The Nuttery : Volume 1 Number 3 Sept/Oct 1982

In this Issue...


SONG: The Annual Autumn seed exchange will be held on 23 October (Saturday) at 10:00 AM at the Baxter Conservation Area workshop, about 1 km west of the Interpretive Center, on Regional Road 13. There will also be a short meeting, before interested members join the RVCA field day.

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority: The RVCA will be holding their second annual Fuelwood field day from 9:30-3:00. There will be a free draw for a cord of wood, and professional instruction on woodlot safety, chainsaw and axe handling and care, proper tree felling, woodlot improvements, tree identification, and wood handling and storage. Registration is free, at the Baxter Interpretive Center at 9:30 AM. Bring your own hard hat, suitable outdoor clothing, and lunch. For more information call Cliff Craig at the RVCA 692-3571.

SONG: Members of SONG will be on hand at lunchtime at the RVCA Fuelwood field day to distribute nut tree seeds to the public, and to answer questions and offer advice to anyone who might be interested in growing nut trees for timber, fuel wood, food for animals and people, natural dyes, or just as useful and beautiful trees for farm, field and lawn.

Pecans - a Canadian Crop?

The delicious pecan doesn't only grow in Georgia, it can be grown locally, within limits. Through selection of hardy varieties, pecans with good results are possible. Seeds are available from the northern States, and I have trees that have survived several winters, and are growing well. With luck, we should have our first crop within a few years, well, maybe ten years. I donated three to the Baxter Nut Grove this year, and will be starting more this fall for eventual distribution to interested people.

Pecans can be fall or spring planted. If fall planted, they must be protected from the worst weather by mulches, until they are a few years old. Some growers have indicated better results from spring plantings, but the storage and starting of the seeds is more involved. One factor is common to both methods; in order to germinate properly, pecans require a lengthy period of relatively high ground heat, and consistent high, not soggy, soil moisture. A sunny sheltered south-facing spot may be adequate, but a windowsill, nursery or greenhouse is preferable. I have lists of sources, and detailed propagation instructions available upon request.

Jim Bartley

Black Walnuts

I have spent some idle time recently trying to determine how many black walnut trees there are in Kemptville. The squirrels have been busy locally, and there are now dozens especially on the south side of the Rideau River. Myth has it that the two mature trees on our property at 218 Joseph (60-70 years), planted by my great-grandmother, were the oldest in town. I have discovered another old tree in town on the north side, which is at least 50 years old by my estimate, which is contributing a good number of seedlings.

Until now, I have been slow to see the value of them as a nut tree, or as an ornamental, as our trees are marginal. They leaf out last of any tree, drop early in the fall, with leaf spines that must be burned as they won't compost. The nuts are a disappointment; small, very bitter nuts, with a tough husk, and an impossibly tough shell. We found that a vise was the only reasonable way that they could be cracked.

However, some of the offspring trees are much better. A couple stay in leaf late, and turn an attractive golden colour, and a few others are maturing their seeds early and completely. One appears to have easy to crack shells, even when green, another still young tree produces nuts that are larger than average, and several have easy to remove husks. A collection of these improved, naturally selected trees with a list of their sources will be available at the seed exchange.

Jim Bartley

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