SONG News Fall 1989 no. 35
In this Issue...

1989 SONG Meetings in Review

Spring Auction
The 1989 spring auction meeting was held at the Civic Garden Centre, Don Mills, Ontario, on April 15. A very large quantity of trees, seeds etc. was auctioned to an audience of more than 60 people.

Summer Meeting
The annual meeting was held at the nut farm of charter members, Robert and Kay Hambleton at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario on August 5,1989. The elections for the new officers for 1990 produced the following results:
President: Murial Braham
Vice President: Ken Weston
Second Vice President: James Harvey
Treasurer: Marion Grimo
Secretary: Bob Hambleton
Editor: Doug Campbell Auditor: Joyce Branston
The new nominating committee was composed of the following:
Chairman: Heinz Baumgarten Members: Paul Bennett and John Gordon

Bob Hambleton gave the Secretary's report of the last meetings and the various minutes were approved.

Marion Grimo gave a brief review of the finances of SONG and also encouraged all to submit recipes for the SONG Cook Book ... Calling All Cooks!!

Ernest Grimo summarized the progress of the SONG Crop Introduction Program. A Generous amount of data has been accumulated and this will be of value to future nut growers.

Bob Hambleton led the tour of his acreage of nut trees. Numerous walnuts, filberts and miscellaneous items were observed. These trees have been bearing nuts for a number of years and therefore the results were of considerable interest.

The Hambletons were thanked for providing the venue for a most interesting annual meeting.

Fall Meeting
The Royal Botanical Gardens of Hamilton, Ontario were the hosts of the October 21, 1989 meeting of SONG. More than forty people were present to enjoy the very excellent harvest displays of several of the nut growers; the extremely tasty presentation of hot roasted chestnuts by Chef Extraordinaire, Ken Weston; presentations of future conference brochures and articulate descriptions of ambitious projects to be undertaken. All of this plus some stimulating socializing made the Hamilton meeting an event to remember.

NNGA Meeting in Ontario

The Summer, 1989 meeting of the Northern Nut Growers Association was especially interesting because it was in Ontario. More than 250 people attended. They came from Oregon and Massachusetts, Quebec and British Columbia ... as well as Texas. There was a marvellous mix and it was possible to compare nut growing with people from all over the map. In addition, there was a great variety of nut samples to compare and admire. Meetings such as this are great introductions for nut growers in their beginning years.

OMAF Publishes Nuts

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture introduced its new booklet Nut Culture in Ontario, authored by John Gardner, on November 8,1989. It is an excellently illustrated publication and it has descriptions of all the nuts which can be grown in Ontario as well as those species suggested for trial commercial plantings. John is to be congratulated for a fine production and it's expected that this new booklet will encourage a lot of interest in nut growing. The publication is available from local agricultural extension offices or by writing directly to: John Gardner Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food 50 King Street, London, Ontario N6A 2P2

Another New Nut Grower Organization

The Canadian Chestnut Council was established last year to assist in the preservation and expansion of the native American chestnut, Castanea dentata. This group will organize the mapping of existing stands; encourage the propagation and planting of new trees; assist in inoculation experiments and provide general co-ordination of information about the occurrence and condition of American chestnuts in Canada. The membership fee is $10.00 annually and may be addressed to: The Canadian Chestnut Council The Arboretum University of Guelph Guelph, Ontario N1G2W1

The Grimo Nut Farm Evaluation Report

The Grimo nut farm and nursery consists of fourteen acres of experimental orchards and nursery stock. We annually evaluate the grafted and seedling hazels, chestnuts and Persian walnuts in an effort to determine the best, most reliable nut trees for Ontario. Each year, the top rated trees and the poorest rated trees are identified. The trees with a history of poor or mediocre ratings are removed and replaced with new stock to test. Our best trees are then saved for propagation and sold from our nursery. To date we are the only nursery in Canada that carries out such an extensive evaluation procedure before offering trees for sale.

