The Tree Grower
Blessed is the man who listens to the counsel of the tree grower
And stands not in the way of the seedling planting
Nor sits in the seat of the scoffers who delight in telling him -
"Thou shall not live long enough to benefit therefrom."
Let him meditate on this day and night.
Blessed is the man who plants a tree or causes many to be planted.
Yea, even by streams of water, and on the denuded hill,
Where they shall fruit in season, and the years improve them,
And "in all ways they will prosper him.
Blessed is the man who praises the works of the Tree Grower.
For he has set his hand to the task of renewing the Earth,
As the tree is likened to a net, it catches in its leaves
The gold of the sun, the silver of the rain, and filters
The air as it cools the breezes who caress them.
It ensnares the soil in its roots, to enricheth the moisture
Deep beneath the surface where the sleeping waters lie.
Blessed is the name of the tree grower.
Reprinted with the permission of R.W. Daubendiek, Box 125, Harper's Ferry IA USA 52146
SONG Has Grown!
At 9:00 p.m., October 14, 1972 the membership roster of SONG showed a modest number of seventeen members. At the time of this writing there are 159 members. SONG owes a considerable debt of gratitude to Zena Cherry who made known the activities of SONG to the large readership of the "Globe and Mail". Also thanks are in order to Mr. L.N. Bronson who publishes in the "London Free Press"; Mr. A. Watson who publishes in the "Chatham News"; the Editors of the "Farm and Country" newspaper; and the many other publications that announced our existence.
SONG has an important message for all generations of our time. Tell your neighbours and friends how they may enjoy the many benefits from growing nut trees.
Forest Research - Nut Trees
The Forest Research Branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources has been busy establishing an arboretum for the testing of nut trees. Mr. H. Cedric Larsson, SONG's Vice President has been active in pursuing this development. The following nut selections were procured from the Gellatly Nut Nurseries of West Bank BC for establishment at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton ON:
Nut Trees You Can Grow
One of the first decisions of a nut grower is to decide what kinds of trees to plant. You might consider growing some of these: Persian Walnut; Black Walnut; Japanese Walnut; Heartnut; Butternut; Filberts; Hazels; Tree Hazels; Almond; Shagbark Hickory; Shellbark Hickory; Pecan; American Chestnut; Chinese Chestnut; Beechnuts; Pine nuts; Apricots (sweet kernel types)
For the avid nut grower try growing some of the following hybrids. You should recognize the parents in the names: Persian - Black Walnuts; Butterjaps; Buartnuts; Filazels; Trazels; Hicans; Shag -Shellbark Hickories; Amchin Chestnuts; Amjap Chestnuts etc.
Some of these may be more adapted to your local soil and climate then others. The only way you can tell for sure if a species will perform for you is to try a few seedlings and see what happens.
E. Grimo, Niagara Falls ON
What to Do With Nut Trees
Associations for nut growers have existed for over sixty years in North America. In that time many interesting achievements have been recorded. One of the most active groups is the Northern Nut Growers Association - Spencer Chase, Secretary-Treasurer, 4518 Holston Hills Road, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA 37914. Noteworthy achievements include:
When you consider all that has been done what else is there to do? In what ways can nut growers participate? The new nut grower may well wonder how he can contribute to the knowledge of nut growing. Below is a list of potential activities:
Whatever objectives you choose as a nut grower you will feel well rewarded by the knowledge that you have contributed to the improvement of the environment through the planting of a valuable resource - trees.
Edible Nuts of South Hastings County
The part of Hastings County lying south of the Oak Hill Range lends itself well to the growth of nut trees and their seed - edible nuts. Only four trees native to the area will be discussed - and also one which was introduced, the heartnut.
The older part of the city of Belleville contains on private property some fine specimens of black walnut. In earlier times they were sought out by cabinet makers for their fine wood.
The butternut still thrives in fence rows and some good specimens are still found in thick woods. Many at maturity show signs of decay in the limbs and trunks. The Writer has a number of specimens in a woodlot. The best one is twenty inches in diameter, has two good saw logs and a shorter piece. The nuts are taken by squirrels and some of those buried in nearby rocky fence rows germinate and grow with good results.
Hickory nut trees, also found in fence rows are fairly numerous. Some fine specimens were left in fields where they receive the benefits of cultivation and fertilizer. Huge crops fall to the ground and are taken by squirrels.
