Song News Fall 1975 no. 7
In this Issue...

Something to Set Your Heart On

Heartnuts, that is ... and SONG teamwork. SONG members and friends are invited to participate in a variety testing program. Participants will be sent about ten stratified heartnut seeds at spring planting time. In order to cover mailing and some of the follow-up costs a charge of one dollar will be made.

It is hoped that each and every member will take part in this mass undertaking. The results of this program should provide a selection of new named cultivars, hopefully trees that are adapted to different sets of Ontario conditions. We hope to extend and define the range suitable to the growing of heartnuts. _ We hope to provide the membership with data and maps of tree locations For this program to be a success we need:

I believe we can fill all the above qualifications. The heartnut seed was gratefully received from Mr. Elton Papple of Brantford, Ontario. All of the seed is from named selections originating from the Gellatly Nut Nursery of Westbank BC. Pedigree seed should produce some worthwhile results. Thanks also go out to Bob Artymko, north of Toronto, for the donation of some very hardy Carpathian walnuts which we will distribute selectively to growers in test locations. These will form a sub-study group. Interested members, please indicate your desire to participate in this sub-group. We also have some hybrid crosses of heartnut x butternut which we will send out automatically to fringe areas as we believe they have the greatest potential hardiness.

In an undertaking of this sort, success depends upon the co-operation of the membership, not only in the original commitment, but also in the years of follow-up reporting. Roy Metcalfe of Mississauga is the co-ordinator of the follow-up questionnaires and data processing. I urge you to co-operate fully. In so doing, we will be able to report back regularly in SONG News on the progress of this project.

There is no excuse for a member not to participate ... and there is no climate region we should exclude. Even trees that don't survive tell us something. You say you have no place to put the trees after they have grown? Try planting some at the cottage or at a friend's home or in a park. All we ask is that you do the follow-up. After all, one of your trees might be that super tree we are looking for...the one that we would personally name for you. To participate in the program, please send $1.00 with your name and address to: Ernest Grimo, RR#3, Lakeshore Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, LOS 130

Please indicate the region where you plan to grow the trees in your reply. About ten seeds will be sent for each dollar received.

The Heartnut - a Neglected Species in Ontario

Juglans sieboldiana var. cordiformis, better known as the heartnut, was introduced to North America in the late 1800's. Though it was introduced in California first, it was better adapted to more northern climates. It has been grown successfully in many Southern Ontario locations as well as in British Columbia. However, interest in it was only of a novelty nature, and serious considerations of its use as a commercial nut tree never materialized.

Many selections have been made of the heartnut, but few have been named or tested in Ontario. Though there has been little organized interest in the heartnut in Canada, ironically enough, the Gellatly's, a Canadian family, has been responsible for the most named varieties of heartnut of any one source in North America.

The heartnut is a variety or kind of Siebold walnut. It differs from the Japanese or Siebold walnut in that it has a smooth shell with a flattened heart-shaped nut. When tapped on the pointed end with a light hammer stroke, the shell splits along the suture into two halves, releasing the two wing-shaped kernel halves. It may be mild to butternut-like in flavour.

The tree grows rapidly on good loam soils and produces an apple-sized, wide spreading tree with large compound leaves that give it a lush tropical appearance. They begin to bear quite young. The green nuts hang down in clusters and ripen in September, when they drop to the ground. The thin husk can be tramped off and the nuts are then washed and dried for use.

Heartnut trees have been known to survive -40°F and so will flourish in much of southern Ontario. Of course, individual trees will vary in their hardiness. Some may be even hardier. They appear to be almost as hardy as the black walnut, and so should be tried wherever black walnuts grow.

The heartnut readily hybridizes with the butternut, the hardiest of the walnut species. Nut enthusiasts have long searched for a butternut in a heartnut shell with the butternut hardiness.

