The Nuttery : Volume 14 Number 3 (1995)

In this Issue...

Take note on the date, time and place of the fast approaching Winter Meeting 95/96! This is always ECSONG's best attended regular event.

In Chapter Projects, you will be brought up to date on achievements at Oak Valley and the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove, learn about the forthcoming nut contests, and about a possible workshop next September on nut dyes.

In the General News section, you will get information on The Chestnut Council, some juicy gossip about Irene Woolford, a peek inside Source Wood Products of Cornwall, a brief history of The Seed Source, and an unveiling of ECSONG's recent activities on the "information highway".

In the Nut Grower, you will absorb news idea from Guy Lefebvre on a number of interesting initiatives, get an inside look at the ginkgo, note some statistics on nut cracking, detect some sympathy for the clever squirrel, learn the secrets of the venerable oak, be encouraged by Alcon's new labour-saving nut processing services, get the basics in a new Extension Note on nut growing from the Land Owner Resource Center, and lastly some do's and don'ts of grafting.

Look to the Nuttery Marketplace for nut seed and stock suppliers. And in the Membership section find the names and phones numbers of your colleagues, the Chapter's Event Calendar, our brochure (should you need to tell someone what we are about), and of course most importantly the membership application form, which also serves to help you send in your annual dues.

See you at the Winter Meeting, eh!

The forthcoming 95/96 Winter Meeting

The theme of this year's winter meeting is "Nut Growing 101": revisiting the basics. When we look back on the Nut Workshop of '94, we can see there a mix of both basic and advanced nut culture. The combination of the presentations which emphasized the more advanced aspects of nut culture complemented the exhibits where we each got individual attention to our own concerns in the one-on-one with the booth folks.

Given the rapidly growing interest in nut growing in the Eastern Ontario region, witness the burgeoning membership in ECSONG, now well over one hundred, there are many folks who want to talks basics. Given also that many members go back to the early days of ECSONG in the late seventies, and were already experienced nut growers then, the chapter is well prepared now for a quantum leap forward.

In this meeting, we want to have a forum in which the experienced explain the fundamentals, well illustrated by anecdotes from the school of hard knocks, and tyros ask those important questions about nut culture that to the experienced has become second nature.

More interestingly, almost all of us have a bit the expert and a bit of the novice in us. Be prepared to play both roles, as appropriate!

Also, this meeting is an excellent forum to try out your new nut recipe on and appreciative audience: bring along your masterpieces. Bring along any nutty books or articles to show, trade or sell. And any seed for the same reasons. If you have interesting tools, bring them to exhibit. Above all, bring your family friends and neighbours: they will be glad they came!

See the announcement box on the front page for the date, time and place of the meeting.

See you at the Winter Meeting.

From the Oak Valley

The Oak Valley Plantation is a booming place these days! There are many more things happening there than the poor old Nuttery has space for - here are just some highlights.

Many folks get involved in the plantation work including: Len and Genice Collett, Alec and Kathleen Jones, The McFadden's from North Augusta, Irene Woolford (the originator of the plantation who now has one of the trails named in her honour), Ted Cormier, Ernie Kerr (plantation surveyor, and another trail name holder), George Truscott (plantation nurseryman), Chris Cummins, Ralph McKendry and Myrtle, Richard, and Graham, and Clarence Cross (site historian) with Elizabeth Stuart. Mac Saunders of Inkerman is the machinery man with his tractor and mower. The folks from the South Nation River Conservation Authority (SNRCA) who own the site play a strong role. The Eastern Valley Heritage Foundation is supporting the new Pioneer Farmsteads Memorial Park component of the plantation. A Swiss watch making company has contributed 1000 red oak seedlings to the plantation (more about this in a future issue). And others drop in from time to time to admire and to help out.

