SONG News Spring 1974 no. 4
In this Issue...

The Tree Grower

Consider now the tree grower, who is likened unto a vagabond who travels the face of the earth in search of space, large and small, whereon he may plant his treasures, which are without price. Yea, he even borrows his wife's jeep to search out new areas whereon to hide his treasures. He travels many leagues, hither and yon, forth and back, yea, even unto scratching under snow in search of new specie. He draggeth home abundant quantities of seed, which he burieth, and guardeth with extreme diligence until they become treasures transformed. He placeth these treasures in storage, and goeth forth with ample enthusiasm, to boast to other strange creatures, also called tree growers, of his superior treasures, and induceth his peers to bury these treasures of goodly sum, and value, in secret places of their choosing, where he gloateth for years over the success of his buryings, as though they were his own. Yea, his cup runneth over.

Consider the tree planter who infecteth his wife with his enthusiasm, even until she alloweth him to store these treasures, yea, even unto cluttering up their habitation, even unto overflowing the basement with his treasures, which he's influenced her to count into lots of one thousand, yea, even, I say unto you, up to one thousand times one thousand. He causes his office help, even unto the reforestation of her bathtub, where she storeth her cherished treasures, proving the contagion of this particular disease, tree growing.

Blessed is the tree planter who toileth patiently all day and far into the night, then relaxeth a few hours, entereth into peace with the world, in the knowledge of work well done, and rejoiceth in finding new specie to bury, and glories that the great spirit has, in his wisdom, made them all. Surely many happy hunting grounds will open to him in the great beyond.
J.M. Sloan Reprinted through the permission of: R.W. Daubendiek, P.O. Box 125, Harper's Ferry, Iowa, USA, 52146

Growing Nut Trees on Spoil Banks

There are many instances where construction or mining projects produce upsets in soil conditions which are rather difficult to re-establish with growing trees and other plants. Several instances have been reported in past NNGA reports where nut trees have been established on spoil banks for erosion control, production of saleable nut products, timber and other purposes. I will try to summarize some of the facts which have been learned from these very worthwhile activities.

Nut trees are very useful for spoil bank control because these trees tend to be deep rooted and therefore have an ability to hold the soil in place. It is desirable of course to have the fastest growing trees so that the network of root systems can be re-established as quickly as possible. Also one has to be quite careful in the selection of trees for proper matching and soil types. At best the spoil banks are not the most ideal types of soil, often highly disturbed, uncompacted and frequently a heavy clay. Black walnut, heartnut, butternut and hickory may be used as nut tree selections. The hickory are slower growing but more adaptable to the heavier clay soils. Chestnuts might be used if the spoil banks contain the sandier types of soils.

Quite often spoil banks are of the heavier types of soil and some sort of soil improvement in the immediate areas of the planted trees will be a great help in getting a better : percentage of the trees to take hold and grow. The soil taken from the planting holes can be discarded and better "topsoil" can be replaced around the roots. Peat moss at an appropriate ratio can be mixed into the spoil bank soil to make a suitable planting medium. You will notice that at the very least it will take a bit of effort to reclaim an erosional or spoil bank area. Furthermore some sort of retainer should be put in place around the planted trees in highly sloping areas in order to prevent severe erosion while the trees are establishing their roots. A sturdy burlap netting pegged over the slope's surface with wooden pegs will perform this function very nicely. After the trees get established the root systems will hold the soil on their own.

Continued maintenance will be an essential during the several years after the initial planting on a spoil bank. Application of mulches around the trees will greatly improve the survival rate of the trees. Probably the trees would profit from an application of well-rotted cow manure each spring as part of the mulch because spoil banks are generally quite low on organic matter.

Experience has shown that with some efforts spoil banks can be reclaimed and in many cases can become productive. Case histories exist which show that through the production of nut products and anticipated timber returns, the reclamation of spoil banks can be an economic venture. An additional bonus is that a spoil bank which otherwise would be an eyesore forever can be transformed into an attractive reforested site.

Growing Nuts in the North by Carl Weschcke, St. Paul, Minnesota, Published 1954

It always is a great pleasure to read a complete account of another person's experience in growing nut trees. It is so easy to pick up 30 years of experience and expertise with so little expense, time arid effort. Mr. Weschcke's nut growing experiments were impressive both in variety and in the number of trees of each species planted. When he made a trial planting of a certain species he would start with a few hundred trees or in some cases a few thousand trees. ]

The following are what I would consider as the important extracts from the book -- thereby compressing 30 years of experience into about 5 minutes reading.