An imaginative grower could turn the heartnut into a commercially profitable venture. Heartnut trees are heavy annual bearing trees. With the best varieties and good Ontario soils, orchard grown trees can be machine harvested and the resultant nuts cracked, producing a new nut product for our markets. Butternut flavoured heartnuts, moreover, would be a new taste sensation. E. Grimo

1975 Spring Grafting Meeting

Our spring grafting meeting at Ernie Grimo's home at Niagara-on-the-Lake, on May 24, had fine weather and a good turn out of members. Horace Troup, John Gordon and Ernie Grimo demonstrated their skill and various techniques to the interest of those present. The members were then unleashed on the seedling trees to practise what they had learned. They were promised the right to have the tree if they were successful in completing the graft. Alas and alack, I am in remorse to report that not one grew. Even the "experts" barely managed to graft two trees successfully. More seriously, the fault appears to have been with the seedlings and the timing of the grafting. A mild sap flow following the grafting session spelled doom to all walnut grafts but one side graft. It is interesting to speculate why this one succeeded.

1975 Annual Meeting- July 25

Thanks to our host Cedric Larsson and the Ministry of Natural Resources Station at Maple, Ontario, we had a very successful meeting. In our election of officers, our slate remains unchanged for another year. There was a book display by Fred Janson of the Pomona Book Exchange and a display of large hand-operated nut crackers. A nut distribution program was discussed and accepted. Roy Metcalfe volunteered to provide a follow-up study. Following the meeting we toured the nursery and viewed the tree growing projects currently on test.

1975 Fall Meeting- October 18

We cannot be held responsible if anyone left our meeting with empty pockets. We certainly had plenty of opportunity. The membership response at the Vineland HRIO was our best ever. Neither were we lacking in nuts for display. The nut cracker was kept busy sampling too. Our tour of the nut planting was no less productive. Our tour of Horace Troup's hickory planting produced pockets of goodies. His orchard demonstrates an annual bearing characteristic which he has been able to develop in his trees. When asked how he did it, he replied that a careful pruning and spraying program are largely responsible. He treats his hickory trees much the same as he does his fruit trees.

Containers for Summer Distribution of Selected Seedlings

In the April 1972 publication of the North American Fruit Explorers, James Humphreys writes, "Growers are probably one of the most innovative and broad minded classes of persons. They will not be too surprised, then, to learn that one of the most successful practices is that of planting in the summer rather than either in the spring or the fall, contrary to the time-honoured traditions and advice of well intentioned experts. Steps:

  1. Dig all roots possible and replant, watering well
  2. Cut back the top almost all the way, and remove almost all the leaves, leaving enough of them to start the photosynthetic process working immediately. Even though leaves may die back the initiation of root growth is started and will keep the metabolism of the plant operating to produce a new top.

The article is entitled Summer Planting and is co-authored by Henry Converse, John Moore and Pete Glasser. While I firmly endorse summer planting I also advocate using containered plants to eliminate the transplanting stress. I envision a large buryable container to be used to distribute selected seedlings.

After years of observation Henry Hartmann has proposed criteria for seedling selection. Valuable seedlings are rapid growing, large of stem and leaf, with leaves which are thick, glossy and dark green. The Broadview walnut and Layeroka chestnut represent these traits.

Seedlings are evaluated for these traits in their first and second growing seasons. If the source of seed was from trees exhibiting these traits, a good proportion of the seedlings may also possess them. Once seedlings are selected they should be potted in containers for moving to permanent locations (planting out).

Often transplanting is a failure because the conditions are not right; the weather is too hot or dry; the ground is too wet or cold; the roots are injured due to pruning or drying. Add to these discouraging prospects a lot of hard work and it is easy to see why most nut trees are planted by squirrels. Squirrels are good at planting but they are poor at selecting superior trees. We can improve the situation by using containers to distribute selected seedlings.

Why containers? I made a list of reasons, many of which come from NNGA reports.

  1. Transplanting shock is reduced or eliminated
  2. Time of planting is at the grower's convenience
  3. Containers help limit tree size until planting out
  4. Herbicide control is more tolerable

Two reasons against containers are:

  1. Containers are mainly for customer pick-up, as they are too expensive to mail.
  2. The container may cause roots to spiral at the root ball surface. (This usually happens with a non buryable container like polyethylene when planting is delayed.)

The container materials which seem most practical are newspapers bound by chicken wire. Both the paper and the wire will decay in soil. The galvanized chicken wire will decay more slowly than tin cans but its open mesh should allow the passage of one inch roots. By the time the one inch root size is attained, the wire will likely give way.

