The Nuttery : Volume 16 Number 4 (1997)

In this Issue...

Note that the 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) is coming up this month, on Saturday March 21st. See inside in the ANNOUNCEMENTS SECTION for details. Note also the upcoming "Art Of Gardening" show.

ECSONG's four main nut grove projects are active. See the notes in the PROJECTS SECTION on Oak Valley, Fillmore R. Park, Dolman Ridge and the Dominion Arboretum (for future reference, there are other nut groves under consideration). See also the progress report on The ECSONG Website project.

In the NEWS SECTION, follow-up on the past winter meeting. Consider submitting nut poetry, jokes, etc. as a literary contribution. Read the report on the ice damage resistance of nut trees, and Mark Schaefer article on damage repair. Consider nut trees as common in the city of the future, and follow the exciting developments in the growing nut industry in the region.

Plan to visit the upcoming "Art of Gardening" show in Ottawa this month. Can seedlings winter-over indoors in pots without special attention - maybe! Afif Nasr does it. Also, nut trees produce more than nuts and wood - read about nut sugar in the NUTGROWER SECTION.

Check out the MARKETPLACE SECTION for seed/seedling and special services suppliers.

Lastly, make sure your dues are paid, so you do not miss being informed about the latest nut news and meetings.

See you at the AGM!

ECSONG Annual General Meeting 97/98

The meeting is traditionally held the third Saturday in March, and this year is no different. On Saturday, March 21, 1998, ECSONG's Annual General Meeting will be held at the McMannis Interpretive Centre 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. The highlight this year is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of ECSONG - it is proposed to offer a nut culture research prize to college students in the region, the first award slated to spring 1999 - a vote will be taken.

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, Mike Rosen, Stewardship Coordinator in this region, will spend an hour with us discussing ice damage to nut trees, and best remedies. The session will be part presentation and part roundtable, so participants can ask questions as well offer their own experiences.

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, ECSONG Secretariat.

Oak Valley Plantation Notes

Ted Cormier reports that the Plantation has been singled out by the Ontario Gene Conservation Association to become the one of three archives for canker-resistant butternuts in Ontario. About 100 grafted seedlings (resistant scion) will be planted in an area set aside specifically for this purpose. ECSONG will receive a grant of $500 to help look after these small treasures.

As you probably know by now, the butternuts are being killed in great numbers by a canker that spread over the last few years northward from the southern end of its range deep in the USA. Most butternuts are already gone, our region being about the last to have trees in any great number.

In the year to come, the nuts from the resistant trees will be tested then propagated, so that butternuts, a native North American tree, will live on.

For more information, contact Ted in Oxford Mills 258-2570.

FRP Nut Grove Notes

The Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove will be 20 years old in 1999, celebrating its first plantings done in 1979. As the senior ECSONG nut grove, this 20th will certainly be a cause for celebration!

Plans are afoot to expand the grove's perimeter slightly to take a number of large bur oak and black cherry growing naturally there. More nut trees for the visitor to see and learn about.

The FRP Liaison Committee, says Sandy Graham its secretary, is planning their first spring field day for Saturday, May 9, 1998. Watch for details in the next issue of The Nuttery.

For more information, contact Sandy in Kars 489-4159.

Dolman Ridge Nut Plantations

Dolman Ridge, in the Mer Bleu area east of Ottawa, has many small plantations of nut trees planted during the era when the site was Forestry Canada's Central Research Forest from the late sixties through the seventies. It is now owned by the National Capital Commission (NCC), and managed by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR)

These plantations are an exciting living record of the growth performance of the many nut species planted there. A number of the plantations are mature enough to be seed producers.

For several years, the nut trees in the area have been looked after by a liaison committee chaired by ECSONG, and including the NCC, the OMNR, The Canadian Chestnut Council, and The International Oak Society. Members include Chris Cummins (Chair), Steve Palmer, Ralph McKendry, Moe Anderson, Mark Schaefer, Ted Cormier, Alec Jones, Doug Wolthausen (NCC), and others from time to time.

With spring field days just around the corner, it is time to consider the date for visiting the Dolman Ridge.

Given that nut trees have proved robust against ice storms elsewhere, will Dolman's trees also show the same strength? The spring field day will be a good time to look the whole place over.

Check with any member, and watch for the spring issue of The Nuttery for more information.