Mr. Weschcke operated a sawmill and therefore some of the Minnesota nut trees - black walnut and butternut -became food for the mill. There was always a good demand for nut tree lumber. (I would presume that the income from the sawmill financed his ample nut growing experiments. - Editor)

He grafted many black walnut varieties on the native butternut rootstocks. The unions were riot found to be too satisfactory. The butternut rootstocks seemed to have a significant effect on the production from black walnut scions. The nuts of the "Ohio" variety in particular tended progressively to take on the shape of the butternut in successive harvests. Many of the grafts failed in later years because of delayed incompatibility.

Hickory, heartnut and Persian walnut grow best on slightly alkaline soils.

Chestnuts prefer acid soils.

Hazelnuts, black walnuts and butternuts are adaptable to either acid or alkaline soils.

Many of the named varieties of trees were purchased from the W.F. Jones Nut Tree Nursery of Pennsylvania.

When Mr. Weschcke was grafting in the springtime, he would pitch a tent in the nut orchard so that he could live in the orchard and graft from "early morning through to late evening!" He grafted many thousands of trees.

Some rootstocks will just not accept grafts even of its own species.

Many black walnuts grafted on butternut will become too vegetative and therefore will not ever produce any nuts. Also the scions will overgrow the rootstocks and eventually a strong wind storm will break the tree off at the graft. Of all the black walnut varieties, "Ohio" seems to do best on butternut rootstock.

"Ohio" black walnuts will very readily produce hybrid nuts when planted in close proximity to heartnuts and butternuts.

The "Stabler" black walnut will produce sap which can be boiled down to a syrup which is quite competitive with maple syrup. (For the black walnut lovers, can you imagine a pancake syrup with a delightful black walnutty tang! Yumm, Yumm!)

Many hybrid seedlings were grown from the "Rush" hazelnut and also from the many selections referred to as the "Jones Hybrids". He referred to the results of the hybridization experiments as "hazelberts" and these are competitive in size and quality with any of the European "filberts". Many of the "hazels" now in circulation among the ranks of the Northern nut growers are actually hazelberts.

He experimented with one collection of about 300 Iowa pecan nuts -- from the Burlington-Debuque area. After 5 years only 50 of the original 300 were still alive. However, he was able to get 17 second generation pecans from this experiment within his own lifetime.

Mr. Weschcke "discovered" the shagbark hickory variety which is now identified by his own name. One fall he received an assortment of hickory nuts from a nearby neighbour in Minnesota. The neighbour in turn had received the assortment from an uncle in the State of Iowa. Mr. Weschcke found while cracking some of the nuts that one particular type seemed exceptionally easy to crack. In fact these nuts could be cracked by pressuring them between the thumbs and forefingers - similar to the way that some English Walnuts can be cracked.

Mr. Weschcke had to find the tree from which came. He found that the "uncle from Iowa" had in turn collected the nuts from a neighbouring property. After seeking out the agreement of all parties concerned he started in the middle of December on a monumental expedition. Travelling with horse and cutter he would try to seek out the source of the thin-shelled hickory, which might still have some samples lying on the ground by the tree, and also under a one foot deep blanket of snow! A day's searching and digging in the snow cover finally yielded the desired result. Nuts of the same size, shape and quality were plucked out from underneath the thick blanket of snow. Mr. Weschcke purchased the rights for scion wood from the tree and eventually produced commercially saleable trees in his nursery from the scions. Thus a new shagbark hickory variety was born.

He found that shagbark hickory could be grafted onto bitternut hickory rootstock to produce a rather fast growing, hardy tree. In some cases the unions became incompatible after a few years but if enough trees are grafted a number of the unions will last for thirty or more years. It was found that when the Weschcke shagbark hickory variety was grafted onto bitternut rootstock that the nuts produced were even larger than those from the original tree - and also slightly different in shape. This change became progressively more pronounced as each successive harvest was observed.