New planting continues, with new species and specimens be added every year. Grooming goes on all summer. The nursery with its specially designed germination boxes produces a surplus of seedling every year, some going to the local schools. The plantation is expanding its influence, encouraging the SNRCA to interplant 50 (to start with) black walnuts in their spruce reforestation projects nearby. Still holding true to its Year 20/20 Vision Plan, Oak Valley is well on its way to being a major landmark on the Eastern Ontario nut scene.

If you would like to join in on the Oak Valley Plantation Committee activity, Ralph McKendry, Chair would be pleased to have you aboard.

Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove News

It has been an eventful year, this 1995, for the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove in the Baxter Conservation Area near Kemptville. The Liaison Committee, chaired by Cliff Craig, and including Alec Jones, Allan Gillis, Dave Johnstone, Sandy Graham, Mark Schaefer, Ted Cormier and others from time to time, hosted a number of important events in 1995.

On March 29, 1995, twelve KCAT Agro-forestry students lead by Dave Chapeskie visited the grove to learn about nut growing in this region. An invitation should be issued to the school for future visits, and other possible involvements. This was the first opportunity to offer visitors the new brochure, prepared by Rudy Dyck. The visitors also saw the new grove bill board with its large site map built by Allan Gillis and the staff in the workshop adjacent to the grove.

The Spring Field Day on May 6, 1995, attracted more people than expected and much repair and maintenance work was done. The Eastern Ontario Nut Culture Project ( an Eastern Ontario Model Forest and ECSONG joint project) planted a number on new trees. There are now nearly 150 specimens of about 30 species or varieties growing in the grove.

A very important event in the life of the grove took place in a quiet ceremony held on September 16, 1995. The RVCA's press released explained that a special white oak would be dedicated to the memory of George Ronald Joiner. It went on to explain George's seminal role in the success of the nut grove during its early, difficult years. At the base of the tree a plaque on a large rock was unveiled. It reads "This tree was planted in the memory of George Joiner whose volunteer efforts and enthusiasm were instrumental in the creation of this nut grove". Beside a number of officials and dignitaries, George's family was represented by his son Greg's family. Greg, wife Angela and their new baby graciously thanked the group for recognizing George's contribution in such an abiding way. Later, Kitty Joiner, George's wife sent a note of thanks:

Having a tree dedicated to George's memory at the Nut Grove is an honour my family and I appreciate very much. George spent many happy hours at the grove working along with his friends from the Society, a task he enjoyed very much. I am sorry I was not able to attend the dedication as I was outside the country and did not return home until September 25th. Please express my sincere thanks to the committee in charge of planting the oak tree... Sincerely, Kitty Joiner.

The recently-created Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation held a major fund-raiser at Baxter in early October. Called Envirofest, it attracted many hundreds of visitors to an number of events and exhibits. ECSONG, along with Alcon Welding and The Seed Source, mounted a major exhibit that was busy from the dawn to dusk. The Seed Source's Ted Cormier brought a cornucopia of many nut varieties in large sacks. Alcon demonstrated its Nut Huller. Around a hundred visitors took the opportunity to tour the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove. A successful day!

Nut Contest for our region

The Eastern Ontario Nut Tree Culture (EONTC) Project's task to develop a plan for holding nut contests in the Eastern Ontario region has been completed.

Some background: the EONTC is a joint project under the Eastern Ontario Model Forest and the ECSONG. Its challenge has been to further nut tree culture throughout the region. As its manager, Ted Cormier has been doing just that, as can be seen in the various nut groves, on numerous private lands and on a number of public lands. The EONTC also undertook in fiscal year 95'96 to develop a plan for holding nut contests and also for conducting a national survey of nut production in Canada. The former task is the one just now completed.

The planners found that contests could help uncover nut trees already growing in the region, whether feral, wild or domestic, that would be judged superior. The goal of the contests then was to assure that these specimens would be propagated quickly and surely in order to accelerate the establishment of new, acclimatized cultivars particular to the Eastern Ontario region.

