The Nuttery : Volume 15 Number 4 (1996)

In this Issue...

See the announcement of the upcoming AGM in the adjacent information box, and the article and map inside this issue in the Announcements section. Note also the Ottawa Spring Home Show and the opportunity for you to join the fun! Make sure your dues are paid so you don't lose The Nuttery. And become a reporter, columnist or contributor to The Nuttery - see the brief article inside, and the instructions at the back of the issue.

The four major ECSONG projects are reviewed and highlighted in this issue. Fix your sights on the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove, The Oak Valley Plantation and Pioneer Homestead Memorial Park, The Dominion Arboretum, and the Dolman Ridge Plantation. You can see that these great works are quickly becoming landmarks in the Eastern Ontario region!

Press on to the News, where you can catch up on ECSONG on the Web; Nuts-to-Gro!; refresh your memory on the considerable merits of nut trees and shrubs; and appreciate the versatile and mighty oak.

For the Grower, there is a reprint on the toxicity of black walnut - note that many plants are tolerant and some even thrive. Graft nut pines - yes! A nut industry by the next millennium - maybe. Find nutrition data on nuts on the world wide web.

Check out the Marketplace for seed and stock sources.

The last section of The Nuttery offers the information you need to contact colleagues, and to help friends and neighbours join ECSONG.

Don't forget to pay your dues for 1997! Heck, be the first to subscribe to the year 2001 ($75), and become a Millennium Member!

ECSONG Annual General Meeting 96/97

The meeting is traditionally held the third Saturday in March, and this year is no different. On Saturday, March 15, 1997, ECSONG's Annual General Meeting will be held at the McMannis Interpretive Center in the Baxter Conservation Area, registration starting at 9:30 AM.

See the notice box on the front page for instruction, and the adjacent map for directions to get the Baxter Conservation Area. Business will be taken care of in the morning. During the extended lunch time, tour the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove nearby, talk to the exhibitors, trade stories with your nut growing colleagues, begin planning your nut growing season.

In the afternoon, nut pines will be the main topic. We will be fortunate to have as speaker Charles Rhora, Ontario's number 1 nut pine grower. Mr Rhora is the owner and operator of Rhora's Nut Farm and Nursery in Wainfleet, Ontario.

Bring seed for exchange, items to demonstrate, nut cuisine, your friends, your family, your neighbours - it's a big show and tell!

For more information, contact Len Collett, ECSONG Chair, or George Truscott, Secretariat.

Ottawa Spring Home Show

The Home Show is a big event in Ottawa, when thousands of folks come to Lansdowne Park to see what's new for the home. The Show has a landscape and gardening section where visitors learn about lawns and gardens. Last year, the organizers of the landscape and gardening section had a bright idea. They invited the non-profit landscape and gardening type clubs and societies to be exhibitors at no cost. This turned out to be a major attraction, boosting the attendance in the landscape and gardening area. So this year - another invitation to ECSONG. We accepted!

For exhibitors, the four day long show, over the Easter weekend, is arduous. It is also stimulating and productive. Last year, our team spoke to hundreds of folks interested in nut trees and shrubs. We were able give out many brochure and flyers, and to sell our books and some seed and stock, raising some money for ECSONG. This year could be better still. Now that we know what to expect, we can have many more offerings for visitors. The Home Show could not only be one of our best promotional events of the year, but could be an excellent fund raiser.

ECSONG will be in booth C80 in the Landscape and Gardening building. We have some volunteers for the team already but there is more for more! We need people who want to be up front, and those who prefer to work in the background. The Show runs from Friday, 28 March through Monday, 31 March, all day and into the evenings. With a large team, the work divides into small pieces, so nobody is on duty more than once or twice, and only for two or three hours at a time. Not only is the workload smaller, but this means that many members get a chance to meet and talk with the surprisingly large number of like-minded people from the Eastern Ontario region. Supporting ECSONG at the Home Show will prove to be a most gratifying experience.

Want to participate? Contact Hank Jones 998-8917 office or through Alcon 723-9648, and come to the Annual General Meeting on Saturday, March 15, 1997 where team members will be signing up.

Over - Dues

A reminder to members who may have overlooked dues payment. Your Nuttery mailing may have included a reminder message that your dues are, how to say, over due. If the notice says 'final', this is last issue of The Nuttery you will receive. Don't let it happen! Not now when nut growing in the cities, burbs, towns and rural areas is really taking off! Study this issue carefully to see how all this is coming about. Then, don't procrastinate... send your $15 (or more) cheque to Art Read Treasurer, poste haste, at 1903 - 1025 Richmond Road, Ottawa K2B 8G8, and/or give him a call at (613) 828-6594.