Mr. Weschcke contracted with the Rev. Paul Crath to bring back Carpathian walnut trees and scion wood from Poland, as well as a large quantity of Carpathian nuts. He also wanted to introduce a quantity of the Polish filberts but there was a complete failure in the Polish filbert crop in the fall of 1936, and this aspect of the expedition of 1936-37 had to be abandoned. (Now isn't that an interesting note!) It was at this point that Mr. Weschcke learned of the red tape of introducing trees (with roots) into the United States. (The USA has a well developed Plant Protection Division for introduction of new species). He finally got his trees about the beginning of Spring 1937. Many of the trees had dried out in transit and didn't grow the first summer. A high percentage of the trees proved to be not winter hardy in a-year (1938) which was not a "test winter". After several years only a couple of dozen of the originally imported trees were still alive and very few of these exhibited noteworthy characteristics.; He also introduced 12,000 Carpathian walnut seeds (about 400 lb.) from which he grew seedlings. Approximately 500 of the seedlings proved to be quite winter hardy and of these several had exceptionally good characteristics in nut quality, production and tree growth.

Mr. Weschcke found that Persian walnut seedlings of either the Carpathian or Austrian origins were of about equal hardiness in plots of several thousands. Generally it is found that Persian walnuts that show brownish coloured twigs by late fall will be much hardier than the trees that have twigs which are still greenish in colour.

Some of the Chinese chestnut seedlings are quite hardy and productive in the St. Paul, Minnesota area.

It is rather difficult to germinate high percentages of the thin-shelled nuts like chestnuts, beechnuts and acorns. They are very sensitive to excessive wetness or dryness while being layered.

The graft union of many grafted trees will become a focal point for winter-kill damage. One layer of wool with an aluminum outside cover around the graft and lower trunk right down to the ground will prevent winter damage in most cases. When a transplanted tree becomes established after several years, this type of wrapping is unnecessary. A "polyhouse" can be constructed around very tender transplants to prevent winter damage. (I've seen cases where they would put light bulbs or other heaters in the "polyhouse" to keep the temperature from falling below the "test minimum" on the several coldest nights of the winter. - Editor).

Many of the partially tender trees will thrive in a sodded location or lawn whereas they would fail under a system of complete surface (clean) cultivation. The sod acts as an insulator against excessive frost penetration. Also the sod tends to reduce soil nitrate levels in the fall and thereby prevents late vegetative growth.

In the days before electric refrigerators there was a means for storing graft wood underground. It was called a "Harrington Graft Storage Box". (It reminds me of what my folks used to refer to as '"pitting" of potatoes and other root crops - Editor).

Chestnuts will nearly always fail on blue clay and other limey types of soil. Chestnuts usually bloom in late June or July so that frost is almost never a problem in pollination. Generally the Eastern USA named varieties of chestnut are not successful in the Minnesota area winter minimum temperatures of 40 - 50 below zero Fahrenheit.

Apricots are generally regarded as rather tender fruit trees. However some seedlings proved to be very productive even after winter temperatures of -47°F.

Mr. Weschcke had continuous battles with the various rodents which have a taste for nut trees and products - such as rabbits, mice, squirrels, etc. He used a combination of "tanglefoot", hardware cloth screens, metal shields and the "rodent soup approach" to keep the depredations at a manageable level. He did find that although skunks and moles cause considerable damage, the insect larvae which they dig out of the soil is a counterbalancing benefit.

Recommended Reading:
Nut Growing by Morris
Nut Growers' Handbook by Bush
Tree Crops by J. R. Smith
The Nut Culturist by Fuller
Improved Nut Trees of North America by C. Reed

Your editor is indebted to Mr. John Gaidar for making the Weschcke book available for this review.

Black Walnuts in Manufacturing

When I received the monthly edition of the Ontario Engineering Digest, I was very much moved by the following news flash:
Dateline -- Owen Sound Ontario.
A blast of finely ground black walnut shells is used to remove polyurethane foam which sticks to the production molds for automotive seat cushions at Goodyear's Owen Sound, Ontario plant. Anything harder than black walnut shells might pit the aluminum molds and affect the appearance of the finished product.

Persimmons Revisited

A number of people have enquired for further information about persimmon trees. It was through these enquiries that I realized that my article in the fall 1973 edition was not complete! and therefore the reason for this addition.

