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The chesnut is found to produce better stays1 for the vine than any other tree, both from the facility with which they are worked, their extremely lasting qualities, and the circumstance that, when cut, the tree will bud again more speedily than the willow2 even. It requires a soil that is light without being gravelly, a moist, sandy one more particularly, or else a charcoal earth,3 or a fine tufa4 even; while at the same time a northern aspect, however cold and shady, and if upon a declivity even, greatly promotes its growth. It refuses to grow, however, in a gravelly soil, or in red earth, chalk, or, indeed, any kind of fertilizing ground. We have already stated,5 that it is reproduced from the nut, but it will only grow from those of the largest size, and then only when they are sown in heaps of five together. The ground above the nuts should be kept broken from the month of November to February, as it is at that period that the nuts lose their hold and fall of themselves from the tree, and then take root. There ought to be intervals of a foot in width left between them,6 and the hole in which they are planted should be nine inches every way. At the end of two years or more they are transplanted from this seed plot into another, where they are laid out at intervals of a couple of feet.

Layers are also employed for the reproduction of this tree, and there is none to which they are better7 adapted: the root of the plant is left exposed, and the layer is placed in the trench at full length, with the summit also protruding from the earth; the result being, that it shoots from the top as well as the root. When transplanted, however, it is very hard to be reconciled, as it stands in dread of all change. Hence it is, that it is nearly two years before it will begin to shoot upward; from which circumstance it is generally preferred to rear the slips in the nursery from the nut itself, to obtaining them from quicksets. The mode of cultivation does not differ from that employed with the plants already mentioned.8 It is trenched around, and carefully lopped for two successive years; after which it is able to take care of itself, the shade it gives sufficing to stifle all superfluous suckers: before the end of the sixth year it is fit for cutting.

A single jugerum of chesnuts will provide stays for twenty jugera of vineyard, and the branches that are taken from near the roots afford a supply of two-forked uprights; they will last, too, till after the next cutting of the tree.

The æsculus,9 too, is grown in a similar manner, the time for cutting being three years at the latest. Being less difficult, too, to propagate, it may be planted in any kind of earth, the acorn—and it is only with the æsculus that this is done—being sown in spring, in a hole nine inches in depth, with intervals between the plants of two feet in width. This tree is lightly hoed, four times a year. This kind of stay is the least likely to rot of them all; and the more the tree is cut, the more abundantly it shoots. In addition to the above, they also grow other trees for cutting that we have already mentioned—the ash for instance, the laurel, the peach, the hazel, and the apple; but then they are of slower growth, and the stays made from them, when fixed in the ground, are hardly able to withstand the action of the earth, and much less any moisture. The elder, on the other hand, which affords stakes of the very stoutest quality, is grown from cuttings, like the poplar. As to the cypress, we have already spoken of it at sufficient length.10

1 "Pedamenta," uprights, stays, stakes, or props.

2 This is not the fact, for the chesnut both grows and buds very slowly.

3 A black, hot kind of earth. See c. 3 of this Book.

4 In reality, the chesnut will not thrive in a tufaccous or, indeed, in any kind of calcareous, soil.

5 In B. xv. c. 26.

6 The heaps of five in which they are sown.

7 The chesnut is grown with the greatest dfficulty from layers and slips, and never from suckers. Pliny borrows this erroneous assertion from Columella, I. iv. c. 32. In mentioning the heaps of five nuts, Pliny seems to have had some superstitious observance in view, for Columella only says that they must be sown thickly, to prevent accident. The same is done at the present day, in order to making provision for the depredations of field- mice, rats, and mice, which are particularly fond of them.

8 The willow and the reed.

9 See B. xvi. cc. 5. 6, and 56.

10 In B. xvi. c. 60.

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