The hazel nut is now becoming rare. As the zig-zag rail fence disappeared so did this little shrub with its load of small but sweet nuts. Again we must thank the squirrels and more particularly the chipmunks for propagating this shrub.
As far as I know the Writer introduced the heartnut into Hastings County. Of six brought here, three have reached maturity and produce heavy crops nearly every year. I have given away hundreds of nuts to school children but have no way of knowing how successfully they germinated. Adjacent to the area in which the heartnuts were first planted, the squirrels buried dozens of them in garden land. Last autumn, after the leaves had fallen, the garden owner transferred 12-15 plants about a foot high to a spot 40 miles north-east of here near the head waters of the Moira River. In the deep black soil of the creek bank there is no reason why their growth should not be successful.
The Writer also has 6 thin-shelled walnuts nearing maturity in the same row as the butternuts and heartnuts The thin-shelled walnuts have not done as well as the butternuts and heartnuts. It would appear that the walnuts do not thrive in heavy clay soil.
This has been a sketchy review of the nut tree situation in south Hastings County. The writer believes that our greatest hope in furthering nut tree culture lies in the contacting of senior grade school students who seem willing to do the planting and to give the little attentions that nut trees require.
K.M. Bird, Belleville ON
Who Me - Eat Nuts?
If someone had asked me several months ago why I am fond of consuming nuts, I would have said simply - "because I like them". Now my good friend and working associate Gene Gillies has given me a list full of information proving that nuts are cram-packed with nutrients which have been keeping me healthy for the past many years.
|Composition of Nuts|
|Species||Water||Protein||Carbohydrates||Fat||Calories per pound|
|Compared to Steak||65.1||19.8||-||13.6||950|
Editor's Notes: It's unfortunate that this report did not cover hickory nuts but since they are in the same botanical genus as pecans, I would suspect that the analyses for pecan and hickory would be very similar.
The report made passing reference to pignolias. What in the World is a pignolia?
Seedlings or Grafted Trees
Whenever a beginner (or a veteran) nut grower decides to make a planting of nut trees it is very proper to ask the question - will I plant seedlings or grafted trees? Certainly not an easy question to answer. In order to shed some light on the question a person should analyse what are his objectives for planting the trees: What level of production do I want? Do filberts suit my taste better than heartnuts? Do all Persian walnuts taste the same? Will species "x" fill (mature) nuts properly in this area? Is the tree fast growing, slow growing? Will the selection be self pollinating? What is the size of the nut? Is the nut meat easy to extract from the shells? What is the percentage crackout of nut meat? Will the tree be hardy in my backyard, the back of my farm? Will my selection make a good shade tree? Is the tree unusually susceptible to late spring frosts? What are the storage (keeping) qualities of the nuts? Are the nuts easy to remove from the outer husks? What are the cultural requirements of the tree? Is the tree subject to diseases and insects? How much space does the tree require? Is the tree easy to transplant? How soon does the tree come into bearing?
When a person determines his objectives first then the question of - seedlings versus grafted trees, becomes somewhat easier to answer. Certainly it is not my intention to bewilder the beginning nut grower with endless questions. Probably very few nut growers answer all of the foregoing questions before initiating a planting of trees. Most often it is a case that not all of the required information is readily available. However I have tried to cover a good sampling of the proper objectives so that the individual nut grower can pursue the answers to the questions to whatever extent his interests dictate.
I will now attempt to provide a general guide to answering the questions listed above although admittedly I enter the avenues "where angels fear to tread".
In what ways may a grafted tree meet the objectives better than a seedling tree? It is the assumption with grafted trees that under specified conditions ...ABC... that the results will be ...XYZ... In other words if neighbour ...M... has the same soil type and the same general cultural and climate conditions as neighbour ...N... then the two growers should get the same results. Ah - therein lies the rub! Although there are a large number of grafted selections of all nut species available from various points in the United States, few of the named varieties have been adequately tested in Ontario or other parts of Canada. Some varietal selection of nut trees have been made in Canada - such as those made by the Gellatlys - although in this case the selections were made for the interior valley conditions of British Columbia.
Therefore it has to be concluded that the selection of either grafted trees or seedlings currently available for planting represent a speculative venture for Ontario conditions.
