In this Issue...
The Annual General Meeting is just around the corner. This year we will be back in the Baxter Conservation Area in the new Interpretive Center. The all day program will begin in the morning when we will take care of the business end of ECSONG. A notable event will be the vote on the new name and mandate for the Chapter. The SONG executive has granted us the right to rename our chapter the "Eastern Chapter" and to look after the interests of the entire Eastern Ontario region.
The afternoon will be devoted to technical discussions, focussing in on the four new initiatives the chapter has begun this year: namely, master planning for both the Baxter Nut Grove and the Oak Valley Plantation; joint research and development with the National Arboretum; and an embryonic nut industry starting in this region.
Also, in this issue, you will find an article about ECSONG making a TV program. There is also an offer from Art Read to provide American Chestnut seed to members. If you are trying to germinate Korean Nut Pine, see Alec's letter. Upper Canada Village bookstore bought more of our cookbooks and nut growers manual. Guy Lefebvre has a long letter with lots of information. Take a serious look at Ernie Kerr's offer to donate large horsechestnut tree.
If you want to speak out on any topic, simply write your letter to the editor: it will be most welcome.
The Baxter Liaison Committee
The BLC has met twice since the last issue of the Nuttery and reports considerable progress.
Some time ago, the chair of the BLC, Cliff Craig, pointed out that ECSONG might qualify as an employer for the Ontario government's Environmental Youth Corps (EYC) program. Under this program, young people can be employed for a short time to work to better the environment, and be paid by the province. The Baxter Nut Grove seemed a project that might qualify. Cliff thought the RVCA could supervise the people, and that this arrangement would suit the EYC, ECSONG and the RVCA.
Consequently, two summer positions have been applied for. The first would help draft both the nut grove master plan and its history. The other position would help prepare a brochure for visitors and do some technical work around the grove.
The BLC now has its terms of reference decided, and the outline for its master plan. It is working on drafting the history of the nut grove, and may soon be able to suggest a new name for the grove, in Fil Park's memory, to the RVCA. The BLC is recruiting new members, anticipating the need for spring work to be done on the grove in early May.
If you want to join in, give Cliff a call at Kanata 836-6298.
The Oak Valley Plantation Plan
The Oak Valley Plantation site is ready for planning. Enough work has been done so the potential of the site can now be understood. The site is seen to have good potential for growing black walnuts, hickories and other nuts requiring good agricultural-grade, deep soils. Its site history can be traced, and with the river bordering it, it could be a good picnic area for visitors to the South Nation River Conservation Authority area.
The Oak Valley Planning Committee (OVPC) has had its first meeting, attended by Irene Woolford, Karen Bertrand, Ernie Kerr and Hank Jones. The group discussed several aspects of the site, but most importantly decided to survey and map it. Ernie will be surveying and marking as soon as the snow goes. He plans to start by researching the history of surveys in the area and compiling a collection of base maps. Once the survey is complete, Karen will draw up a large size base map. This map will be used to plan the layout of the trees.
An overall plan will be developed based on a vision of what the site should look like in 25 or 30 years. This vision has been nicknamed "Vision Twenty-Twenty" for the year 2020 and for good foresight. Consideration is being given to asking the SNRCA if we should add the adjacent upstream field (with the old house foundation) to our planning.
You can reach the OVPC through Irene Woolford in Winchester at 774-3385.
The Nut Industry Development Committee
ECSONG promotes the growing of selected nut and bean-bearing trees and shrubs in this region. It is interested in promoting, inter alia, commercial growing and marketing of products and services.
The ECSONG Nut Industry Development Committee (NIDC) will promote the development of a nut and bean bearing trees and shrubs industry in the Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec region.
Already some commercial enterprise is developing. For example, Source Wood Products of Cornwall and the Roblyn Nursery in Perth are gearing up to provide stock, and Cobjon Ent. Inc. of Ottawa is developing nut growing kits and specialised publications. Others including the Connaught Nursery of Cobden and Pat Doyle of Perth have shown interest in stock production. Several members have stated the desire to grow trees in plantations, orchards or woodlots: namely, Bob Bogle, John Johnstone and John Clouston. Geoff Truscott and Geoff Baker have already produced valuable cabinetry and crafts of nut woods.