Signed -- Your Nut Growing Friends and Colleagues in ECSONG.

The Nuttery needs... You!

The Nuttery is your newsletter. It is to date the best way of communicating your ideas to across space and time, to your colleagues today and your descendants tomorrow. Publishing in The Nuttery is a part of your legacy to future generations. Using The Nuttery is easy.

Write a letter to the editor, telling the way it is, asking a question! Write an article relating an experience, explaining a method, presenting an idea, critiquing a process, defining a goal. Write a learned paper. Encourage your colleagues, whenever good ideas and clear thoughts come up during meetings or conversations, to write to The Nuttery.

Don't be shy! Don't underestimate the value of your ideas and opinions. Pick up your pen, or dust off your typewriter, or turn on your computer, and get your message to The Nuttery, anytime, anyhow, anyway. We're waiting...

The venerable FRP Nut Grove

Oldest of ECSONG's nut groves, the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove is a landmark in the Baxter Conservation Area just south of Kars. Ontario, on the shores of the historic Rideau River.

FRP is a joint 20-year-old project with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), begun in 1978, and now presenting over a hundred specimens of some thirty nut species, hybrids and cultivars. Some trees are reaching ten meters in height!

The site has been groomed to cater to visitors year-round. The RVCA's McMannis Interpretive Center on the Baxter Conservation Area includes the nut grove in its regular nature program, and offer a site map to visitors, identifying each and every nut tree and shrub. The bigger trees offer summer shade to picnicking visitors.

Many of the trees are maturing rapidly now, and bearing fruit. Visitors and the FRP management team can find butternuts, black walnuts, acorns, hickories, horse chestnuts, buckeyes, locust beans, Kentucky coffee tree beans and so on.

The site also proudly presents a memorial White Oak in the memory of George Joiner, an early champion and one of the architects of the nut grove.

The FRP Team counts among its members Cliff Craig (chair), Alec and Kathleen Jones, Sandy Graham (Secretariat), Ted and Isabelle Cormier, Jim Ellis, Dave Johnstone, and Mark Schaefer, RPF.

Many activities surround the FRP throughout the year, specially in the spring and fall when the team hosts field days for ECSONG members and their families, friends and neighbours. The field days are almost 'workshops' or 'seminars' for their participants, in the why's and wherefore's of nut growing.

For anyone contemplating nut growing, whether a single tree or an entire plantation, involvement in the FRP field days will be time profitably spent, and enhance the pleasure and success in nut growing in the Eastern Ontario region.

For more information, call Sandy Graham, or contact any team member.

Oak Valley Plantation and Pioneer Homestead Memorial Park

With spring just around the corner, activities at ECSONG's already-high-energy Oak Valley Plantation project are heating up.

The Plantation is just a few kilometers west of Winchester Springs, Ontario, just off Road 5 near the confluence of the South Branch and North Branch of the South Nation River, across the river from the hamlet of Oak Valley.

A joint project with the South Nation River Conservation Authority (SNRCA), the OVP is rapidly becoming an important landmark in Mountain Township of the combined counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

Co-located with the new Pioneer Homestead Memorial Park, also an initiative of ECSONG and a joint project with the Eastern Heritage Society, the eight acre, waterfront site is now well populated with small trees. More will be planted. The larger, older trees are being pruned. Oaks and Black Walnuts predominate. The Truscott Nursery is developing well. The Ernie Kerr and Irene Woolford walking trails are continually groomed for visitors. At the entrance gate, the McKendry Notice Board offers directions and literature to visitors on self-guided tours. A number of the large glacial Commemorative Stones have been subscribed and bronze plaques affixed in memory of early pioneer families in the region, the key to the Pioneer Homestead Memorial Park.

The Plantation team counts Dr. Ralph McKendry (chair), Myrtle McKendry, Dr. George Truscott, Ernie Kerr, Irene Woolford Broad, Alec Jones, Kathleen Jones, Ted and Isabelle Cormier, Mark Schaefer, and the SNRCA amongst its longest-standing members.

New team members are always welcome, as are visitors (the site is always open to visitors on foot) and volunteers on the spring and fall field day workshops.