How does one remove the element of speculation from the selection of nut trees for planting? First if you choose grafted" specimens, try to get trees that have originated from seedlings as close to your area as possible. (Yes at some point even grafted trees have originated from scion wood of superior seedlings.) If there are no grafted specimens available from points reasonably close to home, then try to get your grafted trees from points of origin which have similar cultural and climatic conditions as your own. Also study the growing requirements of the trees such as - length of frost free season required -necessary heat units - moisture - intensity of light - soil -probability of early frost damage - to determine whether your backyard can supply the conditions required by the trees. The study of comparative climatology is in itself a most fascinating and rewarding subject.
What is the case for the planting of seedling trees? First it must be recorded that seedlings grown from any one source tree are capable of remarkable variation in terms of tree and nut size, quality, length of season required, frost resistance, disease resistance. That is ... the trees grown from seed do not come "true" to the form of the parent tree. The degree of variation depends on the previous history of the parent tree. (The "family-tree" of a tree is also a very fascinating subject!)
There are two basically sound approaches for selecting sources of seed for the production of seedlings:
(a) Select seed from an outstanding tree - probably a named variety - from any area which has conditions which are "generally" similar to your own. Note that the variation in cultural and climatic conditions of a legitimate seed source can vary much more from your own than is proper for the selection of sources of scion wood for grafted trees. Seedlings from these superior sources would have an inherent disposition for good fruiting characteristics and the grower would probably rate the success of the seedlings in terms of cultural and climatic adaptation.
(b) Select seed from two or three of the best naturally occurring specimens within your district - arbitrarily suppose a 50 mile radius. Such seedlings should have a general adaptation to your cultural and climatic conditions and the grower's objectives would be directed mostly towards achieving better nut size, crackability, flavour, productivity etc.
Expressing one man's opinion I would have to suggest that Ontario growers should spend a considerable part of their efforts developing seedling nut trees. However that is not to say that certain judiciously chosen named varieties should not be imported from other areas. In fact if some of the improved specimens from remote areas should prove even marginally adaptable to Ontario climates, such trees would provide a valuable seed source for species improvement. In other words I am strongly suggesting that growers should advance through the stages of secondary seedling selection before a general attempt is made to mass produce specific grafted varieties for Ontario.
A similar argument can be made if an unusually promising "wild" tree should be found within a distance which could be considered as "close to home". Since any wildling tree is so amenable to improvement via seedling reproduction, it is quite doubtful whether mass grafting of scion wood from such trees can be justified.
In conclusion it may be stated that grafted trees are excellent selections if the trees have the characteristics you require and if same are adaptable to your cultural and climatic conditions. Seedlings are always a matter of speculation; plant a number of seedlings from carefully selected seed sources and be prepared to use the axe on some of them - who knows -you may create the perfect tree!
Hickory is King
So far some readers of SONG may have developed the impression that nut growers are long on theory and short on results. In this article I am going to zero in on some very specific production details from the hickory species for the years 1971 and 1972.
However before I get right into the cold, hard facts it may be of some interest to recall my first introductions to gathering hickory nuts. It was a few years back when I was about six years old and was visiting my grandparents. At one point it was suggested that we go gathering hickory nuts since the first frosts of fall had caused the nuts to drop from the trees. Grandfather had a hickory tree which was at the end of the laneway and along a line fence. At the age of six I perhaps did not understand the workings of hickory trees but it did seem that the skies had simply opened up and poured these tasty treasures upon the ground. I began to appreciate what a good thing that Moses had going for himself in the daily provisioning of manna. However it soon became known to the boy of six that the miracle of the hickory tree happened only once per year. I can still remember grandfather expounding upon the virtues of being built low to the ground when gathering hickory nuts and no doubt that information will come in handy when the training of my "six year olds" begins.
As time passed I came to know that although grandfather's tree was very good (and also very accessible), there was a better tree across the several concessions if one had the time and opportunity to travel to its location. The nuts were bigger and also there seemed to be more meat in each nut. But those were not the best attractions by a long shot. When one cracked a dishpan full of those wonderful hickories, you would find that when you had picked your way to the bottom of the pan that there was a significant layer of nut meats in the bottom and these meats had just popped out of the shells during the cracking process without a single prod from a human hand.
Some years later I was bush-hopping in the fall of the year many miles from grandfathers training ground and much to my astonishment I discovered a hickory with nuts even larger than grandfather's "favourite". Unfortunately the nut meats did not crack out of the shells quite as well as the favourite. This discovery was made in 1956. In 1957 I went off to College to become trained for life and that year marked the end of the first chapter of my explorations for hickory trees.