The NIDC can build on these early efforts by supporting and widely promoting them in the marketplace.
The envisaged industry could encompass any number and combination of sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations providing a wide range of products and services. Products could include: seeds, seedlings, nuts for food and crafts, nut by-products such as dyes, stains; specialty woods and crafts, timber veneers, finished products and so on. Services could include: cabinetry and carpentry; publications and other information vehicles; consulting on any aspect of horticulture, silviculture, arboriculture, products, sciences, botany, etc; nurseries; landscaping; and so on.
The NIDC will be a permanent committee. The NIDC chair and membership will be comprised of members of ECSONG. The number of members serving on the committee at any one time will be set by the NIDC Chair. Non-ECSONG people may be invited to participate from time to time at the discretion of the NIDC Chair.
If you want to joint the NIDC, or discuss its role, call Hank Jones, or Ed Hogan in Ottawa at 736-0725
The National Arboretum Liaison Committee
The committee (NALC) has yet to have its first meeting, though many people have expressed a keen interest in it getting started. It is hoped that the first meeting will be held soon.
Heather Apple, the Vice-President of SONG, and manager of the Heritage Seed Program, writes
I am very interested in the Arboretum project. I really think that it has the potential to develop as a national project. Through publicising the HSP, I have learned that the media is a voracious creature which is constantly looking for news-worthy items. This is something that can be used to advantage by organizations such as our own. There are a number of magazines, radio stations, etc. which would probably be interested if the information is presented to them the right way.
If the CNE booth for SONG goes ahead, I'll check with you closer to the time, and if things seem to be going ahead for the Arboretum, I could include something about it in the display. I'd also be delighted to do an article about it in our HSP magazine.
Here is an overview of the NALC:
Background: The rapidly changing global climate threatens to cripple trees and forests over the next 30 to 50 years and beyond. The impact will be greatest at higher latitudes, putting Canada at great risk. Even while attempts to reverse the warming are under way, severe change is inevitable within the lifetime of almost every tree alive today. Research, bringing to bear all human knowledge of tree science and pushing the frontier forward, must now combine pure and applied science, tightly knit, if our trees are to have a chance of coming through relatively unscathed. There is no time to hesitate!
We firmly believe that research today is vital to forest survival tomorrow. We are now beyond simple conservation or even restoration; fighting a rear guard action to hold on to existing forests will likely fail. We believe we must take the offensive in the short run. We must work for successional trees and forests that can assure both environmental and economic survival in Canada in the face of unprecedented fast climate warming. By promoting growing nut bearing trees already adapted to warmer climates and amenable to our soils, we recognise that these trees may survive the change, and at the same time can reintegrate our troubled agriculture with arboriculture in urban, suburban and rural settings.
The proposed NALC Goal: The languishing Dominion Arboretum is ideally suited to be the best possible center in Canada to catalyse what may prove to be the most important research effort in human history. It has many relevant specimens already growing, all amenable to serious research, and many more can be quickly found and planted. The Arboretum must be put center stage immediately. ECSONG wants to play a key role. It is immediately establishing a liaison committee to rally all resources possible for joint applied research and demonstration projects with the Arboretum. It foresees this spirited effort quickly spilling out practical knowledge and genetic material to Canadians in every corner of the country.
The proposed NALC membership: The NALC will be a committee of ECSONG. Its chair and members will be ECSONG and SONG people, and it will have representatives from the NA. It will be supported by an outside knowledge network of invited expert and interested agencies and people who are willing to advise the committee as required from time to time. The NALC determines who is in the network. Candidates include governments at all levels, domestic and foreign; environmentalists; academia; industry; and individuals. The network can be canvassed, surveyed, or polled, depending on the issue in question, or individuals may be consulted.
The proposed NALC Terms of Reference: The committee's work will be defined by the following terms of reference (to be finalised by the committee when it first meets). The committee will report to the Chair of ECSONG.
