil in which we
are intending to plant it. Declivities, taken by themselves,
intervals between the trees, and in localities
that are exposed to the wind it is beneficial to plant them
closer together. However, it is the olive that requires the
largest intervals to be left, and on this point it is the opinion
with reference to Italy, that the very smallest interval ought to be twenty-five feet, and the largest thirty:
this, however, varies according to the nature of the site. The
olive is the largest4
of all the trees in Bætica: and in Africa
—if, indeed, we may believe the authors who say so—there
are many olive-trees that are known by the name of milliariæ,5
being so called from the weight of oil that they produce each
year. Hence it is that Mago has prescribed an interval between these trees of no less than seventy-five feet every way,
or of forty-five at the very lowest, when the soil happens to be
meagre, hard, and exposed to the winds. There is no doubt,
however, that Bætica reaps the most prolific harvests from
between her olives.
It will be generally agreed that it is a most disgraceful
piece of ignorance to lop away the branches more than is absolutely necessary in trees of vigorous growth, and so precipitate old age; as also, on the other hand, what is generally tantamount to an avowal of unskilfulness on the part of those
who have planted them, to have to cut them down altogether.
Nothing can reflect greater disgrace upon agriculturists than
to have to undo what they have done, and it is therefore much
the best to commit an error in leaving a superfluity of room.