The Nuttery : Volume 18 Number 1 (1999)

In this Issue...

Announcements - Note the spring field days coming up the first three Saturdays in May, all starting at 10:00AM, with rain dates the next day, Sunday. Also, a second Oak Valley field day on Saturday, June 5, 1999 and also a Nut Tree Pruning Demonstration on June 19. See the adjacent Box and inside for more information.

Projects - Read about our Phone Tree and Media List; think about fundraising for nut tree promoting; admire the ECSONG website; consider our Constitution and By-Laws; and anticipate the republishing of our nut growers manual.

News - Remember the show the Art of Gardening II; join our rejuvenation as a family oriented organization; reminisce on the just-past Annual Meeting; jump onto the Arboretum bandwagon; find your way to Dolman Ridge and a rosy future; and dream of the Lavant.

Grower - Lets exchange seed internationally profitably and with confidence; tender trees, then try Eric Hope's 'Snow Silo'; and watch for a cascade of nut slices from the new Alcon Nut Slicer prototype saw.

Marketplace - Support our struggling suppliers.

Membership - Check your address label for year. If it is not 1999 or higher, your dues are overdue - please send your check now - do not miss out on ECSONG events.

See you at the Field Days!

The FRP Field Day

With spring in the air, ECSONG begins its growing season with its first of three spring field days. We are kicking as usual with the Filmore R. Park Nut Grove in the Baxter Conservation Area, owned by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, on Saturday, May 1, 1999 at 10:30AM. (More information about this site can be found on the ECSONG web site).

This year is the twentieth anniversary of the FRP Nut Grove, a year for celebration. Sandy Graham, Chair of the FRP Liaison Committee, and his team, are planning to renovate the pond in special preparation for a fall public celebration. Of course, other matters will be dealt with as well, such as cleaning up after the winter, and revitalizing the Nursery with the Black Walnuts donated last fall by George Truscott. These nuts were put into a stratification pit, the event being filmed by the PBS TV Network as part of Canada's first Nutting Bee. A Cobjon Growbox has been donated by Nutculture Services to housed the nuts protected from squirrels and other ravenous rodents and critters.

Expect a phone call on the new ECSONG Phone Tree to remind you about this field day, and the other two spring field days as well. A poll will be taken to estimate likely attendance to help the organizers plan the day's program.

All members and their family and friends are welcome to the free field days. So bring your lunches, refreshments, shovels and pruners. Lets make the FRP a real show piece for its 20th, eh! For more info, call Sandy or the RVCA.

Oak Valley Field Day Fun

This year's spring field for the Oak Valley Nut Grove is scheduled for Saturday, May 8 1999. Being that we are having a drought this spring, watering may be added to the general post-winter clean-up. Also in the spirit of the new Program '99, we may be looking forward to family oriented activities, with a place for children and youth in the day's program.

Started by Irene Broad (Woolford) in 1985, the Oak Valley Nut Grove has flourished over the years under the direction of Dr. Ralph McKendry in most of the 1990s, who also created the co-located Pioneer Homesteads Memorial Park (to be renamed a Heritage site shortly). Now under the direction of Peter Carr, we see the enhancement of the Truscott Nut Nursery and onsite paths for walking tours named in honour of Irene and of Ernie Kerr. Also on site is the Butternut Archive, a plantation of blight-resistant butternut grafts destined to become the primary seed source in the future for repopulating the region with butternut trees. There is also a plantation of red oaks provided by a Swiss Watch company as an environmental contribution.

Join the field day at Oak Valley, on Baldwin Road, just of Kirkwood Road near the junction of County Road 5, about 5 km (3 miles) west of Winchester Springs. Bring your picnic lunch, refreshments, garden tools, camera, camcorder, spouse, children, friends and neighbours. Have a picnic, learn nut tree growing for the experts, maybe grab up a seedling or two to plant at home, and enjoy the fresh air.

For more information, contact Peter Carr in Ottawa 728-6744, or the South Nation Conservation Authority in Berwick 984-2949, or check out our web site.