ECSONG's Proposal to the National Arboretum: The NALC proposes to work jointly with the National Arboretum to achieve certain goals and objectives of mutual benefit. The following proposal has been discussed informally by the NALC and the Curator, and has been warmly received.
Many members of ECSONG have come to think of the National Arboretum as a "living tree museum". Native, as well as exotic, trees grow where they can be observed and preserved over many decades. We have also availed ourselves of the seed these same trees produce, and thus propagated them. We would like to encourage the Arboretum to see itself this same way (it may already) and further to continue and even expand this role. We are aware that funding is tight these days, so that innovative ways must be found to achieve this goal.
Consequently, we propose joint efforts between ourselves, each playing to his own strengths, whereby we may contribute specimens of species that come to us through various domestic and international seed exchanges to be planted in appropriate sites in the Arboretum. If permitted, we would do the planting ourselves, in much the same way as we now assist the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority with its Baxter Nut Grove, with which you are probably familiar. The Arboretum could much better display the living trees to a much wider audience than we could ever expect at Baxter.
In Baxter, we began by listing all the species we thought could meet the hardiness criteria. We studied the soil and contours of the designated five-acre site, to choose the best site available for each species.
Since then we have sought and been acquiring specimens opportunistically, until today we have some twenty to thirty species and varieties planted. The grove has become part of the Authority's nature interpretive program, and it appears on their maps.
Jointly with the NA, we can see making an expanded list of candidate species, mapping candidate sites in the large open area, and planning the planting. On approval, we would seek out specimens and plant them in their allotted place. We would provide requisite documentation for the Arboretum records, and cooperate in the on-going maintenance of the trees.
The Curator will help the NALC identify potential projects that meet the goals of the arboretum, guide the planning of accepted projects, and direct the execution of the planned projects. The arboretum has the final say in all matters.
Several possible projects come to mind. First, the collection of nut trees now in the arboretum could be expanded. The NALC could make a list based on the Baxter list. Specimens could be sought widely, through other nut tree associations and societies in Canada and abroad.
Secondly, we are very curious and interested in the large open area at the south end of the Arboretum. Might this area be planned as a nut grove similar in design to the Baxter, but with a broader range of species? The Baxter is intended to demonstrate those species that can grow successfully in the rural areas of Eastern Ontario, outside the so-called heat islands of the cities and towns. For the Arboretum, we see taking advantage of the Ottawa heat island to expand the list candidate species. We are also cognizant of the climate warming that will likely give the climate of Pennsylvania by mid-21st century, well within the lifetimes of nut trees. The trees that could thrive in the Arboretum today, but barely survive now at Baxter, might find rural eastern Ontario ideal by then. So the Arboretum could become an important local stock source during the climate transition.
Lastly, we are also interested in the Wildlife Area bordering on the southern edge of the Arboretum. We have already contributed a commemorative Butternut tree, ceremonially planted at the official opening of this area. We wish to be included in the future evolution of the area re providing nut tree specimens, and in other appropriate ways.
Everyone welcome, and anyone wishing to joint or support the NALC can contact any member of the ECSONG executive as shown on the front page of the Nuttery.
This year's winter meeting
The winter meeting just past, held in the Citizen Building auditorium on Baxter Road in Ottawa, was very busy. There were several exhibits, notably Source Wood Products of Cornwall and Cobjon Enterprises Inc., both showing an interesting variety of nut growing and handling equipment. George Truscott's donated Black Walnut seed was offered and several members 'harvested' a good supply for the coming growing season. A wonderful variety of nut baked goods, and lots of hot coffee, were prepared by a number of members including Bob Scally, Kathleen Jones and Irene Woolford.
There were many speakers over the evening, some scheduled and some extemporaneous, and all appreciated. Dave Baker spoke about the added value of fine craftsmanship to already valuable nut woods. Geoff Truscott explained how he built a $4500 solid black walnut front door. Ed Hogan explored the potential for a nut-based industry in Eastern Ontario, and spoke about the prospects for a Nut Industry Committee in ECSONG. Irene Woolford recapped progress on the Oak Valley Plantation, looking forward to the inauguration of the Oak Valley Planning Committee. Cliff Craig was able to report that the Baxter Liaison Committee was well under way. There was considerable discussion from the audience. Art Read sought advice on publicity initiatives. Bob Scally reported the changing attitude towards planting hardwoods. Mark Schaefer reviewed Korean Nut Pines. Sylvia Powers told of an opportunity for members to acquire a portable sawmill.
