SONG News Spring 1987 no. 30
In this Issue...

1986 Year End Report for the SONG Project Nut Tree Crops For Ontario
Participant: Ernest Grimo Hazelnut Orchard (Corylus Species)

The hazel nut trees in this planting range widely from one year old to thirteen years old. About 90 per cent of the 209 trees in the planting are of seedling origin, that is, they are not cultivars. This planting was designed to evaluate these trees for cultivar status and to determine if hazelnut trees could produce commercial crops in the Niagara Peninsula. Each year the outstanding selections have been identified and for the last five years the poorest rated trees have been removed annually to make room for new seedlings. Some hand crosses have been included in the planting along with seedlings from superior parent lines or strains. In this way, the planting is in a continual state of upgrading.

1986 was an excellent year for hazelnut trees. Not only was this the largest crop so far, but the quality was also high. The nut harvest began in late August and continued to the 20th of October when the latest trees dropped nuts. The nuts were harvested by using sections of fine meshed plastic netting similar to bird netting but heavier and stronger. The netting was laid under the trees just prior to nut drop. After the drop, the nets were lifted and the nuts were containerized and identified. Later in the barn, the nuts were hulled, cleaned and then weighed and evaluated. In order to determine cropping performance, the area of each bearing sized tree was determined by measuring two dimensions to the drip line of the tree. Though the planting is about 1.2A. in size, not all of the area is producing. Due to the variable age of the trees in the planting (from one year to thirteen year), an accurate cropping rate can only be determined by taking the area of the bearing trees into consideration. The total crop was calculated to be 1070 lb. (486.7 kg). The total bearing area of the planting was 0.42A. (0.17ha). This provides a corrected yield of 1070 lb/0.42 A=2532 Ib per acre (2863kg per ha).

As can be expected, some trees were much more productive than others. The most productive tree at ten years old produced 21 Ib (9.6kg) or a rate of 6417 Ib/acre (7187kg/ha). As can be seen, this is more than double the planting average yield, indicating the potential for improvement. The highest yielding trees reach commercial potential, other factors must also be considered when selecting trees for commercial production. The average yield of nine of the best trees is 3355 Ib/A. (3758kg/ha). By maintaining crop records and overall nut quality ratings over several years, it will be possible to determine the best selections for commercial production.

To determine the worth of a tree in particular year, an overall five point rating is made of the following tree characteristics; crop size, nut size, kernel filling, pellicle quality, flavour, and nut shape. A rating of two relates that a tree has promising potential. A rating of three indicates that a tree is simply average. A rating of four indicates that the tree has a serious shortcoming and may be removed, while a rating of five would determine that there is one or more serious problems with the tree and the tree would be removed immediately. Of course, a review of the previous three year records would be made before the tree is taken out. The following list of selections are trees that have been rated as "one" or "two" in the last three years and have borne consistently; 182F (Gellatly #502 layer), 186F (Chinoka graft), 33N (Barcellona layer). NY #104 has had the highest ratings in the three year period, while the Gellatly #502 has had the most consistent cropping record. It may be noted that all of the above selections are choice selections from earlier breeding programs.

When one lowest rating of "three" is allowed in the three year record, several additional selections are included; 180A (Gellatly seedling), 188P (Myoka x Petoka cross), 192G (Manoka seedling), 194B (Chinoka seedling), 202A (NY #110 layer), 202B (NY #616 layer), 202D (Gordon #1 seedling), 32N (unknown parent). These are also good trees and some may in the longer term prove to be outstanding too.

The nuts were sold at $1.50/litre from the farm. With a large sign at the road and no other advertising, the total crop was sold by the beginning of December. A litre is slightly more than a pound which means that the 1070 lb. of nuts sold for about $1500. Based on an acre of production, this would make a return of about $3600./A ($1450/ha). Since the hazelnuts are not perishable, farm gate sales may extend into the winter and spring. As the farm becomes better known, the crop moves more quickly. City market sales could also help to handle an even larger crop.

Persian Walnut Orchard (Juglans regia)

On a scattered planting of about 5 acres, and over 200 trees, there are two different studies being made. In the first, 60 selections and cultivars have been grafted onto black walnut rootstocks. These trees will be fruited and evaluated over a long term to determine which are the best cultivars. The numbers of replications vary from one to ten for each selection. In the second, there are about 50 seedlings which are also being evaluated for cultivar status. In this planting, the poorest trees are removed annually and replaced by new seedlings.

All trees are evaluated on the following criteria: crop size, nut size, cracking quality, kernel colour, percent fill, and flavour. All trees are rated on a similar five point scale as was used to rate the hazels.