Dolman Ridge Field Day Tour

Near Mer Bleu, just east of Ottawa, ECSONG and the National Capital Commission (NCC) co-manage a huge area dotted with nut tree plantations approaching thirty years old. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, The Canadian Forest Service operated the area as the Central Research Forest. Moe Anderson, Mark Schaefer and others planted the many nut trees now growing in the area. Many are exotics, planted to discover their potential for growing in the region. Some failed as predicted, others surprisingly thrived. The northern-most American Sweet Chestnuts in North America can be found succeeding in the Dolman Ridge Nut Plantations.

Plans call for expanding the research work with improvements to extant plots and the possible creation of new ones. Also, trails will be built that will wind through the area, enabling the public to tour the plantations, and experience nut growing first hand. Literature will be needed to guide the visitors. In the long term, the plantations will provide growers with performance data for many species, and seed to populate the region with an increasing number of nut trees for the benefit of future generations.

Work needs to be done on most of the plantations, to release the trees from surrounding vegetation, and to prune them for shape and health. Seedlings may be discovered that workers can rescue, to propagate at home or work. Join the field day on Saturday, May 15, 1999, at 10:00AM for the morning or for the whole day. Meet in the parking lot on Anderson Road, Gloucester, opposite the entrance to the federal Geomagnetics Laboratory. Bring your brush-clearing equipment, pruners, camera, camcorder, spouse, children, friends and neighbours. If you plan to stay the day, bring a picnic lunch, and refreshments. Hope to see you there!

For more information, contact Chris Cummins in Dunrobin 832-0414, or Gershon Rother at the NCC in Ottawa 239-5445.

Nut Tree Pruning Demonstration

Have you ever wondered how best to prune a tree, or when is the best time to prune those nut trees that bleed sap so profusely, or how to establish a " leader" where four or five branches originate from the same height of the trunk of the tree? If so, come on out to the Nut Tree Pruning Demonstration at ECSONG's Oak Valley Nut Grove on Baldwin Road between Winchester Springs and Inkerman, and get the answers and some hands - on experience from the experts. The Demonstration will be open to the public residing within the South Nation River Drainage basin, as well as to all ECSONG members. Folks wanting to attend must pre-register by phoning 728-6744, so we know what numbers to expect, and to get full directions to the Nut Grove.

The Demonstration has been prepared jointly by ECSONG, the South Nation Conservation Authority ( SNCA), and the Provincial Resource Stewardship Program.

Starting promptly at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, 19 June, 1999 (the rain day will be Saturday, 26 June, 1999), the demonstration will be given by two regional stewards, Jim Hendry and Michael Rosen, of the Provincial Resource Stewardship Program. Each steward will give a 30 to 40 minute talk and demonstration, and those wanting " hands - on " experience will be divided into small groups to prune the many 12 year-old black walnuts at the Nut Grove, under the tutelage of Jim and Michael. Each steward will handle a group of up to 20 people during the talk and demonstration.

Bring your tree pruning equipment (saws & loppers, especially the long handled equipment, and gloves), and if you wish bring your lunch and refreshments. See you there!

For more information, call Peter Carr, Chair, The Oak Valley Nut Grove Liaison Committee in Ottawa at 728-6744.

International Seed Exchange

As the list of potential nut trees and shrubs for Canada continues to grow (as high as 480!), obtaining certified seed with provenance information becomes increasingly important. Over the years, members have developed personal liaisons internationally, and some experimental seed has arrived. With the need for more rigour in future exchanges, we may need professional assistance. For example, The Seed Source in Oxford Mills already carries out international exchanges, and may be able to help. The quantities we will need of any particular species may be small, at least to get started. ECSONG could maybe work out a deal with companies like The Seed Source to get experimental quantities into Canada, and maybe to send our seed out. Certification would be an important service in this matters. It is relatively easy to exchange seed, but which seed is actually in the bag?

Let us give due consideration to this matter, and see how best we might proceed.

The Hope Snow Silo

Hugh Hope, a research scientist specialized in cold hardiness, explained to The Nuttery the other day how he successfully grown magnolias in Ottawa without ever losing new wood to winter cold. He builds a 'snow silo'

In the early winter, as soon as snow is available, Hugh puts a double-decker turn of snow fence around his trees, with a diameter large enough to contain all the twiggery it reaches. He them fills the silo with snow, and it stays that way until spring. Hugh has determined that snow is an excellent thermal insulator, and around here the price is right. The tender wood never feels the really cold temperatures of the nearby air. And it has worked every time for Hugh. Could this work for nut trees, at least when they are young? Eventually, they would reach well beyond the top of the snow silo, but would soon have these lower branches pruned off.

