The Nuttery : Volume 2 Number 2 March/April 1983

In this Issue...


Annual General Meeting: Interpretation Center, Baxter Conservation Area, Saturday March 19, 1983, 10:30 AM. Bring your lunch. Coffee will be available and kitchen space, refrigerator can be used.

Newsletter submissions: I thank the people who have helped out recently, and hope there will be even more to come in future. Nothing is too big (after editing) or ever too small. Send everything.

Baxter Nut Grove - trees needed: For replacement: 2 Honey Locust, 2 Horse Chestnut, 3 American Beech. Missing varieties: Oaks (3 each) English, Pin, Chestnut, Chinquapin; Hickories Shagbark, Mockernut, Shellbark; ginkgos (9 in all) varieties as available. Phil Park.

Photographic slides needed: If anyone has any extra slides of SONG activities and members, could they consider donating to Irmi Underwood so that a permanent visual library can be created.

From the Nut Use Group

We have expanded our interest and activities. Besides using nuts (other than as seed) we want to actively gather them in quantity. Part of those gathered will be donated for use as seed. Thanks to Paul Bender and Irene Woolford for their contributions of nut use information to our research project, as described in the last issue. Please, more of the same. If the research goes well, a handbook on nut gathering, harvesting, storing and use could be produced by our Chapter in the future. If you are interested in joining the Nut Use Group, watch for the sign-up sheet at the forthcoming AGM.

Several people have asked to have the table of nut nutritional values presented at the Winter meeting. Herewith is the table, which was gleaned from several sources:
Food Values g/kg
pine nut1506201707000
black walnut2805601206800

Hank Jones

Irony of the Month

A local firm (Lee Valley Tools) sells tool handles made from hickory - imported from Tennessee. A local member, Pierre Séguin, president of Les Entreprises Ribeyron Ltée of Papineauville, sawmill and finished wood products, came across some Canadian hickories but was unable to do anything with them (under 100 trees) as the amount of wood was too small, hence, no useful market. If he could have had 500 or 1000 trees, that might have been a different matter. There is a good lesson for all of us there.

Now the good news: Pierre Séguin is very interested in growing Black Walnuts. He is hoping to get a large quantity of hardy local seed, so that it can be sent to Quebec to be sprouted in provincial nurseries, for replanting in the Outaouais on some of his land for eventual harvesting. So, if members could make a diligent effort to collect seed this fall, he would be very happy. The quantity required is open-ended, whatever is available will be used. I wonder if Mr. Pope of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources might be interested to hear this? Or would governing by 180 degree turns, consecutively, be too dizzying? We shall hope for the best.

By the way, if anyone can figure a good use for Black Walnut shells, please inform. Other than (facetiously) as a replacement for gravel in concrete mix, might they be a replacement for coal or charcoal, when suitably dried? This extremely hard, dense wood should have a high BTU value.

Woodlot Improvement Act Update

The Ontario government has announced an organizational change to be undertaken on a trial basis with the local Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), which if successful, will probably be extended across the province. Essentially, the WIA would be administered locally by the RVCA, instead of having the MNR direct it centrally. No major changes will occur to the policies of the WIA due to this action; however by having the program administered on a local basis, there may eventually be some variations if in practise only, based on local conditions. A conclusion I have jumped to without any backing in fact is that a program of this nature administered by a Conservation Authority might end up being somewhat different than one directed by the Ministry, if only, for example a different emphasis on the value of hardwoods as opposed to pulpwoods and softwoods such as the hybrid poplar, based on varying soil and terrain conditions.

Black Walnuts

At the Winter meeting in January, we welcomed the return of Mr. H.L.Noblitt, who unfortunately had been inactive in SONG for a while. Mr. Noblitt has had a good deal of experience raising various varieties of nut trees, and his observations will be very useful to members, especially concerning the Walnut family.

Concerning the germination of the Black walnut, he notes that the first nuts to fall from a given tree tend to be very low in viability, and that one gets better results from later falls. There is in my observations quite some variation in groups of trees in their maturity dates, of up to 3 weeks at times. Perhaps the best source would be late nuts from early maturing trees, that is, before the first good frost. Our first generation of trees in Kemptville are often caught up by frost and the seed is of low viability except in very good years in spite of large volume. However, there is an exponential increase occurring, apparently due to earlier second generation trees.

He also notes that he has had fairly good results by wintering over the seeds buried in a pit about a foot or so down below the ground surface, or somewhat closer to the surface. Walnuts must freeze and thaw to crack the shells to allow germination - this can take 2 years naturally. Perhaps members might try some experiments this fall to determine the optimum conditions?

Black walnuts tend to be a bit slow in growth, but much faster than the Hickories. He has observed 60 feet of growth in 30 years, and I have seen seed production in under 15 years (viable too) under good conditions locally. Selections or hybrids should appreciably improve these results, even locally. One thing for growers I have seen is that apparently the best trees for nuts (i.e. ease of peeling husk and cracking the shell) are the worst for growth for timber, and vice versa, but this may be a wrong conclusion based on the limited number of specimens locally.

Walnuts are said to favour deep friable loam, near the flood plain, but not consistently wet year- round. This sort of soil is in short supply in this area, but he is getting good growth from his property on River Road which is some loam, with clay and then sand. In Kemptville, the most vigorous growth is near but not on the rivers, or near moist area (caused by springs?) Mr. Noblitt has found that a group of Black Walnuts on a sand ridge on the Leitrim Road near the Ottawa Airport is badly diseased with walnut canker, which is not a noticeable problem elsewhere, so it appears that dry (or sandy?) soil may not be very good for them. Another problem he notes is the appearance of the Walnut caterpillar on his trees, which feeds in a mass, and moves around a tree until it is stripped bare. They have longer hairs than the tent caterpillar, and are whiter. On one tree, you could remove the particular branch end, and get rid of them all at once, but another method suggests itself. They migrate down a tree's trunk to pupate on the ground (note skins at base of tree) and Hank Jones suggested that Tanglefoot in a ring around the trunk might be effective. Isolated specimens tend to be hardest hit (the Butternut on Alec Jones' property last summer, bare, but tent-less, may be an example). These pests will attack other nut trees, such as oaks and pecans, so be forewarned that an increase in the number of favoured host trees, without pest control measures, may exacerbate this problem.

Mr. Noblitt is very interested in the potential of the Japanese Walnut as a hybrid with the Butternut, as these trees have a similar nut structure, and could be compatible. The Japanese Walnut can have as many as 11 nuts in a spray on a branch tip, as opposed to the Black Walnut/Butternut which have 1 to 3 per tip, which makes harvesting easier.

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