Each tree or grafted variety is rated annually on a 6 point scale with 1 the highest and 6 the lowest. Considerations include flavour, kernel filling, productiveness, size of nut and several other quality features. They are then compared over a five year period and rank ordered to determine the best overall selections. Below are the five year ratings (* no crop, - not tested).
Hazelnut Evaluation Summary
Ennis (an Oregon selection)112--
Gellatly 50212123
NY 39812212
NY 20022222
NY 68622313
Grimo 188P (Myoka x Petoka)11223
Grimo 202G (NY 504 sdlg)12233
Grimo 192G (Manoka sdlg)22323
NY 1 0423312
Persian Walnut Evaluation Summary
Young's B1 (Broadview sdlg)11222
Young's M3 (Manregian sdlg)11223
Cobles #222123
Sweet Chestnut Evaluation
Grimo 142Q (Layeroka sdlg)11122
Campbell #2 (Layeroka sdlg)22231
Campbell #1 (Layeroka sdlg)33231

Remarks and Conclusions

Ennis is a relatively new introduction from Oregon and was not bred for filbert blight resistance, but it appears as hardy as Barcelona. Nut quality is excellent and it has performed well in the past two years where drought has been a problem.

The New York selections have many outstanding characteristics, however, they all share one fault in the Niagara area. They ripen past the middle of October and generally are difficult to separate from the husks. For this reason we have not recommended them. Their seedlings, however, are usually earlier ripening and much better husking, but often lack one or more of the outstanding characteristics of the parent.

Gellatly 502 has been consistent in bearing and is one of our earliest ripening selections. The nuts drop free of the husk. The nut is medium to large in size and well filled.

Persian Walnuts
Metcalfe has been a remarkable cultivar. In over fiteen years it has consistently been the most productive selection on the farm. Nut quality has also been good. Its medium nut size is its main drawback as a commercial tree. Customers are generally more attracted to a larger nut like Lake that has a less satisfying flavour. Educated customers favour the thin shells of Metcalfe or Hansen to the larger, more awkward cracking nuts.

Cobles #2 has been productive and has a reasonably sized kernel, considering the extra large size of the shell. It is also remarkably sweet flavoured.

The George Young trees, Young's B1 and M3, have good size, filling, flavour and other remarkable nut qualities, but they tend to be more cyclical in productivity.

Sweet Chestnuts
Layeroka has been the uncontested best chestnut selection for Ontario nut growing for the last twenty or more years. It has a fine sweet flavour. It ripens early, the end of September, and it sets reliably even in adverse years. Its seedlings have often resembled the parent and so we now have a number of "look-a-likes" which include the two Campbell selections. They have such similar characteristics that they are difficult to tell apart. Layeroka tends to overproduce and variable sized or small nuts may be the result. This probably can be overcome by proper fertilization and irrigation.

We have used Layeroka exclusively in our breeding program to develop superior selections. One selection, Grimo 142Q, has proven to be our best selection to date. Though nut size is medium large, it has very uniform sized nuts. Nut quality is very good and it ripens a few days earlier than Layeroka. At eleven years of age in the orchard, it produced thirty-three pounds of nuts and has been bearing steadily for at least the last seven years. It has not shown a tendency to overbear. The nuts drop cleanly out of the husks making sweeper pick up or shaking machines suitable for harvesting. The tree is upright and vigourous.

Though more research and development is needed, we consider the sweet chestnut to be the most promising commercially. The number of productive selections is limited, but there is a strong demand in the ethnic market where the nuts sell for more than $2.00 per pound. In the light soils of the Erie north shore and the Niagara peninsula where the chestnut is best suited, growers could well find an exciting alternate crop.

Seven Bold New Ventures

In the spring of 1989, there were seven new nut orchards established in Ontario and the sizes ranged anywhere from a couple of acres up to 10 acres. These included Bob McWhinney in the Huron region; Glenn Bannerman in the Brant region; Bob McCully, Peter Huys, Steve Erny and Ray Peel in the Kent region; Dan Dalgleish in the Essex region. All of these plantings feature a diversity of the nut species so that a broad range of response will be realized. Especially the Kent/Essex plantings will be exploring the value of intercropping as a means of enhancing income returns in the first few years after establishment of the tree crops. A future experiment in co-operation with the Ridgetown College of Agriculture may deal with planting of nut tree crops on marginal wetlands to determine whether income levels can be improved on otherwise risky acres. The first year response at all 7 locations was very good and survival percentages after the first summer were high. All these growers look forward to a promising future in nut production. Furthermore, they're not concerned about marketing boards or production quotas because it would require more than 20,000 producing acres of nut trees to supply the Canadian market with the ultra high quality, super fresh nuts such as those produced locally in Ontario!

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