In this Issue...
Of course, the nut tree culture workshop is the big news in this issue. See the front page, in case you missed it! Also, see the article by John Ikeda in the Announcements section, and the follow-on information article.
Needless to say, there are more things happening in nut growing in this region than could ever be reported. So we aim for the highlights. Ted Cormier reports on his progress in the Nut Culture Project in the Nuttery section on Chapter Projects. As well, there is report on the Spring Field Day at the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove at the Baxter Conservation Area. And the Dolman Ridge Connection is heating up.
In the General News, there is concern for bitternut hickory and white walnut stands near Aylmer Quebec - see Ian Hugget's article. Lose a sweater at Oak Valley? - you could get it back. Remember the CBC Radio Noon Garden Party last June? - reminisce by reading the report of the ECSONG exhibit. The information superhighway? - let Dennis Piamante give you a driving lesson. Let Jeff Harrison and Victoria Dickenson tell you the story of the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove. And the letters keep coming in - two of the more interesting ones are reprinted.
For you nut growers, see the two articles in the section The Nut Grower, one on starting hazels and the other on the problem of butternut canker - help out here if you can.
Please patronize our advertisers: their ads are in The Nuttery Marketplace.
The Nuttery wants articles, so all you aspiring authors get busy. Prose or poetry, fact or fiction, anecdote or science - all welcome. If you can send your work on 3.5" diskette, great - otherwise typed is next best, but we will never turn away scribed or calligraphed work!
Enjoy the workshop, eh!
Nut Tree Culture Workshop
The time has arrived! ECSONG has come a long way since its inception in 1978. We have now reached that plateau of accomplishment and recognition that enables us to mount the first Nut Tree Culture Workshop in Eastern Ontario! We proudly invite you to attend, whether you live in Ontario, Quebec, New York, New England, or somewhere else in Canada or the United States. What the heck -- or anywhere in the world!
Being the first workshop, we have aimed it broadly. It will address the interests and needs of both amateur and professional, to the aspiring and to the new growers, to those simply curious about nut growing, and to those who see a place for themselves as prospective supplier and support to nut growers. In sum, there will be something for everyone!
The ECSONG calendar shows a fall field day on October 8th - The workshop will take its place.
The day will be jam-packed with many events. All day, there will be exhibits to be viewed and proprietors to get to know. These are the folks who are standing by to help you achieve your own personal or business goals in nut culture. Visit them, pick up their brochures and business cards. Examine their products and consider their services. Let them know what might need in the future.
The workshop will offer many speakers, some from as far away as the mid-west, whose topics will range the basic basics of nut culture, to hints about dealing with some specific quality problem on a particular cultivar. These speakers are also attending the workshop, so will be available for the whole for questions, answers and exchanging views.
The grand finale will be the Panel Discussion at the end of the day. All the speakers will take to the podium for an hour's dialogue with the audience. It will work this way - take special note here- when you check to the workshop (or register if you did not pre-register) you will get a special form. This form will ask you to write one or two questions about nut culture that you definitely want answered! Do not wait - write your questions immediately and turn in the form. This forms will be compiled and the major questions will identified. These questions will be assigned to our speakers prior to the Panel Discussion. Then the panel will begin by giving a god but brief answer to each question. Then the discussion will be open to the floor. The goal here? No question goes unanswered!
For more information about the workshop, read the enclosed brochure. And read on in the issue.
Lastly, please pre-register if you possibly can. And see at the workshop!
Growing Nut Trees from Seed
by John Ikeda (John owns "Five Acres Tree Farm" in St. Bernardin Ontario)
On Saturday, October 29, ECSONG is sponsoring a Nut Tree Culture workshop. It will be a comprehensive, entertaining and informative program of "how to" for anyone who would like to grow and harvest their own nut trees.
The most appealing feature of nut trees for me is the ultimate pleasure of collection and consumption of the nuts and in particular, the heartnut. It is a mild-tasting nut that has an easy-cracking shell, revealing two halves of nut meat about the size of a cashew. This appealed to me as a good choice to plant and initially lead me to join. ECSONG. When an article in their newsletter "The Nuttery" mentioned Lorne Harrison, I decided to look him up. Lorne is a long-standing member of ECSONG and is one of the few people in our region who had grown heartnut trees from seed. Because of this, I was curious to see what these trees looked like.