AGM 20 Report

This past March 20, 1999, the third Saturday in March, we held our 20th Annual General Meeting. With the help of the new Phone Tree, we had thirty people attend, our biggest AGM yet. Our thanks again to the folks at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority for allowing us to use the McManus Interpretive Centre for the meeting, and specially to Jim Ellis our RVCA host for the day. The morning was taken up with business, as usual. Len Collett, standing in for Ted Cormier, ECSONG Chair, who was unfortunately sick, ran the meeting for the day. Peter Carr, Secretary, gave us the go ahead on quorum. Art Read, Treasurer, reported a healthy account, over $2500. Reports on the nut groves were given, showing high energy and enthusiasm. The Nuttery was reviewed. The new executive was elected for 99/00 - Hank Jones, Chair; George Truscott, Vice-Chair; Peter Carr, Secretary; and Art Read, Treasurer. The retiring Executive was thanked by all.

In the afternoon, our technical session was delivered by Dr. Paul Catling, a research scientist with the federal government and adjunct professor at Ottawa University. His business is the national Herbarium at the Central Experimental Farm. He spoke about the recent history of native American hazel in this region, and about the newly discovered Bear Oak near Tamworth, Ontario. This exciting find adds another candidate to the nut trees for Canada, and seed for planting in out nut groves! He was most ably assisted by his son Cory who managed the excellent slides accompanying the presentation. Chris Cummins thanked our speaker and his assistant, noting the history lesson on the St Lawrence Iroquois, and the possibility they cultivated hazels. Paul also told us about the discovery of a new nut species in Canada, the Bear Oak, recently discovered in Ontario near Tamworth.

Thanks to the organizers and specially Len for running the meeting with little warning, and specially to the folks who made all the nut treats: Kathleen Jones, Genice Collett, Isabelle Cormier and Irene Woolford-Broad.

Art of Gardening II

On the weekend of April 10 and 11, 1999, ECSONG mounted its display at the Ottawa School of Art's second annual exhibition, the Art of Gardening II. The show was held at the assembly hall of the MacKay Church on Dufferin St in New Edinburgh adjacent to the Governor General's residence. Though the space was small and the attendance sparse, we made nearly two hundred dollars for ECSONG. The main attraction for visitors were the Ginkgo seedlings and sprouted nuts contributed by George Truscott from his germination experiments with ginkgo seed. Though the selection was small, sliced black walnut shell contributed by Nutculture Services proved irresistible to crafts people. Bob Humble's Nut Critters got their share of attention as well. Vera Hrebacka, Ernie Kerr, Chris Cummins, George Truscott, Bill Forrest, Bob Humble, Alex Mucha, Peter Carr, Murray Spearman and Hank Jones entertained the crowd, and grabbed the cash. Hope next year that the show is bigger and located closer to centre town.

The Nut Tree Collection

The initiative of the Ottawa Botanical Garden Society (OBGS) continues to gain momentum. ECSONG monitors the effort through its seat on the OBGS Technical Advisory Board. The Friends of the Central Experimental Farm (FotF) continue to nurture the botanical garden and the arboretum, helping Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AgCan).

As ECSONG looks forward to renewing its Dominion Arboretum Liaison Committee in the near future, we are concerned that our efforts in the arboretum will bear fruit. We have been adding to the nut tree and shrubs collection there for years, and we expect to continue. This achievement has been possible with the help of many people over the years, and most recently with the support of the (FotF) and of Brian Douglas, AgCan Foreman. Now, the OBGS looks to adding new acreage to the present site, and is looking for nut trees for research and demonstration in this new contiguous area.

Our Committee, once underway, should look into both these opportunities, to see if a sound liaison can be built with OBGS, with FotF and with AgCan through Mr. Douglas and his colleagues. An informal partnering could become a win/win/win/win situation.

This work in years to come could lead to a national nut tree collection, and to important research efforts into the agriculture, horticulture, arboriculture and even silviculture of nut trees. Note: there are probably well over a hundred species, varieties, cultivars and forms of nut bearing plants that are suited to a Canadian setting. Not all nuts are edible, but each plant has its our merits.

