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CHAP. 32. (20.)—WILLOW-BEDS.

It now remains to give an account of those trees which are planted for the sake of others—the vine1 more particularly—and the wood of which is cut from time to time. Holding the very first rank among these we find the willow, a tree that is always planted in a moist soil. The hole, however, should be two feet and a half in depth, and the slip a foot and a half only in length. Willow stakes are also used for the same purpose, and the stouter they are the better: the distance left between these last should be six feet. When they are three years old their growth is checked by cutting them down within a couple of feet from the ground, the object being to make them spread out, so that by the aid of their branches they may be cleared without the necessity of using a ladder; for the willow is the more productive the nearer its branches are to the ground. It is generally recommended to trench round the willow every year, in the month of April. Such is the mode of cultivation employed for the osier willow.2

The stake willow3 is reproduced both from suckers and cuttings, in a trench of the same dimensions. Stakes may be cut from it at the end of about three years mostly. These stakes are also used to supply the place of the trees as they grow old, being fixed in the ground as layers, and cut away from the trunk at the end of a year. A single jugerum of osier willows will supply osiers4 sufficient for twenty-five jugera of vines. It is for a similar purpose that the white poplar5 is grown; the trenches being two feet deep and the cutting a foot and a half in length. It is left to dry for a couple of days before it is planted, and a space is left between the plants a foot and a palm in width, after which they are covered with earth to the depth of a couple of cubits.

1 The maple, linden, elm, and arundo donax, are still employed, as well as the willow, for this purpose; the latter, however, but very rarely. The account of its cultivation here given is borrowed from Columella, De Re Rust. B. iv. c. 30.

2 The Salix viminalis of Linnæus, or white osier.

3 The Salix alba of Linnæus. These stakes, or props, are for the support of the vine.

4 For making baskets and bindings.

5 The Populus canescens of Willdenow.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PA´LMIPES
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