The planner also found that many features of candidate specimens would have to be examined, including nut quality and the productivity of the trees and the shrubs. Given that nut trees can offer many products other than just nut meat as food, the contests should pursue as many properties as possible to promote a broad-based industry.

In the research behind the planning, some interesting facts came to light. The first contest in North America appear to have taken place around the time of the First World War. Acorns have the same nutriments as corn, and are sometimes called "the grain from trees". The hickories and walnuts can be as high in protein as chicken, and have high oil content as well, the oil being comparable to olive oil. The chestnuts and acorns are major starch producers.

Once the report to the EONTC is approved, it will be made widely available. The work was done by Cobjon Enterprises, Inc., of Ottawa, an Ontario corporation specializing in environmental information and services.

Nut Tree Dyes

This past fall, Carol Parker brought a couple of bushels of black walnuts to Alcon to have the nuts dehusked. She retrieved the nuts (washed and dried) and the husks as well. The husks were to provide her with the black walnut dye she uses for to dye the raw fleeces she obtains often from local farmers.

In conversation she offered to conducted a workshop for folks interested in nut wood dyes. She says she often uses wool, but cotton and linen are candidates as well. However, the fibers must be in a raw state without any processing that may have added chemicals. These chemicals could defeat the dyes.

The workshop could be held indoors if just a few folks were attending. Carol uses her own kitchen. She says however, that the process can be odoriferous, so outdoors may be better. If there were many attendees, outdoors would probably be mandatory.

For outdoors the best time would probably be September. The biting flies are gone, the wool is available, as are the new crop of nuts. A possible site could be the Baxter Conservation Area which has BBQ facilities. These BBQs would be perfect for the big cooking pots used in which the dye and fibers meet. Besides, being a public area, the workshop might attract casual visitors, or maybe even be a formal activity out of the MacMannis Interpretive Center.

If you are interested in participating, maybe you would like to help make arrangements as well. We need someone to take charge of the project. If you manage this, please contact one of ECSONG's officers, the Nuttery editor, or Carol herself.

Canadian Chestnut Council

Colin McKeen, CCC Chair and the editor of the CCC's newsletter "Canadian Chestnut Council... on the Chestnut Trail" writes...

"...I was wondering if you have followed the progress of the American Chestnut trees of Anderson Road. On my last visit to the site about two years ago I found that the single tree apart from the others drops its burrs and nuts ten days to two weeks before the others. To beat the squirrels one has to be watching for nut fall about the 25th of September.

Many thanks for the information about leather tanning with tree bark which you passed on the Mr. Clem Fisher, Secretary-treasurer of the CCC. I shall write to ORTECH to see if I can something from their files about using chestnut bark."

Colin's Anderson Road reference concerns the American Chestnuts planted in the mid-seventies near Mer Bleu by Canadian Forestry Staff, including Moe Anderson. One tree has been spectacularly successful. It sits back in the bush amongst mostly alders. The ground appears to be more than normally wet. This is probably the tree Colin is referring to. If its does drop so much early, is it a strong candidate for propagation in our cooler, still blight-absent, climate?

Plagiarizing the "Canadian Chestnut Council... on the Chestnut Trail" newsletter #12, here are guidelines for storing chestnut for germination...

"After a short dry-down period of about ten days in an unheated building they should then be enclosed in a clean heavy plastic bag (milk bag) in a 50% mixture of peatmoss and sand. The mixture should be slightly moist. Winter storage should be in a vegetable crisper compartment of a refrigerator held at about 2 to 3C. Nut germination usually begins in March or April. Germinated and non-germinated seeds may be planted in containers indoors, or later in the field. Do not wash or attempt to surface-sterilize the nuts before storage."

Thanks to Colin for his letter. Colin can be reached at 62 Westmorland Ave., Orangeville, Ontario, L9W 3B6; or phone at (519) 941-9513.

A time of celebration!

It has recently come to the Nuttery's attention that the founder of the Oak Valley Plantation, and long time member of ECSONG recently married.