Contact Ralph or any team member for information on opportunities for you and your family and friends to visit, participate or contribute to The Oak Valley Plantation and The Pioneer Homestead Memorial Park.

The Dominion Arboretum

Canada - the land of forest and trees! This is how we are viewed by the rest of the world. So, we must be paying carefully and loving attention to our trees and forests, right? Maybe so, but maybe not.

Canada is on the brink of losing its Dominion Arboretum. Can you picture Canada, the land of forests and trees, without a national arboretum? Who could? Few would believe we cherish our arborescent heritage. Maybe we are just butchers of wood and pillagers of forests!

A tiny, tiny cadre of prescient folks is struggling to rescue the Dominion Arboretum from extinction, by transforming it into a vibrant national arboretum. To be the best in the world. To assure Canada is worthy of the title 'land of forests and trees'.

Many ECSONG members have already joined the cause. Canadians need to know, to know now, what is at stake here. Become a part of the ground swell, to sweep the Dominion Arboretum into the next millennium, reborn proudly as "The Canadian National Arboretum". And put Canada squarely on the world map, as unquestionably 'the land of forests and trees'!

Contact Alec Jones for your ticket to the millennial "Canadian National Arboretum"!

Dolman Ridge - a treasure

Near Mer Bleu, the Dolman Ridge Plantation is treasure for nut growers in the Eastern Ontario region.

The Plantation is the product of many years professional forestry work by Forestry Canada staff. During the 1970's, staff of the then Central Research Forest planted many stands of a wide variety of species and cultivars, many of them nut species.

The Plantation boasts the world's northern-most stand of Sweet American Chestnut successfully producing viable seed. Almost wiped out by a blight in the first half of the twentieth century, the Chestnut at its zenith comprised three out of every five trees in the forests of eastern North America.

Dolman also offers black walnut and butternut groves, stands of thriving bur oak, several kinds of hickories, horsechestnut, Kentucky coffee tree, the best examples of seed-producing Korean Nut Pine in Eastern Ontario... and the list goes on.

The site is now under the care of a team of experts and concerned citizens from ECSONG, the National Capital Commission (NCC - the land owner), The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), and the Canadian Chestnut Council.

The team counts among its members and supporters Steve Palmer (chair), Moe Anderson and Mark Schaefer (ECSONG and two of the creators of the plantation), Doug Wolthausen (NCC rep), Ted Cormier, Gary Nielsen (MNR rep), and Alec Jones (Chestnut Council and the International Oak Society).

Dolman Ridge is a real learning experience in the in-and-outs of nut growing in a semi-wild setting, as one might experience trying to enrich a farm woodlot with high-valued nut species.

To experience the Dolman Ridge Plantation to its fullest, pick up the phone and call Steve Palmer, or any member of the team. Plan to attend the spring and fall field days hosted by ECSONG.

ECSONG on the Web

The last ECSONG Executive Meeting, held February 5, 1997 at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority center at Manotick, entertained a proposal from Cobjon Enterprise Inc., to develop a World Wide Web site for ECSONG. Cobjon's proposal offered to apply the Internet, much talked about and somewhat maligned, to putting ECSONG information online. The Internet's World Wide Web (WWW or web for short) can hold multimedia information, i.e. text, pictures, sound and video, on a computer that other computers can connect to through standard telephone. Consequently, an user with a computer and modem connecting it to the telephone system, could access ECSONG's web site to view and download its information. Cobjon was able to make the proposal because of any offer it received from a student of this technology who is establishing her our business and is willing do help at low cost in order to gain experience.

The proposal is, for $250, to put all the back issues of The Nuttery online, and to lay the foundation for a number of more complex functions that could be developed in the future. The website could be made to automatically monitor the amount of use it receives, to provide electronic mail service, to be searchable by keywords, to attach new members, and so on.

The Executive approved the proposal and the work is underway. We hope to see the first results within a month or two.

For more information, contact The Nuttery editor by phone, letter, or through email at, attn The Nuttery.


For many years, ECSONG has been giving advice on growing nut trees and shrubs, developing nut groves to test species suitability for the Eastern Ontario region, holding field trips, even published a cookbook and a growers manual, and so on. And learned a great deal itself! As a result, nut growing has become today a serious pursuit for many individuals and organizations hereabouts.

Ralph McKendry has just upped the ante! He has cleverly developed a product that brings together ECSONG's own hard-learned nut growing principles and practices. A starter's kit easily used by young and old alike, his "Nuts-to-Gro!" product combines seed, starting medium, and instructions in ready-to-go format.

