The Nuttery : Volume 12 Number 4 (1993)

In this Issue...

The big news in this issue is the announcement of the upcoming 15th Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (ECSONG) this coming Saturday, 19 March 1994. See the box on this page and the following Announcements Section for an overview of the information and activities offered attendees, and map to the Baxter Conservation Area.

In the same section, note the draft minutes of the 14th AGM held last March, printed here for your consideration and final approval at the upcoming AGM this Saturday.

Read on to the Chapter Projects Section. There you will find articles on several topics. The Dolman Ridge site is hanging fire, so no report (no pun intended!), but progress is imminent. absorb the report on last year's progress at the Oak Valley Plantation (watch for upcoming spring field day announcements for Oak Valley and the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove in the next issue of the Nuttery). Remember that Kathleen Jones is compiling a new nut cookery book for the Chapter; see details for getting your recipes together, or testing other's offerings. Mark Schaefer is already beavering away on the second edition of the nut growers manual for Eastern Ontario. Share your experiences and thoughts with him.

Moving on the general news section. Read all about it! Are dues too cheap: is this possible? Missed the winter meeting last January? (it was cold enough to freeze the nuts off an iron bridge!). Then report George Truscott's fast paced report (read it slowly if you must). Also, need a copy of our cookbook or the growers manual for yourself or as gift. Read about how to get copies from Read - Art that is!

In the Nut Grower Section, read about John and Ruth Ecclestone's 'vote of confidence' and generosity. Also, note that progress is being made on the Black Walnut Dehusker. Thinking about 'membership has its privileges' - see the article on ECSONG membership cards. When Larry Krotz plants tree, he goes nuts! Read about the clever way he does it in his article herein.

Looking for seed or stock for this spring or fall? Peruse the Nuttery Marketplace adverts from our favourite suppliers.

Want to get in touch with other members in your area, who share your interests or concerns? Names and phone numbers are published in the Membership Information Section. See also the brochure therein for information you can use to explain our goals to family, friends and neighbours. Need to pay dues, or know someone wants to join? Find the membership form at the back. Lastly, the calendar on the back page points the way ahead - keep it handy so you do not unwittingly miss any exciting ECSONG events.

See one and all at the AGM Saturday!

Annual General Meeting 1994

Saturday, 19 March, 1994
The McManus Interpretive Center, Baxter Conservation Area, Kars

Preview of the 15th AGM

The ECSONG 15th Annual General Meeting is slated for Saturday, 19 March, 1994, at the McManus Interpretive Center, Baxter Conservation Area, Kars. See the announcement box and map for directions.

Registration begins at 10:00 AM. Sign in, get your name tag, look at the exhibits, watch the PBS's "From a Country Garden" episode called 'Nut'ting on the Farm", and mingle. Dues can be paid, membership cards picked up, books can be purchased, seed and stock traded.

The program begins at 10:30. Business will be dealt with in the morning, along with reports from ECSONG committees and the Nuttery. About noon, we will begin a long lunch. Refreshments will be available for a price, but bring your own lunch. Doug Campbell's "Starting a Nut Grove" video will be run. See the exhibits. Trade seed and stock, or order seed from The Seed Source. About 12:30, there will be an optional, guided 45-minute tour of the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove which si within walking distance. The afternoon, starting about 1:30, will be given over to technical sessions on nut growing in Eastern Ontario. Cliff Craig will show slides on the official opening of the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove Last June, 1993. Ted Cormier will talk about the Eastern Ontario Nut Culture Project, and what can mean to you personally. The guest speaker for the AGM will be Cathy Nielsen, OMNR's Zonal Forest Genetics Specialist who will tell us about conservation programs important to our native nut trees. The meeting should be wrapped up by about 2:30 PM. The "Pruning Black Walnut" video will run during clean up.

The Conservation Area has lots to offer visitors of all ages - bring family, friends and neighbours! Welcome spring by attending the always-busy, always-exciting Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers, and enjoy Baxter at the same time.

