The Nuttery : Volume 8 Number 1 January 1989

In this Issue...

The Winter Meeting

The Winter meeting will be held in the auditorium of the Citizen Building, 1101 Baxter Rd., Ottawa on Friday, January 27, 1989. Registration begins at 7:30 PM. (Registration is free.) The agenda will include the release of "A Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario", a presentation on the latest methods of tree growing, and other exciting events.

The theme of this winter's meeting will be methods of growing nut and bean bearing trees and shrubs locally. The meeting will open at 8:00 PM with remarks by the Chapter's Chair, Bob Scally, on a number of topics of interest to the membership. Bob will introduce Mark Schaefer about 8:15 PM.

Mark, the editor of the new growers manual, will be bringing the 150 copies of the first printing of the manual to the meeting. He will be discussing the book's purpose, what it contains, and answering any and all questions about it. Mark will also talk about the Kemptville College's Innovation 100 Conference that he participated in. He talked about nut growing in eastern Ontario as one of the 100 innovative activities for the modern farm.

At about 8:45 PM we will break for coffee. During the break, due can be paid, and the new manual will go on sale (the Chapter's cookbook will also be on sale). Members who want to try out new nut recipes should definitely bring samples to the meeting!

At 9:15 PM, Bob Scally will introduce Irene Woolford, the Chapter's secretary, who will be talking about the results of her researches into the latest word on tree care techniques. At about 9:30 PM, the seminar will begin for questions and answers based on the manual, the newest tree care techniques and members own arboricultural experiences. Hank Jones, the Nuttery Editor, will chair the seminar, which will be an open forum for all attendees.

The Winter Meeting will adjourn on or before 10:00 PM. See you all there. Bring a friend along!

Chapter Projects

A pre-release announcement on the new Chapter publication, "A Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario". By the time you read this issue of the Nuttery, the manual will be rolling off the presses!

Publishing this basic "how-to-grow-nut-trees" manual has been ten years in the making. It is the first basic growers book for the region of eastern Ontario and western Quebec. It celebrates the decennial of the founding of the Chapter, and captures the accumulation of ten years of local nut growing experience and data. Not only have many members been learning by doing on their own properties, but the Chapter as a whole has been collectively learning through a wonderful experiment, namely the Baxter Nut Grove Project. Recently, a new plantation project at Oak Valley has started contributing experiences.

This manual will benefit all our members in their own determined efforts to successfully grow the many varieties of nut and bean bearing trees and shrubs which we are now proving to be possible to grow locally. The manual will also benefit other growers, such as local commercial and municipal nurseries. Local landscapers will find the manual encouraging when they are considering including these kinds of trees in their designs. They will clearly appreciate from the information in the manual how these trees and shrubs are in fact the best choice for their clients. The trees are ecologically attractive. They encourage desirable urban, suburban and rural wildlife such as birds and small mammals. They provide desirable and nutritious nut fruit for their human owners. And, of course, they upgrade the value of the land they grow on; after all, nut trees provide the most valuable wood of all North American tree species!

The manual is written for users who know some of the basics of gardening and horticulture. However, it discusses at length the general methods common to most trees, so novices may find most of what they need to know. The bulk of the manual discusses the particulars of growing each of 10 selected species, namely the Black Walnut, the Heartnut, the Butternut, the Hazel, the Beech, the Shagbark Hickory, the ginkgo, the Korean Nut Pine, the White Oak, and the Bur Oak. The manual also lists some sources of seed and stock, the major nut growing research centers, and provides a bibliography of the key references to nut growing.

This manual should be on every nut grower's book shelf. Come to the Winter Meeting and get your copy of "A Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario", and pick up extra copies to give to your friends and neighbours.

One of the Chapter's continuing projects is its growing library of documents on nut and bean bearing trees and shrubs. The library, which is open to all members, now has about 100 articles. The Librarian is Alec Jones, Ottawa 828-6459.

Letters to the Editor

Recently, Brenda Cole, the gardening columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, referred a questioner to us for more information on nut growing in this region. This resulted in the Nuttery Editor receiving 3 letters of interest. Our thanks to Brenda for her support! I encourage individual chapter members with relevant information to contact the inquirers directly. The Nuttery editor can provide you with the inquirers' telephone numbers.

Mrs. June Adams of Ottawa is nurturing an old, large Black Walnut, as well as wanting to find out more about growing other trees. She also wants information on storing and using the walnuts.

Mr. C.C. Cummins, of Gloucester, is beginning to plant nut trees on some acreage he has in Kanata. He wants information specific to nut growing in this region.

Mr. Dominic Kelly of Manotick has a Black Walnut he has grown from seed. This year he harvested over 600 nuts, which he is willing to share as seed. He seeks more information on both growing and using Black Walnut.

A paper from Bob Scally

The following paper from Bob Scally is an excellent example of the best way to compile your own growers information. It follows the format of "A Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario". If we all follow this format, we will all find it easier to record information and to use the information in the future.

Wolfe Island: a Zone 6a site. Bob Scally, Kanata 592-1745.

The following comments apply to plantings carried out in open agricultural land, class II, clay loam with a pH 5 to 5.5. This site is located on Wolfe Island, in Lake Ontario opposite Kingston. I selected the Wolfe Island site for its climatic Zone 6a, the closest such zone to Ottawa.

