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Of The Hasel

( Originally Published Late 1800's )



1. Nux silvestris, or corylus, the hasel, is best rais'd from the ' nuts, (also by suckers and layers) which you shall sow like mast, in a pretty deep furrow to-ward the end of February, or treat them as you are instructed in the walnut ; light ground may immediately be sown and harrow'd-in very accurately ; but in case the mould be clay, plow it earlier, and let it be sufficiently mellow'd with the frosts ; and then the third year cut your trees near to the ground with a sharp bill, the moon decreasing.

But if you would make a grove for pleasure, plant them in fosses, at a yard distance, and cut them within half a foot of the earth, dressing them for three or four Springs and Autumns, by only loosning the mould a little about their roots. Others there are, who set the nuts by hand at one foot distance, to be transplanted the third year, at a yard asunder : But this work is not to be taken in hand so soon as the nuts fall, till winter be well advanc'd ; because they are exceedingly obnoxious to the frosts ; nor will they sprout till the Spring ; besides, vermin are great devourers of them : Preserve them therefore moist, not mouldy ; by laying them in their own dry leaves, or in sand, till January.

2 Hasels from sets and suckers take.

3. From whence they thrive very well, the shoots being of the scantlings of small wands and switches, or somewhat bigger, and such as have drawn divers hairy twigs, which are by no means to be disbranch'd, no more than their roots, unless by a very sparing and discreet hand. Thus, your coryletum, or copp'ce of hasels, being planted about Autumn, may (as some practise it) be cut within three or four inches of the ground the Spring following, which the new cyon will suddenly repair in clusters, and tufts of fair poles of twenty, or sometimes thirty foot long : But I rather should spare them till two or three years after, when they shall have taken strong hold, and may be .cut close to the very earth, the improsperous and feeble ones especially. Thus are likewise filberts to be treated, both of them improved much by transplanting, but chiefly by graffing, and it would be try'd with filberts, and even with almonds themselves, for more elegant experiments.

In the mean time, I do not confound the filbert, pontic, or filbord, distinguish'd by its beard, among our foresters (or bald hasel-nuts) which doubtless we had from abroad ; and bearing the names of avelan, avelin, as I find in some ancient records and deeds in my custody, where my ancestors names were written Avelan, alias, Evelin, generally.

4. For the place, they above all affect cold, barren, dry, and sandy grounds ; also mountains, and even rocky soils produce them ; and where quaries of free-stone lie underneath, as that at Hasulbery in Wilts, Haseling-field in Cambridge-shire, Haselmeer in Surrey, and other places ; but more plentifully, if the ground be somewhat moist, dankish and mossie, as in the fresher bottoms, and sides of hills, hoults, and in hedge-rows. Such as are maintain'd for copp'ces, may after twelve years be fell'd the first time ; the next, at seven or eight, &c. for by this period, their roots will be compleatly vigorous. You may plant them from October to January, provided you keep them carefully weeded, till they have taken fast hold ; and there is not among all our store, a more profitable wood for copp'ces, and therefore good husbands should store them with it.

5. The use of the hasel is for poles, spars, hoops, forks, angling-rods, faggots, cudgels, coals, and springs to catch birds ; and it makes one of the best coals, once us'd for gun-powder ; being very fine and light, till they found alder to be more fit : There is no wood which purifies wine sooner, than the chips of hase] : Also for with's and bands, upon which, I remember, Pliny thinks it a pretty speculation, that a wood should be stronger to bind withal, being bruis'd and divided, than when whole and entire : The coals are us'd by painters, to draw with like those of Sallow : Lastly, for riding switches, and divinatory rods for the detecting and finding out of minerals ; (at least, if that tradition be no imposture) is very wonderful ; by whatsoever occult virtue, the forked-stick (so cut, and skilfully held) becomes impregnated with those invisible steams and exhalations ; as by its spontaneous bending from an horizontal posture, to discover not only mines, and subterraneous treasure, and springs of water, but criminals, guilty of murther, &c. made out so solemnly, and the effects thereof, by the attestation of magistrates, and divers other learned and credibile persons, (who have critic-ally examined matters of fact) is certainly next to miracle, and requires a strong faith : Let the curious therefore consult that philosophical treatise of ' Dr. Vallemont ; which will at least entertain them with a world of surprizing things. But now after all the most signal honour it was ever employ'd in, and which might deservedly exalt this humble and common plant above all the trees of the wood, is that of hurdles, (especially the flexible white : the red and brittle) ; not for that it is generally used for the folding of our innocent sheep, an emblem of the church ; but for making the walls of one of the first Christian Oratories in the world ; and particularly in this island, that venerable and sacred fabrick at Glastenbury, founded by St. Joseph of Arimathea ; which is storied to have been first compos'd but of a few small hasel-rods interwoven about certain stakes driven into the ground ; and walls of this kind, instead of laths and punchions, superinduc'd with a course mortar made of loam and straw, do to this day inclose divers humble cottages, sheads and out-houses in the countrey ; and 'tis strong and lasting for such purposes, whole, or cleft, and I have seen ample enclosures of courts and gardens so secur'd.

6. There is a compendious expedient for the thickning of copp'ces which are too transparent, by laying of a sampler or pole of an hasel, ash, poplar., &c. of twenty or thirty foot in length (the head a little lopp'd) into the ground, giving it a chop near the foot, to make it succumb ; this fastned to the earth with a hook or two, and cover'd with some fresh mould at a competent depth (as gardeners lay their carnations) will produce a world of suckers, thicken and furnish a copp'ce speedily. I add no more of filberts, a kinder and better sort of hasel-nut, of larger and longer shape and beard ; the kernels also cover'd with a fine membrane, of which the red is more delicate : They both are propagated as the hasel, and while more domestick, planted either asunder, or in palisade, are seldom found in the copp'ces : They are brought among other fruit, to the best tables for desert, and are said to fatten, but too much eaten, obnoxious to the asthmatic. In the mean time, of this I have had experience ; that hasel-nuts, but the filberd specially, being full ripe, and peel'd in warm water, (as they blanch almonds) make a pudding very little (if at all) inferior to that our ladies make of almonds. But I am now come to the water-side; let us next consider the aquatic.

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