The following report from George Truscott is the draft minutes of the 14th AGM, held March, 1993. These minutes will presented at the next AGM in March 1994 for acceptance.

Minutes of 14th Annual General Meeting of ECSONG

Held at the Baxter Interpretive Center on March 20, 1993. Meeting commenced at 10:30 a.m. Chair: Hank Jones. Attendance approximately 22 members.

Cliff Craig welcomed ECSONG. Since the fire the building's name was changed to Baxter Center.

Hank Jones gave an overview of the meeting. George Truscott confirmed the presence of a quorum. The Minutes of the 13th AGM were accepted as published. Moved by Bob Scally; seconded by George Christie. Unanimously approved.

Treasurer's Report - Art Read.

We have a healthy financial position. Our major expenditure is the Nuttery. Art moved report be accepted; seconded by Joe Ledbetter.

Nomination Committee report - Bob Scally. Proposed new executive: Hank Jones - Chair Ralph McKendry - Vice-Chair George Truscott - Secretary Art Read - Treasurer. Alec Jones moved the nominations be accepted; seconded by Terry McEvoy. No nominations received from the floor. New executive as proposed. Acceptance moved by Bob Scally; seconded by Joe Ledbetter. Unanimous approval. Hank Jones moved a vote of thanks to outgoing executive.

Chair's Report: Review of highlights of 1992: Baxter Nut Grove doing well Oak Valley - thriving - with input by SNRCA Dominion Arboretum Liaison Committee is functioning well Nut growing in Eastern Ontario may be furthered by the formation of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest Group A new nut grove may be developed in Lanark.

Committee Reports

Nuttery (Hank Jones): It is published quarterly hopefully. In 1993 hope to publish a schedule for the year. With a lot of technical materials & ads. It is now 20 pages. Distribution: 130 copies produced; 90 sent to members; 40 to others (NCC, RVCA, etc.). Most material is produced by members; just send in articles to the editor any time. Terry McEvoy suggested the library be catalogued in the Nuttery. To develop such a list or a synopsis we need a volunteer or anyone with knowledge to help Alec Jones. Ernie Kerr suggested we keep the technical material separate in the Nuttery.

Baxter Liaison Committee (Cliff Craig): Alec Jones, Mark Schaeffer, Dave Johnston are the other members. Naming the Grove in honour of Fil Park. Date for ceremony and official opening: June 19, 1993. The Conservation Authority will hold a meeting the morning of June 19. It is hoped that many will attend the dedication at 2:00 p.m. Invitation list to include ECSONG members, RVCA, Park family members, others - Kemptville - interested parties. Tentative program: A few words by an Authority member; a few words by an ECSONG representative; a few words from the family; the unveiling. The sign is already up. ECSONG members could conduct tours of the Grove. A brochure - funded 50/50 by ECSONG and RVCA will be supplied. It is a "visit" or "lure" brochure. Authority could also develop a teacher's kit. Finalizing of preparations is yet to be completed & the media to be alerted. Also: a tree is to be dedicated to George Joiner. Probably a white oak. There are none in the Grove. This may be left to next year. An appropriate tree of size must be located. The new name of Baxter Nut Grove is now Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove. Spring Field Day at Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove will be May 8 (alternate May 15) & will concentrate on getting the Grove in shape for the June 19 opening. Will involve brushing, mulching, pruning, fertilizing, tree planting.

Oak Valley Plantation Committee. Ralph McKendry's report was read by George Truscott.

Dominion Arboretum Liaison Committee (Alec Jones) Photo project with Darryl Abbinett, who takes close ups, etc., of nut trees in all seasons. Darryl needs guidance on what is required. Committee will meet to lay out a program.

Foreign exchange. The contact with Koshelev in Siberia has been lost, but hopefully may be re-established.

Arrangements for the grove in Newfoundland are almost finished.

Friends of the Experimental Farm - about 40 Arboretum members; 20 quite active. There are 9 programs. The largest is measuring the trees in the Arboretum. A few more years will be required to complete the maps - done by amateurs directed by Ernie Kerr. There will be markers at every grid corner. Ralph McKendry runs this marker program. Maurice Holloway runs the ??? Seed Collecting Group meets next week. We are committed to a survey of oaks for the International Oak Society.