The Dominion Arboretum Notes

For several years now, Canada has been in danger of losing its 120-year-old arboretum, due to (unwise) government cutbacks. The situation may have changed, though it is not clear just yet.

The Central Experimental Farm (CEF), run by the federally department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), has been under intense pressure by local developers. Parliament has decided that it should be a "National Historic Site". This designation may mean that the land is now safe.

However, AAFC has no program for an arboretum, nor does Forestry Canada. There are many nut trees there, and ECSONG is interested in the research possibilities. How can we influence the future of the Arboretum? Should we encourage its merging with the more successful gardens, to make the are Canada's National Botanic Garden? Should we single out the nut trees and be their advocate at every turn? There is a public consultation underway on the whole matter of how to administer the CEF NHS.

For more information, contact the Public Consultations Coordinator 613-759-6632 or, or You can give your input directly on the website.

ECSONG Website project

The Executive at its last meeting allocated $375 to further the development of our website. The money will be spent to bring back issues of The Nuttery online for reference. As funds become available, new sections of the website will be implemented, such pay dues, buy promotional products, members private section, etc.

The website is being hosted by Cobjon Enterprises Inc.'s Nutculture Services division. The URL is The development work is being done by Cobjon (Hank Jones) and AIM Consulting of Nepean (Karen Bertrand, Principal) under the direction of the Editor of The Nuttery.

Winter Meeting 98

The ECSONG Winter Meeting was held at the Citizen Building on Baxter Road in Ottawa on Tuesday, January 20th, 1998 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The program offered several speakers, a long break for conversation and exhibits, and a roundtable discussion.

Len Collett, ECSONG Chair, opened the meeting. Hank Jones spoke about his report to The Tree Committee of the Ottawa Centretown Community Association and Diane Holmes , RMOC Councillor on nut tree damage in the ice storm. Nut trees suffered least - see the reprint of the report in the NEWS SECTION of this issue. Sandy Graham, Secretary of the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove Liaison Committee, reported on ice damage in the nut grove, showed excellent slides, and described what remedial action may be necessary to mitigate the damage. The Committee also includes Cliff Craig, Chair, Jim Ellis, Allan Gillis, Ted Cormier, Mark Schaefer, and Alec Jones. Ralph McKendry, Chair, Committee past chairs, presented their proposal to create a prize for excellence in nut culture research for college students in Eastern Ontario, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ECSONG. ECSONG was founded by Fillmore Park and Alec Jones in 1978 as the Ottawa Chapter of SONG. The Chapter's jurisdiction was expanded in the early eighties to service eastern Ontario, and its name changed to ECSONG. Ralph also proposed a new program for involving school children in nut growing, that he has been developing for several years - the meeting found the proposal exciting and expressed the desire to see it underway as soon as possible. Tom Henry, director of the Dominion Arboretum's Donor Tree Program described how the nut trees in the arboretum fared under the ice onslaught - rather well on the whole, he said.

During the break, attendees sampled the exquisite nut cuisine offered by Kathleen Jones, Genice Collett, and Myrtle McKendry. Alcon Welding & Small Engine Repair displayed its nut huller and large cracker. ECSONG offered its growers manual and its cookbook.

After the break, everyone participated in a roundtable discussion on the ins and outs of nut growing in these parts. The roundtable was moderated by Hank Jones. Five of ECSONG's most experienced nut culturists lead the discussion. Bill Forrest with 30 years experience growing various nut trees and shrubs in the region, uses Scoot to repel deer, and has ways of preventing damping-off in seedlings. Ernie Kerr, starting new nut plantations near Maxville with meticulous documentation, says starting from local seed rather than cultivar seedlings from more southerly regions is clearly the best way to early success. George Truscott, master of the Truscott Nursery in the Oak Valley Plantation and Pioneer Homestead Memorial Park, brought many years experience interplanting black walnut with pine species and in woodlots at White Lake to the discussion. Kurt Wasner has established a nursery in the North Gower area with emphasis on protection of seedling from deer and rodents - electric fences ten feet high, wires every foot or so, deep cycle batteries good for a week or two - is his main defence. Ted Cormier, founder/owner/operator with spouse Isabelle of The Seed Source, the region's premier wild seed collector, rounded out the leaders of the roundtable discussion. Most agreed that the roundtable was an excellent format for information exchange. Thanks to Art Read for suggesting the roundtable.