College, Jobs, Marriage, Family.
It was not until 1969 that I managed to come by a farm of my own - as small as it is. One of my first projects became that of establishing a few hickory trees in my very own backyard.' My first instinct was to search out grandfather's favourite to get some nuts to start some seedling trees. But what a tragedy to find that where once a mighty hickory stood that there remained only a common cornfield. My luck had seemingly run out on that day. Furthermore even the neighbouring bushes which at one time sheltered hickories of modest worth, had been cut down. It seemed that Kent County had been transformed into a sea of corn fields.
It took several days of constant exploration to find woodlands which contained even a few hickory trees of any description let alone a tree of outstanding value. I was on the brink of despair concerning my hickory projects. Then I decided to abandon my searching in the familiar areas of north Kent and turned my attention to the central clay flatlands of Lambton County - an area which botanically speaking should be ideal for finding natural stands of hickory. My turning to scientific methods of search paid off with immediate discoveries and several of these are the subject of this report.
One might wonder why anybody would go to such an effort to find a few hickory trees. I used to explain it by saying that hickories - particularly shagbarks - have a taste very similar to southern pecans and therefore must be good. Subsequently at a meeting of the Northern Nut Growers I overheard two notable men of horticulture - G. Slate and L. MacDaniels (from New York) - describing hickory as having the best flavour of all the nut species - particularly since the characteristic of rancidity of the southern pecan can easily be avoided in well cured samples of hickory. Then I knew why hickory is king!
The following tables show the results of several years of searching for superior seed sources of hickory. The numbered selections are the result of examining the production of several thousand wildling trees. Several named varieties are included for the sake of comparison.
Kernels per Pound: This is one of the most important characteristics of relative worth of a nut for the home gardener and nut consumer. Also it could be described as the number of nuts which have to be cracked to get one pound of nut meats, assuming 100% extraction. It tells you (approximately) how many swipes with a hammer that you have to make in order to get one pound of edible nut meats. The lower the number the better.
Crackout Percentage: Relates very closely to the thinness of the shell and therefore the difficulty in cracking. A high percentage would be of great interest for commercial shelling of the nuts.
Nuts per Pound: This is often quoted as the "prestige" value of a nut sample. It refers to the number of nuts in the shell to make up a pound. Obviously this measure is not as significant as either the "crackout percentage" or the "kernels per pound".
Flavour: 4 - Excellent 3 - Good 2 - Fair 1 - Edible during times of starvation 0 - Not edible during times of starvation
Flavour ratings indicate a compromise of the scores assigned by my wife and myself. (We sometimes disagree on items of importance such as this.) Nuts were sampled after being stored for at least three months.
Shagbark Hickory - 1971
| Nuts per|
|Neilson||Niagara Reg. (H. Troup)||199||48.0||95.5||2|
|Glover||Niagara Reg. (H. Troup)||201||40.1||80.6||1|
Shagbark Hickory - 1972
| Nuts per|
|Neilson||Niagara Reg. (H. Troup)||151||43.8||66.0||2|
|Glover||Niagara Reg. (H. Troup)||298||35.2||105||1|
Shellbark Hickory - 1971
| Nuts per|
|CES-1||Kent County||145||24.6||35. 7||3|
Shellbark Hickory - 1972
| Nuts per|
|CES-14||Kent County||284||21.6||59. 3||1|
Pennsylvania Hickory Contest Winners -1969
| Nuts per|
|Neilson - 1972||CES-1-1972 ;|
|Glover - 1971||CES-3-1971|
What Happened to California Walnuts?
I used to think that "California Walnuts" were the best Persian walnuts available - mostly because they come from California. However I received a bit of surprise during the first SONG annual meeting on October 14, 1972. The meeting was held on the premises of the Horticultural Research Institute of Ontario, Vineland Station ON. When the group was touring the grounds I noticed a Persian Walnut tree (Carpathian origin) which seemed to have a relatively good sample of nuts. Now usually when I am touring as a guest I'm on my very best behaviour and certainly would not think of snitching any of the goodies which are attached to the trees. However on that occasion I was wearing an old coat with rather wide and flapping pockets and just as I was walking under the tree four of the nuts just happened to fall into one of the pockets. Now at that point I was certainly rather embarrassed but it was clear that the nuts could not be attached back onto the tree so saying nothing I continued on the tour. When I got home and made a weight analysis of the four nuts (after drying), there was a surprise. The following table gives the story and also compares the results with two California selections (purchased at a local supermarket).
| Nuts per|
Letters to the Editor
While in British Columbia earlier this year. I was given the opportunity of browsing through W. Gellatly's orders for nut trees. One was from: M.A.C.A.F. Holdings Limited,11 Princess Street, Palmerston North, P.0.B. 742, New Zealand.