All in all, it was a very lively and informative evening! Thanks to one and all!
News on the ginkgo from Japan
Polly Jones, the editor of the chapter's cookbook, is spending a year in Japan teaching English. She sends us a little book called 'Eating in Japan', which has two recipes for ginkgo nuts. Polly writes
Dear Hank-san. Hope you enjoy flipping through this little book. I think the Japanese restaurant in the Market Mall, called Icho, is pretty good if you want to try some dishes. (If that is in fact the name of the place it means ginkgo! They also call it maidenhair tree.) ginkgo nuts are quite delicious when cooked in something - not eaten raw!
Polly is quite right about the name of the restaurant, and what it means, and about what raw ginkgo nuts taste like! (I tried some.) She also sent two small tins of ginkgoes - some of you may already have seen those at the winter meeting. An article by Sir Albert C. Seward, Sc.D., F.R.S., entitled "The Story of the Maidenhair Tree", published in Science Progress, Vol. 32 no. 127, January 1938, explains that the name ginkgo could mean 'silver apricot', and was first described in Japan by Kaempfer in 1690. He further reported that the kernel "is eaten in China and Japan as a delicacy: the outer flesh is nauseous." Polly's book describes a recipe for 'chawanmushi', or egg custard, that can contain ginkgos.
Do not overlook these very special gymnosperms when planning the planting of nut trees.
Upper Canada Village Bookstore buys our books
In 1990, we received an order for 5 each of the Chapter's cookbook "Recipes in a Nutshell", Polly Jones, Editor, and the manual "A Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario", Mark Schaefer, Editor. I am pleased to report that this year, we have received a repeat order for three each of the books. I presume that the Upper Canada Village Bookstore has been successful in selling our books.
We are almost out of copies of both books, having sold about a hundred of each. Should we consider reprinting soon? Is it time to think new books as well, since these small books have proved good revenue generators for the Chapter. If you have a market in mind for our publications, or if you have any ideas or comments, I would like to hear from you. The Nuttery Editor.
Another 'Oak Valley Plantation'
Last August I visited my niece Gillian Carey, and her husband Tony, who live near Enniskerry, Ireland. This little town lies in Glencree, among the Wicklow Mountains, about 25 miles south of Dublin. Tony told us of the oak valley plantation in which he was very active.
Since the dawn of history, he told us, 75% of Ireland was covered by forest, mainly oak. There are two species involved, Quercus petraea (the sessile oak) on northern and higher ground and Q. robur (the pendunculate oak) on southern and lower ground. There were many natural hybrids of the two, typical of oaks in general.
Exploitation began in the 1600s, and by the late 1800s only 1% of Ireland was still forested. Serious reforestation began in the 1920s but only with softwoods, and Ireland still imports for practically all its hardwood needs.
Formed in 1986, CRANN (a Gaelic acronym) is an association dedicated to bringing back the hardwood forests. With support from Coillte Teo (the Irish forestry board), CRANN is promoting a 65 acre oak plantation in Glencree, above Enniskerry. If successful, they may extend it. The plantation is called Oak Glen.
Two features of the plan are of special interest to us. First, the planting will use the new protective growing tubes (such as the Tubex brand Guy Lefebvre sells). Instead of closely planting the seedlings and thinning them out over the years (as is often recommended for Eastern Ontario), each seedling will be planted in its permanent location, and protected by its photo- degradable tube until fully established.
The second feature is financial. CRANN seeks donations of 10 pounds (or punts, as they are properly called) which will give the donor ownership rights over one particular tree for 100 years. The owner will receive 'a tastefully designed certificate bearing the number of your tree'. CRANN hopes to raise enough money to plant a total of 25,000 trees.
