The Nuttery : Volume 17 Number 3 (1998)

In this Issue...

A new kind of ECSONG nut grove?

There is a Shagbark Hickory stand in North Lanark that may the farthest north yet found by ECSONG. During the past few years, members of ECSONG have discussed this unique area of crown land on French Settlement Road in Lavant township which boasts the only stand of Shagbark hickory in the area. Large butternuts are also abundant as well as a stand of American Beech further up the hill. I had an opportunity to discuss the future plans for this land with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) manager Jim McCready. I expressed our wish to have this area preserved for its unique flora and kept aside from future harvest. He informed me that the OMNR. is now formulating a new management plan for crown land in Lanark County and that our inquiries come at an opportune time. He recommends a letter on behalf of ECSONG be sent to him in regards to this land designation. Any related projects such as trails, signage, picnic sites and stand improvement should be negotiated directly with Ministry of Natural Resources. Initial feedback from Jim was positive to our suggestions. I will draft a letter to him soon. About fifteen acres with road frontage would encompass most of the trees. The site could be designated an 'ANSI' (Area of Natural and Scientific Interest), a formal designation used by OMNR. If it were to become an ECSONG Nut Grove, a new Liaison Committee would be needed - Len Collett has volunteered to take up this matter, in part because he lives close by. Are there other similar areas harboring nut tree species even farther north in the Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec region? If you know of any, please let ECSONG know.

Ted Cormier, Chair ECSONG

Oak Valley Fall '98 Field Day

Saturday, September 19th, was a beautiful, sunny day with a gentle breeze. The site had been prepared for us the day before by the grass cutters, Buck Cairncross, Gordon Bartholomew and Scott Baldwin. They had also trimmed the tall grass around the memorial boulders that line the main entrance and the front path to the nursery. Everything looked terrific! As a result of these preparations and the weather, the volunteers had ideal conditions for preparing the seedlings for winter and clearing up the site for the nut tree bus tour on the following Saturday.

Most of the work was done in the west field and in the central area; however, the biggest accomplishment that day was the completion of the combination outhouse/storage shed by the McKendrys. Throughout the summer Robert, Richard, Jim and Myrtle had been constructing and assembling this structure at the plantation. Their work took most of the day. Now thanks to their efforts, we have a very useful structure made from solid oak planks, in keeping with the name of the plantation!

In the west field, tall grass still remained in a one metre circle around each seedling. This was cut by Len Collett, who carefully whipper snipped most of the grass around the seedlings and the catalpa trees at the northern edge of the field. Any remaining grass was cut by hand and the seedlings were staked up by Sheryl and Richard McKendry, Michael Broad and Genice Collett. Mulch was then applied around these seedlings using Ernie Kerr's ATV and trailer system to transport the wood chips. Tree wrap was installed around all seedlings for protection from mice during the winter.

Kim and Lester McInnes and Sheila Carr carried out similar activity for the rows of oaks situated alongside the river, while Ernie Kerr finished making a map for the west field. At the front entrance, Irene Broad mulched the grafted butternuts provided by the Forest Gene Conservation Association, while Kim worked on maintaining the chestnut seedlings on the other side of the entrance.

Around the boundary of the nursery, Kim retrieved the Korean nut pines from being overwhelmed with grass and weeds. With the aid of Sheila and Kim, Lester cut around the nursery boundary and especially around the hazelnut shrubs and freed them from the tall grass. Now the grass cutters will be able to cut right up to these hazelnuts. These bushes are five years old and this is the second consecutive year that they have borne nuts. We are most grateful to Ted Cormier who planted this Graham Winkler variety of hazelnut in 1994.

On the east side of the plantation, George Truscott applied his usual energy to the activities and retrieved several walnut seedlings from the weeds situated along the river bank by cutting, mulching and staking. He also planted some shagbark hickory and two walnuts there. Within the nursery, he planted a row of chestnuts, 70 beech nuts, 200 English oak acorns and 100 red oak acorns. As a result of all these efforts, the plantation looked great at the end of the day.

For the first time it was observed that some of the walnut trees on the east side were bearing walnuts and were growing above the canopy of the pine trees Many thanks for all your hard work over the years--it is beginning to pay off!

Peter Carr, Chair Oak Valley Liaison Committee

The Dominion Arboretum story heats up

John Sankey has been discussing with the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm's (FOF) George Vorauer the future of the nut-bearing plants collection at the Arboretum, and what can be done to improve it. The quiescent Dominion Arboretum Liaison Committee (DALC) could help. John is considering chairing a renewed Committee, and has the blessing of ECSONG. Bill Forrest and Peter Satterley have expressed interest in joining John. As the FOF struggles to ensure a vigorous future for the Arboretum and the nearby Gardens, John proposes to seek the appointment of a scientific Curator, a paid position. With a proposal to revitalize the botanical garden (the arboretum and gardens taken together) to the federal Millennium Project for $4,000,000 (million) dollars, the FOF would plant about 10% of the area in nut bearing plants, and round out the collection to close to some 100 different species, varieties and cultivars over time.

Another player has entered the arena. The new Ottawa Botanical Garden Society is taking shape, headed by Ian Efford, a university professor as well as an experienced federal public servant. The Ottawa Botanical Garden Society proposes to expand beyond the existing gardens, arboretum and the Fletcher Wildlife Garden to the south and east. A non-profit organization is foreseen whose efforts could result in many paying visitors to these botanical gardens. The existing gardens are already the second biggest Ottawa area attraction after the Parliament Buildings.

ECSONG has always had a keen interest in a strong national arboretum for Canada, and will continue to pursue success through wide collaboration, and continuing contributions of stock and technical advice. With the growing number of exciting, practical proposals now arriving on Agriculture Canada's doorstep, it seems inevitable that Canada will have a national botanical garden and arboretum, essential to the prestige of the country known worldwide as "the land of forests and trees".

For more information, contact The Nuttery.

Dolman Ridge Nut Tree Plantations' Future

The following notes are an outline of a proposed vision and action plan for the long term future of the Plantations. The final proposal would be drafted by the Dolman Ridge Nut Tree Plantations Liaison Committee (DLC). The vision section of the document could include...