Bill Forrest and Peter Satterley have thrown their hats into the ring already - want to join them? Call Hank Jones, ECSONG Chair in Ottawa at 828-5772 of fax 567-8217.

Liaison Committees

At the ECSONG Executive Meeting just past, a new mechanism for launching new liaison committees, i.e. new nut groves and preserves, was tabled. The mechanism proposed gives responsibility for launching the committee to the ECSONG Chair who would host the inaugural meeting. At the meeting, the invited attendees and the Chair pro tem would hear the challenge to the committee, consider the terms of reference, confirm a committee chair, and draft a work plan for Year 1. It was thought that this procedure would ease the difficult task of launching a new program, and get it of on the right foot. The executive approved the procedure. It will be exercised in the near future to re-establish defunct committees for The Dolman Ridge Nut Plantations Liaison Committee and the Dominion Arboretum Liaison Committee. Soon after these two get underway, the procedure will be again used, this time to launch a committee for the new Lavant / Bear Oak Preserves. Consideration should also be given to the White Oak area in the vicinity of Kemptville that Ted Cormier found a couple of years ago.

A reminder of the Dolman Ridge Nut Plantations Spring Field on Saturday, May 15, 1999 at 10:00 AM starting at the parking lot opposite the entrance to the Geomagnetics Lab on Anderson Road. For more information, call Chris Cummins in Dunrobin 832-0414.

The Lavant

A stand of Shagbark Hickory (maybe fifty or so trees of fifty to a hundred years old), Beech and Butternut recently found on high ground in Lavant Township, Lanark looks likely to become a new preserve under the aegis of ECSONG. This stand is on crown land administered by the Ontario Ministry of Natural resources (OMNR). The Ministry is now planning to set aside the 15 or so acres from logging so that the trees can grow undisturbed. Len Collett and Ted Cormier, our Past-Chair, have been making the arrangements. Len will be proposing a viewing of the site by ECSONG members sometime in the near future. If you are interested, give Len a call in Lanark at 259-2273.

ECSONG Rejuvenation

As the new century looms, ECSONG is hitting its stride! In our first twenty years, since 1978, we promoted nut tree and shrubs across the Eastern Ontario region. Now, added to this, in the next twenty years we will also promote the commercialization of nut growing. To empower us, our Executive is announcing ECSONG '99, a program of activity and decision for this year aimed to rejuvenate ECSONG.

Our calendar unfolds almost as usual, with the notable addition of a new kind of activity. Peter Carr is organizing a Nut Tree Pruning Demonstration for members as wells as the public around the Oak Valley Nut Grove. Also, our nut grove Field Days, which traditionally have been workdays for maintenance and development could grow to become family outings with activities for youths and children added, and excess stock passed out to be taken and planted around the area.

The Executive has prepared the first complete Budget for ECSONG, so we can better plan our investments in nut growing. Our Committee of Past-Chair (the ECSONG Senate?) will be busy this year providing wise guidance on Outreach Strategies, on an ECSONG Lecture, on the ECSONG Nut Culture Prize, on Official Names, and on Achievement Awards.

Two important Liaison Committees will be revitalized this year, namely the Dominion Arboretum Liaison Committee and the Dolman Ridge Nut Plantations Liaison Committee. Recent events and the new energy arising at the Central Experimental Farm promise exciting possibilities for nut trees in the Arboretum as well as the Botanical Garden. As well, with public interest growing in the Dolman Ridge, there are real possibilities that our research and development activities could expand considerably. A final note here: there is the possibility that soon we will have a new kind of nut grove - a nature preserve - in Lavant's Shagbark/Butternut/Beech grove and the Bear Oak Area of Natural and Scientific Interest near Tamworth.

The Executive is also studying our Constitution and By-Laws to ensure they are up to the new challenges and the coming new millennium. Before the year is out, changes if needed will position us for a grand entrance in the year 2001.