The New Zealand growers are having similar difficulty in grafting trees as the Gellatly's have in British Columbia. I thought it might be of some interest to correspond with the New Zealand group and describe some of the successful grafting techniques of Horace Troup.
Sixty trees were brought back from British Columbia. Walnut trees were planted on the farm of
Mr. A. Beckwith in the Collingwood area. One Layeroka and one Skioka chestnut trees were
planted on Department of Natural Resources lands. at Maple ON. Two filberts and one h e a
r t n u t were planted on my own property in Thornhill. A few trees were taken by R. Horst to
Stratford. The bulk of the trees
were taken to a farm at Orillia.
J. Spick, 105 Spruce Avenue, Thornhill ON
In your bulletin, you were wondering about the Black Walnut, and it's most northerly latitude. There is one tree, growing here in Thunder Bay, (latitude approx 48°). It is growing in a fairly sheltered place, along side the local office of the Ministry of Natural Resources. The tree produces fruit, and apparently last year, the tree, which is about 25-30 feet high, produced a good sized crop.
In Thunder Bay, there are four Butternut trees that I know of, and all four are producing fruit.
Red Oak is growing in at least two locations, but as far as I know, no fruit is being produced.
Ohio Buckeye is also grown locally in at. least one location.
Bur Oak grows well locally, and a large natural stand is located only about 17 miles from town, in the general area of Kakabecka Falls.
One type of hazel, beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta), grows locally. It is, however, a very low producer, and the fruit does not ripen until sometime in September or later.
Other trees growing locally that may be of interest to some of our members are Basswood (Tilia americana and T. cordata), Honeylocust, Swiss Mountain Pine (Pinus cembra), Manitoba Maple, Norway Maple, Eastern Cottonwood, White and Red Ash, and Scotch Pine. American Elm, Sugar Maple, Red Maple and Yellow Birch are native to the area.
At present, the university has the following types of seeds undergoing stratification. of Filberts - the Barcelona and Myoka varieties of Chestnuts - American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollissima)
When these seeds germinate, the seedlings will be grown in the greenhouse, and after they have
reached suitable size, they will be placed out in the arboretum. This information will be sent to
Tom Nash, Men's Residence, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay ON
I am especially interested in a variety of hickory nut which I saw while at school many years ago.
These nuts were grown in Western Ontario and were about two inches across - they were flatter
than the average hickory nut. Can you tell me if these nuts or seedlings are available ?
J. D. Tinline, R.R.#3 Thamesville ON
My father has told me many times that there used to be such a hickory tree on his farm in north
Kent County. But Alas the tree was cut down many years ago. However all may not be lost -
there is a rumour which has been brought to me via Mr. D. Hill of Wallaceburg that there still
may be a specimen of that variety of Hickory in Dover Township, Kent. I believe that the species
would be the "kingnut" variation of the shellbark hickory which was never very abundant in
southern Ontario. It would be the same type of hickory as "Totten's Seedling" from north east
Missouri - refer to the article on hickories in this newsletter.
We already have 10 or more second generation
English walnuts growing in this area. One or two of the
trees yield two or more bushels per tree each year.
L.H. Bearner, Box 56 Meaford ON
I have two Carpathian walnut trees in my back yard that are descendants of the walnuts that George Corsan (Rev. Crath) imported. One tree is 30 feet tall with a girth of 36 inches. Why can we not be "Johnny Nut Seeds" and plant filberts in places along trout streams and such places? I remember as a boy gathering filberts along a couple of streams. (I am now 71 years old and don't walk the streams anymore).
Best of luck to the Society and I hope some place this spring to start a few nut trees.
G.I. Boone, 65 Erie Street, Collingwood ON
I am in the process of planting an apple orchard of approximately 10,000 trees for a "you pick
operation" and also am certainly interested in further information on nut trees as to varieties
which can be grown in Ontario, how long it takes for a tree to produce and size of trees. etc
C.S. Graham, R.R.#2, Erin ON
I have several trees of black walnut. One of the trees yields nuts with very thin shells and while the meats do not come out readily in halves, I have very good luck getting full quarters. Before hulling, the nut looks the same as ordinary walnuts but after hulling, it has four rounded corners which accounts for the large kernels.