To our dear Irene Woolford of Winchester, we all wish you every happiness for the future.

Now that's the way to recruit help for Oak Valley!

On the other hand, we understand she even skipped the fall field day at Oak Valley just to go on her honeymoon! Imagine that!

All our best, Irene.

Source Wood Products news

For many years, Source Wood Products of Cornwall, Ontario, has been a supplier of exotic woods to the region. Lately, Guy Lefebvre of SWP, has helped the company develop a program to promote the growing of nut woods in the region. He recognizes of course that the nut woods include some of the best furniture and cabinetry woods on the planet! So, he has implemented a Forestry Program that aims to see many, many nut trees planted throughout the region. SWP's long range thinking will undoubtedly result in some of these trees coming to their mill in the future. This means a better environment of all of us as these trees grow, and an economic benefit when harvest time comes.

SWP is 'branching out'. It is offering a growing number of species of seedlings to the public. The list already includes black walnut, hickories, carpathians, filberts, hazels, heartnut and butternut. See the Nuttery Marketplace for more information.

Guy notes that SWP has added recently, to their already extensive wood inventory, eight foot long (called half-logs) air dried black walnut ideal for bowl turning. Bob Stone and the Bowl Turners, take note!

Some seed was used this fall in a seed bed at St-Lucie School, Cornwall Township, designated for black walnuts. This project will be beneficial in many ways: to create income for school events and equipment; to support our environment and ; agro-forestry education. The students will be involved in setting up their own nursery, which includes: planting the seeds in Fall '95; monitoring their growth for one year; marketing the products, and; lifting and packaging for sale. SWP will donate one year old seedlings for the Spring '96. Being in the lumber sales and fabrication business, Source Wood Products (SWP) decided to get involved in planting new trees. In 1987, we chose nut trees because of their dual value of timber and nuts (agro-forestry). Also, they need more help from humans to ensure their survival. They can be fine shade trees, or set up in plantations as an investment in future timber sales. The nuts can be harvested for sale, or personal consumption or to support wildlife. Following years of testing, we now grow seedlings from selected parent trees for their hardiness, nut quality and timber type growth.

A last item from SWP is about butternut. As you all probably know by now there is a canker disease racing through the butternut population, killing many of the trees. Infected trees should have their infections excised if minor, or where major, it would be best to fell the tree. The infected parts should be carefully burned in either case. However, most of a felled tree may still be sound wood. SWP could make use of this wood. In effect, the tree need die in vain! If you have butternuts that might be candidates for a sanitary/salvage program, please call Guy as soon as possible.

Possible Butternut Testing Site for resistance

The MacKinnon Interpretive center (sponsored by Domtar Forestry) in Apple hill, Ontario has mature forested grounds as well as open spaces for planting new products. in which a trial area can be set aside for nut trees where you will find seedlings such as filberts, chestnuts, hickory, walnut, butternut, carpathian, heartnut and pecan.

The mature butternuts at this site are all well infested with the canker diseases (Sirococcus - clavigignenti-juglanda cearum). I feel this would provide an excellent area for testing seedlings from all areas of eastern Ontario and perhaps other surrounding areas.

This possible project will be discussed with Domtar Forestry along with MNR officials and ECSONG members during the winter of 95-96. Butternut seeds with location data can be sent to Source Wood Products.

I met Aurele Lauzon, a woodworker, of Cornwall, who has a seed stock collected 35 years ago on Butternut Island in the St Lawrence River. He mentioned that they are still edible, meaning they may still germinate. I will try germination tests this winter. Looking forward to this one!

The Seed Source

For the last four years, The Seed Source in Oxford Mills, Ontario has been supplying seed for the individuals, commercial nurseries and governments in Ontario and other areas of the country. This has meant R&D time spent on locating new species of trees and shrubs used in ornamental landscaping and nut tree species used in agro-forestry. This has also required learning seed cleaning techniques for the various new tree species we wished to collect.