The actual planting and management will be supervised by professional staff from the Irish Forestry Board, but the owners will be welcome as volunteers.
Anyone interested in more information, call me at (613) 828-6459
Nut Gardening: a PBS/TV Project
The project's goal is to promote nut growing in urban and suburban areas through broadcast television. This document is the project plan for creating a half-hour program on nut gardening for the Public Broadcasting System seen in Canada and the US.
ECSONG has been invited to participate in an episode of the PBS gardening series 'From a Country Garden'. The invitation came from Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White, the half-hour program's hosts who garden just south of Kemptville, Ontario (613) 258-5587.
The episode, focussing on 'nut gardening', will be aired next winter over most of North America. The program will be produced in stages over the 1991 growing session, starting in May with planting, pruning and flowering, through the summer and into the fall harvest and nut use. ECSONG's role will be to provide on-camera expert demonstrations and how-to advice by responding to questions posed by the hosts. The audience for the series is mainly young people just starting their own homes, and seniors enjoying recreational gardening.
Though ECSONG will not be paid, our reward (besides the wonderful exposure for our cause) may be to obtain copies of video out-takes for our own use.
Alec and Kathleen Jones have pointed out that we should find out early on what access we can have in the future to any or all of the material created by this project. They also suggest that, though the audience will be all North America, we should emphasize the problems special to northern growers.
Project Approach: Since our hosts are not nut growing experts, ECSONG will prepare an initial written list of issues and questions whose answers will form the basis for an informal script. Furthermore, since ECSONG has no all-round experts in all aspects of nut gardening, we will have to pool our individual knowledge, and further draw on expertise in SONG and NNGA, both to round out the issues list and to provide the best answers for the program's cosmopolitan audience.
The following approach is proposed. Hank Jones, Chair ECSONG, will be the project leader. He will pull together a multidisciplinary project team of ECSONG and SONG members (see below), and provide it this document as the task definition, and a tentative work schedule. According to the schedule, the team will prepare a list of nut gardening issues and questions, with recommended demonstrations, that the program might address. The list will be reviewed and possibly amended by the program's director and producer. A final list, with annotated references and bibliography, will be approved by all concerned. The team will then prepare the answers to the questions, and with the help of the hosts, work it into a final video script. Any seed, stock and supplies needed for the chosen demonstrations will be provided by the team.
Over the growing season, the video will be shot on location. The final editing and voice over will be done late fall in the PBS studios in Watertown, New York.
Project Organization: The ECSONG project team will be composed of a project leader, an Editorial Panel to put together the list of issues, questions and answers, with the help of a Resource Panel to provide demonstrations, seed, stock and supplies as required. The Editorial Panel will liaise with SONG and the NNGA through the Vice-President of SONG, Heather Apple, Uxbridge (416) 852-7965. The team can seek the advice of Rick Jones, Ottawa (613) 232-5189, who will be our media consultant.
The proposed team is as follows:
Project Schedule - A rough schedule could be: The script ready by mid-April in order to prepare for the first shoots in early May. The time of the spring shoots will coincide with pruning, and then planting time (seed and seedling). The later shoots will show trees in flower, in leaf with fruit set, late summer full growth (saplings and mature trees), fall harvest and leaf colour time (for deciduous species), and finally in winter. At the start of the project, a more detailed schedule of dates and tasks will be sought.
Bibliography and References. In the course of preparing the script, all documents perused and used will be recorded. Any ECSONG or SONG member who would like to get involved in this project, call anyone named above.
Following my attendance at the Commercial Association of Nut Growers of Ontario (CANGRO) February 5th '91 meeting in London, Ontario, I acquired a substantial amount of information about commercial nut growing. I realize CANGRO is a very young organization but worth joining. They are still developing areas such as: 1) Buyers list of locally grown products (nuts); 2) establishment or larger plantations to supply nut products importers already purchased; 3) growers are faced with having to lower their prices to importers once they exceed productivity of road side and local sale demands. Those of us interested in commercial nut growing in Eastern Ontario have a long way to go before we are faced with some of these problems, but we have not even scratched the surface of road side and local demands. Anyone interested in joining CANGRO should apply to Charles Rhora, RR#1, Wainfleet, Ontario L0S 1V0 (416-899-3508).