After talking to Lorne, I found out that he had been given seeds for planting about 17 years ago by Alec Jones, another long- standing ECSONG member. The seeds were a variant of Japanese Walnut -- Juglans ailantifolia cordiformis. Two trees grew to maturity from that initial seed source, and true to the characteristics of the "heartnut", the trees began bearing nuts within seven years. This is attested by a commemorative plaque given by SONG to Lorne for growing Japanese Walnut from seed to fruition in 1984.
The trees follow the characteristics of the heartnut tree-- tending to multistem, without a central leader; lateral scaffold branching is dominant and the limbs are well-socketed and wind- firm. However, the nuts resemble the native butternut in shape, size and appearance. I recall Lorne stating the flavour of the nuts was mild, and not as rich as the butternut. This leads me to believe that his trees are a hybrid cross between butternut and heartnut; commonly called "buartnut" Even the bark and structural armature of the limbs in the two trees exhibit a close relationship to the butternut.
One of their trees is a prolific bearer. Lorne had given me a double quart basket of nuts to take home! The other tree seldom, if ever, bears nuts. This indicates, if cross-pollination induces desired fruitfulness, this may be a good incentive to plant no less than two trees in reasonable proximity to each other. The Harrisons, avid gardeners, have planted several seeds and grown additional trees from their own seed stock. And, true to the vagaries of individual seed establishment and environmental conditions, some of the trees have done well, beginning with germination and maintaining a vigorous and healthy establishment. Others do poorly, with symptoms of canker weak form and poor growth. These trees are subsequently removed, as they will never do well and inevitably are progressively weakened through subsequent growing seasons.
The planting and establishment of trees from seed is an unreliable method of producing either fruit or nut bearing trees for uniform productivity of the crop or the character and form of the tree itself. However, it is an intriguing way to discover or cultivate the endless variety of genetic differences exhibited through the original parent stock. Perhaps one in a thousand of Lorne's nut crop might produce a tree that resembles the original heartnut tree from which his two trees originated--perhaps none would be similar. One of these seedlings might produce a tree that was particularly hardy to the harsh growing conditions of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Or perhaps a seedling might become as well as hardy, an ornamental dwarfing form, which could be easily propagated for the urban landscape conditions of a small-sized city lot. In some locations, a seedless variety might also be desirable; a trait already inherent in one of his trees. There is even the possibility that one of his progeny might produce very unique and unusual-shaped nuts, which is common to hybridized trees of the species.
Within the scope of pre-determining the desired characteristics of a nut-bearing tree, one might wish to plant a grafted specimen with known and proven characteristics. Although not as hardy generally as stock propagated by growing from seed, the technique of grafting is applied to most all producing fruit trees, which are perfect clones of a single parent: stock in an orchard plantation. Although many nut grove plantations rely upon grafted stock for consistent production, seedling stock is also widely planted for producing crops as well as incidentally strengthening and diversifying the gene pool.
But I digress. The initial inspiration and incentive for planting nut trees is the pleasure and reward of collecting and consuming nuts. And particularly, the heartnut. Although largely untested for growing and production in Eastern Ontario, I am eagerly anticipating results similar to Lorne Harrison's by planting heartnut seeds and having my trees bear nuts in 7 years. There are other varieties of Walnut (black walnut, Carpathian) and other species and varieties to consider as well. The hickories, pecans, oaks, chestnut, filbert-hazelnut, ginkgo, pine nuts and all the varieties therein.
I recommend that anyone considering having a nut tree in their backyard should attend the upcoming Nut Tree Culture Workshop sponsored by ECSONG.
Nut Tree Culture Workshop $15 per person, $25 per couple Saturday, October 29, 1994 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology
Contact: Art Read, Suite 1903 Richmond Road, Ottawa, Ont K2B 8G8
Report to the Eastern Ontario Nut Culture Project
Annual Meeting of the Northern Nut Growers Association.
The topics of the various seminars given during this annual have relevance to the work of the E.O.N.C. project. Speakers ranged from professors involved with research at various universities to nut tree farmers relating their observations from a life time spent in nut tree cultivation. I will attempt to document some of their presentations.