Our finder, Ted Cormier, has been involved with tree seed collection for the past twenty years. Ted's first experience with the tasks of collecting nuts and seeds came as a term employee with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Along with other activities such as tree planting, stand improvement and research data collection, he thus received his grounding in the various aspects and procedures involved with tree seed procurement. In many ways it has similarities to agriculture with good and bad crop years which are affected adversely by the annual climatic conditions such as drought, late frosts and high wind conditions.

During this apprenticeship, the M.N.R. began to privatize some of its operations and Ted began to collect tree seeds as a private contractor. By this time he had become skilled at forecasting annual seed crops as well as locating "areas of plenty" for the different tree species. Still, the most difficult task remains the estimation of seed crop ripening and dispersal which differs each year depending on arrival time of spring, growth degree days in summer months and rainfall during growing season and at fall harvest time.

We are actively expanding our client base, We supply commercial and private users, on both large and small scale. We continue to be involved in special research seed collection activities for government agencies in areas such as biodiversity programs and long term cryogenic preservation of germ plasm.

Contact us for all of your seed needs, whether big or small.

The Seed Source, RR 2, Oxford Mills , Ontario K0G 1S0, or call 613 258-2570

ECSONG and the World Wide Web

Big talk these days about the Information Highway, an electronic network that might do for the information age what railways and highways did for the industrial age, namely economic growth and improved standard of living.

This information highway is best exemplified at the moment by the Internet and one of its telecommunication systems called the World Wide Web, or WWW, or just the web, which links millions of computers around the globe. These computers, or more correctly their users, can exchange information with each other through the web. One can think of the web as an immense library where information is in computer form, where it is as easily communicated to another computer as your voice is over the telephone to anyone's ear. You can get information from the web, and provide information.

As a demonstration of this, the Nuttery Editor is setting a web information source for ECSONG. The work is underway at this moment. This web site is temporary. Its purpose is to show the uses that can be made of the web to promote nut culture in our region. If you are interested in this activity, simple send me an email at jones@ottmed.meds.dfo.ca.

Guy Lefebvre: how he handles nuts for storing and testing

Guy Lefebvre of Source Wood Product in Cornwall writes about how he handles nuts for storing and testing...

"I have a few important rules when collecting seed for testing:

My seed testing method for black walnut. Note: a Lawrence cracker is used, and side-cutters if necessary

See the article on the how plans for nut contests beginning in 1996 are coming along. Guy is getting ready for the upcoming nut contests.

For the Ginkgo fans

Dave Baker and Louise Gervais deal in essential oils and aroma therapy, amongst other wide interests. They passed along some information specifically about the powers of the ginkgo.

It is claimed that the Ginkgo biloba is the oldest living species of tree. It can reach to heights of 30 - 40 metres, and live as long 4000 years. It natural range is now restricted to eastern Asia and China, though its beauty and resistance to disease and urban pollution have caused it to be planted extensively elsewhere. It is becoming common along the streets of Ottawa. Unfortunately, only male trees are now planted, so forget fruit! The sex of the tree is fixed by grafting known male scions to indeterminate rootstock.

Dave and Louise passed along an article from the October/November 1995 issue of The Herb Companion which contains a note about ginkgo biochemistry. The article notes that the leaves of the plant contain compounds called terpene lactones as well as many bioflavonoids. Researchers in France were seeking active anti-oxidants. Certain of the flavonoids were found effective. The article refers to a longer article in the April/May 1995 issue of the same journal entitled "ginkgo: Circulatory Therapy". It also notes a related article by M. Joyeux (et al) in "Planta Medica" 1995 61:126-129.

They also provides a photocopy of a sales brochure for a product called "Gincosan" manufactured by Pharmaton Ltd, Switzerland, distributed by Quest Vitamins of Vancouver. The brochure claims the product a help improve brain functioning.

For more information about such products, and the beneficial uses of nut oils such as almond oil, give Dave and Louise a call.