The "American" persimmon (Diospyros virginiana L.) is one of the few members of the Ebony family of trees (Ebenaceae) which is hardy under the outdoor winter conditions in Ontario. -There is one other member of the Ebony family which is native to the Southern parts of the United States, Diospyros texana. The American persimmon does develop in its maturing years the characteristic black heartwood which is usual for members of the Ebony family. Mature trees of persimmon with trunk (bole) diameters of 3 - 4 feet have commercial value approaching that of black walnut.

The American persimmon should be considered as a "flowering" tree since an abundance of cream-yellow flowers are produced around the first week in June. The male trees tend to produce more flowers than the female trees. An added bonus is that the trees flower at a time when very few other ornamental trees are in bloom. This latter characteristic usually assures good pollination because there is usually good weather in June and very few other blossoms are competing for the attention of the bees.

Persimmons produce an ample quantity of fruit from about mid September through to the end of November -- depending on the variety.

The foliage of the persimmon is a solid dark green during the summer months. The leaves have a rather shiny, leathery appearance which is somewhat similar to the impression given by a rubber tree plant. Most persimmons give an impressive fall colour of leaves (starting at about bearing age and thereafter) . The leaf colour can range from golden yellow through to a rather bright red depending on the variety and the season. The fall colour of persimmon is similar to that of Sassafras in that leaf colours of several shades can be exhibited by the trees throughout the fall season.

The American persimmon grows fairly quickly after it reaches about 1 foot in height. A well transplanted tree should be 10-15 feet high after 3-4 years. The trees grow quickly to that height where the bearing of fruit starts and thereafter the trees put on extra height rather slowly, except for the male trees. Some of the female trees which bear fruit heavily will grow only 5-6" of new wood at the growth terminals each year. The trees tend to grow in somewhat of a cone shape or Christmas tree fashion. The silhouette of the persimmon is somewhat similar to that of the paw paw.

Some of the SONG members have had some experience with the imported fruit of the "California" or "Japanese" persimmon (Diospyros khaki). The oriental fruit is about twice the size of the native persimmon but in my opinion their flavour is not nearly as good. The most usual variety of the oriental persimmon which is imported occasionally into Canada is Hachiya. As is often the case with commercial fruit, Hachiya is one of the worst examples of oriental persimmons for eating quality, rather astringent. However, the appearance of Hachiya is marvellous to behold - about the size of baseballs, a bright orange-red colour and a green calyx similar to that of the strawberry, but oh, what a disappointment to the flavour buds.

Up until last fall I would not have cared two hoots about growing oriental persimmons in Ontario. However, when I visited the orchards of southeastern Pennsylvania during the fall of 1973, I saw two oriental varieties which changed my thoughts, "Peiping" and "Great Wall". These two have all the size and beauty characteristic of the oriental persimmon and also have excellent eating quality. The appearance of the "Great Wall" and "Peiping" trees is simply magnificent. From a distance they have the same appearance as orange trees and they make a rather startling sight to the eyes in the north temperate climate zones. Although the oriental persimmon is almost seedless I did manage to bring back about a half dozen of the seeds from Pennsylvania to give them a try in this area (Queenston Ontario). Those six seeds may be the start of yet another backyard adventure.

There is yet another interesting characteristic of the persimmons. Their roots normally are a solid black colour! Some people who are unfamiliar with persimmon trees will get them from a nursery and have the impression that the roots have been winter killed, or have been stored for too long in swamp moss. Their characteristic habit of leafing out late in the spring will further the above impression. Persimmons naturally have black roots and are slow to leaf out in the spring!

Individuals who are interested in obtaining some American persimmons for experimental purposes are invited to contact the author of this article. A leaflet will be sent to interested parties describing the quantities of trees available.
R. D. Campbell, R.R.#1, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, LOS 1JO