A container which has to be removed at planting time is second rate. Removing the container risks crumbling the root ball with the destruction of the soi. 1 to root hair cohesion. A buryable container which decays is far better for amateur planters. If root hair to soil particle cohesion is maintained, watering is important mainly to stabilize the backfilled soil.

The method of making a container of paper and chicken wire is to roll a cylinder of wire and line it with paper. Form the container by rolling a nine inch (23 cm) by two foot six inch (75 cm) cylinder of chicken wire and fasten with staples. Line this cylinder with layers of newspaper. Cup several layers of newspaper into the cylinder base to retard root penetration out the bottom. Fill the container with a pruned-to-fit root system and potting soil. Molding the newly potted tree under moist, airy but not too hot conditions will allow root growth without transpiration stress. Bails of potting soil containing mainly peat and pearlite (also topsoil, lime and nutrients) are available at about one dollar per cubic foot. The potting soil is the consistency of bailed peat moss. The bailed potting soil is air dry and must be broken and moistened prior to potting. Although it is black it is sterile and therefore compatible with chestnut roots. The container should be held for several weeks after filling to allow the growing roots to compress the potting soil and pack it in the container.

Post hole augers are standard at six, nine and twelve inch diameters. Containers of these diameters should be fashioned. The container planting will be much easier with a posthole digger.

After spending several hours formulating this ideal planting routine, I hope you will agree it is a good pattern to follow. I have put several of its steps into practice and feel confident of the others. I hope they take most: of the luck and sweat out of the planting of seedling nut trees. John H. Gordon Jr., North Tonawanda, New York

66th Annual NNGA Meeting

The Northern Nut Growers Association held their 66th Annual Meeting at Springfield, Missouri, August 10 - 13, 1975. The attractive setting in the Ozark Mountain Region made an excellent location for combining the pleasures of a summer vacation with the "business" of nut growing. There were more than 480 persons in attendance. A wealth of information was available particularly on the growing of black walnuts and also on the other nut producing species. The displays of nut products were superb and well worth the trip alone. The field tour took the meeting guests through the Hammons Products Company where they have the capacity to crack and extract the kernels from forty tons of nuts per day! Those who attended the meeting can attest that the hospitality of the folks in Missouri is the very best.

All of the presentations about nut growing given at the Springfield meeting will be summarized in the 1975 Annual Report Enquiries for copies of the 66th Annual NNGA Report should be directed to: The Northern Nut Growers Association, 4518 Uolston Hills Road, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA 37914.

The next Annual Meeting of the NNGA will be held at Brownwood, Texas, August 15 - 18, 1976.

The Noblest Nut Tree of Then All

It was said that Caesar was ambitious ... Wm. Shakespeare

There is one nut tree which is so widely appreciated that merely the mention of its name brings forth instant recognition and enthusiasm. That noteworthy nut producer is the PECAN. How many palates have been delighted with such delicacies as pecan pie, pecan pralines, pecan log rolls and the occasional (often too sparse) pecan intermingled in the product loosely known as "mixed nuts"? How many Canadian tourists in search of winter's "Sunshine State" have passed by 50 or even 100 "Stuckeys" signs proclaiming the availability of a host of pecan products?

The pecan is a uniquely North American tree. Nothing else like it has been discovered on a native basis anywhere in the World. However, in recent years horticulturists have regarded the pecan with covetous intentions and this has caused the species to be introduced into most of the temperate countries around the globe.

Studies of the natural prehistory of the United States indicate that the first points of origin of the pecan were in the northern parts of Texas and the southern regions of Oklahoma. It comes as a surprise to many that prior to the arrival of the early European settlers, there were relatively few pecan trees located east of the Mississippi River. It is an interesting object lesson to note that the State of Georgia is now the biggest producer of commercial pecans although not one of the pecan trees growing in that State could be regarded as a truly native tree!