Hank Jones noted that nurseries in area are starting to stock nut trees. There are people in region who are sources. Guy Lefebvre (Source Wood Products) has black walnut stock, supplies. Ted Cormier (The Seed Source) knows where seeds are available and can supply many different seeds. Ted started with Ministry of Natural Resources doing collection of non-nut seeds. He is now in nut collecting on his own. There is a timetable for seed collecting - in the fall - and fall is best time to get supplies & for planting. Most must be stratified over winter. Rodents are a problem for individuals. Eventually suppliers may be able to supply foreign nut seed that is hardy here. Research should be done on nut sources of 100 years ago - plantations of the 1800's. If some cultivars do well, should choose these for future plantations. Growers should try to find out the source of their seed supplies.

Lunch Break. Some members visited the Nut Grove on snow shoes supplied by Ted Cormier. A video was played during lunch.

Afternoon Session: Hank asked Alec Jones re prospects of nut growing at the Log Farm in the Green Belt. Robert Vaughan (manager) is open to nut tree planting. Soil is shallow - may be good pockets. The Farm is now run by a non-profit organization & is a heritage project. Alec wished authorization to speak to Vaughan re nut trees that may have grown there in the past century.

A 2½' x 5' banner is planned by Mark Schaeffer for identification of ECSONG at shows, etc.

Art Read spoke about ECSONG membership cards. These will be patterned after Mark's banner, perhaps less one colour. These will be available in about 1 month.

Dr. Colin McKeen of the Canadian Chestnut Council spoke about the American Chestnut. The restoration of the American Chestnut is big project that shows great promise. There is now a breeding program in the U.S.A. to develop a blight-resistant strain. Blight started near Boston in 1904. Started in Italy 12 years later [earlier?], but affected trees soon showed signs of healing in some wounds. There is a virus that can develop in the fungus & controls & slows the blight. Near the U. of Guelph there are several sites of hypovirulent fungus. Spreading the diseased fungus to blight affected trees can convert 60% of the sites to less virulent. We have a Canadian Chestnut Council. We can't afford to lose more trees - thus must restore the chestnut. One very large tree in southwest Ontario has been diseased for 10 years, but does not seem to be suffering, as the fungus is infected by the virus. One woodlot in southwest Ontario has 26 chestnut trees in it, & all are blight-free. Largest is 2-3 ft. diameter. There are 59-60 sites in southwest Ontario that are blight-free. Some are single trees. Dr. McKeen said that our trees on Dolman Ridge are well north of the natural range. American chestnut seems to prefer sandy soil. Doesn't like clay.

Hank Jones said the PLASM proposal of a few years ago suggested planting understory trees in present forests, that could survive if the present forests die out in future due to Global Warming. Ted Cormier is working to some extent on this idea. He wants to research commercial nut trees in Eastern Ontario. In order to find hardy types, they could be placed on private land as well. Would be trial nut groves & newer, hardier varieties. People would plant these and care for them and allow observation. Ted would probably plant them.

Mark Schaeffer chaired the "expert panel" in a question & answer session.

Hank Jones suggested we approach NCC & present a management plan re the trees on Dolman Ridge area. Terry McEvoy suggested we get the American Chestnut Council to send a letter to NCC on this subject. Moe Anderson suggested we get permission from NCC to remove competition trees & plant more nut trees where the American Chestnut now are. Ernie Kerr suggested pH there should be 6 or so. Mark Shaeffer said that although you can lime it to raise pH, you cannot lower pH. (Correction: pH can be lowered with flowers of sulphur.)

Hank Jones thanked those present and especially Dr. McKeen. Thanks were given for the cakes, coffee & to RVCA for use of the facility.

Meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m. G.N. Truscott, Secretary

The Dolman Ridge Update

The Dolman Ridge coordinating committee is foreseen as comprising ECSONG, The Canadian Chestnut Council, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), and possibly others. Its goal will be to assure that the special plantations at Dolman Ridge, made by Moe Anderson and others some years ago, flourish, and that growth rates are monitored. Ralph McKendry, chair pro tem, wants to see work getting under way as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the ECSONG Chair, who is responsible for hosting the initial meeting, has not yet been able to set it up. Once the dust settles after the ECSONG AGM, this urgent matter should be dealt with.

Oak Valley 1993 Report

The year was a busy and generally satisfying season at Oak Valley. Moat of the ambitious activities program was completed on schedule

The fence - We installed 500 feet of cedar rail fence and entranceway on the north boundary fronting the west half of the property. This provides not only a distinctive decorative feature but also some security against snowmobile intrusions and an anchor for a conifer windbreak which will shelter nut trees to be planted in open areas to the south.

The labour expended in building this fence was only slightly less than that required to build the pyramids! About 160 15 foot cedar rails from an abandoned 140-year-old fence near Vernon were resurrected from springtime mud and snow and hauled to Oak Valley by utility trailer. The 100 cedar posts were obtained at no cost from a member's woodlots and sunk with the help of a neighbour farmer's tractor-mounted auger - also at no charge. Assembly of the three-rail fence was interspersed between more urgent tasks throughout the season but completed by the Fall Field Day on 23 October. On that occasion, Ernie Kerr mounted a plaque on a gatepost acknowledging the help of Elizabeth Stuart of Vernon in procuring the heritage rails first erected by her great grandfather in the 1850's. He also presented Elizabeth with a waterfowl carving crafted from the butt end of one of the her great grandfather's fence rails.

The Nursery - The seedling/sapling nursery area was enlarged and fenced. Post and rails were contributed so the only cost was for wood preservative and 150 feet of snow fencing. Scalping of grassy turf from the extended nursery area had the effect of releasing weed growth which almost overwhelmed the young trees. Many were smothered and others damaged in trying to free them from nettles and bindweed. Lessons were learned: Don't remove grass cover unless you are prepared to handle even worse weeds; ensure that monitoring and tending is frequent enough - especially in June and July (duty roster); remove remaining stock from nursery and treat with Roundup before replanting; use carpet or landscape cloth mulch on paths and idle areas in the nursery.

Soil Preparation - The Battle of the Manitoba Maples has entered a guerilla phase since the larger seed trees have been cut and roots removed. Now it is the thousands of smaller trees throughout Section East which require recurring treatment with loppers or clearing saws. They seem to resist herbicide. Once the access trails in Section east are established it may be feasible to reach and root out many of these clumps with a backhoe.

Neighbour Norman Tinkler disced the field in Section West in September. By thus turning under weeds and levelling soil, this area is beginning to be tamed. Indeed, after Mac Saunders of Inkerman mowed brush about the edges of the filed and the old foundations with his Bush Hog the site was looking almost tidy. Both of the these public-spirited men offered the expertise, labour and machines free of charge and for this we are humbly grateful. Humbly, because it became obvious that rearing even a few acres of nut trees to self-sustaining stage is not practical without use of farm machinery. This influences plans for internal access roads and for spacing and configuration of rows of trees in the plantation.

Plantings - In May over 100 nursery-grown nut trees of 15 species were planted among the white pines in Section East by Ted Cormier as part of the Eastern Ontario Nut Culture Project (EONC). Good quality stock, good planting practices and good growing weather this summer added up to 90%+ survival, and one American chestnut even bore three nut clusters by season's end! This collaboration with EONC should prove mutually beneficial. A dozen or so filberts surround the nursery fence and a similar number of "our" catalpas line the edges of the pond. More than a hundred black walnuts were transplanted this Fall from our nursery into three rows 20 feet apart parallel to the west fence line. They are spaced five feet apart, half are shielded with tree guards, the rest left to face the rodents themselves.