Butternut Canker: The Butternut population in Tennessee and neighboring states has been severely decimated with just a few trees still existing in certain forested areas. Breeding programs have been initiated in Minnesota and Tennesee to produce resistant trees by crossing them with other Juglans species such as Japanese walnut which have resistance to butternut canker. Hybrids are then back crossed with butternut with the hope that genetic resistance to the canker can be retained. The lack of variance in blight sampling surveys leads some researchers to believe that this pathogen has been introduced to North America. The spread of this disease seems to be slower in more northern latitudes and some nut growers claimed their butternuts to be canker free. Their is still hope that some naturally resistant trees may yet be found.
American Chestnut: Various speakers lectured on their work with American Chestnut. Fred Hebartis working in Virginia in association with the American Chest- nut Foundation. He is attempting to breed resistant chestnut varieties by crossing them with Asiatic types and then backcrossing to American Chestnut. It is believed that two genes control blight resistance and results can hopefully be expected in ten years. Sandra Anagnostakis with the Agriculture Experimental Station in Connecticut has taken a different approach with the use of hypo-virulent strains of the chestnut blight. She estimates that up to two hundred strains of the chestnut blight exists in North America. She tests blight samples to identify different types so that effective hypovirulent treatments can be prescribed. An improved hypo-virulent strain has been developed in which all cells of the pathogen contain the virus. This improvement could aid recovery of blighted trees. One speaker was successful in rooting chestnut from cuttings; but he found rooted cuttings difficult to keep alive than stock from seedlings.
ginkgos: The Chinese Delegation gave reports on nut tree developments in China. One topic dealt with the propagation of ginkgos. Their traditional use for nut production has been broadened to include cultivars developed for leaf production in production of pharmaceuticals. The leaves are used in the treatment for diabetes, arteriosclerosis and hypertension. In Europe, this is a multimillion dollar industry. The potential for such an industry here in Ontario should be investigated as ginkgos seem to grow well in our region.
Tree Shelters: The use of tree shelters was discussed with many people advocating their benefits in controlling wildlife predation and rapid establishment of nut tree orchards.
Fillmore R Park Nut Grove Spring Field Day
The field day was well attended and the volunteers were rewarded by good working weather.The day was cloudy with no rain but adequate warmth.
Ken Charlton, Allan Gillis, Dave Johnstone and Alec Jones got the show on the road, Allan bringing the RVCA tractor with a load of tools in the bucket. The road through the woods was still too wet for cars. Using the tractor, Allan started ferrying loads of mulch and depositing an appropriate amount at each group of trees. The others began weeding and raking of mulch aside to make room for the new.
George Truscott arrived next, followed shortly by Ralph McKendry, Len Collett and Mrs Collett, who all pitched in to help in the weeding and mulching.
Last but not least, Ted Cormier arrived from KCAT, with the new trees for planting in the EOMF Nut Culture Project. With help from some of the others, Ted planted seven trees, all new to this Nut Grove.they comprised a Chinese Tree Hazel, two Manchurian walnuts, and four different hybrid oaks all giving edible acorns. Ted, by the way, has discovered a nursery in Michigan which specializes in in hybrid oaks using northern species, western oaks and southern live oaks and produces some fantastic results, the Dominion Arboretum has also acquired some soecimens for testing, all edible.
Thanks to the excellent turn-out and the RVCA tractor, the job proceeded apace, and the planned program was completed shortly after one o'clock.
There is only one sad note to record. Between the ECSONG AGM in March and the field Day, the new Nut Grove sign had been vandalized. A l0 ft long pole had been brought up to the sign, used as a battering ram, and the center part of the sign smashed up.The plexiglass was shattered and the boards inside as well.A few trees had been damaged one or two apparently deliberately, but this about as usual.
The custodial group, Dave Johnstone and Alec Jones would like to offer their thanks to all those who came to help.
Alec Jones, Secretary, Fillmore R Park Nut Grove Liaison Committee
Progress on Dolman Ridge
You may recall that Dolman Ridge, in the Mer Bleue area, has a number of nut tree groves approaching twenty years old. These groves, mostly planted by Moe Anderson, Mark Schaefer and others working for Forestry Canada in the 1970's, are now bearing fruit. They represent the longest scientifically-sound record of growth in this region for inter alia Korean nut pines and sweet American chestnut. From ECSONG's point of view these groves must be preserved and tracked.