The way in which the pecan species became scattered throughout the North American continent is a most fascinating study of the interaction between plant and animal species. Prior to the 1700s and to a certain extent even into the 18th Century, the American Indians were primarily responsible for the substantial increase in the growing range of the pecan. In the south-central areas of the United States, the pecan was a staple component of the Indian diet. The nuts were easy to collect and could be kept for an extended period of time. An ample store; of pecans was good insurance against hard times during the months of the year when other sources of food were scarce. Moreover the Indians traded the pecans for other goods such as furs, flint, tobacco or even a good pipe! It is believed that as the Indians travelled, they planted pecan nuts in the vicinity of their provide grubstakes for their future descendants. Since the Mississippi and its dozens of tributaries were the canoe-highways of the Indians, the Mighty River also provided the inroads for the spread of pecan growing... over hundreds, possibly even thousands of miles of waterway country. Paint yourself a picture of occasional fleets of dug-out canoes, of hastily constructed campsites on islands of the Mighty River, of chatting tribesmen gathered around the dancing flames of camp fires and of more purposeful braves scouting the byways of the flickering fires in order to plant a few selected pecans and in that picture you will have an instant history of the early travels of the pecan. When the Indians planted nuts in the vicinity of their campsites, they preferred to plant the biggest and the thinnest-shelled selections because in those days of rudimentary cracking tools a large, thin-shelled nut was a considerable attraction. Thus the Indian tribes not only increased the growing range of the pecan but also through their haphazard selection and planting activities greatly improved the quality of their favourite nut. It is Interesting to note as an aside that the word pecan comes through a rather loosely translated rendition of the Indian word "pagan" or "paccan"..."food which has to be cracked out of a hard shell".

It is fascinating to observe that the Indians must have had some favourite stopover points in which they re-established campsites many times and consequently had more than just a few nut planting ceremonies. Nuts which were planted in the rich, river-bottom shorelands or the many islands of the Mississippi system, prospered magnificently and grew into astonishingly huge trees...often to heights of 200 feet and equally as wide. Now great natural groves of pecan exist in many scattered points along the Mississippi River system from the Gulf of Mexico to northern locations such as Dubuque, Iowa and even a few scattered trees as far north as the Chicago area. Also, there are significant native pecan groves in the Missouri and Ohio river drainage areas. Today it is possible to visit several localities in north-central Missouri to gaze at the mammoth old pecans which are dotted along the river banks and low hillsides. When a particularly old and regal specimen of pecan is spotted, it is very easy for the mind's eye to conjure up visions of a solemn Indian Chief sitting in its shade and contemplating the magnitude of the tree's grace and beauty.

The early European settlers soon recognized the great potential wealth in the pecan for commercial purposes. The selection and distribution of improved varieties for orchard plantings proceeded at an explosive rate. It has been estimated that as many as 500 selections of pecan have been advanced for "named" status. Each of the major pecan estates had its favourite pecan seedling selection and each in turn was touted as the WORLD'S BEST! This sort of devotion to the promotion of America's favourite nut tree was soon to catapult the pecan to the status of one of the world's most important commercial nut crops.

It would be impossible to give even a condensed version of pecan development in less than book form. A full treatment would be encyclopaedic. However, it has to be mentioned that only a few decades ago a major research station was established for breeding improved pecans at Brownwood, Texas. There, they have scientifically crossed selected varieties of pecan with remarkable success. The measure of their success has been found in improved characteristics such as: increased production; early ripening; thin-shelled nuts; enhanced crackability; precocious bearing (as early as 2 - 4 years after grafting); disease resistance and exceptional eating quality in a product already regarded by the public as extraordinarily good. No doubt the Brownwood Group has advanced the desirable qualities of the pecan as much in the last thirty years as was done in the previous 300 years. The superior Brownwood Seedlings have been propagated and distributed as the "Indian Varieties"'because they have been named as living monuments to the Indian Tribes which were so influential in the early improvement of the pecan species. You will recognize such names as Wichita, Cheyenne, Sioux, Choctaw, Shawnee, Apache, Comanche ...

Since the pecan has acclimatized itself to so many localities beyond the confines of its original birth place, the question begs to be answered... Can the pecan adapt to Ontario conditions? Will the folks of Ontario some day be able to bask in the sun with the noblest of nut trees or will the Ontario growers remain merely tantalized by the greener pastures of the more southerly nut orchards? Some serious studies have been made of the potential adaptability of the pecan to the Ontario climate. Although the pecan has made its reputation as a bit of a traveller to many different climates and latitudes, the species does tend to have a few hesitations about discarding all of its southern traditions. Some of the general characteristics of the pecan which confirm its southern origin are:

  1. Relative slowness to leaf out in the spring.
  2. Long dormancy period between flower pollination and the increase in size of the fertilized nutlet.
  3. Metabolic processes require a relatively higher temperature than most plants in the north temperate zone.
  4. A long, frost-free growing season is required to mature the nuts and also mature the wood of the tree for proper winter hardiness.