How hard is it to crack a nut?

Everyone knows it is hard to crack a nut. But just how hard?

The bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) is the easiest, requiring as little as 13 kilograms (kg) to crack. Hazels, filberts, carpathians, persians and pecans are about the same. A strong grip with two nuts in the hand can often crush them. At the other end of the scale, the shellbark (Carya laciniosa) can require as much as 556 kg, over half a metric ton! Black walnut, butternut and the other hickories are in between. The black walnuts and butternuts crack at between about 200 and 400 kg.

So who can crack these nuts, besides people? Everyone knows that squirrels eat them, but by cutting two holes strategically placed so that they can get at the entire kernel. Obviously, the wily squirrel understand the anatomy of the nut!

Pigs, wild turkeys, cows and deer are said to eat these nuts as well. Deer, and apparently cows, will eat up butternuts. What happens to nuts once inside I do not know: do any of our readers know? Can they crush the nut with their teeth? Do they swallow the nut whole, and maybe just digest the hull, which is actually quite nutritious, and pass the rest out? If so, it must hurt given the rough sharpness of the nut's surface. It is well known that pigs eat acorns and chestnuts in the forest, and supposedly other nuts, collectively know as 'mast'. They do crush the acorns and chestnuts with their teeth, but what about the other tougher nuts?

The wild turkey is the big surprise however. They not only eat chestnuts and acorns, but hickories and black walnuts as well. According to Scott Weidensaul, in 'Mountains of the Heart; A Natural History of the Appalachians published in 1994, reports that in experiment, the wild turkey gizzard crush metal tubing requiring five hundred pound pressure in a vise!

So, there is more than one way to crack a nut!

Our friend the Squirrel

Do nut growers appreciate the squirrel? It would seem not. Should we know more about them? Probably - we might be able to find a ways to cooperate to our mutual benefit.

There are two species of squirrel in these parts. The big gray squirrel and the little red squirrel. The black squirrels we see are apparently a melanistic strain of the big grays.

Now, the red squirrel is a hoarder. It gathers up the nut and puts them caches where the seeds will stay dry and never germinate. On the other hand, the grays spread the seed around by planting it in the ground just deep enough to stratify and germinate well, mostly well away from the parent tree.

Quite different strategies. The red seems to be smarter, at least in the short haul as it can find its hoard easily during the difficult winter weather. However, since this seed dies and will never germinate, if the squirrels prove to be really successful gatherers, over the long run there may be fewer and fewer new nut trees to replace those that die. And could mean future generations of reds will see hard times.

The gray squirrel crop has been spread far and wide and will be buried by the snow. Surely, the critter is not going to be able to remember the thousands of places where it buried its booty, and could face winter starvation. Not so. It does not have to remember, because it can smell the nuts from quite a distance away even under the snow. This is in part because the buried does not die, and during this stratification will release metabolites that the squirrel can smell. This wily squirrel will show no interest in a dead seed! At winters end, the surplus seed that grays did not need will germinate, and be on its way to becoming a nut tree to feed the future squirrels down the road. In fact it will about 25 squirrel-generations before the tree will be producing nuts. If people took that long a view for their future generations, planners would work on 500-year plans instead of 5-year plans!

The potential of Oaks

As we look over the nut culture landscape here in the Eastern Ontario region, we see efforts focussed primarily on the species already proving successful to the south. We see the desire to develop cultivars of these that might be successful as far north as we are. This is a worthy goal.

At the same time, there are local native species that have not had a closer look, mostly because our American cousins have mostly overlooked them. The oaks come to mind. It is often said that the oaks are the best all-round trees for people, domesticated animals and wildlife. Then , why so little attention? And what should we here in this region do about the oaks?