For the larger trees, harvesting was completed with the assistance of the same netting as was used with the hazelnuts. When about 80% of the walnut hulls were splitting and some nuts were knocked down with long wooden poles. The crop was lifted in the nets and containerized. The nuts were put through a huller which rubbed off any hulls. The nuts were then weighed, washed and placed in a dryer to be thoroughly dried. Samples of ten nuts of each seedling or selection were put aside in the dryer to provide nuts for the evaluation process.

Since many of the trees are young grafts or seedlings they did not have a large enough bearing surface to use to calculate the rate of production. This was done with the larger trees only. The larger seedlings produced at the rate of 2000 lb./A (2240 kg/ha). This calculation is based on the weight of the nuts before drying and so could be adjusted 25% to 50% lower for actual dry weight. Individual grafted selections produced better. Metcalfe is consistently the best producer, this year cropping at 5445 lb./A (6098kg/ha), followed by Hansen at 3639 lb./A. (4075kg/ha). Greenhaven produced 2478 lb./A. (2775kg/ha) and Ashworth 2555 lb./A. (2861kg/ha).

Our highest rated selections for nut quality over the last three years narrows down to three outstanding selections out of about 60 or more on test. These are Young's BI, Young's B4, and Colby. Other noteworthy selections include; Hansen, Metcalfe, Young's M3, Korn, Greenhaven, Cascade, Hambleton T9R10 (HW1 x Hansen), and Grimo 82Z (Hansen seedling). Hansen and Broadview are two parent lines that tend to produce the most outstanding seedlings.

Sweet Chestnut (Castanea mollissima and hybrids)

The chestnut planting consists of about 225 trees on two acres planted at 16 foot spacing. About 80% of the trees are hand pollinated crosses using the cultivar "Layeroka" as the seed parent. Though some of this planting is twelve years old, a large part of the orchard is relatively young. As the planting grew, trees that cropped poorly or produced small sized nuts were eliminated from the orchard over the years. The only large trees that remain are trees that are grafted selections on test or seedlings that have some promise.

The chestnut trees are rated on a similar five point scale as is used with the other nuts. They are evaluated on; crop size, number of nuts per kilogram, shell colour, pellicle quality and flavour.

Nut production has been erratic. Most of the one to three year old trees had no nuts this year.

Many of the older trees produced lightly or had no crop either. On the other hand, Layeroka, a consistent bearer, cropped so heavily that the normally large sized nuts only reached small size. This was also true of Campbell #1 and Campbell_#2, two new Layeroka seedling selections that have qualities very similar to Layeroka. This has been the first poor crop rating Layeroka has had to date. Grimo 142Q, an eight year old Layeroka seedling, has had a steadily increasing crop over the last several years. The nuts have been consistently large, even this year when other good bearers have not performed well.

With the right selections, chestnuts have commercial potential in Ontario. The following with their 1986 cropping record appear to show promise; Layeroka (4428 Ib/A., 4959kg/ha), Grimo 142Q (4223 Ib/A., 4729kg/ha), Campbell #1 (4140 Ib/A., 4636kg/ha), Campbell #2 (3656 Ib/A., 4094kg/ha).

Ontario Crop Introduction and Expansion Programme Lot 37 Con.2: Biddulph Twp, County Middlesex
Participant: Lawrence Cruttenden

Project No. 1. Chinese Chestnuts

Layout: 3.9 acres had been planted to Chinese Chestnuts in 1984 and 1985. This consisted of two long rows of grafted trees flanked on either side by a row of Layeroka seedlings; thus five rows in all, and a total of 3.9 acres.

1985 Season After having established well during 1984, the older trees started showing signs of trace-element deficiency during the summer of 1985, which severely hampered growth. I consulted the Horticulturist at OMAF, but it took quite a while to establish, by leaf analysis, that the deficiency was in fact Manganese. In the meantime I had applied a "shot-gun" foliar spray of several elements, but to no apparent benefit. Even the manganese spray, applied later than desirable, seemed to be of little, if any, help.

1986 Season By spring/early summer of 1986 it was obvious that the foliar sprays had not helped, even though additional spray was applied in the more desirable time of early spring. In fact the condition was deteriorating and more trees were being affected all the time. However, it was apparent that trees on an area of sandy soil were not visibly affected, and it became apparent that the MN-deficiency was induced by the plant's inability to thrive on the heavier clay-loam soil that comprised most of the planted area.

Due to the severity of the condition (mortality eventually reached 20% amongst grafted trees and 47% amongst seedlings on the clay-loam soil) no further plantings were undertaken in 1986. (Bear in mind also that this S.O.N.G. project did not appear to be acceptable, at that stage, for this Government assistance programme).

No trees on clay-loam made good growth in 1986. (of up to 42" per summer on sand).