On Second Thought

One of the first experiences which I can recall relating to tree growing goes back to experiences in public school, those spring festivals called "Arbor Day". The idea, I believe, was to get young people interested in trees, and possibly even the planting of trees. However, in practice it worked out that the teacher set the little eager beavers all to work raking up leaves and generally tidying up the school grounds. I am not at all sure that the stated activities helped reach the objective of generating more interest in planting trees, but we all pitched in to help and some of us even developed unique, individual styles in raking. My style was to rake vigorously for a short while and then I would stand the rake on end; fold my two hands around the top of the handle and then proceed to rest the bottom of my chin on my hands in order to evaluate and admire the quality of my work and sometimes just to stare off into the distance. It was during one of those occasions while I was very thoroughly evaluating the quality of my work that the school marm crept up on me and urged me on to greater achievement by saying, "Campbell you're not worth your salt....why don't you do a little work for a change?" (What would she say if she could see me now?) And you're probably asking yourself what this little incident has to do with nut growing? ... Plenty. That unique, individualized style of being able to admire my work from the vantage point of a rake handle (hoe handles are equally good) has proven very valuable in the growing of seedlings in a nut nursery. Each fall I prepare a planting bed about 30 feet square for the planting of nuts and other seeds from my various expeditions. The bed is prepared so that the top 6-8 inches is half sandy-loam and half sedge peat moss. I work in a fairly hefty application of rock phosphorous or bone meal in the fall. The various seeds are planted as late in the fall as possible usually late November or early December. Some seeds have to be stored in the refrigerator for a while after harvesting to keep them sufficiently fresh for planting. The ideal refrigerator temperature is 36 F. (Note: Some seeds are better stored in the refrigerator all winter for spring planting). Finally, the outdoor plantings are protected from invasions by unwanted animals with appropriate fencing and then the long wait begins. Throughout the winter the planter wonders whether the frosts will penetrate too deeply; whether the wet rainy spells are to long; whether the occasional warm spell will promote too early germination, etc. You should not expect too much in the way of desirable activity from the nut patch until about the first week in June following the year of planting. (Some nuts require two or even three years to germinate). However, the weeds will start to grow first thing off in the spring. You will probably hoe the patch twice before you see any nut seedlings showing through the surface of the soil.

This is the point where the skills of careful evaluation (and plant identification) pay off with great dividends. Most nut tree seedlings are as fine as tooth picks when they first peep through the soil surface. The time that you spend peering at the vegetation will be well rewarded in that you'll be able to save a greater percentage of the nut trees.

There is one such experience that I often think back to with great delight. I had been hoeing for what seemed like an awfully long time and I had "liberated" about half of one of my nut patches from a heavy crop of weeds. It was at that point that I felt an urgent need to stand the hoe on end; fold my hands over the top of the hoe handle; rest my chin on my hands and admire the excellence of my accomplishments. You may be able to imagine the satisfaction one gets by looking over long rows of nut trees of various and diverse species; some from California, Pennsylvania or Indiana; some fast growing and others slower growing; some dark green in colour and others yellow or even red; some showing single leaves and others showing the "true" compound leaves; each one unique and individual in character. In a similar fashion I surveyed with somewhat lesser enthusiasm the other half of the patch which was "unliberated" -- a lamb's quarter here; a redroot there and always plenty of purslane, crab grass, ragweed and other uninvited volunteers. Then my rather fogged vision tended to focus in on something rather peculiar; something that had not been there the day before and seemed to be visibly growing (even vibrating) as I watched them. When I gathered my wits about me, my first reaction was--"Oh those blinkty-blank kids of mine, they've thrown some peach pits into this patch and there they are growing like weeds!" quietly I made my plans to turf out those seemingly over-bold intruders and they were only a few short footsteps away. All the while I stared intently at those newcomers from my practised vantage point in order to appreciate their full stature and also to avoid any too hasty and ill-considered action. It was at this instant that the unique facility which I had developed as a youngster was going to pay enormous dividends. The Archimedean flash bolted through my mind--"Eureka! Those are not peaches; those are Almond Seedlings!" I wilted at the thought that I had been just two short steps away from hoeing them out. Yes, it all came back to me that I had planted a few almond seeds in just about that spot in the nut patch. (Who bothers to carry a planting plan when doing such a mundane job as hoeing?) What a terrific discovery 4 entirely healthy almond seedlings and in my very own back yard! My pulse quickened and my pace quickened. It seemed that it took only a couple of minutes to finish hoeing the remaining half of the nut patch and all the while my mind was picturing that glorious day that I would be picking baskets full of almonds from those trees... right in my very own back yard....

Old Indian Proverb for Planters:
One for the Bug, one for the Crow,
One to rot, and two to grow!