A description of the envisaged overall area, complete with a list of existing and future expected plantations, as they would eventually appear in the year 2025, i.e., one generation from now.

The area provides a research and demonstration site for nut bearing trees and shrubs viable in the Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec regions, worthy of considerable investment in the long term.

The Dolman Ridge now hosts (insert number) plantations of nut bearing trees and shrubs, ranging in size from as small as (insert number) hectares to as large as (insert number) hectares, started in the late nineteen sixties and early seventies, including (insert number) species, varieties and cultivars, scattered over an area of (insert number) hectares. By the year 2025, the Dolman Ridge could host (insert number) plantations of nut bearing trees and shrubs, ranging in size from as small as (insert number) hectares to as large as (insert number) hectares, started in the late nineteen sixties and early seventies, including (insert number) species, varieties and cultivars, scattered over an area of (insert number) hectares.

One generation from now, in about the year 2025, the Dolman Ridge Nut Tree Plantations, will have become a must-see-and-experience nature park for citizens, scientists/foresters, nut growers, tourists, other visitors to Canada, and to students of all ages. Nut products from the trees themselves, as well as souvenirs, general information, and scientific data/research results will be readily available, both online and offline. Guided and self-guided tours will be routine, available year-round, and lectures will be given in the onsite workshops and auditorium. Visitors will arrive on foot, by bike, and in public and private vehicles - individually, as families and as tour groups. Use fees will be applied to the furtherance of the area.

The site management plan section of the document could include...

A combined general and specific management plan detailing the objectives for the first, second, fifth, tenth and twenty-fifth years, and outlining generally the tasks that will need to be completed to reach the objectives. The plan section of the document should include the following information...

Now overgrown, these plantations must be mapped, management-planned, released, documented and trailed, to enable ready public access in perpetuity, this work being started by the beginning in the next millennium. ECSONG, as Chair of the DLC, can lead this work, with enthusiastic support, resources and help from DLC member agencies (insert names) and individuals (insert names). The work should be carried out, plantation by plantation, in the order suggested above: Map; Manage; Release; Document; and Trail. In the first year, 1999, Map & Manage task should be completed. In the second year, 2000, Release, Document and Trail should be completed. The site officially opens to the public in May, 2001 (the first year of the new millennium) along with its website. By the end of the fifth year, self-guided tours, home-grown nut products and Dolman souvenirs will become available, and scientific data will be online on the website, and new research plantings within existing sites will have been completed. By the end of the tenth year, the number of nut plantations and species will have roughly doubled, and guide tours will be routine. By the end of the twenty-fifth year, Dolman will have become a cherished 'nuts for nature' park surrounded by human development, a haven for city folk and tourists, and an educational resource of abiding interest to all Canadians.

The project management plan section could include...

A description of the division of interest, the commitment, and the prospective roles and responsibilities to be played out over the years by each supporting agency. ECSONG should continue to chair the DLC, to carry the initiatives forward, and coordinate technical and scientific expertise. The NCC, as owner, will direct the overall development towards expressed goals and major objective, and provide resources. The other participants should as soon as possible express the nature and substance of the interest, and identify the kind and level of support they plan to offer.

Finally... The next step in launching this project is a series of three meetings of the DLC over the next three months or so, to

Notes provided by Hank Jones for Chris Cummins, Chair Dolman Ridge Nut Tree Plantations Liaison Committee (DLC)

FRP Nut Grove's Twentieth Coming Up!

Almost twenty years have passed since the first nut trees were planted at the Baxter Conservation Area. In April 1979, six species of seedlings and young nut trees were planted in what would later be called the Filmore R. Park Nut Grove. Some of the trees were obtained from the Central Research Forest near Dolman Ridge. Others were donated by members of the Ottawa Chapter of SONG.

I am planning a new project to mark the twentieth anniversary of the nut grove. I have in mind the landscaping of the pond at the north end of the grove. The pond is now isolated from the grove by a screen of alders and sumac and a rusty wire fence. I propose that we integrate the pond into the grove by reducing the slope on one side of the pond, cutting back unwanted vegetation and replanting with new nut trees and shrubs. This project will provide us with an opportunity to plant some of the many species and varieties which are still unrepresented at Baxter. In addition, we can demonstrate some of the ways in which nut trees can be employed to achieve landscape objectives, particularly shoreline preservation and stabilization of slopes. This will be a unique opportunity for the Eastern Chapter of SONG to focus on landscaping a difficult site as opposed to highlighting the trees themselves. I plan to provide further details and a draft site plan for discussion at the winter meeting.

The following excerpts from some of the documents in our "archives" provide a capsule history of the grove. It is apparent that the nut grove and ECSONG were created together (ED. note - this is quite right, though ECSONG was originally called the Ottawa Area Chapter of SONG). I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can share with me their recollection of the early days.

In January 1978, Filmore R. Park, a member of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and a member of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (SONG), proposed to the RVCA the establishment of a nut tree grove at the Baxter Conservation Area.

In February, Mr. Park wrote to R.D. Campbell at Niagara-on-the-Lake asking for promotional copies of the SONG news:

"I am a member of the [RVCA] and at the Annual meeting recently I promoted the idea of the Ottawa and district members of SONG becoming involved with the Authority in establishing some nut groves on Authority lands. There was considerable enthusiasm for the idea and I have been appointed to the Reforestation and Land Use Committee, presumably as a consequence of my proposal...

"I would think there would be considerable value both locally and to the Society as a whole if the Ottawa and district members were to form some sort of local group or Chapter of SONG for the purpose of promoting local interest and local projects."

Mr. Campbell wrote back in March:

"I agree with your concept that nut groves can be a valuable addition to any conservation area...

"The concept of forming local groups to cover the specifics of localities has been discussed at several recent SONG meetings. There is great merit in the idea if there's sufficient interest to sustain the local group and keep the ideas moving. There are probably more members concentrated around a central hub in the Ottawa area than any other district, with the exception of Metro Toronto, etc. Furthermore, some of the Ottawa members seem to show exceptional enthusiasm.