Shelterbelt - White pines six to ten feet tall were transplanted by backhoe from Section East into a line inside the rail fence. These are spaced about ten feet apart and small spruce and white cedar are to be planted by the South Nation River Conservation Authority (SNRCA) to thicken the belt. Wet Fall weather intervened so completion of the shelterbelt must be carried over till spring. By this process we not only gain and "instant" wind break from he sizable white pines, but also a needed thinning of the pine plantation in Section East and the opening of access trails into that area. It is expected that this type of application would merit interest and support as a significant element of the EONC project.

In Summary - 1993 was a busy, productive year at Oak Valley. The place looks more interesting, its future more challenging. We need and welcome all the help we can get from ECSONG members on Field Days, project-specific work parties or on our Oak Valley Plantation Committee. So if members are feeling under employed or unfulfilled, please call the kindly old chair ...

For more information, contact Ralph McKendry, Vice-Chair, ECSONG, and Chair, Oak Valley Plantation Committee.

ECSONG Cookbook 2

A reminder... Kathleen Jones is collecting nut recipes for a new cookbook. If you have or know of recipes for acorns, ginkgos, hickories, pecans, walnuts, beech, nut pines, etc, gather them up and forward them to Kathleen at 2446 Sudbury Ave, Ottawa, K2C 1L9. Any information on gathering, storing or processing of said nuts would be welcome. If you would like to be a test kitchen for nut recipes, let Kathleen know. Bon appetit!

Update on the new Nut Growers Manual

As the ECSONG decennial project back in 1988, Mark Schaefer headed up the production of our first manual on growing nut trees in Eastern Ontario. The popular manual is now in its second printing. Since it was first published, we have come a long way in nut growing, so Mark is now drafting the second edition. Share your knowledge, experiences or questions with Mark as he works on what will likely be a larger, more comprehensive manual on nut tree growing in this region.

Reminder on the ECSONG Membership Cards

By now everyone should have their ECSONG Membership Card, thanks to Treasurer Art Read. One goal for these cards is to arrange discounts and other benefits for "card-carrying members", specially with respect to nuts, seed, stock, equipment, etc. If you know of, or can arrange, any such benefits for members, please contact Art.

The changing times... Costs seem to go up relentlessly, don't they? Since the last change in dues from $5/year to $10/year in 1986, seven years ago, costs have about doubled for many things. Is it time to consider an increase in dues? Possibly to $15/year? If you have strong feelings one way or the other, let Art Read, Treasurer, know (or any other executive).

The ECSONG Cookbook and Growers Manual now in second printing...

We recently sold the last copies of our cookbook "Recipes in a Nutshell" and the "Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario". Our Treasurer Art Read has had them reprinted. He now has many copies on hand. If you would like to order copies for yourself or as gifts for family or friends, contact Art at the address at the back of the Nuttery. The books will be available at the AGM and at chapter meetings generally.

Minutes of ECSONG Winter Meeting, January 26, 1994

The meeting was held at the Citizen Building, 1101 Baxter Road, Ottawa. It was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by Hank Jones, Chair.

Hank noted that we would have 5 speakers. He drew attention to the exhibits on display. He mentioned that there is now a Black Walnut huller available. The education exhibit, which was built with funds from the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, can be changed at will. It can also be borrowed by members. The exhibit committee is chaired by Bob Stone. Other members are Ted Cormier, Darryl Abbinett, Dave Baker and Hank Jones.

The Speakers:

Bob Scally. One of his interests on his property on Wolfe Island is the growing of Black Cherry. Last winter a lot of damage was done by voles. The trees, some fair-sized, were often completely girdled. In such cases, cut the tree off at ground level while still dormant. Suckers will be sent up. In five or six years, reduce these to one stem. Normally most growth occurs in June. Last year June was a cold month. As a result, most Black Walnuts only grew 10-16 inches. In 1991 the trees had grown 15 inches by June 5, and by end of summer about 30 inches. Bob noted that the ferry from Kingston to Wolfe Island - which had been free - was to start charging a fare. After much protest, this has been delayed. Bob showed photos of a plantation of Black Walnut planted in 1989, and treat with simazine.