In the Shadow of the Rodents

A SONG member mentioned to me several weeks ago that on one ill-fated morning he inspected his back yard nut patch and was met with the horrifying observation that one of his favourite nut trees had been chomped right off just above ground level. No doubt this is one of the most discouraging fates which a nut grower can suffer and one which can be avoided. A quick evaluation of the scene of the crime will often indicate that the razor sharp teeth of a rabbit have been the instruments of destruction.

There are several ways of coping with rabbit damage to small trees. One way is to invite hunters to search through your planting and apply the "ultimate solution". In this instance you have to weigh the possible damages caused by hunters and the "leading" of your trees versus the anticipated benefits. (I have seen some posted lands where the trees were completely girdled by rabbits). Another way to control rabbits is to put a moderately fine mesh fence around your plantings. This can be expensive and a fair bit of work.

The protection which I favour on small seedlings is rabbit repellant. These repellants come in the form of white latex paints which contain a taste repellant called Thiram. These are quite inexpensive and easy to apply. The rabbits will taste the paint...BLEAH!... and will come back no more. It really does work. There are several commercial preparations on the market of this type. The paint should be applied to the small trees late in the fall, but on a day when good drying conditions prevail. The whitened trunks will look quite attractive all winter. Also the white coating will tend to reduce the effects of the scourge called the "Southwest Disease". Most of the paint will flake off when the tree starts growing the following season.

Beware: If you have rabbits in your area (and most do), be sure to have some kind of winter rabbit protection for all your young nut trees, persimmons, peaches, pears, etc. The Thiram treatment will also give partial protection against mice and woodchucks (groundhogs).

Not by Bread Alone

Individuals who venture forth in search of samples of nuts in the fall season will soon realize an extra bonus. Many of the trees will be dresse'd in their best fall colours during the usual nut collecting period in Ontario--mid September to mid October. I have seen many trees of breathtaking beauty at nut gathering time. In fact such experiences encouraged me to collect seeds from some of the more outstanding trees in hopes of growing up some seedlings which would be able to put on a similar display in my own back yard.

There was one tree in particular which put on such a dazzling display of fall colour (several years back) that its brilliance could be viewed clearly from a distance of several miles. I hastened across several fields and pastures to examine this tree more closely. It turned out to be a Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea), and what a beauty it was. It was sporting a bright scarlet coat which was maintained over a period of several weeks. The tree was straight as a die, Christmas tree shaped and the branches tended to grow almost perpendicularly to the trunk except for the top third of the tree. The tree was admirably resistant to the oak gall wasps because many of the pin oaks surrounding this specimen were absolutely riddled will galls of several types.

I searched every inch of ground beneath that marvellous oak looking for acorns...and found a few. It seemed that the squirrels were very fond of that brand of acorn because there were cracked and emptied shells all over the place. Also the squirrels had left the weevil-occupied acorns. I was so anxious to get a supply of acorns from that tree that I returned to it several times that fall. Since the days are short at that time of year and because of my teaching duties, I had to make some of the visits after dark. It is quite some sensation to be walking through a bush at night whilst the shrieking winds of October are rattling through the trees. The steadfast landmarks of. the daylight slip from view and each eerie, shadowy form gives little comfort until same is identified as a familiar tree or bush. Even when the chosen tree was located once again, the emerging bite of winter made its presence felt as numbed fingers closed around the tiny acorns with frustrating slowness and imprecision. The small spot of light thrown by the flashlight narrowed my field of view and slowly but painfully a modest number of sound acorns was picked up from the cold, wet ground. Each successive challenge heightened the sense of high adventure.

Over a period of two weeks I was able to collect several hundred seeds from the tree as the acorns slowly rattled from their cups high up in that ancient giant. The feeling of satisfaction of getting to some of the acorns before the squirrels was enormous. Now those acorns are quietly biding their time in one of the s'nut patches".. .waiting for the arrival of spring and early summer. It is hoped that some year soon I will have some scarlet oak seedlings available from my nursery...and also it is hoped that many of them will take on the habit of their maternal ancestor.