"The idea of having an inaugural planting date in the Ottawa area sounds appealing - that could be the focus for a spring meeting in the eastern portion of the province."

Some technical thoughts -

(a) Select a site which has good wind protection and possibly even a slight slope to the south with good air drainage, etc.

(b) Soil - medium loams - with good organic matter content helps a great deal - soil depth at least three feet

(c) Your best species choices would probably be in order - butternuts, heartnuts, hazelberts, shagbark hickory, American X Manchurian chestnuts, Carpathian walnuts, black walnuts.

"Generally I think your initiative is excellent."

Later that month, Fil Park wrote again to Campbell, marvelling at the enthusiasm of his Ottawa-area colleagues:

"At a meeting of the Reforestation and Land Use Board of the [RVCA] I was asked to speak in connection with my earlier proposal...There was much enthusiasm and a good deal of discussion. It was finally left for me to approach local members of SONG to determine the extent of interest and the possibility of forming a local group that could cooperate with the Authority.

"My first contact with local members of SONG were with Mr. W.W. Dickson and Messrs. Alec and H. Jones. The interests expressed were so strong and the subject of such mutual interest that I never did find time to contact further members at that time. I plan to contact a number of additional members...and if the interest is general we will undoubtedly take some steps to get together to plan for possible cooperation with the Authority in establishing some nut tree planting on Authority lands.

A further step to the above would be the establishing of a local Chapter of SONG or some suitable identification for a local group. However, if we accomplish our first objective the second should not be difficult."

In May, 1978, Ottawa-area members of the Society agreed to support the development of a nut grove in collaboration with the Authority and moved to seek the formation of an Ottawa chapter of the Society. Mr. Park wrote to J. Gordon, President of SONG, to inquire about the possibility of establishing a local chapter of the Society.

John Gordon responded by letter dated May 22:

"On the evening of Saturday, May 20, 1978, Bob Hambleton, Doug Campbell, Ernie Grimo and myself discussed the formation of the Ottawa Area Group as proposed in your letter of May 12, 1978..."The efforts of your group, especially those attending, deserves SONG's congratulations. It is in our joint interest of planting better nut trees...

"O.K. Go ahead. Propose your group. Sketch an outline which we can send out by June 29th when the meeting notice for the July 29th SONG meeting must be mailed...

"Other than what you propose and we ratify, we only want to give one general rule. Rules or the lack of them will be reviewed under the guide that they help plant better nut trees. For instance, the Ottawa group may become sufficient enough to wonder why they are under SONG. That will be account taking time."

In June, Fil Park and Alec Jones drafted a formal proposal to SONG concerning establishment of an Ottawa area chapter. The chapter was officially established at the SONG annual Meeting on July 29, 1978. The chapter established a Baxter Nut Grove Task Force at about this time to cooperate with the RVCA in the planning and maintenance of the grove. In August, O. Stirjas of the RVCA wrote to Fil Park:

"As you are already aware, at the last meeting of the Reforestation and Land Use Advisory Board, a motion was passed recommending that the Authority initiate a nut tree plantation at the Baxter Conservation Area. This motion went on to recommend that the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (SONG) be approached with a view to enlisting their technical expertise and assistance in the procurement and planting of seeds and seedlings."

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority has resolved to prepare a five acre Nuttery site as the Baxter Conservation Area. The Authority will prepare a draft plan for this site, which eventually will hold as many of the nut bearing species which can survive in the Rideau Watershed. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is requesting that SONG, and in particular the Ottawa Area Chapter, provide the advice and expertise concerning what species and varieties should be selected for the Baxter site and how they should be planted and maintained. Furthermore, it is hoped that there will be sufficient volunteers from the SONG ranks to have a group planting session in the spring of 1979 so that the first plantings will get off to the very best start possible. In appreciation of this effort, and if all works out for the better, at an appropriate future time, we will erect a plaque to commemorate this occasion."

[Note: This might be another idea to consider for spring 1999.]

At a meeting of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers, Ottawa Area Chapter in October 1978, the members started planning for the following spring:

"The Chair (F.R. Park) read out a letter from the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, in which they asked for our cooperation and assistance in developing a nut-grove on a 5-acre site next to the Baxter Conservation Area, on the Rideau River above Kars. Mr. Rhodes, who had served on the RVCA and knew the area involved, wondered whether the flooding risk might not be too high. The meeting felt that there should be an immediate follow-up with RVCA, and that Mr. Anderson and Mr. Rhodes should meet with Mr. Cliff Craig of RVCA and look over the site. The meeting asked Mr. Park to make a formal reply to RVCA confirming our willingness to cooperate.

"Mr. Park said he had already informed the President, SONG, of RVCA's plans, and had received from him a package of valuable data and maps related to the work on the Niagara nut-grove, which would help us greatly. He asked the members to think about a task force, or other suitable mechanism for helping RVCA, before our next meeting."

The first planting of nut trees at the Baxter Nut Grove was made in April 1979. I will have more to relate about the first trees in a future issue of The Nuttery.

Sandy Graham, Chair Filmore R. Park Nut Grove Liaison Committee

PS. Prompted by a question which appeared on last fall's nut tour quiz, Sandy Graham made a quick count of the trees at the Filmore R. Park Nut Grove this past December. The total number of trees (errors and omissions excepted) is 146 trees. That includes everything from the tallest (the six remaining large red oaks) to the smallest (the microscopic yellowhorns). The species best represented is the bitternut hickory (eleven trees). Those species represented by only one example include pin oak, English oak and yellow buckeye.

ECSONG would like to express its thanks to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and to Jim Ellis and his crew in particular for the fine work they have done in removing the screen of cedars which hid six huge burr oaks from view. These oaks can be found to the east of the juglans plantings, adjacent to the path leading from the grove to the bridge. They form a wonderful new east wall for the grove. Drop by and marvel!