He has also found an excellent way to launch "Nuts-to-Gro!". Ralph has snagged the participation of the "Harvey's" restaurant chain and the "Giant Tiger" department store chain, as good corporate citizens. The former is supplying gratis one of the key components of the kits, namely the soft drink cups that are the nut starter pots. The latter is helping draft a promotional poster for the kits.

The information folder Ralph has devised combines three seminal elements. The first is step-by-step user instructions on getting the seeds to grow. The second is a set of drawings on an easily made seedling guard marrying a large juice can and plastic soft-drink bottle, itself another McKendry invention he calls the "ECSONG Nut Cell". Lastly, the instruction brochure also presents ECSONG, its objectives and its membership form.

"Nuts-to-Gro!" will be offered at the Ottawa Spring Home Show, as well as other venues. Ralph says that, should "Nuts-to-Gro!" prove popular, ECSONG should copyright his product, and consider licensing its production and distribution.

For more information, check with Ralph.

Merits of Nuts

"When you plant trees, go nuts!" Wow! The ECSONG motto. But, why go nuts?

From time to time, it is inspiring to revisit the question, and to re-examine why the members and friends of ECSONG hold such a true to be self evident. To wit...

The Merit of Nuts - certainly not a noble title, like Baron or Duke! But, the nobility amongst trees. How so, one might ask.

It is commonly held belief these days, with the force of good science behind it, that trees are the key to a healthy Canadian environment, for all Canada's biota. Trees clean the air of dust, excess CO2, curtail high winds year-round, shade out the hot sun, hold the soil, filter clean the ground water, offer many creatures food and habitat, to build, to heat, for paper... and on and on.

Almost any kind of tree can do most of these things, as individuals, in copses, woods, bush, forests.... Heck, even nut trees!

However, where the others leave off, the nut tree is just beginning! From the living nut tree, you can expect: out-of-hand nuts, kernels, nut meats, nut meals, confections, condiments, beverages and teas; edible oils, essential oils, and lubricants; stains, dyes, inks and pigments; herbals, biologicals and pharmacologicals; shell abrasives, grits and polishes; cosmetics and toiletries; decorations, ornaments and jewelry; husk and shell mulches and composts; repellents and insecticides; wooden ware and turnings; and so on.

And nut tree provide people with their most valuable native woods, and are widely acknowledged to be the beautiful trees of all.


Oaks - the Druid

The term druid in the Celtic culture referred to the wisdom of the oak, an important and widespread tree in Europe since the last ice age, until recent times. France, a source of the finest oak wood, is about 20% forested and oaks comprise 25% of the forests. In England, on the other hand, the oaks have largely gone, and reforesting is in conifers. Oaks are common in eastern North America. At the western edge of these eastern forests, where the forest and prairie meet, areas called oak openings are common. Oak openings are often dominated by bur oak, one of the sweetest oaks. The Amerindians of this region often lived in the oak openings, under the shelter of the trees, but with a view out onto the prairie where anyone approaching could be easily seen. The bur oak acorns were an important part the diet of these peoples.

In Eastern Ontario, the red oak and the bur oak thrive. The red acorns are high in nutritious oils, whereas the bur is rich in carbohydrates. Taken together, these two species provide an almost complete diet for people, livestock and wildlife. Mary Ann Riley of KCAT is writing a report on bur oak. For information on the nutrition of nuts (and other plants), consult

There are also shrubby oaks, mostly notably here the chinkapin and the bear oaks. Both precocious, they can be prolific producers as well. The possibility that hybrids might be produced with say bur oak that preserves the precocity, high productivity but yields a sweeter acorn has been suggested by Ted Cormier.

For more information on the Oaks, consult "Oaks of North America" by Howard Miller and Samuel Lamb.

Juglans toxicity

The black walnut, Juglans nigra, and possibly other Juglans species, are known to produce a chemical called juglone (said to be a form of tannin) that affects the lives of other plants in their immediate vicinity. Some species can be killed, other unaffected and some even bolstered. ECSONG is often asked about this matter: so here is the best answer to date.

NOTES ON BLACK WALNUT TOXICITY [from "Black Walnut Toxicity" by Olga Piedrahita, Factsheet No. 84-050, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, November 1984]

Plants reported as susceptible to black walnut toxicity include tomatoes, alfalfa, apple, pear, blackberry, blueberry, mountain laurel, azaleas, rhododendrons, shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), red pine, white pine and other evergreens.