Another tree which is held in very high regard for its fall colour is the black gum (Nyssa sylvatica). 'This species is often regarded as the most reliable for growing "predictable seedlings" all of which will give an impressive fall display. Mature specimens of the black gum are magnificent. I was able to gat a fair supply of seedlings of this species several years ago and the;/ are now at a stage where they will make very attractive transplants. Individuals who wish further information on the above are invited to write to the address below for a descriptive leaflet describing quantities and sizes available.
R.D. Campbell, R.R.#1, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.LOS 1JO

Persian Walnuts

Some months ago Mr. J.B. Tinline Sr. of R.R.#3, Thamesville, Ontario, sent your editor a sample of Persian (Carpathian?) Walnuts which were taken from the Kitchener, Ontario area. The evaluation process yielded these results: Nuts per pound 38.8; Kernels per pound 90.8; Percent kernel 42.8 % ; Flavour 3 (Max. 4) Comments: A very respectable sample.

Black Walnuts

Mr. H.J. Hale of 60 Queen Street, Dorchester, Ontario, submitted a sample of Black Walnuts for the displays at the 1st. Annual Meeting of SONG in July of 1973. The evaluation process yielded these results: Nuts per pound 27.8; Kernels per pound 137; Percent Kernel 20.2% Comments: The kernels were somewhat shrunken and since the nuts were about a year old the flavour was only fair. However, the nut has good size and in a favourable year it could yield an above average sample.

Kingnut Hickories

Mr. Sherman Totten of Alexis, Illinois sent some samples of the nuts from several of his seedling trees from the 1973 fall harvest. I believe that possibly several of these trees were grown from nuts from the now famous "Totten seedling" which was reported upon in a previous issue. Therefore this may give a revealing preview to what may be expected from a seedling tree compared to the mother tree production.

The following members of SONG have trees grown from nuts of the "Totten Seedling":
David Hill, R.R.I6, Wallaceburg, Ontario.
Ben Holmes, Box 4, Site 2C, R.R.#3, Port Dover, Ontario.
Gary LaRose, 32 Briarsdale Road, St. Catharines, Ontario
Charles Rhora, Wainfleet, Ontario.
Sherman Totten, Alexis, Illinois, U.S.A.
Ruth, Charles & John Whittle, R.R.#2, Ruthven, Ontario.
Douglas Campbell, R.R,#1, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

It is clear that the first generation trees of the "Totten Seedling" will be well tested. The test results from Sherman Totten's 1973 production are as follows:

Kingnut Hickory - S. Totten, 1973
per Pound
% KernelNuts Per
Totten's Seedling64.124.915.93

It would be an interesting mathematical calculation to estimate via "laws of probability" whether kingnut seedlings now in Ontario will surpass the size of nuts produced by the original "Totten Seedling". There are now about 100 of the first generation seedlings in Ontario -- are there any statisticians in the membership? I might also add just for the benefit of the mathematical crystal-ball gazers that the samples described above were the "runts of the litter". Sherman sold the "big ones" last fall for 25 cents each!

Sleeper Hickories

Each year your editor collects many samples of hickory in the fall harvest time. The trees that yield the "big ones" are carefully recorded for their locations. The "others" are recorded in a somewhat casual manner. Shortly after the samples dry I sort out the "best appearing" types and put those through the complete evaluation system. 1 usually leave the rest for evaluation "under the hammer" when I'm cracking up supplies for the kitchen operations. I now find myself in a very similar situation which Carl Weschcke faced many years ago. Several of the "also ran" sources from the 1972 collection year are exceptional. This fact was discovered in February 1974 and there was not the slightest intention at that point of searching under snowbanks to establish the tree sources. That search will start this fall.
per pound
% KernelNuts per

What is so special about these? "Rugosa" becomes the largest shagbark hickory discovered in Ontario to date as determined by kernel size. Rugosa also competes very favourably in size with the best of the shagbark contest winners of Pennsylvania. "Smoothie" is quite small but the crackability is sensational, the nut meats literally fall out of the shells when cracked. The excellent crackability is explained by the near absence of interior ridges in the shell. I have not seen a hickory which is so easy to crack since the days of "Grandfather's Favourite".

The descriptive names used above are not registered, but are used to assist in identification only.

There would be approximately 150 other varieties from the 1973 season for which your editor has carried out evaluation tests. Unfortunately the raw data from these tests has not been converted into useable figures for publication at this time. No doubt the information on the better types of black walnut will be of particular interest to residents of Ontario and I'll publish that information in the Fall, 1974 edition of SONG under the title... Land of Giants.