Doug Campbell of Campberry Farm replied to my request in purchasing grafted stock for commercial nut growing. Doug writes: "You might wish to consider that the same number of dollars invested in seedlings may give you a more desirable diversity of genotypes, more likely to achieve a higher percentage of adaptability than a limited clonal effort - since all of us are on the fringe of application of nut trees it is important to bring as much diversity to a northern planting as possible, increase chances for success. Also you will find: 1) the graft union on clonal stock is another point of origin for winter injury; 2) unless grafted trees are produced from clonal rootstock there is a seedling element to the planting anyway. So that gives you a bit more to consider."
At the meeting, two speakers presented knowledgeable information on hazel and filbert.
Cecil Farris (NNGA member) has the largest variety selection of hazel and filbert in the world, he is considered a serious amateur. Two superior varieties were #18-114 and Grand Traverse which cracked out an average of 45% to 51% kernel. Most filberts will grow in a shrub form, which is undesirable to commercial growers because they are unable to bring their mechanical shakers close enough to the center. Most nuts will fall amongst the sprouts and be left behind for hand collection. To avoid this problem, Cecil started grafting them on to Turkish tree hazel rootstock which develops no bottom sprouting. The graft is made at approximately one meter or less to accommodate the mechanical shaker. Irrigation is definitely a must, and clean cultivation between the rows is highly recommended. Oregon State University has done extensive research and development on hazel and filbert.
Cid Grinnell (Michigan), hazel propagation specialist, recommended that plantations of Turkish rootstock type to be spaced at 12.5 feet between trees and 20 feet between rows, with drip irrigation set at 2 gallons per hour at each emittor, which would water only a 3.5 foot circle around each tree. Adding 30-10-10 through the irrigation system is a good fertilization method. A five foot strip of herbicide is a must for each row, with grass mowing between the rows. Filbert and hazel are wind pollinated only. Travers City Growers developed a variety named 81C which proved to be excellent for their production. Cid will sell grafted stock with his seven year followup plan. The cost of establishing a plantation averaged $1300 US per acre, irrigation included. Best time to plant would be the second or third week of May. Cid can be reached at Grinnell Nursery, 14495 Morrice Road, Perry, Michigan 48872 (517) 625-7176 for anyone interested in his grafted nut catalogue. He cannot ship to Canada, but a purchaser may buy and import with the proper Agriculture Canada import permits.
John Gordon (New York) spoke on Chestnut. The break even point in cost is the seventh year. Irrigation cost will often be equal to the nursery stock. "Simpson" variety (seedling) proved to be successful with his plantation. Dr. Folbright of Michigan State University has done extensive work on tissue analysis towards blight resistance for chestnut.
A nut growers magazine worth looking into for serious members is "The Nut Grower", 4974 E. Clinton Way, Suite 123, Fresno CA 93727-1558 USA. It lists suppliers for harvesting, drying, storing, cracking and cleaning with much more.
I brought up for discussion at the meeting the possibility of the Nut Industry Development Committee (NIDC) under ECSONG developing in the future. Some CANGRO members seem to be concerned with the possibility of developing conflict and confusion between NIDC and CANGRO. Recommendation was made for ECSONG members interested in the aspect of commercial nut growing to join CANGRO as a start. This would help the already established organization to support and promote commercial nut growing in Ontario. Perhaps in the future and eastern chapter of CANGRO or an NIDC could then be formed. So I listened and decided to join CANGRO to familiarize myself more with commercial nut growing.
(A note from the Chair, ECSONG: The NIDC in ECSONG has a broad mandate to promote all potential applications of nut-based industry, including inter alia income-generating wood products, nursery services, plant by- products, professional crafts, farming, agro-forestry, environmental conservation and landscaping services. From ECSONG's perspective, the NIDC would support CANGRO's efforts to assist the commercial growing of nuts for market. As committee of ECSONG, the NIDC is clearly different from a commercial organization, and I believe there will be no confusion nor conflict between the two groups. I believe further that efforts to help create a diverse and thus stable industry around nut bearing plants in general will be better served by the complementary efforts of the two groups.)