Mr. C. Larsson of Maple ON is interested in it and is trying to propagate young trees from it.
There are a lot of walnut trees growing along the Sydenham River and I have scattered many of
the nuts through woodlots in this area where walnuts are not growing at the present time.
C. Burns, Dresden ON
Being an avid "nutter" and having acquired a small piece of land on which I'm building, I wish to
plant a few nut trees. At present I am the proud owner of a one foot tall butternut which I've
moved from a fence row on ray brother's farm. Also I would like to grow other varieties as well,
such as hazels, hickories and sweet chestnuts.
N.A. Benton, Limehouse ON
I planted 3 Persian Walnut trees of Carpathian origin about 30 years ago and we have had a lot of good crops. There have been a few losses from May frosts. A hull blight is our worst problem now
We've always had a hickory bush and I remember one year as a boy gathering over 20 bags full of
G. Kerr, R.R.#2 Dresden ON
There once was a man from St. Stewem;
He planted nut trees and he grew'em.
After decades had passed,
They bore fruit at last
But he hadn't no teeth left to chew'em.
J. Botting, R.R.#2 Chatham ON
The above was contributed by my good uncle from the region of Eberts ON. Joe has
searched many woodlots for nut trees and has sampled the benefits of several outstanding trees. It
appears from his response to the first newsletter which I sent to him that I have some more
"selling" to do. However my uncle did offer me the opportunity to join his new group which is
modestly titled: The Society for the Propagation and Preservation of the Scarlet Runner Bean and
how to protect the Harvest from Little Varmits!
Rev. P.C. Crath also introduced into Canada a
nut species which he referred to as the Hutzulian pointies. These also were growing near the
Carpathian area of Poland. Rev. Crath imported 10 pounds of them and they grew. He thought
that they would be the hardiest nuts he introduced. The nuts were shaped something like the
Canadian butternut but with English Walnut flavour - and one account mentioned thin smooth
shells. Would anyone know the whereabouts of these trees at this time?
R. Kreider Jr., Hammond Illinois, 61929
Burns' Walnut - a New Canadian Variety
Mr. Ernie Grimo, president of SONG, reported that the Burns' walnut, a recently recognized nut celebrity, is the first named black walnut (Juglans nigra) variety discovered in Canada since 1941. This unusual tree is growing with less illustrious companions on the property of Mr. Charles Burns, Dresden ON, who found it in the fall of 1967 during his annual nut-gathering pilgrimage. He noted that certain nuts in his bag had fuller kernels and thinner shells than the rest of the nuts. After sampling the fruit under each tree, he located the doner. Mr. Burns immediately notified the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, now the Ministry of Natural Resources, of his find with an accompanying sample of fruit. These were passed on to the Forest Research Branch. The potentiality of this nut was soon realized and since then nuts have been collected each year; the tree has been thoroughly measured; it's seed has been sown and attempts have been made to reproduce the tree asexually by cuttings, budding and grafting. Mr. Burns has been keeping a record of insect attacks. The latest investigation was a complete evaluation of the cracking qualities of this nut performed by Dr. L.H. MacDaniels, Cornell University who gave it a score of 101.3 which is considerably higher than most recorded varieties.
The characteristics of this outstanding variety may be briefly described as follows: The tree is an open-grown shade form being approximately 36 feet tall with a crown spread of 30 feet; the lowest branch is 11 feet from the ground and the trunk is 12.4 inches in diameter at breast height. This tree is about 40 years old and has been bearing annually at least since 1950 when Mr. Burns purchased the property. During that period it was defoliated only once by walnut caterpillar but it is subjected each year to a medium infestation of mites which distort the leaves but does not appear to seriously effect nut production. For instance in 1972, the tree produced one bushel of hulled nuts. Seedlings of this tree were compared to seedlings from 2 timber types and they were more vigorous over a two year period than their counterparts being from 1 to 2 feet taller. The largest seedling attained a height of 4 feet in that time.