Progress has been made. Steve Palmer is laying the groundwork for an eventual committee to made up jointly of ECSONG, The Canadian Chestnut Council, the National Capital Commission (NCC, owner of the site) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Once established, this group would guide the management of these nut groves and plan for their future development and use.
Steve has drafted a proposal outlining how these groups may cooperate. The document has been sent over ECSONG signature to Doug Wolfhausen of the NCC and the others. An agreement will soon be in place and the site secured. Some work may begin this fall, and by next spring we will be able to see significant progress. Congratulations to all the protagonists!
Conservation Area proposed for Aylmer
by Ian Hugget (from The Ottawa Field-naturalists' Club)
As part of the public consultations on Aylmer's new Urban Master Plan, a coalition of regional conservation groups have submitted a proposal to create a conservation area comparable in size and biological diversity to Nepean's Stony Swamp.
The proposed site is at Boucher, McConnell, Klock and Vanier roads. Aylmer's current Urban Master Plan zones this 2-kilometre parcel of land for highway corridor enhancement. The province expropriated a large section for construction of the long-promised Deschenes Autoroute,
After conducting a preliminary survey of the area, natural resources consultant Daniel Brunton identified outstanding ecological, educational, historic and cultural values. Brunton, who recently conducted Ottawa's life-science inventory, estimates Aylmer has at least 700 hectares of ecologically significant land. Field biologists agree that a bitternut hickory and white walnut forest near Boucher is rare for the region. Under Ontario's classification system, it would earn the highest rating for ecological value.
A heritage farm at the intersection of Vanier and Boucher is a prime potential site for a nature Interpretation and outdoor recreation center. Such a center would directly benefit Aylmer residents, as well as attracting tourists. Nearby Is Aylmer's largest undisturbed cattail marsh and cedar swamp, and a large sugar bush. The site's natural assets surpass those of the NCC's log-farm center near Bell's Corners.
Incentives for landowners to protect this land could include special tax arrangements, stewardship agreements and conservation easements. The conservation coalition hopes to avoid confrontations between Interest groups by zoning the area as parkland before it has been approved for development.
For more information about the proposal, call Ian Hugget at 684-5342.
Lost and Found
Recently, workers at the Oak Valley Plantation near Winchester Springs found a beautiful heavy wool sweater apparently left at the site. Did you leave yours there? If so, ECSONG chair Ralph Mckendry has the sweater safely in hand. Give him a call. He may or may not give it back. (After all he found it and it fits him!)
Radio Noon's Gardening Fair
This year again ECSONG was invited to exhbit at the CBC fair on the grounds of the Dominion Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The fair, held on Wednesday, June 15, 1994, attracted hyndreds of visitors. Our booth was busy the whole time from ten in the morning until after two in the afternoon without let up. Many people stopped, asked questions, tried cracking and tasting the black walnuts and butternuts and picked up the brochure.
As the piece de resistance of our exhibit, we had a large pail of horsechestnuts donated by Diana Pethick and Jim Becket of Merrickville, which were distributed to interested visitors. Our thanks to Diana and Jim for their generosity.
A thank you also to Linda Russell, Associate Producer, and all the staff at CBC Radio Noon for the opportunity to participate in the fair.
An Internet Newsgroup for Nut Growers
Have you heard of the "information highway"? Who has not? The popular press has been expounding on it almost daily. Linking computers electronically, even home computers, so that they can all communicate, exchanging information of any conceivable sort.
The grandaddy of this highway is the Internet, a computer network spanning the globe, with nearly 50 millions users. Anyone can subscribe, and have their home computer linked for the price of monthly telephone rental.
What would one use this highway for? Dennis Piamonte says nut growers can use it to pass information around. He plans to demonstrate this by setting up a newsgroup for ECSONG. A newsgroup is an Internet term for a particular way of offering and getting information. It is like a newspaper. A computer is designated the newsgroup server, and all the information is place there. Readers simply connect their computer to the server by keying its address. Once connected the reader peruses the news, copying the more interesting items to his own machine, or posting new nes items on the server for others.