Concerning the Chesterville Park black walnut plantation, it has been marked for thinning by the Cornwall office of MNR. Thinning is now up to the town of Chesterville, following my observation on February 21st it had not been thinned out. I am hoping to take pictures before and after for a slide presentation.
I will be giving a presentation on nut tree culture for the "Green Thumb Association" at Williamstown St. Mary's Hall on March 25th between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM. I am told anyone interested from Stormont and Glengarry counties is welcome to attend. ECSONG will definitely be on my list of promotion.
Editors note: Guy and his company 'Source Wood Products of Cornwall Ltd.' are moving quickly into commercial nut growing. They already are suppliers of growers products and native nut species seedlings. Guy can be reached at (613) 932-5300 or at P.O.Box 476, Cornwall ON K6H 5T2.
Regarding Korean and Siberian pines
In 1981, Alec Jones wrote to H. Cedric Larsson at the Ontario Forest Research Center at Maple about growing these species of nut pines. His reply
The seed should be sown in the late fall (November) in prepared ground (seed beds) just below the surface and then mulched with straw. Because of mice, the seed should be coated with a rodent repellent (thiram) before sowing. This can be purchased from a Farmers Cooperative. Lay seed down on paper, then paint the rodent repellent on with a paint brush. So that it won't stick into a hard lump, rotate it until it dries. The nurseries use a small cement mixer. After sowing the treated seed, cover the seed bed with chicken wire ½ to 1 inch mesh as the squirrels and chipmunks will eat the seed when it starts to germinate. If you don't do this, you will lose all your seed and seedlings.
Since you have not sown it yet, you can now treat it with rodent repellent, then sow it heavily in flats, fill the flats with sandy loam soil, cover flats with chicken wire, put outside exposed to the rain and snow. In spring when the frost is out of the ground sow the seed in your seed bed. Cover the seed bed with chicken wire as described. Leave chicken wire on beds until late summer.
A horsechestnut tree for the Chapter?
Ernie Kerr has a horsechestnut tree by his house that he wants removed, possibly to donate live to the Chapter. It is 10 to 20 feet high. Clearly a major task if it is to be transplanted. It has been suggested that this beautiful specimen might find a new home at one of the Chapter's project sites, either at the Baxter Nut Grove or in the Oak Valley Plantation. Either place would benefit from its presence, possibly even as a commemorative tree.
The job could be done with a mechanical tree spade. Ernie says that the tree could be reached with a modest sized machine. Who has access to such a machine? If either of the conservation authorities, i.e. Rideau Valley or South Nation, or one of our members or acquaintances, who would be able to move the tree this spring, it could be ceremonially planted on one of the regular spring field days, with the press present. We could get good publicity for our cause. Possibly the planting could be video-taped as part of the PBS nut gardening project (see the article on this subject elsewhere in this issue). Any other ideas? If so, or you want to help out, call Ernie or the Nuttery editor today.
American Chestnut seed now available to members
This winter, Art Read received some one hundred American Chestnut seeds from the American mid-west. He wishes to give seed to as many members as might be interested in trying to grow this species in Eastern Ontario. The seed has been stored in Art's fridge over the winter. If you would like some seed, call Art.
An article about the American Chestnut by Philip A. Rutter, reprinted in the 'Heritage Seed Program', Vol.3 no.2, August 1990 pp.17-21, published in 'The Journal of the American Chestnut Foundation' Vol.3 no.1 February 1989, identifies several important sources of information about the chestnut. Phil, at the time of the Heritage reprint, was president of the American Chestnut Foundation and the NNGA. His address is Badgersett Research Farm, RR#1, Box 141, Canton MN 55922. Other sources include: The Canadian Chestnut Council, The Arboretum, University of Guelph, Guelph ON N1G 2W1; The American Chestnut Foundation, College of Agriculture and Forestry, 401 Brooks Hall, Box 6057, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia 26505-6057; and the New York Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, c/o Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo NY 14211.
Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.