In an 1991 article entitled "The Oaks" in the Annual report of the Northern nut Growers Association 82:185-191, author D. A Bainbridge offers an explanation: the wood itself is so prized and versatile, we have felled them all! (He gives a number of other reasons why so little research has been done: mostly mind sets.) His article is an excellent synopsis of the values and uses made of the fruits of the living tree as well as its wood. It is clear from this work, and from another article in the 1989 issue of the NNGA Annual Report by Ken Asmus entitled "Oaks with edible acorns", that the oaks are probably the best-kept secret and a major untapped resource for nut growers. This could provided our region with just the opportunity it needs to get itself on the world's nut map!

Dr. Bainbridge points out that oaks adapt well to a wide variety of soils and climates. Their combination of tap root and mycorrhizal associates assures such adaptability. They hybridize easily, thus simultaneously offering both vigour and a wide selection. They grow well north of us, and to the east and west. They have been little researched and developed. The Oikos Tree Crops nursery in Kalamazoo (Ken Asmus place) may be the only place oaks are being developed in North America!

Whereas, work proceeds elsewhere. The literature on oaks appears mostly in Spanish, Korean and Russian languages. Crops are harvested in North Africa, the Middle East, and eastward through to Korea and into Russia.

Many oaks produce edible acorns, and the others can have the tannins easily removed by water. Nutritionally, acorns are similar to corn, and are sometimes called the "grain that grows on trees". Its oil matches olive oil, and sells in place for $36/gallon. Its starch falls between corn and potatoes. Yields of 1400 kg/hectare/year could be achieved. It intercrops well. In Turkey, the spiced drink racahout made from acorns is akin to hot chocolate. In Scandinavia, an alcohol is brewed. Acorns have been a popular fodder, called mast for centuries. According to the Friends of Algonquin Park, the distribution of the bear population matches that of the red oaks. In some areas of California, deer diets are up to 80% acorns. In chine, oak leaves feed silkworms. The "manna" from heaven was probably scale insect sugars from oaks. Truffles and Shiitake mushrooms are oak associates. Acorn flour can fetch $200/lb.

ECSONG should vigorously pursue the development of unique oak crops in this region.

Dehusking Nuts

This past fall offered a signal event for the Eastern Ontario region: its first commercial nut crop processing service.

Alcon Welding and Small Engine Repair, a Nepean, Ontario firm at 149 Bentley, Unit 5B, has begun building powered machine designed to remove the husk from black walnuts, butternuts, heartnut, hickories, etc. Nut wisdom says that if nuts are to be stored as food for future cracking, removing the husk within days of harvest is vital to retaining the high quality of the kernel. Otherwise the kernel darkens and develops an 'earthy' flavour that many people find unpalatable. Also, if the seed is to be stored for future germination, the husk, specially the black walnut's, will quickly become a black, liquid mess!

Alcon has built three machines to date. One, of unique design, was sold to Grimo Nut Nursery at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The other two were offered as rentals locally, either as do-it-yourself or for custom-processing by the bushel. Alcon very first customer was the Carlson family of Oxford Mills. Congratulations to John and the family! Ralph McKendry was pleased with how his crop of black walnuts looked after dehusking and washing. Carol Parker's black walnut crop looked good, and she took her husks along to use to dye wool. Guy Lefebvre found the service labour-saving as in past years he had manually cleared his crop. Ted Cormier put the red machine through its paces on his large and varied crops. Alcon thanks all its customers for their support, and is preparing for a much larger crop in 1996.

Source Wood Products' Black Walnut Forestry Program used the services of "Alcon's Nut Hulling Service" for their black walnuts this past fall. We were very impressed with the quality of the equipment used and the quality of the hulling's final product, not counting the hours saved on our previous hulling method. Give Mark a call next fall at 613-723-9648.

G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station Update

At present time it appears that two proposals for privatization of the forest station will be submitted to the provincial government. The Eastern Ontario Model Forest is facilitating one proposal for a consortium of interested parties while the other is headed by a group representing logging businesses in Renfrew county. The provincial government has yet to issue guidelines regarding disposal of crown assets.