One possible change in the Constitution and By-Laws would give us our first Standing Committee, on Membership and Publicity. In anticipation of this, the Chair has appointed pro tem an Announcements Coordinator to set up and manage a Phone Tree and a Public Media Network. These tools will simplify spreading the word about ECSONG opportunities. The Chair has also appointed pro tem a Fundraising Coordinator to study ways and means for us to increase resources to help us accelerate our promotions and R&D. You will be hearing a lot from both Vera Hrebacka (Announcements) and Isabelle Cormier (Fundraising) in the months ahead. We will also need soon an new Editor for The Nuttery who will be able to modernize and revitalize out newsletter. And, because Exhibitions and Trade Shows have proved an excellent medium for promoting nut growing, a Coordinator for same is sought. If you have ideas or energy for any of these activities, lets talk.

Jonathan Bramwell, member and book publishes, is undertaking to republish in a new and lively format, our Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario. A team is being assembled, including to date Bob Scally, Bill Forrest, and Mark Schaefer: there is room for others.

John Sankey is putting ECSONG on the World Wide Web Map. The web site carries: all past issues of The Nuttery; our Calendar; Membership information; important historical and administrative documents; technical reports and articles; Nut Grove brochures, pictures and reports; and many other items of interest to members and the public.

Wow! Are there any more things happening? You bet - watch for the next issue of The Nuttery, and check out the website. Call Hank Jones, ECSONG Chair, or any of the folks named above. to join the fun.

The ECSONG Constitution

It has been several years since our Constitution and By-Laws have been reviewed. These are the rules under which our organization functions. A cursory look seems to show that we have deviated slightly from the document. So, given that we are coming to the beginning of a new century, it is a good time to bring ourselves back on track. The Executive will be examining the changes we will need in the document, and making such changes in time for Y2K. The present version of the document is on the ECSONG web site. If you have any comments, do not hesitate to contact either the Secretary, Peter Carr, our Chair, Hank Jones, or other executive members as convenient.

ECSONG Fundraising

At the moment, ECSONG earns money by tithing members. This earns around a thousand a year. We have no budget under which to spend to invest this money in promoting nut growing, so we now have a large bank account. The Executive is planning a budget for this coming year. At the same time, it is clear that our growing number nut groves, and their continuing improvement will demand more resource in the coming years. Consequently, the Executive is now considering fund raising activities aim at doubling our income. Isabelle Cormier has taken the matter understudy, and will be able to guide us in the future on how we might best raise a few extra dollars. Certainly our nut grove field days offer opportunities, as these are more and more geared to garnering public participation and wider-spread appreciation. Even without field days, the nut groves could play host to fund-raising activities. And they are open year-round, with field day activities occurring only two to three days a year.

The nut grove are a source of nuts and nutlings, training grounds for tyros, tours by docents, as well as for picnics, fairs, and so on. Isabelle is cogitating all this - let her know your ideas and especially, foreseen opportunities.

Our Nut Growers Manual Republished?

Back in 1989, Mark Schaefer and a team of knowledgeable nut growers penned our Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario in celebration of the tenth anniversary of ECSONG. Since then, the book has been a steady seller, and one of our key fund raisers. Has the time come for a new edition?

Jonathan Bramwell thinks so. He has approached ECSONG with an offer. Jonathan, both a member of ECSONG and a biophysicist interested in beneficial nut mutations, is also a book publisher, his company Polymorph Publications Inc. He suggested that updating the book, its pictures and adding some colour could give us a winner. He is working on a costed proposal for ECSONG, which he will offer to the Executive shortly.

Hopefully, we will be able undertake this work. A review team is being pulled together. So far Anstace Esmonde-White, Bob Scally, Bill Forrest and Mark Schaefer have expressed interest. If you would like to contribute to or review new text and pictures, contact The Nuttery.

ECSONG's Web Site

Check out ECSONG's web site. John Sankey has been going gangbusters to develop the style and content of our web site. In the future, the site will become increasingly important as the main source of reference material about ECSONG. It will carry much of our history, for example, every issue of The Nuttery from Volume 1, Number 1. It will promulgate announcements of upcoming events of all sorts. It will document our nut groves. And so on... Best of all, cost limitations in publishing colour photos, and even sound tracks and video clips, will fade, because the internet is full multimedia.

Look over the site, find its shortcomings, specially in information and photos. If you can rustle up documents and pix, please pass them along to The Nuttery, and they will find their way onto the site. Congratulations, and thanks, to John Sankey, our Webmaster.

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