If the pecan is to adapt to Ontario, it is clear that untypical specimens of the species will have to be selected and exploited to the full. However, Nature has an understanding with those of venturesome spirit and has provided an ideal mechanism for the remodelling of a species-.-regeneration of the species via seedlings. Therein lies infinitive potential for redistribution of gene combinations in order to keep the species in tune with ever changing climates and other growing conditions. It is soon discovered that many enthusiastic nut growers who have gone before us have done much of our work. In the early 1900's there was some remarkable work done in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa about the northern acclimatization of the pecan. Native pecan seedlings were selected which were much earlier in ripening their fall harvests than their southern relatives. An excellent example of that difference occurred in the 1974 growing often referred to as the agricultural disaster year for North America. In areas of Iowa and northern Missouri the last spring frost came on May 8th. The first fall frost was light and scattered on September 14 and then the 'devastating-frost of September 22 occurred. In many areas of the northern mid-west the soya bean crop was a wipe-out. However, some of the hardy northern pecan trees ripened some mature nut s... in a growing season of only 137 days! It is true that there were many dud pecans (as well as soya beans) produced in that year but the few trees which did prevail in such unfavourable conditions are the ones which will provide the inroads for marching the pecan ever northwards.

There are some sacrifices which are made when pecans are grown in the north. The size of the northern produced pecans is not as great as that of their southern cousins. Also, the kernel percentage tends to be a few points lower on the average than the glamorous southern "papershel1s". However, nature has some marvellous compensations...the flavour of the true northern pecan is unbeatable.

Your editor has initiated a number of experiments in order to determine the adaptability of the pecan in Ontario. There are two major thrusts in this effort. The first is to introduce a representative selection of the earliest ripening, named cultivars of pecan which have been discovered to date i.e. Colby, Peruque, Stark's Hardy Giant, Hirschi, Major, Posey , Indiana, Fritz, Witte etc. The second thrust of the effort is to place on trial seedlings from the earliest ripening pecans currently in existence. In many cases the unnamed seed sources are even earlier ripening than the named cultivars. The. descriptions for the named cultivars are available in the "Handbook of North American Nut Trees" edited by R. A. Jaynes and available from the Northern Nut Growers Association, 4518 Holston Hills Road, Knoxville, Tennessee USA 37914. The descriptions of the seed samples which your editor has collected over the last several years are as follows:

YearLocality of TreeKernels per Kilogram%KernelNuts per KilogramFlavourCrackability
BT-55-11-111974Brown Co. TX26553.614233
J-111974Chariton Co. MO27748. 613533
BT-48-15-31974Brown Co. TX28257.016134
Hirschi1972Sumner Co. KS28456. 71614ND
Stark's Hardy Giant1974Sumner Co. KS32355. 718033
Peruque1972Greene Co. IN35961.82223ND
J-131974Chariton Co. Mo36652.219133
S-241972Greene Co. IN38350.11912ND
Colby1972Greene Co. IN39842.31694ND
J-l1974Chariton Co. MO43450.021733
Major1972Sumner Co. KS45855.52533ND
L-41974Des Moines Co. IA58850.029434
J-71974Chariton Co. MO62453.533324
L-31974Des Moines Co. IA71543.130833
Desirable1974Panola Co. MS19050.896.344

The evaluations for crackability and flavour are determined on a arbitrary scale from 0 (worthless) to 4 (excellent). The indication ND means that the evaluation was not determined. "Kernels per Kilogram" and "Nuts per Kilogram" can be converted to quantities per pound by dividing the values given by approximately 2. 20.

A number of seedlings resulting from the 1972 nut samples have been growing at Queenston, Ontario since the spring of 1973. Most of the seedlings now range in height from approximately 60 - 90 centimetres (2 - 3 feet). There has been no difficulty concerning winter hardiness. This observation is not surprising because the source trees of the nut samples are hardy to at least -35C (-30°F). Overall germination of nuts averaged about 50% and the three year survival of emerged seedlings has been greater than 95%.