Trees on the sandy soil continued to do well, and by the end of summer 1986 had reached heights varying from 7 feet to 9 feet (for grafted trees) and 4" to 7' for seedlings. Mortality on the sandy soil, since planting in 1984 and 1985 totalled 5.8% to date. Only 2 seedling trees produced pollen, and a handful of nuts were produced.

Conclusion: I would strongly suggest that recommendations in future be to the effect that clay-loam soils are definitely unsuitable for Chinese Chestnuts, except perhaps on garden scale where appropriate soil amelioration measures can be undertaken without regard to the cost thereof.

While this report may ,appear discouraging in the extent of the failure on the heavier soil, if we are to discover the true boundaries of adaptability, then some failures are, by definition, an inherent part of such an exploration. Thus far; however, the trees on the sandy soil appear to be worthwhile. Production, on any worthwhile scale, cannot be expected until trees are older and the seedlings producing pollen in quantity.

I propose to replace the trees on the clay-loam soil with Carpathian walnuts from spring of 1987.

PROJECT No. 2: Carpathian Walnuts

No Carpathian Walnuts were planted during 1986, for the following reasons:

I now have a good supply of healthy seedlings for trans planting in spring of 1987.

Summary of Project for SONG (Ontario Crop Introduction & Expansion Program) 1986
Participant: Charles Rhora

Castanea mollissima (Chinese Chestnut)

Corylus avellana, (colourna, var. chineses, var. jacquemonti)

Juglans regia

Juglans ailanthfolia var. cordiformis (Heartnut)

Pinus (Koraiensis, edulis, cembra, siberrian, jeffreyi)

Ontario Crop Introduction and Expansion Program 1986 Year End Report
by Cornelius Keeren, P.O. Box 7280, Oakville, Ontario L6J 6L6
Planting site is R.R.#1, Lakeshore Road, St. Williams, Ontario

Six acres of a twenty acre chestnut planting established in 1986 will be included in this project. Involved are a one acre planting of grafted Layeroka chestnuts (200 trees) and a 500 Layeroka seedling planting considered to cover five acres at 100 trees to the acre. These seedlings will be evaluated for cultivar status when they begin to bear.

The first growing season was very wet, resulting in low survival and poor establishment in low lying areas. Clean cultivation was maintained through the growing season with hand weeding close to the trees. At one point the weed competition was excessive. At the same time, leafhopper injury added to the problem creating extra stress. Steps will be taken next year to avoid these problems. Overall mortality rate for the twenty acre planting was 6.92%. The seedling trees fared best with a mortality rate of 2.8%, while the Layeroka grafts suffered an 8.32% loss. It was found that the smaller grafted trees (under 2 foot size) had about double the percentage loss.

Though the trees were in their first year, many of the grafted Layeroka trees set burrs of nuts. There was approximately ten pounds of nuts gathered. Since the seedling Layeroka trees were too young to produce pollen, it is speculated that pollen may have blown in from native trees in the nearby forested land. In the 1987 growing season, burrs will be removed on all but the strongest trees to encourage these trees to grow vigorously.

Though tree measurements were made at planting time, end of the season measurements could not be made to determine the average growth in the first year. The disk used to cultivate the orchard tended to hill up the trees making accurate measurements difficult. An attempt will be made to measure the trees in the spring when the ground will be levelled.

1986 year end report by Joseph Triola, Line 2, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario LOS UP

Fifty Americana x sativa castanea hybrid seedlings were planted, 22 in each of two locations. The remaining trees were potted and held over for one year and planted as loss replacements or additional trees for the study.

Location 1: Line 6 at Creek Road.
The trees made fair progress in this clay soil site. Average growth was about fifteen centimetres. Three trees died and will be replaced by potted trees in the spring.

Location 2: Line 2, home site.
All 22 trees in this improved clay soil survived, averaging about twenty centimetres in new growth.

Nut Crop Introduction Report
Participant: Douglas Campbell

Crop Objectives
The main focus of this report is that of Heartnuts and Chestnuts. Attention is directed to factors which have a notable impact on productivity performance. The observations cited have resulted from a planting in the south-east corner of lot 10 of the former township of Niagara, Niagara Region, Ontario.


The heartnut, a member of the walnut family, has a mild flavoured, high oil kernel which has proven eminently acceptable to the public by actual taste test. Certain strains of the heartnut have attractive nut cracking characteristics as well as substantial yields. It has been shown that moisture levels and fertilization do have marked effects, on production. The soil upon which the heartnuts are planted, is shallow being only 2% feet deep. Prolonged droughts cause the trees to shed many basal leaves after they have first turned yellow ... even in mid-summer. Combinations of fertilizing and applications of irrigation water keep the trees vigorous, healthy and productive. Heartnuts may be brought to near maximum production in the Niagara Region with an addition of 5 acre-inches of water per acre plus addition of 1000 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per acre. Heartnuts are little affected by either insects or diseases.