Using Internet, news travels fast! Dennis will soon be telling us how to participate. He can be reached by phone at South Mountain 989-2776, or through the Internet at
A history of the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove
In The Ottawa Citizen, Saturday, May 21, 1994, in the column "The URBAN NATURALIST", Victoria Dickenson and Jeff Harrison have written an excellent history of the nut grove. Victoria Dickenson is an amateur naturalist and director of public program at the National Aviation Museum. Jeff Harrison is a past president of the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club and chair of the club's Fletcher Wildlife Garden Committee, Readers can write to them c/o The Urban Naturalist, 1101 Baxter Rd., Box 5020, Ottawa, Ont. K2C 3M4.
The column is entitled "Nut grove along Rideau River fascinating collection of trees". Here are excerpts from the column.
....the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove at the Baxter Conservation Area just north of Kemptville... was first planted in 1979 and now has about 30 varieties of nut and bean-bearing trees. The grove is a co-operative project of the Eastern Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (ECSONG) and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and is the only established nut park land in Eastern Ontario.
The grove features a fine assortment of nut-bearing trees, including a variety of walnuts, butternut; hackberry and hickory, five different kinds of oaks, beech, blue beech, and chestnuts, including some American chestnuts. In addition there are ironwood, Kentucky coffee, and honey and black locust trees.
This collection of trees, all in one grove, provides a unique opportunity for tree lovers to examine and compare these trees. We were especially delighted to see the American chestnut, since it is now rare. The species was almost wiped out by a fungal disease before the Second World War, and we appreciated the opportunity to see one growing, even though when we visited last year it was barely a few centimetres high.
The grove is named after Fillmore R. Park, a retired scientist at the National Research Council, who became interested in nut growing in the mid-1970s. Fil was the motivating force behind the founding of the eastern chapter of nut growers. He was also on the advisory board of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, and persuaded the RVCA to provide a site within the Baxter Conservation Area for a demonstration nut grove.
Alec Jones, long time member of ECSONG, remembers that Fil and other nut growers recognized that the particularly harsh growing climate of Eastern Ontario requires hardier stock than the nut trees planted in the milder Carolinian zones of southern and south-western Ontario.
Before the grove was planted, ECSONG had to establish which types of nut trees would be suitable for this area. The members turned to Trevor Cole, curator of the Dominion Arboretum. They were astonished when research turned up 67 species and sub-species of nut trees and related species that had already been grown and tested in the Ottawa valley, many of them successfully.
Working with botanist Hubert Rhodes, they identified 30 species that showed the most promise. The plantings in the nut grove are the direct result of this pioneering work.
Many of the original plantings, especially black walnut, butternut and red oak became available when Forestry Canada's laboratory and plantation operations were moved from Dolman Ridge Road in the east end of Ottawa to Petawawa in the late 1970s. The chestnuts were also supplied by Forestry Canada from local stock. Additional plants were provided by private landowners.
While many of the trees are only 20 to 30 feet high, the grove is already taking shape. In recent weeks ECSONG, working with the original plant list, has planted a Manchurian walnut and a hybrid oak in the grove. In future years, more new species will be planted. As these magnificent trees grow to maturity, this unique park will become a landmark in the region.
Interested nutters need not wait, however, for all the trees to mature. A visit to the Baxter Conservation Area makes an excellent excursion. At the nut grove, a large central interpretive sign locates all the trees and the RVCA is planning more interpretation this year...
Dear Hank (Eastern Song) Jones
What a delight to see you mentioned in Harrowsmith (Oct.93). I always saw SONG as a group of Niagara Peninsula People who celebrated how hardy their trees are while here in zone 3b their claims of hardiness are, well, useless. Please tell about the Eastern Chapter of SONG.
I bought a few nut trees from St Lawrence Nursery six years ago - 2 bur oak, 2 butternut and 2 hazel. And a few from Golden Bough: 3 bur oak, 3 hazel and 3 butternut about three years ago. All are thriving. Oh - also a buckeye chestnut as future chicken food. Black walnut doesn't make it here - nor horsechestnut. Twenty miles south of here, a friend planted Carpathian walnuts and butternuts 15-20 years ago and has now successfully germinated their nuts. I'm also in hardy pears, apples, plums and apricots. And a few other odds and ends.