A quantity of the seedlings will be lined out into "more or less" permanent orchard locations In the spring of 1976. A careful set of records will be kept of the growth habits of these seedlings to determine whether early selection characteristics (pre-screening) can be used to predict the mature bearing performance of the trees and thereby increase the efficiency of selecting the most useful seedlings from future experimental populations. The first production of nuts may be expected in 5-7 years.

The growth rate of pecan trees in Ontario is somewhat slower than is the case in the southern end of the growing range, i.e. Texas. It is expected that 15 years on the average will be required to produce trees 8 metres high (26 feet). The form of young trees tends to be a bit on the narrow side and extremely graceful... somewhat resembling the American Elm for which the pecan would provide an excellent replacement. The narrow somewhat fern-like leaves of pecans do not cast heavy shadows and therefore grass will grow in a healthy condition right up to the trunks of the trees. The small leaves are for the most part blown from sight by the winds of autumn. This latter characteristic is a joy to the home gardener who would rather leave the rake in the garage. The wood of pecan is very hard and strong. Pecan trees experience very little wind damage. A good specimen of pecan has a life expectancy of 500 - 600 years and makes an attractive ornamental shade tree even if it never bears a single nut.

Lastly there is one intriguing little bit of history about the pecan which comes directly from the space age. When the Canaveral Boys set out to send a party of men to the moon, they decided that they should send along supplies of natural foods which are highly concentrated with nutritious food values, vitamins, minerals etc. After they studied hundreds of samples of many different kinds of natural foods, they came to the conclusion that Nature's most perfect food is the pecan kernel. Moreover they discovered that the cultivar which produces the most perfect kernels of all the pecans, is named "Desirable".
R. D. Campbell, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Almonds Are for Real in Ontario

It was in the early spring of 1970 that I purchased 5 almond trees from a nursery in Fremont, California. There were two trees of Ne Plus Ultra, one of Non Pareil, two of Davey and all were grafted rather low on the root crown to Lovell peach rootstocks. A preliminary report on my experiences with these almonds was published in SONG News, No. 3, Fall, 1973 edition.

There's an interesting observation about preliminary reports and I've read a lot of them in NNGA and other Nut Associations' literature. You can often make the conclusion that experiments which are covered only by preliminary reports and are not followed up by success reports are experiments which have gone astray! This lack of follow through is often a shame because even a report of failure can help other nut growers to avoid chasing down blind alleys by repeating the same unsuccessful experiments. The experiment reported herein with almonds in Ontario is certainly one which should not disappear under the rug.

Almond trees are fairly fast growing... much like peaches and will probably succeed to some degree in most areas where peaches are grown satisfactorily. The first several years the almonds showed no winter tenderness whatsoever, 1 was pushing the trees rather briskly with ample fertilizer and water during the summer months. The first signs of winter tenderness occurred during the winter of 1973-74 when the cultivars Davey and Non Pareil showed some trunk damage and the samples of Ne Plus Ultra were wiped out completely. This setback was somewhat disappointing and I speculated that possibly 1 was pressing the vegetative growth of the trees a bit too hard and that the growth late in the summer was causing them to become prone to winter injury. So the next couple of summers I ignored the almond trees to a considerable extent to see how their growing habits might change. It turned out that a period of what is often referred to in the horticultural trades as "magnificent neglect", was ideal for the benefit of the almonds. In the spring of 1975 Non Pareil and Davey flowered profusely. The flowering of the Non Pareil was quite a bit ahead of the Davey and there was only a slight overlap for cross pollination purposes. The almonds flowered somewhat ahead of the local peaches and nectarines making the latter pollens unavailable for the almonds. Peaches and nectarines will pollinate almonds if the flowering seasons overlap. Almonds flower slightly after apricots in the Queenston area, i.e. usually during the latter half of April.

There were 35 almonds which set on the Non Pareil tree and only 7 nuts set on one of the Davey trees. The low percentage set may have been caused by a lack of adequate cross pollination. Future years may shed some light on this question.