Production Rates ... Basis Approximately 0.1 acre
Average Yield of Nuts in the Shell 2960 Ib/acre
Yield of Selection CW 2110 Ib/acre
Yield of Selection CE 3770 Ib/acre

Preliminary evidence indicates that much is to be gained by further development and identification of cultivar selections. The "Etter" strain of heartnut has proven itself to be a very good developmental source. It has good kernel qualities and very good crackability. Both characteristics are essential for a high value kernel trade. Indications of current consumer preference point to a favourable price which can be established for heartnuts. Further work should be directed at seedling plantings to identify higher producing sorts which have acceptable kernel qualities and good cracking. This work can be furthered by trying out numbers of seedlings from a diversity of sources to maximize favourable characteristics and in particular to identify the strains which emphasize the heartnut form over the reversion to the rough - shelled "Japanese Walnut" form.


The Chinese chestnut has generally proven itself to be the best of the various chestnut species in the Niagara Region when characteristics such as nut size, yield, disease resistance etc. are all considered. The emphasis in this planting has been on the identification of superior seedlings to maximize nut qualities and productivity. More than 12 seed sources have been investigated in detail. It has been proven to date that Layeroka, Orrin, Talbot Seedling and the Dallas City Seedlings have provided numerous seedlings of interest. Many named cultivars such as Crane produce a very small number of notable seedlings. The selection objectives for seedlings are as follows: fast, straight growth; healthy trees; large nuts; rich brown coloured shells; easy removal of pellicle; sweet kernel; high productivity; early ripening nuts.

Most of the growth objectives of the trees can be achieved by adding 5-8 acre-inches/acre of extra water per growing season as well as 1000 lb./acre of triple 10 fertilizer. Most years, the addition of some water will increase nut size by about 25%. The fertilizer generally increases yields and tends to produce annually bearing trees. Otherwise there is a tendency for trees to be biennial bearers.

In the last 4-5 years some very interesting characteristics are being observed in the "Douglas" strain of Oriental-American hybrid chestnuts. Trees with precocious abilities to produce large, quality nuts in quantity are being identified. These selections may prove extremely promising.

Production Rates ... Basis Approximately 0.I/acre
Average Yield of Nuts in the Shell 3850 lb./acre.
"Mahogany" 4220 lb./acre
Layeroka Seedlings, 4340 lb./acre.
Crane Seedlings 2110 lb./acre.

Again it is observed that there is considerable difference in the performance of chestnut seedlings according to seedling source. It appears that considerable advantage is to be obtained from further seedling trials. Trees with heavier pistillate bloom and more efficient fertilization rates of nuts are to be sought. Also a high density of catkin bloom must be maintained in an orchard because the moving of pollen through the trees does not appear to be a highly efficient process. To be useful, chestnuts must be early ripening, since the nuts are so easily damaged by atypically early frosts.

Miscellaneous Observations

Hardy almonds have been observed at this location for a few years only but the results have been surprising. The trees started to bear nuts in their fourth year from seed. The trees are hardier and more disease and insect resistant than peaches. The flowering performance is absolutely spectacular. However, the yields are the most amazing factor:
Average yield of nuts in the Shell, 19863850 lb./acre
Selection W-l4220 lb./acre
Selection W-24340 lb./acre
Selection W-32110 lb./acre

The nuts average about 20% kernel so that approximately 1500 pounds per acre of kernels are being produced. At a retail price of $6.00 per pound for kernels, the return is no mere trifle.

It is obvious that almonds are the highest yielders of nuts in the shell at this Niagara location. Quite frankly, this came as a surprise and it is only in the last year that I've started to propagate this species. The trees have been giving consistently heavy yields for the last 4 years. It is exciting to think about what future almonds may have in Ontario.


Several species of nuts may have potential for satisfactory commercial production in Ontario. The development of these nut types should be pursued with all deliberate speed.

Ontario Crop Introduction & Expansion Program Progress Claim Name of Project: Commercial Nut Tree Crops for Ontario Organization Name: Society of Ontario Nut Growers Address: Robert Hambleton - Secretary, R.R. #2 Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario, Canada LOS 1JO Claim Period: February 1, 1986 to January 51. 1987 Summary of Expenditures:
Total Expenditure on Project for Claim Period$23,374.81
OCIEP Portion of the Above (amount claimed)5,000.00
Type of ExpenditureAmount Claimed
1. Seeds and trees3,904.68
2. Chemicals and cash costs1,589.34
3. Planting and maintenance costs12,423.71
4. Harvesting nut crops269.08
5. Evaluating & computing1,683.00
6. Land rental1,790.00
7. Travel costs1,170.00
8. Administrating costs for project545.00

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