Dave Chapeskie, of the Agro-Forestry Center at the Kemptville College of Agriculture and Technology. He said KCAT is interested in what we are doing, and are there to support the industry - so call on them. This winter they are offering an Agro-Forestry course; for the first time it involves nut culture. They have built a 2500 sq. ft. facility at the College. He invited us to use this center for meetings. He wants the center fully utilized. They want to do demonstration projects on nut trees and Christmas trees. He asked us to take advantage of what they have to offer, and other opportunities will be available.

Bob Stone. He is a wood turner by hobby. He noted that in wood work on a lathe, the wood is held still, and the cutting blade goes through it. In wood turning, it is the reverse: the wood is moved. You have a head stock, and a tail stock, and the wood is mounted in between. You can also use the head stock only, and use cross grain as opposed to end grain. You can make bowls, boxes, threaded cups or key chains. Anyone wanting turning done can contact Bob.

Ralph McKendry, chair of the Oak Valley Plantation Committee. Ralph explained and described the Oak Valley site and gave a history of it. Last summer 4 acres west of our entrance was disced - the remainder was cleared with the bush hog. Nation River tributaries start 2-3 miles north of the St. Lawrence River. The Nation was an Indian transportation route. Ralph described the construction of our rail fence on the west of the entrance and along the road. It is constructed from 140+ year old cedar rails obtained near Vernon and donated by Mrs. Stewart, whose grandfather built the original fence. White Pine from east of the entrance were transplanted last fall to form a shelter belt on the north side of the property. This was done with a back hoe. They were unable to finish due to excessive mud. There are plans to level the old foundations and ruins and use some of the space as parking. Hopefully we can induce, seduce or incite the Ministry to lay a gravel road from the entrance to the old building site. We have had good cooperation from the South Nation River Conservation Authority.

Ted Cormier. Last spring Ted planted about 100 trees of ten varieties at Oak Valley. By fall, most had survived. One American Chestnut even fruited. John Ikeda has heartnuts available - a notice will be in the next "Nuttery". Ted's company - The Seed Source - has nuts of many varieties available. As he switched from supplying the Ministry to supplying the private sector, he has had to increase the number of species available. Ted will send out a list in the spring of the species available - probably for fall planting. He hopes to specialize in nut pines and nut trees. Re Model Forest Project: any member residing in Leeds and Lanark can contact Ted to have a nut orchard established.

Hank Jones thanked those who had supplied drinks and goodies. He thanked all those present for coming. The meeting was attended by about 25 persons.

The meeting adjourned at 10:00 p.m. George Truscott, Secretary

More support for EONC

As you probably know, the Eastern Ontario Nut Culture project, EONC for short, is now planting test nut groves widely in eastern Ontario. Partnered with Eastern Ontario Model Forest Inc., the project is researching nut culture on both private and public lands. It has been well received.

We are very pleased indeed to recognize support of a new and very special kind. John and Ruth Ecclestone, who have been members of ECSONG for many years, have very generously donated $50 to the EONC project. ECSONG and the participants in the EONC project express their warm thanks to John and Ruth for this generous gift, and assure us that the money will be used to the best possible advantage!

Update on the Black Walnut Huller construction project

In the last issue, it was reported that Ted Cormier of "The Seed Source" in Oxford Mills had obtained plans for the construction of a huller for black walnuts. He had passed these on to Mark Jones of "Alcon Welding and Small Engine Repair" in Gloucester., where a single machine is under construction. The partially completed machine was shown at our Winter Meeting last January, 1994.

The machine is designed for continuous production, in which the whole nuts are introduced at one end, and are cleaned as they travel through, emerging at the other end sans hulls. the hulls themselves drop out through a grate and can be collected for secondary use.

Work continues, with some technical problems to be overcome. Hopefully, the machine will be available this spring for testing. For more information, contact Mark's shop at Gloucester 822-2871 or mobile 797-6672.