The harvest from the Queenston almonds has been analyzed and compared with almonds from other sources... particularly those from California. The results are as follows:

Almond Samples
SourceDescriptionYearLocality of Tree Kernels per kg% kernelNuts per kgFlavourCrackability
Mission1975Adams Co. PA38457.822244
non Pareil1975Niagara Region50054.127044
BD-2071973Merced Co. CA62527.617234
D-2031972Calaveras Co. CA68944.230444
BD-2021972Calaveras Co. CA83237.331034
T-2051973Merced Co. CA86237.231924
Davey1975Niagara Region125047.158834

It is clear from the analyses that the quality of Ontario almonds compares favourably with those produced in other localities. Some nut growers might be surprised that the best sample came from the south-eastern section of Pennsylvania. There is quite a story behind that observation. Several decades ago the Hershey Chocolate Company of Hershey, Pennsylvania tried some experiments with the growing of almonds to provide a local source of these most delicious nuts for their chocolate bars. The experiment was a technical success but economically the venture could not compete with the California growers. The test orchard subsequently was abandoned and since the orchard was not on prime land, the trees were left standing to grow in a rather wild condition. The wild orchard became a favourite spot of local neighbours who picked up the nuts in the fall and even on into the winter...because some of the nuts would stick to the trees even into the month of January. The "Mission" cultivar was found to be one of the best for the growing conditions in Pennsylvania.
R. D. Campbell, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Pecans, Paw-paws, Persimmons ...

Niagara College now has a tradition of offering during the winter months a specialized course for nut growers who wish to study nut growing and related horticultural opportunities in detail during the time of year when outdoor activities are greatly restricted. The course describes the growing requirements for hickories, pecans, Persian walnuts, heartnuts, almonds, butternuts, black walnuts, pistachios, chestnuts, chinkapins, hazels, filberts, trazels, scarlet oak, hicans and the many hybrid nuts. The production of unusual fruit crops is covered such as: persimmons, paw-paws, seedless grapes, Japanese plums, nectarines, blueberries, Chinese dates, Saskatoon berries, cranberries etc. Also, there is brief coverage of unusual flowering shrubs for those who wish to perk up the appearance of their landscaping, i.e. rhododendrons, heathers, magnolias, dogwoods, Japanese cherries, hollies, rare evergreens etc. People who have taken this course have found it a most interesting way to spend 6 winter evenings.
R. D. Campbell, Editor, SONG News

Messages to the Editor

The prospects for a hickory crop in the Lambton and Kent County areas are very good this year. Jack McLean has indicated to me that he has located several hickories with very large sized nuts on his farm. I hope to be able to discover some outstanding hickories, butternuts and black walnuts this fall. Here's an invitation to visit during the nut harvest season.
D. A. Hill, Wallaceburg
Editor: The nut harvest in the Lambton-Kent area was tremendous in the fall of 1975 and Jack Maclean showed us one sample of shellbark hickory nuts which are the largest which I've seen from any tree growing in Ontario.

I'm interested in buying quantities of shagbark hickories, heartnuts, walnuts and butternuts. The nut crops were generally rather poor this year in Hastings County but the apple harvest is plentiful.
K. M. Bird, Belleville

I would appreciate receiving more information about SONG. Are SONG members interested in preserving Ontario's native nut trees as well as introducing exotic species?
B. D. Eaddon, Tree Seed Officer, Canadian Forestry Service, Chalk River ON

Nuts of many types are a very important item in the diet of our family of six. We would very much like to be able to produce at least one solid, substantial nut crop, preferably several on our Southern British Columbia farm.
Stephen Herrero, Calgary, Alberta

I'm currently working on a post-graduate degree at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. R.J. Hilton. My project concerns the refinement of the plant hardiness zone boundaries. It would help me to hear from your members where the Persian walnut, Juglans regia is hardy; where it is semi-hardy and where it is winter killed. G. Dunaan Himmelman Post -Graduate Studies University of Guelph C-uelph3 Ontario Will Persian Walnuts survive on my farm in the Owen Sound area?
A. E. Sutin, Toronto
Editor: There are specimens of Persian Walnut in the Collingwood area which are 40 years old and satisfactorily producing nuts. The success in the Collingwood area would lead one to be optimistic for similar results in the Owen Sound district.

I'm interested in obtaining a quantity of native tree seeds, i.e. American chestnuts, hickories and basswood.
H.L. Adaock, Hagensborg, British Columbia

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