Art of Gardening II Show

Remember the cold weekend last March when ECSONG exhibited at the first Art of Gardening Show held in the Glebe Community Center? About 500 visitors braved the cold to attend. This year, at the second show to be held instead in mid-April, chances are good that attendance will soar.

ECSONG and its colleagues have been invited back. And this year, we could offer to host a short workshop in return for more free publicity by the organizers. If you or your group would like to participate in an ECSONG booth and workshop, contact The Communications Committee, or The Nuttery.

Kemptville Winter Woodlot Day

On Friday, February 12, 1999, ECSONG will be exhibiting at the Show to be held at the W.B. George Center, Kemptville College of the University of Guelph.

Our indoor exhibit will promote nut growing and could offer visitors contact with emerging nut culture suppliers in the Eastern Ontario region. This supplier community now includes: several nurseries offering seedlings (the G. Howard Ferguson Forestry Station being just one); Kurt Wasner's Buckthorn Meadows Tree Farms with seedlings and large trees; The Seed Source for nut seed and seedlings; Source Wood Products for wood and seedlings; and Cobjon Enterprises Inc., consulting and specialized equipment.

If you or your group would like to be part of the exhibit, contact The Communications Committee, or The Nuttery.

The ECSONG Prize

Enclosed is the poster for the prize, which encourages regional college students to write an article about nut culture. Dave. Baker, who chairs the selection committee, issued this poster last fall. It was sent to Algonquin College, Kemptville College, The Alfred College and La Cité Collegiale, all of which have horticultural or agro-forestry programs. The deadline is February 1, 1999, so there is still time for papers to be written. If you know a college student, tell him or her, and show them the poster. The Prize is worth $300!.

For more information, call Dave Baker.

Winter Meeting '99 Announcement

ECSONG's most popular regular meeting, the Winter Meeting, is coming up on Friday, January 22, 1999 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Auditorium at the Citizen Building at 1101 Baxter Road in Ottawa (near the Greenbank Exit south off the Queensway).

This is the time and place where we get to talk about our personal experiences in nut culture. And we all have had our successes and failures - and learned from them! Our experiences must be shared. After all, we are at the cutting edge of nut culture here in the Eastern Ontario region.

The evening is divided into four parts: registration, first presentations, intermission, and second presentations.

Registration with Treasurer Art read opens around 7:30 - and your 1999 dues can be paid at the same time.

Presenters for the First Presentations include:

Intermission (and Announcements) from 8:30 - 9:00 includes refreshments, schmoozing, exhibits and nut cuisine. Please bring along anything you would like to show, such a nuts, books, photos, tools, equipment, crafts, etc. - especially anything you might like to sell or exchange. If you have a culinary bent, try out your nut recipes (old and new), and get feedback (no pun intended) from or nut tasters community.

Presenters for the Second Presentation include:

For more information, contact the Editor, or ECSONG Chair Ted Cormier.

Beech Oil from German Forests

It is 1947. In the forest surrounding the little isolated town of Unterburingen in West Germany, many large beech (buchen) trees regularly drop an abundance of burs with nuts.

Vera Pastyrik, a spirited 14 year- old, and her mother Anna, arriving from Czechoslovakia via Austria lived there for a summer shortly after the war ended, and faced the shortages of food - cooking oil specially. All food was rationed for everyone, including an allowance of only 100 grams of oil for the week.

Vera and her fellow villagers would spend the day foraging for the beechnuts at harvest time, having their lunch brought to them in the forest, and bring the crop home at night. The harvest was taken on foot to the nearby city, where the beechnuts were processed at a plant that manufactured the cooking oil (does any reader know how the oil was extracted?). The harvesters would receive in return one third of the light yellow oil produced from their contribution, about a week later. For Vera, her harvest would provide her family with about one to one and half liters of oil.

In the next issue, we will learn about the harvesting of wild hazelnuts.

The Sweet Chestnut - Past and Future

About fifty years ago the future of Castanea dentata in eastern North America was so bleak that its total demise was forecast. The chestnut canker disease that ravaged the species through the first half of the century was the worst in the annals of forest hardwood history.

As in many forecasts of doom and gloom, there was an error in the assessment method. Surveys conducted during the eighties and nineties throughout the natural zone for the growth of C. dentata in southwestern Ontario showed that the species had not only clung to a toehold, but was actually making a slow comeback. Blight still exists in a virulent form killing young saplings and even a few large trees that had begun growth at the tail-end of the original devastation. As well, large non-blighted trees exist in several woodland sites. More than two dozen trees have a trunk with DBH (Diameter breast height) in excess of 50 cm (20 in) with heights of 25 m (80 ft) or more. The three largest trees have a DBH in excess of 75 cm (30 in). Although most blight-free trees are single specimens and lack cross-pollination, a few bear light crops of nuts annually. These nuts harvested by man and wildlife serve as seed to perpetuate the species.

Over time, nature often finds a way to survive disasters. This has happened with the chestnut through the development of hypovirulent forms of fungal pathogen. Hypovirulent forms have been found at eight locations in southwestern Ontario. Hypovirulence is caused by infection of the blight fungus and a virus that debilitates it. A debilitated fungus cannot grow as fast in the chestnut bark as a virulent one. Chestnut trees infected with hypovirulent strains show cankers that 'heal'. Callus tissue produced around the 'healing' cankers translocates water and nutrients and the tree is kept alive.

Research at the University of Guelph has been assessing the characteristics of hypovirulent strains of Cryphonectria parasitica and determining which ones are most effective in the laboratory in converting virulent ones to hypovirulence. Now, field inoculations can be made offering better prospects of success that those made previously. Field inoculations using hypovirulent strains will be an ongoing mechanism used by the Canadian Chestnut Council to combat the chestnut canker disease.

The Canadian Chestnut Council (CCC) is also endeavouring to ensure that a good diversity of the native germplasm of C. dentata is maintained. For this purpose seedlings have been planted at more than 160 sites across Southern Ontario. Plantings have been made as far north as Georgian Bay and easterly in several counties bordering on Lake Ontario. Young trees planted on sandy soils and given proper care have thrived at many sites.. It is now known that C. dentata will grow at latitudes up to 45°.