Getting started

The Land Owner Resource Center has finished the last draft of the Extension Notes for Nut Trees. A few corrections are still required but the supplied copy is close to finished. Many thanks to Bob Travares, Ted Cormier and the folks at the Land Owner Resource Center, who, with the help of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, together produced an excellent how-to extension note on the "Planting and Caring for Nut Trees". It expresses best the basics on nut culture.

The note covers choosing the right site, the six steps to successful planting, and the care and tending of the young tree. It also gives specifics on value, uses, and soil preferences for several nut species including American Chestnut, Black Walnut, Heartnut, Butternut, Buartnut, Hazelnut and Shagbark Hickory.

Of value to both the beginner and the expert, copies of the extension note can be gotten from the Land Owner Resource Center at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority offices in Manotick.

Notes on nut tree grafting

Nut producers believe that grafting is the best way to get the superior trees needed for successful plantations. Most commercial fruit production today is built on grafted stock. Grafts are genetic clones of the original plant.

There a number of methods of grafting (also called asexual or vegetative propagation) used on nut trees. They have names such as T-budding (also called shield budding), ring budding, patch budding, cleft graft, splice graft, inlay or bark graft, and whip graft. The grafted plant is sometimes called a 'propagule', the item grafted on is called a 'scion' and the recipient is the 'rootstock'. This list comes from Reed and Davidson, 'The Improved Nut Trees of North America and how to grow them' 1958, The Devin-Adair Company, New York.

Grafting usually takes place either in the greenhouse, where the rootstock is in a pot, or in the field, where the rootstock may in its final site or in a nursery bed. The in-pot method is sometimes called bench grafting.

Archie Sparks of Beaver, Iowa, has some thoughts on the relative benefits of bench grafting versus in-place grafting, according to Bob Chenoweth as he reports in his 1995 book "Black Walnut", published by Sagamore Publishing of Champaign, Illinois. Archie definitely prefers in-place grafting. He says that bench-grafted trees are less winter-hardy. He explains that, because they are small, the graft union on these trees ends up close to soil surface. The callous tissue that forms at the union obstructs the autumnal downward flow of sap into the roots for over-winter storage. This slowness means the tree may not 'harden off' in time and be caught in the first winter frosts with too much water still in the sapwood. If this water freezes, the resulting ice crystals will likely damage the tissue. Furthermore, these trees probably will take two to three years to recover normal grow rates when transplanted out.

Archie prefers planting three to six nuts in place, about three inches apart. In the following year The best seedlings of the group are chosen for grafting. Later, the best of the lot is retained and the others removed.

As superior trees are discovered in the Eastern Ontario region, we may find ourselves doing much more grafting. Ralph McKendry has suggested that the time is coming when we will want instruction. Some time ago, Bill Hossie of the Kemptville College asked what it should be considering in its future curriculum about nut culture. Grafting should be high on the list.

Status of Eastern Ontario Nut Culture Project

There has been no change to the Model Forest funding for the 96/97 fiscal year and our plans are proceeding towards the spring

This year we expect to receive varieties of chestnuts and hazelnuts that have been developed by Phil Rutter who lives in Minnesota. This region has a similar climate to our own and we have high expectations for the suitability of this planting stock.

We have obtained some hybrid walnut seed (Juglans regia x nigra) to test here in Eastern Ontario. Hybrid crosses sometimes produce plants with increased hardiness and vigour

Our planting trials will continue this spring and we are now ordering nut trees from various nurseries.

Land Stewardship Program and the Private Forest Sustainability Fund

This program is a new initiative of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Each county has a coordinator who will establish a Stewardship Council and will assist individuals and groups to access the Private Forest Sustainability Fund (PFS). ECSONG. may be able to access this funding for projects such as the release of nut trees on the Dolman Ridge. Proposals will have most of the following characteristics:

Jack Henry, stewardship coordinator Grenville County, has asked to address the membership on this matter.

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