Messages to the Editor

We have a lot of good sandy soil similar to what the wild chestnuts used to prefer. I am looking forward to growing several of the Chinese Chestnuts at this location.
E. Lowden, P.O. BOX 10, Ancaster, Ontario

I am planning on planting a dozen or more hickory trees on my farm near Durham, Ontario. I'm wondering how the trees will survive the temperatures of 30 below zero, however, I'll be planting them in protected areas in an existing forest.
J.S. Lind, St. Marys, Ontario.

I have several trees each of Black Walnut, Carpathian (Persian) Walnut, Heartnut, Butternut, Hickory, Chinese Chestnut, and American Chestnut. I'm also interested in getting some persimmons. In the spring Ben Holmes is going to be bringing back some Hickory seedlings from Sherman Totten, Alexis, Illinois. I hope to get a number of the small trees grown from nuts of the "Totten Seedling".
C. Rhora, Wainfleet, Ontario.
I'm indebted to C. Rhora for bringing samples of nuts from Sherman Totten to myself. Charles Rhora also indicates that Ben Holmes may have some scion wood available from seedlings of the Totten seedling.

We are interested in growing Nut trees on our farm near Thornbury, Ontario, and are delighted to hear that there is an organization to assist those who are starting a Nut orchard. We originally considered growing Nut trees for our own use but will be considering Nut trees for commercial purposes as well.
Mr. M.E. Taylor, Cartwright's Point, Kingston, Ontario.

I noted your article on Southern Pecans in the fall, 1973 edition of SONG. Have you ever tasted the smaller but tastier versions of the "Northern Pecan?" These trees grow wild in the areas of Western Missouri where I gather Hickory nuts as well. Their flavour is much superior to that of Stuart and Schley. Some of the Northern Pecans have been raised to the status of varieties such as Colby, Peruque, Major, etc. I don't know whether or not it would be a hopeless effort to try to grow Northern Pecans in Ontario. Also, there are the Hicans which are hardier than Pecans? have a shorter growing season for 9 maturing nuts and in many other ways are similar to the Pecans. You asked in your last edition what a "Pignolia" is? That's just another name for the Italian Stone Pine. I received some from a fancy import store a while ago and they are good, but not as great as the native Hickory and Pecan.
E.J. Ulrich, Enid, Oklahoma
Thanks for solving the mystery about the "Pignolias". Also, several types of Northern Pecan are being given a test trial at Queenston, Ontario, at the present time.

We are going to set up displays at the local fair to demonstrate nut products that can be grown in this area - that is one way of getting exposure to many thousands of people in a short period of time.
C.M. Terry, 3941 Breen Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana

I am new to the business of Nut growing but am the owner of a small farm property on which there is a good stand of Black Walnut and Hickory. There was a rather poor crop of nuts in the fall of 1973 compared to 1972, which was a relatively good year. Also, the fruit trees had meagre crops in 1973 - was this rather general?
J.C. Langford, R.R.#3, London, Ontario.
Yes, the trees which had good crops in 1973 were few and far between.

I have just recently purchased 70 acres of land in Northern Ontario, and I wish to investigate the possibility of growing some varieties of nut trees. Any help which your association can give us will be appreciated.
Mr. V. Morley, 168 Ridge Street, Hamilton, Ontario.
The Hazel is native to most of Northern Ontario. I would think that the large "Hazelberts" would be at least one of the good selections.

I am growing Black Walnuts grown from Nuts produced by a tree which is now about 100 years old. Also, there are Butternuts, Heartnuts, Hazels, and several hybrids which were planted 30 years ago. I also have some Carpathian (Persian) Walnuts which were obtained from George Corsan about 1934. The squirrels like these so well they take them about two weeks before the nuts are mature.
Mr. John Steckle, R.R.#2, Kitchener, Ontario.

I've always wondered about growing nuts in Ontario as a commercial crop. Information about varieties to plant for commercial purposes would be welcomed.
H. Balkwill, P.O. BOX 729, Kingsville, Ontario.
Carpathian Walnuts, Filberts, and Chestnuts seem to enjoy a steady commercial market in the Niagara area. Most of the other local nuts are so scarce that it would be impossible to establish what the market price would be for the other varieties. However, large quantities of imported Nuts are selling at prices from 70-99 cents per pound in the shell, retail.

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