The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is progressing well with its blight resistance and breeding program. The American Chestnut Foundation has projected that it will have resistant germplasm that will yield trees of the stature of the timber ones of yore. This germplasm should be available by the end of the first decade of the new millennium. The Canadian Chestnut Council is currently assessing how it might cooperate with The American Chestnut Foundation on a blight resistance-breeding program in southwestern Ontario. The Canadian Chestnut Council is ever mindful of the need to have adequate cold-hardiness characteristics in chestnut trees suitable for Canada's cold climate.

The question is frequently asked - are the Canadian Chestnut Council and SONG organizations at cross purposes? A short, simple answer is no. As we know, in most if not all, SONG organizations there is an objective to meet a growing demand for high quality, edible sweet chestnut seeds. Whether the goal of the breeding program is directed toward that of producing a low branching orchard type, or a tall, stately timber tree, there can be no satisfactory long-term result without blight control. Consequently, blight resistance is a must. Of the various chestnut species, the Chinese, C. mollissima, is the most blight resistant. For that reason, C. mollissima is being used as the resistant parent. Hybridization with other chestnut species is used to obtain other desirable characteristics along with blight resistance.

Environmentalists are becoming increasingly aware of the important role being played by our hardwood forest systems and in reducing air pollution. Biodiversity of forest ecosystems is natural wisdom. The Canadian Chestnut Council stands firm in its resolve to see Castanea dentata restored, and thus become again an important part of the hardwood forest ecological system.

Dr. Colin D. McKeen Chair, Canadian Chestnut Council

Endangered nut species in Canada

According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen of Friday, August 28, 1998, a new study complied by the World Conservation Monitoring Center in the United Kingdom, seven species of trees growing Canada are endangered. Three of these are oaks: northern pin oak, dwarf chestnut oak and (surprisingly) the bur oak. The article does not explain further, but does refer the concerned to a world wide web site on the Internet at

The report, entitled "The World List of Threatened Trees", compiled by the Center, edited by Sara Oldfield, Charlotte Lusty and Amy MacKinven, and published by World Conservation Press 1998 (ISBN 1 899628 10 X. 97 x 210mm, 650pp. 26.75), summarizes three years of work, paid by the government of the Netherlands.

ECSONG's nut groves should be sure these species are included, and could take further action to encourage wider plantings in the region. A Millennium Project is being developed to help young people propagate millions of bur oak from acorns early in the coming century. ECSONG could collaborate in such works. For more information, contact the Editor

Kemptville Forest Fair '98

On September 26, 1998, ECSONG mounted its exhibit at the Kemptville Forest Fair held at the G. Howard Ferguson nursery. Our exhibitors were Len and Genice Collett and Peter Carr. Peter worked through the morning, then left to be at the Oak Valley Nut Grove in time to receive the Nutters Bus Tour '98 as it completed its tour of nut plantings to the south east.

Peter points out that these rural fairs are excellent venues for discussing nut tree growing with some prospect of the visitors undertaking to become growers. The intown fair, on the other hand, are the best venues for making sales and raising funds.

Len reports that the log auction was successful. The largest logs auctioned were two Black Walnuts. Cut off the campus of Queens University in Kingston, the larger log of 24" x 8 feet brought $350 (rumour has it that this log did have metal, in it and ruined 5 blades before the sawing was complete!), whilst the smaller at 22"x10 feet brought in $400. Other nut woods auctioned included cherry, oak, and hickory.

Attendance was high, younger families being the majority. Nut growing attracted many visitors to the booth who stopped for conversation. One visitor was John D. Pollock (Outdoor Education Teacher, Elementary School, Box 140, South Mountain, On. KOE 1W0). He said that the school has 17 acres in which they wish to plant trees. Part of it could be used as a test plot for the butternut project. So I introduced him to Barbara Boysen. He is a good contact for introducing school kids to the art of nut tree growing. He expressed an interest in working with ECSONG who might offer nutlings, seed, supervision and advice - lets follow this up! Also at the Forestry Fair Hugh Metcalfe (~ 12 years old) and his mother spoke to us. He is interested in starting his own nut grove. It would be good to introduce him to the Oak Valley Project since the family lives in Inkerman (613-989-2441).

The Chestnuts burs proved to be the crowd pleasers. Len says - we should attend future events without fail. Genice and Len bought a shittake red oak log from Cathy and Gary Neilsen's booth and have had one crop since - the log should continue to produce for about four years according to the Neilsens.

Len Collett and Peter Carr.

The Nut Hullers

The Nut Hullers made by Alcon Welding continued their work this fall. The Green Machine is becoming a fixture at the G. Howard Ferguson nursery where it is employed by Ted Cormier and others to prepare the nut seed for the nursery. The machine may be bought from Alcon and find a permanent home there. It should come back to Alcon for a refurbishing before it gets its permanent assignment just be sure all is well.

The Red Machine was used by Cobjon this past fall to hull black walnuts from a particular Ottawa tree growing in the west end. The nuts from this tree are uniformly larger than any other see by us in this region. The tree is said to be a heavy bearer. The nuts proved to be very tasty, judging by the nut butter made from the kernels by Dave Baker, at the First Canadian Nutting Bee. Cracking was about as easy as for most black walnuts. This tree is to be watched - it may well become the first named variety from the Eastern Ontario region. If so, its future propagation could well become profitable, and its legacy important to nut growing hereabouts.

Hulling Black Walnuts

Bob Humble writes, "Please find the attached article on walnut husking referred to at Kemptville, from "Organic Gardening", December 1982:

When my father and I were faced with six bushels of walnuts to hull, we discovered a great method of dealing with them. Someone had given my father an old John Deere corn sheller, and we figured that if it could shell corn, it could probably handle walnuts. And it did! With a little oiling, it worked great. One of us fed nuts into the machine while the other cranked the handle. It took about an hour to do a bushel. If you're not interested in cranking, a small motor can be hooked up to do the work. Then it's just a matter of throwing the walnuts down the chute. You can do a bushel in 20 minutes.