On a final note, Ralph McKendry explained his latest idea furthering his excellent Nuts-to-Gro! Starter Kit for starting nut trees from seed. He explains that the kit with a seedling tree instead of a stratified nut in it, combined the ECSONG Growing Cell, makes for a Nuts-to-Gro! Seedling Kit.

Nut Poetry?

Roses are red,
walnuts are black,
reforest with nuts
to bring our trees back!


Roses are red,
so are some oaks,
plant plenty of acorns
and please many folks!

Darryl Abbinett, Nut Poet, wrote the above, and many more (some actually better!). He says we need nut poetry (limericks, doggerel, jokes, whatever) to help get the message across that Canadians should be planting nuts often and everywhere.

Inspired? Write 'em down, and send them to The Nuttery at 2446 Sudbury Ave., Ottawa K2C 1L9, or email And sign your name!

Nut Trees Survive Ice Storms Best

The following report was prepared by Hank Jones, Nutculture consultant, and Member, Eastern Chapter Society of Ontario Nut Growers, on 16/1/98, at the request of Diane Holmes, Councillor, Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.

During the ice storm of January 6th through 10, 1998, many trees in Centretown Ottawa were broken. A quick walking survey revealed that the amount of damage varied depending on a tree's species and its general condition. The nut trees showed the least amount of damage.

Centre Town's nut trees include Black Walnut, Butternut, Hickory, Bur Oak, Red Oak, Horsechestnut, Treehazel, and ginkgo. The bean trees, such as Kentucky Coffee Tree, Black Locust, and Honey Locust fared reasonably well, as did most Conifers and the hard Maples and some Ash. Most affected were the weed trees such as Manitoba Maple and Siberian (Chinese) Elm, and others such as the Birch family, the Willow family and certain of the Ashes.

The nut-bearing trees tolerate ice loading best probably because they have fewer and sturdier twigs than other species, needed to carry their much heavier nut fruit. Fewer twigs mean less ice overall, and sturdier twigs and branches mean a greater load bearing capacity. In other words, nut trees are predisposed to withstanding ice storms. Trees of all species that were overmature or lopsided due to side-crowding or disfiguring pruning suffered the most.

In this regard, the main difficulty in the city is overhead wiring, with which larger trees are incompatible. The permanent solution is to bury city power wires, as is wisely done with the other utilities: i.e. water mains, sewerage, telephone and gas. With wiring buried, as is now often done routinely in new neighbourhoods, not only would city trees recoup much living space and thus retain sturdy form, but the power outages caused by dropped and felled wires would be a thing of the past!

Climatologists state that climate warming is most noticeable in the form of more extremes of weather, and their more frequent occurrence. Ice storms as bad, or worse, than the one just past may occur again sooner than expected, and possibly more often.

It is recommended that:

Repairing Ice-damaged Trees

Mark Schaefer wrote the following article for the Ottawa Citizen.

We have experienced the "worst natural disaster in our history" as 70 millimetres of freezing rain fell continuously over three days. We watched our trees break apart and shrubs arch to the ground. A disheartening sight.

Life goes on. Trees have survived for thousands of years and are masters at it. But we can help. First, assess the damage and then take action:

In a few years, your surviving trees and shrubs will bound back. Good luck!

Consult our hot lines for further advice: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 4 p.m. at 828-5264 and Wednesdays, 1-3 p.m. at 230-3276. Mark Schaefer, Ottawa-Carleton Master Gardeners

Urban Nut Trees and Shrubs for the second millennium city

The following brief has been sent to Clive Doucet (at his request), cc Diane Holmes.

Proposition: Canada's urban forest can benefit from having a larger proportion of nut bearing trees and shrubs.

Discussion: Canadian nut trees and shrubs include many species of walnuts, oaks, hickories, beech, hazels, nut pines, chestnuts, buckeyes and horsechestnuts.

Nut trees by their nature are:

A new breed of commercial harvesters, under contract to tree owners, would organize the nut gathering from trees growing on both public and private lands, and thereby generate new economic wealth while at the same time assuring no nut litter on the ground or nut burden being sent to landfills.

The RMOC region could harbour ten of thousands of nut trees generating millions of dollars of new wealth per year, or more.