Site Preparation. My tests demonstrate that the most satisfactory site preparation is a late summer or fall spraying with 1/3% solution of Roundup (1 fl.oz. to 2 gallons of water). This solution is sprayed in rows where planting is to take place the following spring. Rows are marked out with wood stakes, so that the treated area cam be identified before growth starts in the spring.

Seed Collection. It is my experience that one of the most difficult seeds to collect is Black Cherry. The blossoms appear early in the spring, and the small green seed starts to form immediately. At this time of year it is a favourite feed for birds, and by the end of June almost all of the immature fruit will have been devoured. I have had some success in saving some seed for tree planters by tying pieces of mist net about 15" square about selected branches, shortly after the flowers drop. This summer I was able to get seed from a tree near my home, as well as trees at my plantation, by using this method. The net must be fastened well enough to last through until September when the fruit is ripe. I have found that the birds are very wary of this net, and have been able to collect seed which was unprotected outside the netting, as the birds apparently give it a wide berth. This seed is collected in late August and September, after the cherries have turned black. This takes place over several weeks on the same tree. I crush the cherries to separate the seed, which is a labour intensive process of many washings and hand picking.

Pre-germination Treatment. For Black Cherry, I have found that a mix of 50% seed and peat moss kept in the refrigerator will show germination sprouting in about two months, if the temperature is about 40°F. If the temperature can be kept at about 34°F the seed does not germinate in storage.

Walnut Stratification. I have had good results in stratifying walnuts, butternuts etc., in a plywood box lined with 1" thick styrofoam insulation. The box is then lined with polyethylene to try to control the stain from the husks. The nuts are placed on a bed of light soil, and alternate layers of nuts and soil fill the box. A light sprinkling of water is applied, and the box closed for the winter. I keep the box in my attached garage, with one side against the wall of the house. The nuts are removed in early April and planted out in a prepared seed bed. Using this method, about 50% germination is attainable in the first year, with most of the remainder in the second year.

Obtaining Stock. As the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources will no longer supply planting stock from their Kemptville nurseries, I have been growing my own in my garden at home. I have two areas framed with 2x6" planks, on which fits a 2x4" frame covered with 1" chicken wire mesh. I plan to add another next year, so that there will be two sections which can be alternated with seedlings which stay only one year in the seed bed, and a separate area for small-seed seedlings which may be two or more years in the nursery beds. I try to dig up all stock at one time, and then heel it in for holding until the day of planting, when it is lifted, and transported to the plantation in poly bags with moist peat moss.

Plantation. After ten years of trying different arrangements, I am now convinced that the spacing recommended by Fred von Althen is the best; that is, planting on 5' centers in rows 5' apart. As I want a mixed woodlot, I try to interplant several species. Presently I have Red Oak, Black Cherry, Walnut, Butternut, and White Ash, with a few English Oak, Shagbark Hickory and Bur Oak. I have found that seedlings are preferable to direct planting, but do have a few problems. The major problem is the weather. This year (1988) there was no rain after seedlings were planted in April and May, until the end of June, but drought conditions continued until September. When seedlings are planted in a clay soil, the planting slot opens up as the soil dries. This year, with about half the seedlings I refilled this slot as the ground dried, with a mixture of light topdressing and limestone dust, watered in. This treatment was continued until a light rain fell at the end of June. About 98% of these seedlings survived the drought, and by autumn had leafed out similar to seedlings planted a year ago. Of those that got the normal treatment of tramping the planting slot closed, had only about 50% survival rate, and had minimal leafing.

Direct Seeding. If there are "garden rats" around, direct seeding means that seed must be protected. With the walnut family, they will chew off seedlings even in the second year of growth, and even in a protect seedbed will reach through screens and rip out seedlings if they can be reached. In my experience, screened fall seeding gives the best results with most oaks and small-seed species. I believe that I get a better first year germination with the walnuts with the stratification procedure mentioned earlier. With stratified small seed, the seed should be planted out as early as possible, even before the last snow. If left even a couple of weeks later there is a loss of seedlings to damping off.

Tending. I have found that Roundup is an excellent all round weed control. It is about the only thing that will kill twitch grass, and I have not found any weeds yet that it won't control. I apply a 1/3% solution using a 2 gallon polythene spray tank. I protect the seedlings with an aluminum shovel and direct the spray away from them. If any leaves are sprayed by accident, I pick them off immediately. I tried placing 18" square tarpaper around seedlings to smother weeds, but found that mice and voles moved under the tarpaper as a protection from hawks, and then girdled the trees. I have also tried newspapers as a mulch, but the compact with weathering and seem to induce a mould growth that kills seedlings. I have found that Simazine does a good job of keeping weeds down once they are killed off by Roundup. I have also found that all trees must be protected from mice with tree guards. The damage from mice changes from one season to another, but in the early years I have had up to 98% destruction of unprotected trees. Even with protection there will be some damage to smooth barked trees such as Black Cherry. In general, I have not had a lot of trouble with caterpillars, but the past summer was very hard on some trees, as the drought delayed or prevented the releafing of stripped trees. I have removed gypsy moth egg masses when I can find them, but plan to be ready to spray them next year. They prefer black cherry to all other trees in my plantation.

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