Vicky Bouldin Lafayette, Indiana

Pruning Nut Trees

Following a conversation with Peter Carr regarding proper times for pruning nut trees (they 'bleed' profusely), I checked my various publications for advice.

One publication, entitled "Pruning Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Vines", Ontario Department of Agriculture Publication 483, offers the following:

Page 11: "Certain trees such as maple, birch, walnut, and mulberry..."bleed" profusely when pruned during winter or early spring... Species that bleed badly are best pruned in early summer."

Page 13: "The growth of plants slows down and ends in autumn so that there is no cambial growth and no healing of pruning wounds in the months immediately following. Therefore, pruning at this time has no logical purpose and may well result in injury."

Also, for a number of years, I have been using a tree wound dressing called "Lac Balsam", available in applicator tube form from Lee Valley. It is long lasting, easy to apply and seems to do the job very well.

Bill Forrest, Nut Grower

PS. My sister and I enjoyed the Nutters Bus Tour '98 very much and much appreciate the time and effort George, Kurt, Art, Ted and Hank put into it.

(Ed. Note - Bill sent a copy of the publication mentioned above which is now in the ECSONG Library.)

Toyo - the tire with walnut shell

Today, Irene and Michael Broad are driving around the region on special tires - there is walnut shell imbedded in the tread! Most people think nuts are for eating only. However, Toyo Tire Canada Inc. supplies such tires locally.

According to Toyo, "Because walnut shells are harder than ice, we've imbedded finely ground walnut shells in our new "Microbit" ultra high polymer rubber compound. By digging into ice like grains of sand, the shells increase the gripping power of the tire. With thousands of these particles in every tire, that's a lot gripping power... The result is a Microbit compound that provides greater stopping, cornering and accelerating ability, with minimal tire wear."

See the website for more information. Michael has suggested that ECSONG contact company representatives here to see if some mutually beneficial program might be developed that helps promote nut production, and the use of these new tires as well.

What do you think? Lets see if we can meet Michael's challenge!

The first Canadian Nutting Bee

the First Canadian Nutting Bee (involving some thirty participants) and its videotaping as an episode of the PBS-syndicated TV gardening program "From a Country Garden" with hosts Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White of Oxford Mills, Ontario. The Bee was held at the McMannis Interpretive Center, in collaboration with ECSONG, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Cobjon Enterprises Inc., and The Seed Source.

In the Bee, participants presented nut harvesting, stratifying, hulling, dyeing, staining, cracking, slicing, pickling, syruping, butter-making, liqueur-making, and displayed the results of many of these processes for the TV videotaping.

Many thanks to participants Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White (TV hosts), Vera Hrebacka (Event Coordinator, and Pickle & Dye Presenter), Hank Jones (On Camera), Irene Broad (Registrar), Michael Broad (Nutcracker Presenter), Dave Baker (Nut Butterist - who made a Black Walnut to die for!), Isabelle and Ted Cormier (The Seed Source), Len Collett (Sheller Huller Presenter), Ernie Kerr (Nutwood Carving), Bill Forrest (Stratifier), Shirley and Bob Humble (Shell Crafters), Chris Cummins (Nutcracker Presenter), Tracy Duflo (WPBS Producer/Director), George Haley (WPBS Videographer), Don Russell (Nutwood Turning), and Advisors Bob Scally, Fern Graham, Marilyn Apedaile, Pryce Apedaile, Kathleen Jones, and Alec Jones. Judy Hatt had planned to attend to be the official photographer fro the event, but was unable to come because of the short notice. Also many thanks to Leanne Kane for making the Center available to us, and to the staff of the RVCA Workshop for access to the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove, and their help with the placing of the Cobjon Nutling Growbox in the nut grove Nursery for the filming.

For more information, contact The Nuttery.

The Parliament Hill Black Walnut

According to legend, there once was an enormous Black Walnut tree on or near Parliament Hill in Ottawa's centertown. The tree, overmature at four feet DBH, was felled in the early 1990's. Jason Russell, Merrickville woodturner, salvaged a few small pieces while the rest went for firewood!. He has made a few items from this wood, namely a superb Salad Bowl fifteen inches across (matching salad tongs are being handcarved from the same tree by a carver out west), and a lesser bowl about twelve inched across. These bowls are each made from single pieces of wood from the bole. The larger one is owned by Karen Bertrand, and is destined to become a family heirloom. The second bowl now resides with Hank Jones. Maybe another piece or two will be made. The uniqueness of these pieces, based on the source of wood, makes them very valuable as Canadiana.

There are a few small Black Walnut trees still growing on the slope below the Parliament, probably offspring of the giant. The size of the giant indicates an age of possibly two hundred years., meaning the nutling began as the first United Empire Loyalists settled in the region. As Black Walnuts were not native to the area at that time, this tree was probably planted by humans, and the nut brought by them from elsewhere. Could Philemon Wright himself have planted this tree?

Keep tuned for more on the legend of the Parliamentary Black Walnut

Dick Cooper

It is with sadness that we note the passing of Dick Cooper of Kemptville this past October 6th in Osgoode. Dick was one the first members of the Ottawa Area Chapter of SONG, and helped put the organization on the path to success. Our condolences to Dick's family and friends. Donations to the Township Osgoode Care Center or the Canadian Cancer Society would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.

Marc Aurele Fortin

I am not sure my poetry would add much to our magazine, but it suddenly occurred to me that we have missed someone who loved black walnuts. If you go to Montreal and wander through the Old Quarter down near the docks, you will come across a house in which you can see Marc Aurele Fortin's paintings. The most interesting to me is one of an enormous Black Walnut shading a typical French Canadian house which has a curved roof overhanging a large balcony. Apparently, the painter was really entranced by these large trees. I wonder if you can still find these huge old trees and if there is a reference to where they can be found? ("A Ste Rose"- 1930).

Irene Broad, Founder Oak Valley Plantation

PS. Last Spring, Michael and I trudged through 8" of snow to get to Oak Valley Park and found 50% of the pines had tips broken off from the Ice Storm. At the time, Ralph said maybe that was OK as we would need more light for the Black Walnuts in any case.