Hank Jones, Nutculturist Nutculture Services, Cobjon Enterprises Inc., Phone 828-5772 or pager 364-0270

The Nut Industry

Hank Jones has been promoting a new version (probably more properly a revived version) of a nut industry for the region, based on distributed production. Given that nut tree grow and would be planted scattered are the region, so the nuts would be harvested by a network of individual spanning the region.

Hank is writing a book on this subject, to be called tentatively "Canadian Nutteries", as a basis for his new business, that of nutculture consultant. He has organized two workshops in Ottawa this past month for invited crafters to examine the making of uniquely Canadian crafts from the nutshell of Canadian-grown nuts. Both workshops were well attended, and more are in the offing. (The first workshop was written up in "The Buzz", February '98, Centretown Ottawa's community newspaper.) As well, workshops on other matters leading to the commercialization of nut crops will be organized in the near future.

A commercial website is under development to retail Canadian products to the world marketplace. the website will offer products on consignment, take orders, collect payment online by credit card or interac, and notify the vendor to ship the order. This website will be demonstrated later this spring.

For more information, contact Hank at 828-5772 or email

The Art of Gardening Show

Unfortunately, the organizers of the Ottawa Spring Home Show will be unable to have a Master Gardeners section this year, as they have had the last two years, with ECSONG in attendance. However, The Ottawa School of Art, George Street in Ottawa, is organizing a spring show of exhibits, presentations and demonstrations by artists, gardeners and the gardening industry. ECSONG has been invited, and has accepted, to setup a booth

The show will be held on Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22 of March 1998 at the Glebe Community Centre. It will be open to the public from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and from 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

ECSONG has offered a fifteen presentation on the subject of “Using Canadian-grown nuts at home for food and crafts” by Hank Jones. Also, the Society plan a demonstration of cracking and tasting Canadian-grown black Walnuts and Butternuts.

Many items will be displayed and some will be offered for sale to visitors. Several crafters for the region will be making new crafts for the first time from nut shell, and these will be on sale. The crafters so far include Joan and Howard Edel, Isabelle and Ted Cormier, Darryl Abbinett, and Karen Bertrand. These folks hope to see a rapid growth in the crafts business based on Canadian nutshell. Glen Marshall has been working with Mark Jones at Alcon Welding & Small Engine Repair in Nepean to build a serviceable prototype nutshell slicer in order to provide the crafters with the nutshell they need. Vera Hrebacka, of Vera's Gift Gallery and Boutique on Elgin St. in Ottawa will feature these same crafts and newer ones over the coming months. Vera has also expressed interest in the stain/dye from walnut husk, some of which may be available at the show.

Hank Jones is organizing the ECSONG exhibit. He can be reached at 828-5772, Nutculture Services, Cobjon Enterprises Inc.

Afif Nasr Winters Over Seedlings Indoors

Afif Nasr of Gloucester likes his oaks! He starts them from acorns outdoors, often in pots to protect them from you-know-who. Rather than leave the pots outdoors over winter where squirrels and mice may get to them, he brings the dormant seedlings indoors. The plants sit at room temperature. One might expect the trees to dry out and die, but apparently they do not. He announced just the other week that his red oaks have already broken dormancy in their pots indoors, and the new leaves are now coming out.

Fruits of Labour

Most people think of nut trees as producers of tasty kernels or the oil extract thereof. Well, this is only the beginning, and possibly the least of all the fruits of labour. We now know that nut tree sap, specially the butternut (and maybe the black walnut) and hickory, have been important sources of syrup and sugar in the past. These products rival maple syrup and sugar in appeal. Though the trees may not have as high sugar content in the sap (we do not know this for sure as yet), the product is said to be different from maple, and may find a lucrative market of its own. Tapping nut trees would mean a spring product for nut growers (a nut sugar bush?), as well as nut crop in the fall. One may have to be conservative in tapping sap so as not to jeopardize nut production - however, the nut crops themselves are discards from the tree, and it suffers no withdrawal from their harvesting. So, we have at least two crops from the same source. Going a step further, a partial harvest of immature nuts for pickling in June is potentially a third cropping. Done carefully, such as taking nuts from an overabundance, may entice the tree to grow the remaining nuts more vigorously and produce fewer but better nuts in the fall.

Nut trees may offer more fruits of labour than any other kind of tree!

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