An update on the Krotz Nut Planter

In the last issue, we reported that Larry Krotz of Washington, Iowa, had built a nut planter that fits on the 3-point hitch of an agricultural tractor. The machine handles walnuts, butternuts, hickories, acorns, etc. Larry believes there is considerable benefit to direct planting nuts, as opposed to transplanting from a nursery. He has sent us a video tape of both footage of his results and of his device at work. He also has given us permission to copy the machine to test it here in Eastern Ontario.

Larry shares some of his thoughts with us...

"Forests grow great trees from seed...

Any day now I expect to see that as a headline. I have spent over thirty years trying to grow good trees and I believe I have had more than my share of failures. Two things really bother me about the way we plant trees. Why in the world don't we grow more of our trees by planting the seed direct and why don't we plant more densely?

I will take this first question and stumble with it for awhile. I think a lot of the reason we plant seedling trees is because that is what we have always done. This may stem back to the days when the only trees being planted were conifers for the forest, fruit and nut trees for orchards, and of course shade trees for our lawns. We lost the technique of growing our trees from seed direct because we never used it. It was too easy to get them from the nursery. This was okay when we planted only a few trees. When we decided we would plant a few acres we could easily do it with a shovel digging a hole and planting the seedling tree.

This leads to the second question of spacing. We space the trees quite far apart because they cost money to plant. The method I use now is to plant every tree that I can with seed direct and since seed is cheap I plant lots of it. I copied this from Mother Nature as I have with most of my other methods that I am now using. When the seed falls off the tree, that is when I plant it. Depth control is regulated by how the squirrels do it, how the wind does, whatever. I got tired of planting all that seed by hand so I built a so-called machine. All you need is a device to get the seed down to mineral soil. I welded some vertical wings to the side of a cut-off cultivator shovel to make a furrow, added a piece of tubing to drop the seed down into the furrow, and then drag a log chain to cover the seed. This is really "high tech", right? It is very cheap and easy to build and the best thing is, it works!

If I could do it, I would plant 40,000 stems per acre, which would be about one tree per square foot. (Nature does this a lot.) I can't really do this for mechanical reasons. I need to get through every so often to tend my crop of trees (although I am sorely tempted to try planting heavy and walking away.) My seventeen acre planting has five rows two feet apart with a skip of four feet for a maintenance path. I am guessing I probably have a quarter million trees growing in this seventeen acres. It is true that I don't have the caliper I'd like in all cases. but I am certainly getting a lot better form. Oh yes, if this all sounds too simple that isn't quite all there is to it. I do put a pre-emergence herbicide on after planting when the ground is sealed and prior, and prior to planting make certain the tough perennial grasses are pretty well done for. I also do preliminary work to rob the rodents of their cover and food four to six weeks prior to planting. The maintenance path I mentioned before is for doing any spot herbicide treatments you may need for the next couple of years. More than this should not be required because you should start to canopy.

Let's take a "What if?" for this system. What if I get my trees to thick? I will answer that with the question "is it harder to plant a tree or to cut one down?" I think you will find with this method you won't be cutting too many down. Survival of the fittest, you know. In over thirty years, I haven't had the problem. So watch now and I will have to eat those words in the next ten years! I'm looking forward to it.

Okay, what have I tried to say in this article? If you can plant your trees very densely by seeding direct, plant a variety of trees for companions even if they are considered weed trees (I really loathe the term weed tree), give them a good initial start (get rid of those tough perennial grasses), and you are well on your way. One last thing, remember that this forest that is growing good trees does not look or act like a lawn or park. It has to be cool, moist, spongy soil, all the good forest environment conditions. Until you create this, you aren't going to grow good trees.

Until I started using the forest concept, I could not grow good trees. Let me brag a little by saying I'm growing some great trees. Red oak and black walnut ten to fifteen feet tall by the thousands (no transplant shock) in five growing seasons is getting my attention and I've really become enthusiastic. I invite any who would like to tour my trees. Please contact me for further particulars. Let's see if we can't really start growing trees like nature intended!

Larry D. Krotz 2750 230th St. Washington, Iowa 52353 Phone (319) 653-4959"

PS... As mentioned above, Larry also sent, along with this article, more details on the construction of the planter, and a video tape of his planter and site.

Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.