Future Nutting Bees

On November 25, 1998, ECSONG hosted the first Canadian Nutting Bee. Based on a concept first proposed by Hank Jones in 1997, a Nutting Bee brings together experienced people, so that they can demonstrate to visitors the many aspects of nut production and use. The concept was developed in response to requests from home nut growers in the region whose trees planted since ECSONG began, were now bearing fruit. What can we do with the produce from our nut trees and shrubs?

The participants in this Bee have indicated that they believe Nutting Bees should become regular, public events, and should improve in scope, content and presentation over time. The group suggested the second Bee be held in mid-1999. Darryl Abbinett proposed that it be held in conjunction with a country fair, as this would simplify organizing the Bee. Accordingly, Hank Jones spoke to Fern Graham, the organizer of the Kars Fair, about including the Bee in the Fair in '99 - and got a strongly positive response.

As Isabelle Cormier noted, organizing a Bee requires much preparation, and should be started immediately. Shortly, a series of three workshops will begin to draft a five-year business and operational plan for future Canadian Nutting Bees, and the work to prepare for the Kars Fair will begin.

If you were at the first Bee, you will be hearing more shortly. If you were unable to get to the Bee, please call Hank Jones if you would like to participate in this exciting development!

Vikings, Newfoundland and Butternuts

The following is an excerpt from an extensive article by Birgitta Wallace entitled "Norse Expansion into North America" found at on the World Wide Web.

"...One find at L'Anse aux Meadows is a clear indication that the wild grapes of Vinland were not a figment of Norse imagination. Among the Norse artifacts preserved in the bog were three butternuts, and one burl of butternut wood. Butternuts, Juglans cinerea, are a New-World relative of walnuts. Walnuts were considered delicacies and imported from Europe all the way to Greenland as shown by a walnut found at Erik the Red's farm Brattahlid. Butternuts have never grown in L'Anse aux Meadows or even close to the site. Their presence with the Norse artifacts shows that the Norse had paid visits to more southerly areas where such nuts grow. What is particularly intriguing is that their northern limit coincides with that of wild grapes. The northern limit for wild grapes lies in the St. Lawrence Valley and what is now northeastern New Brunswick, a bit inland from the coast along the big rivers issuing into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Before the 18th century and the large-scale clearings by Europeans after 1600, grapes grew in large hardwood forests, the grapevines winding up the trunks of the trees. The nuts and the grapes ripen at the same time, in August. This means that the person, or persons, who picked the butternuts are likely to have encountered wild grapes as well. The name Vinland must indeed reflect a firsthand experience on the part of the Norse.

Butternuts and wild grapes grow yet farther south, in what is now Maine and New England in the United States. These areas are less likely to have been reached by the L'Anse aux Meadows Norse. This is because from northern Newfoundland the distance there is more than double that to northeastern New Brunswick, more than 2000 km as opposed to 900 km to the southern shores of the Gulf. The situation of L'Anse aux Meadows also points to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The site faces the Strait of Belle Isle and the Gulf, not eastern Newfoundland and the Atlantic. The Gulf forms a large inland sea which one can circumnavigate, beginning and ending at L'Anse aux Meadows, without ever being without the sight of land. This was also the route taken by the French explorer Jacques Cartier into North America in 1534. Before the onslaught of Europeans in the 17th century, the southern coasts of the Gulf and its islands, the Magdalene Island, and Prince Edward Island contained large aromatic hardwood forests. The southern part of the Gulf is an ecologically different zone from Labrador and Newfoundland, infinitely warmer and richer. It contains desirable hardwood such as oak, maple, and walnut, which were sought by the Norse. Jacques Cartier found such an abundance of wild grapes on what is now Ile d'Orleans in the St. Lawrence River that he first named it Ile de Bacchus, and early settlers named an area near the mouth of the Miramichi River in northeastern New Brunswick Baie de vin, Wine Bay. Unlike the cultivated grapes of Europe, which grow in fields propped up by trellises, the grapes grew wild in the forests, its vines winding themselves around tall tree trunks so that they appear to grow high in the trees. These are the wild grapes and grape-wood of Leif Eriksson.

The tall primeval hardwood forests furnished much better lumber than the stunted softwood forests of Newfoundland. Burlwood, Old Norse msr, was of special interest for the carving of scoops, bowls and artwork. Besides the butternuts, the Norse at L'Anse aux Meadows brought back a burl of butternut wood from these southern areas and began to carve it with a sharp knife. For reasons unknown, the burl did not meet the expectations and was discarded in the bog. The logical consequence of these findings is that the entire shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence constitutes Vinland, a land with diffuse inland borders. L'Anse aux Meadows is situated at the very entrance to this zone. L'Anse aux Meadows is the base camp from which Vinland was explored. The peculiar setup at L'Anse aux Meadows now makes sense. L'Anse aux Meadows was a base camp for further explorations, explorations that extended into the southern coastlands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In this location we find many of the features described in the Vinland sagas: lagoons where halibut could be trapped, Aboriginal people with skin canoes, and valuable lumber..."

Birgitta Wallace, Canadian Heritage Finland

Nut Pines Galore!

Alex Mucha's yard in the east end is "alive with the sight of nut pines" [sung to the tune of "The hills" ... sound of music ;-)]. He has upwards of a hundred! And more nutlings are on the way. Alex can help you get your nut pine species started - he knows all the tricks. As Mark Schaefer et al has clearly demonstrated at the Dolman Ridge Nut Tree Plantations, the Korean Nut Pine (Pinus koraiensis) performs better here than in its native habitat, at least in starting its first cones much earlier. According to the books, the species begins cone production usually only well after twenty years. Mark's specimen's were in production before the age of ten, and continue to bear every year. As well there are other species of interest including the Swiss Stone Pine (?), the Siberian Stone Pine, the Balkan Pine, and maybe more.

For more information on nut pines, check with Alex and Mark.