Robbie Anderman RR4 Killaloe Ontario K0J 2A0
PS... Have you tried growing pine nuts? I haven't.
Ed note... I have sent Robbie this issue of the Nuttery. I am sure he would be pleased to here from members.
To Hank Jones
I recently read an article in Harrowsmith that talked about the growing of evergreen trees for nuts. They discussed mainly those from various pine trees. I have five acres of land in Elgin county and have been searching for some possibble crops that I might put here. Since I have a strong interest in trees, the growing of nuts sounds appealing.
Your name was listed in this article. I realize my land is not located in your area but I was not able to find any information for my area. Therefore, I would appreciate if you cold send me any relevant information concerning the production of nuts (both form evergreen and deciduous trees). If you know the contact person for SONG in my area and/or any farms located in my region could you please pass this information along.
Mark Hopper Box 97 Vienna Ontario N0J 1Z0 (519) 874-4775
Ed note... I suggest you contact Ernie Grimo at RR3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, L0S 1J0, or Doug Campbell (see the advertisement for the Campberry Farm in this issue of The Nuttery in The Nuttery Marketplace section). Thanks for writing, and good luck.
NNGA Hardy Hazel Hybrid Seed Project
Germination Directions: There are several procedures for germinating hazel seeds, in preferred order:
Butternut Status Report
The following is excerpted from a letter issued by MNR asking for assistance. The requisite brochure and data sheet referred to can be gotten from Rosemary.
In recent years it has been discovered that butternut canker has become a serious threat to the survival of butternut (Juqlans cinerea) in North America. "Butternut canker is responsible for the present scarcity of butternut in the eastern states, virtually eliminating it in the Carolinas and is causing severe losses in the Midwest. The species survival is being seriously threatened" (Sinclair, W.A., 1987). According to a Forest Insect and Disease survey done by the Canadian federal government in 1992, greater than 90% of the butternut trees examined in the Kemptville and Tweed Districts are infected with the fungus and whole-tree mortality has occurred in Cambridge District.
A pamphlet put out by the USDA Forest Service on how to identify butternut canker is... (available)
Given the seriousness of this disease, the Southern Ontario Forest Genetics Group has taken on the task of putting together a status report on butternut in the Southern Region as base information needed to develop a conservation strategy. We require your assistance to do this. (Ed note... eastern Ontario is part of the Southern Region for the purpose of this work)
Basically we need you to give us an idea of where the butternut is in your area. Our intention is to get you to fill out... data collection sheet based on your personal knowledge. Make as many copies of the data collection sheet as needed to include as many trees as possible from your area. One data collection sheet per tree or plantation or grove is sufficient.
We are hoping for as many data collection sheets returned as possible by October 30, 1994. The information from these sheets will be compiled throughout the winter into a butternut status report for Southern Region.
Any questions regarding this project can be directed to either Cathy Nielsen, STTU, at the Brockville Area office or myself at the Kemptville Tree Nursery.
Thank you in advance for your co-operation,
V. Rosemary Fleugel Genetic Heritage Technician Southern Ontario Forest Genetics Group Telephone: (613) 258-8355 Fax: (613) 258-8390 Brockville Area Office P.O. Box 605, Oxford Ave. Brockville, Ontario K6V 5Y8
Black Walnuts by the Bushel
In 1957 George Elmore Reaman wrote a book about frontier and pioneer life in Ontario. The book was called "The Trail of the Black Walnut" which I understand led through the Carolinian forest of southern Ontario.
I am not suggesting I was on that trail but I was recently in the Kitchener/Waterloo area where I met a homeowner with five very large black walnut trees in the backyard. After some discussion concerning the disposal of the annual crop, I was offered the whole lot come this October. Since I have no need for such a quantity, I would be happy to make them available through ECSONG for a modest fee to cover transportation costs and an assurance they would be used to grow more walnut trees.
Possible uses could range from plantings by individual members, to larger undertakings by ECSONG. We could also make them available to arboretums in the area if they were interested. I am certainly open to any suggestions or comments members may have which would further the objectives of our Society.
Bob Stone (613) 824-2378
Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.