Plants reported as showing toxicity symptoms occasionally include poverty grass (Danthonia), sweet peppers, common lilac, Persian lilac, viburnum, autumn crocus, peony, crabapple, magnolia, red raspberry, peach and Euonymus sp.

Plants not affected or which have shown improved growth near walnut roots include Kentucky bluegrass, timothy, red top, orchard grass and other grasses, white clover, beets, snapbeans, lima beans, onions, parsnips, sweet corn, black raspberry, grapes, wild roses, forsythia, Virginia creeper, poison ivy, narcissus, salvia, impatiens, Rudbeckia sp., red cedar, oaks, maples, hickories and other native hardwoods.

Other plants apparently tolerant to black walnut are anemone, jack-in-the-pulpit, lady fern, cyclamen, epimedium, dog's tooth violet, gentian, green hellebore, alumroot, plantain lily, iris, lilies, ostrich fern, forget-me-not, narcissus, lily turf, may apple, Solomon's seal, Christmas fern, primroses, pilewort, nightshade, meadow rue, toad lily, white clover, trillium, bellwort, wild oats, periwinkle, burning bush, honey suckle, mock orange, oaks, and poison ivy.

Nut Pines for Eastern Ontario

Amongst all the species of nut trees and shrubs ECSONG has been testing, nut pines may prove the most interesting.

Often the most expensive nuts in the grocery store, pine nut are an imported crop in Canada, usually from the southwestern reaches of North America, or from Eurasia. The nut pines from the mountains of southwestern USA and into Mexico are harvested by hand. The hard seeds must be extracted from the cone, then the seed shell cracked and the tasty, tiny kernel recovered. In Eurasia, the process seems to be much the same.

The Eurasian stone pines grow from the mountains of Lebanon northern through Italy and into Siberia. Some extend into the Himalayas. The Korean nut pine extends across eastern Asia.

A number of the nut pine species grow in climates not unlike our own in Eastern Ontario, and offer excellent prospects of being introduced successfully. Ted Cormier, Pat Ferguson and Barb Boal at KCAT are working on grafting the Siberian and Korean nut pine to our own white pine rootstock in order to create a clone more in tune with our seasonal patterns. Alex Mucha has acquired a supply of nut pine seed from contacts in Russia. The success of the Korean nut pines planted by Mark Schaefer some years ago near Mer Bleu is spurring on this effort. Lastly, at this year's AGM, Charles Rhora, a champion of nut pine growing in Ontario, will be addressing the meeting.

The nut pine is proving to be a good nut tree for ECSONG. For more information on the nut pines, contact Ted Cormier or Mark Schaefer.

Nut Industry

ECSONG's chair, Len Collett, has spoken about the Chapter's considerable accomplishments over its first twenty years, and about new directions.

ECSONG has taken the idea of growing nuts in the Eastern Ontario region from incredulous to patently practical. With its three major nut groves, ECSONG has demonstrated nut trees thriving, and catalysed a ground swell of interest amongst individuals, governments and the private sector. Through its determined promotional activities, the Chapter has made nut growing respectable.

Len speaks about the time having come to begin developing an industry around nut growing. He points to the efforts of a small band of private companies to coalesce such an industry around the nut trees already growing, not in domesticated plantations, but in the cities, towns, and along roadsides, planted for landscaping reasons rather than nut production.

There are thousands of nut trees including black walnut, butternut, oaks, hickories, and others, that could be harvested. These crops could become the first feedstock for the industry, providing enough volume to enable local products and services for a global marketplace. This embryonic industry could catalyse an explosion of nut growing by providing superior growing stock to plant back into the region, by providing material for scientific improvement work, and by opening the markets.

There are to date five companies at work. The Seed Source of Oxford Mills is most expert in harvesting and seed sales. Source Wood Products in Cornwall has created a nursery to offer nut seedling in quantity to local growers. Alcon Welding in Nepean has begun building the special machinery that will be needed. (See the "S&W Report", Volume 5, Fall/Winter 1996, for an article on one of Alcon's achievements, namely the first and only nut hulling service in the Eastern Ontario region). The Xnet Group in Vanier is preparing marketing tools using the Internet to reach across the globe. Cobjon Enterprises Inc. is leading the consolidation of the industry.

The new industry could be in full swing by the beginning of the next millennium.

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