Collett Black Nut Sheller

Several issue back, we reported that Len and Genice Collett had picked up an old hand-cranked corn husker in Mississippi, Len had the machine sandblasted at Alcon Welding, then he 'aluminum-plated' it.

Using an old superbox from an Apiary (the part of the hive that holds the frames and combs), Len made a mount for the sheller. The device is mounted on the inside of one side so that the handle is outside, but the sheller works are on the inside. The box is heavy, so that cranking black walnuts through does not require hold the box down. The cleaned nut and the hull both drop into the box, so no mess is made. Capacity is about 150 nuts per hour. The Sheller was at the First Canadian Nutting Bee, and will be seen on WPBS TV in June on the program "From a Country Garden".

Len reports that he has planted about 200 red oak, about one dozen each of black walnut and bur oak on his place in Lanark. His nursery also now has 150 black walnuts each from Ramsey Township, form Bob Bulloch's place, from Grant Dixon in Poland Village, and from Ottawa (thanx to Myrtle McKendry and Peter Carr). As well, he has planted over 600 acorns, a combination of English, Bur and White oaks. For more information, contact Len Collett.

Communications Committee

In the last issue of The Nuttery, a lengthy article proposed ECSONG establish a Communication Committee to enhance its abilities to reach the public. The Committee would improve our access to the public media to attract participants to our events, and our ability to publish more and better technical information.

Your comments re the establishment of a Communications Committee are sought - please let the Editor, or the ECSONG Chair Ted Cormier know your desires and interests in this matter.

Centertown Ottawa Nut Tree Garden Project

The Nut Tree Garden project was launched on October 31, 1998 in centertown Ottawa. This project is the first step towards creating a community nut grove in a centertown area in Canada.

The launching took place in the backyard of a centertown residents' home with the planting of 8 species (50 nuts) of nut seeds which are protected by a nut tree grow box developed by Cobjon Enterprises Inc.'s Nutculture Services. When ready, the seedlings will be transplanted to the future proposed Garden site at the triangle bounded Bronson, Albert and Slater streets (BAS Triangle).

The Nut Tree Garden Project brings together a diverse group of community minded residents, businesses and government who share a vision of an urban forest populated with many specimens of Canadian-growing nut tree species.

Spearheaded by local business Veratika, participants to date include the Centertown Tree Committee, the Centertown Citizens' Community Association, Cobjon Enterprises Inc., the Eastern Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers, as well as members of the community, business and government.

The goal of the Nut Tree Garden Project is to demonstrate that Canadian nut trees have many benefits, including their beauty, strength, and of course their fruit. The members of the Project are well aware of the value of Canadian nut fruits and look forward to the time when nuts can be harvested from the Garden. These Canadian nuts will be used to demonstrate everything from cooking oil, tea (produced from bark), dyes, edible goodies, games, jewellery, etc.

Equally as important is that the Nut Tree Garden Project brought together individuals from centertown and surrounding communities with a common goal: as a grassroots effort to create a nut grove. Joan Katz, who donated a space in her backyard to launch the garden was the official photographer for the launching. Others who were part of the launching and brought along shovels, soil, gardening expertise are: Marie Keasey, Debra Ironside, Regional Councilor Diane Holmes, Nancy Luitwieler, Hank Jones and Vera Hrebacka. It was Halloween, so chants were sung and the earth was blessed with a bag of the best fertilizer!

The Nut Tree Garden folks are grateful for the ongoing efforts of Marc Lalonde of the NCC, and NCC Chair, Marcel Beaudry to secure our site at the BAS Triangle. And as always, the RMOC and Regional Councilor Diane Holmes have supported this grass roots effort every step of the way. The Nut Tree Garden Project welcomes your participation as well!

The Nut Tree Garden will be enjoyed by many, including residents, visitors, nut tree gardeners, researchers, the young and the old alike.

While it is the only urban Nut Tree Garden in the works to date, it is hoped that this project will inspire other urban areas to start nut tree gardens. For more information on the Nut Tree Garden Project call Cobjon Enterprises at 828-5772 or Veratika at 567-8472.

Vera Hrebacka, Owner/Operator Veratika

Report on the Nutters Bus Tour '98

The Nut Culture Tour took place September 26, 1998. The bus was supplied by St. Lawrence Coach of Kemptville, and their service was excellent.

We started from the parking lot at Vincent Massey Park. First stop was Winchester, where we picked up participants at the Country Kitchen Restaurant on Highway 31. We then drove to Chesterville where there is a large grove of Black Walnuts, and were interviewed by local media (Sandy Beerwith, Chesterville Record).

Onward to Glengarry Park just east of Lancaster. This is a lovely park, and we were able to pick up Butternuts, English Oak, Black Walnuts and Bitternut Hickory. We were too late to find Bur Oak.

At the entrance to Long Sault Parkway, the bus was parked, and we had lunch at a picnic area along the St. Lawrence. There are (hybrid of shagbark and bitternut?) Bitternut Hickory at this location. Following our lunch, we drove along the Long Sault Parkway, and found a couple of Shagbark Hickory bearing a lot of nuts.

With time starting to run out, we headed to Oak Valley, a few miles west of Winchester Springs. Peter Carr met us there, and showed us around the Memorial Park and nut grove. It was in superb shape, thanks in large part to local people who cut the grass, and ECSONG volunteers, who had worked around the trees. At Winchester some participants disembarked, and we arrived back in Ottawa at 5:15 p.m..

The tour was organized by George Truscott, Kurt Wasner, Art Read, Ted Cormier, and Hank Jones. En route, we were entertained by Ted Cormier's running commentary, and a parallel performance by Hank Jones, plus a bonus quiz drawn up by Hank. Prizes next year for winners?

George Truscott, Chair Nutters Bus Tour '98 Organizing Committee

The ECSONG Website

A reminder about sponsoring documents for the ECSONG website. Procedures are in place for you to offer documents that you would like to have posted to the website for the convenience of access to web users. Full details in the last issue of The Nuttery. You pay the cost of converting the document to WWW format (about $25), and get your name attached with thanks.

Call the Editor for details.

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