Dr. MacDaniels tests indicated that the nut is smaller than most commercial varieties as 10 nuts weigh only 115.5 grams as compared to a range of from 144 to 250 grams for other selected varieties. However, this feature is more than compensated by the thin shell, high cracking yield i.e. 40 quarters and 20 halves and the high percentage of kernel relative to total weight of nut. In fact the percent kernel is greater than 32 out of 36 varieties tested. The score 101.3 was also comparably greater. Dr. MacDaniels suggests that this clone should be propagated and distributed so that it will not be lost and in fact he recommends that it be crossed with larger nuts of good cracking quality. He further stated that this nut is a decided advance over any black walnut with which he is familiar.
This unusual variety growing in our own backyard should serve as a stimulant for all of us in SONG to locate, propagate and distribute exceptional nut varieties of species common to southern Ontario.
H. Cedric Larsson, Maple ON
The Art of Grafting Nut Trees
This material is prepared primarily for beginners and those of slight experience in the ancient art of grafting.
Before we begin, let us examine the purpose of grafting. Grafting is done to preserve without change, the desirable characteristics of any plant or tree which produces superior foliage, flowers, fruit or nuts. Seedlings produced from seeds of such superior specimens may vary widely from their seed parents, usually producing inferior products. By grafting we are able to produce as many trees as desired, all producing fruit identical with the original chosen parent; thus named varieties are established and perpetuated.
Grafting consists of taking buds from the selected parent tree and by a surgical operation attaching them to the body of another tree of the same or allied species, in such a manner that they make vital contact, unite and become one. With the growing of the scion and the removal of all side growth of the stock, the scion becomes the entire top of the tree and the stock supplies the root.
Preliminary to spring grafting operations, the scion wood should be cut well in advance, while still dormant, during March when the temperatures have been above freezing for several days. Place scion wood in a plastic bag together with a bit of damp cloth or sphagnum moss and store in the refrigerator at above freezing temperatures, until used.
The best scion wood is of last season's growth, well matured, with healthy leaf buds. Wood with soft pith at its centre and wood taken from the short growth of older bearing trees should be avoided.
The best time to graft is in the spring about the time when the buds on walnut trees have pushed out an inch or two. In southern Ontario, this generally occurs about mid May. Chestnuts and hickories may be done a week or so sooner. The walnuts, however, present a special problem. Like the maple, the sap of walnuts flows very freely when the bark is cut in early spring. To overcome this difficulty, several methods are used. One is to cut off the stock at the desired height and allow to bleed for about two weeks, then recut a little lower to get a fresh terminal and graft. Another procedure is to delay grafting until the stock is in almost full leaf at which stage the excessive sap flow slows down and stops.
The simple splice graft shown in three stages at the left presents the most practical grafting method where stock and scion are of the same size. The cut surfaces should be about four times as long as wide. Care should be taken to make the cut matching surfaces flat and smooth. The method shown at right illustrates the cleft graft which is useful where the stock is of larger diameter then the scion.
In all grafting, great care must be taken in matching the cambium layers of the scion to the stock. In the mechanics of grafting, the cambium area presents itself as a thin line between the bark and the wood. The more completely the exposed cambium is in parallel contact, the more successful the operation. As tender new cells of the cambium layer develop from the stock, permanent union results.
Once the graft is set and tied with a rubber grafting strip, the exposed areas, including the upper tip of the scion are covered with a coating of grafting wax. The graft should then be shaded from direct sunlight. A small paper bag will serve the purpose. Remove as the bud begins to open
Nut Tree Bud Grafting
As a boy I helped Professor Neilson who was then at the Vineland Experimental Station, topwork a seedling English walnut. He was using wood from the original Broadview tree, part of which had broken down and the wood was sent to him. I will try to illustrate the technique he used.
A bud was cut from the scion as illustrated at the left. The wood chip was left attached to the bud. Incision cut into stock as shown in the middle drawing. The bud was set in incision as shown at right. This was wrapped with waxed cloth and painted over with melted paraffin.
With this technique, the limb or top of the tree is left on. After possibly three weeks, if growth appears to be certain, the limb is cut a few inches beyond the bud. The stub is removed the next year. Where buds were too narrow, Mr. Neilson tried to match the cambium on one side. All buds grew fast, However, Mr. Neilson forgot to tell us to cut the limbs off later and the buds started to swell then dropped off. The bud patches remained and could be seen until the tree was removed. I have tried this method since and a few grow without wax. With plastic this might be a winner.
I believe two trees which he top worked for my Uncle Will still remain though badly mutilated by the hydro line since installed there.
Horace Troup, St. Catharines ON
Provided by SONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.