SONG News May 2010 no. 88
In this Issue...

Message from the ECSONG Chair

Greetings Everyone,

ECSONG - The Society of Ontario Nut Growers, Eastern Chapter, based in Ottawa, is in full swing for the 2010 season. Spring is upon us and we have a full program in support of Nut trees in our region.

Our season schedule is as follows with everyone welcome to pitch in:
April 24 - Lavant Shagbark Hickory Field Day Contact: Jim Ronson:
May 8 - Hardy Heartnuts Field Day Contact: Gordon Wilkinson:
May 15 - Oak Valley Field Day Contact: Murray Inch:
May 29 - Dolman Ridge Field Day Contact: John Sankey:

Check for additional details.

Details for ECSONG Public Nut Groves can be found here:

Members Dues for 2010 are still being collected. SONG is now collecting the $17:00 annual fee, please designate ECSONG for your membership region.

For those of you who know of past members without an email address, please feel free to print this and pass the information along. Email is here to stay and greatly enhances our ability to communicate-our program. If you do not wish to continue receiving these updates please let me know.

This is turning out to be a very early spring for Ottawa. We will be taking notes on how it impacts our nut bearing trees this season.

Our Butternut trees are under threat and are gradually being wiped out. Watch for these trees in your travels and take time to follow their health. Unfortunately, the distress of this species may make them a very rare find in our time.

The latest SONG News, Issue 87 for January 2010 has been published. The ECSONG newsletter The Nuttery' has now been officially sunsetted. Copies of most of the issues have been placed with the Canadian National Archives.

The Director's challenge everyone to plant at least one nut tree this spring.

Have a great spring nut planting season!

Sincerely, Chris Skaarup, 2010 Chair ECSONG

Establishing a Nut Orchard

Climate, Site and Soil

The first priority in developing a successful nut orchard is to determine that the climate, site and soil are suitable for the crop you are trying to grow.

The climate should be within the climatic zones suggested for the tree, preferably protected from late spring frosts. The site should be gently sloping, well-drained and without low spots or frost pockets. While hillsides may be attractive planting sites for timber trees, steep slopes are not easy to maintain for nut harvesting purposes. If tile drainage is necessary, make sure that an appropriate outlet is available to you. Plan where the trees will go and put in the tiles between the rows of permanent trees. This will prevent the tree roots from getting into the tiles and blocking the drains. The soil should be a loamy sand or clay. Check with you agricultural experiment station for information on your soil type and do a soil test to find out what nutrients are needed. Plough in your soil needs, particularly potassium before you plant, as this nutrient is very difficult to incorporate after the trees are planted. Plant a cover crop the year before, if possible, to add organic matter and to enrich the soil. Plough down the cover in the spring before planting and disk and harrow, pick rocks etc. in preparation for planting.

Planning Your Orchard

At this point you need to decide whether you will plant grafted, seedling or a combination of grafted and seedling trees. This can determine spacing and the proper placement of pollinators. Decide on the spacing of your trees and measure, then mark out the planting sites being sure that no rows are too close to field tiles. This can vary according to the species being planted and the overall planting goals. The day before planting dig your holes by hand or with a 20 inch auger. Do not dig the holes deeper than the deepest roots. This will prevent sink holes later caused by the settling of the soil which takes the tree down with it. This is a particular problem when using an auger. Mark the sites with coloured ribbon. This will be a guide to make sure that the proper tree is in the site and that the planting plan is being followed. If your soil is lacking in organic matter, mix the planting soil with and equal volume of peat moss and a handful of potassium (0-20-0) or bonemeal. Well rotted compost may be used on the surface but not mixed fertilizers or manures as these can burn roots and cause harm.

Planting the Trees

As soon as your nursery stock arrives, it is important to make sure the tree roots are kept moist by spraying with water and keeping them in a plastic bag to keep the wind off and to prevent drying. If they can't be planted right away, heel them in on the north side of a shelter or keep them covered with tarps and wet straw or peat moss in a frost proof but cool building. The roots must be protected from drying winds, bright sun and below freezing temperatures at all times while they are out of the ground.

Transport the trees in large black plastic bags to the planting sites in a covered truck or wagon, making sure the roots are always protected. Centre the tree and be sure it is aligned with others in the row before backfilling the soil. Do not prune the tree roots or bend them around to fit the hole, instead dig the hole bigger to accommodate the tree as needed.

Make sure that you spread the roots as you plant to provide the tree with plenty of soil contact. Check that the root collar is even with the soil surface or slightly below. Tamp the soil around the roots gently with your feet to remove large air pockets as you refill the hole. Water the tree liberally after planting.

Put a mulch of wood chips around the tree about 5 cm (2 in.) thick and out about 2 m (6 ft.). This is very important for the first 3-5 years as it will keep weeds down and prevent them from hampering tree root development and growth.

Orchard Aftercare

Weeds that find their way through the mulch can be pulled or sprayed with Roundup herbicide. Be careful not to contact any part of the tree Check for insect damage, especially caterpillars, aphids or leafhoppers and spray accordingly. The trees are susceptible to insect damage beginning in June, particularly in the first year as they have been weakened by transplanting.

Water regularly through the first growing, or better yet set up an irrigation system to water the trees as needed. A drip system will do when the trees are small, followed by low sprinklers as the trees grow larger. This is particularly important in the light sandy soils of the "tobacco belt" in Ontario.

Soon after planting the trees, a ground cover may be established. Dwarf perennial ryegrass is ideal for this purpose as it is slow growing, less competitive with the trees and requires fewer mowings during the growing season. It is available through most farm supply outlets.

After the first year, 15-15-15 fertilizer can be added annually in early May. Apply to the mulch and avoid contact with the tree trunk. A handful is all that is needed in the first year, but you may need to provide your ground cover with an annual application to help it fill in,

Some corrective pruning may be necessary in the spring of the second year, but this should be confined to pinching back the undesired growth to favour the upward growth of the main trunk or stem.

Otto Walter Grundmann
July 17, 1920 - September 20, 2009

It is with great sadness we announce the death of Otto W Grundmann. Otto was born to Carl and Maggie (Miller) Grundmann in St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Long time friend and "daughter" Donna and her husband Tony were with him in his final hours at Terraceview Lodge. He is survived by one aunt, Agnes Van Vorst of Oliver, BC, sisters Dora Heidecker of Saskatoon SK, Elsie McDavid of Sudbury ON, Adeline (Otto) Nagy of Gronlid SK, brother Carl (Liz) Grundmann of Middle Lake SK, sisters-in law Joan Jary of Kerrobert SK and Helen (Jack) Ward of Penticton BC.

He was predeceased by his wife Gertie and their two infants, his mother Maggie, father Carl, step-mother Herta, sister Irene Dolezsar, and brother-in laws Walter Heidecker, Elio DeLuca, Bill McDavid, John Nagy, and Joe Dolezsar. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Otto served our country during WW2 and was an active Veteran and member of Branch 13 of The Royal Canadian Legion until the last few years. He had a passion for horticulture, including roses and exotic nut trees and many are planted throughout the community and surrounding area. Otto loved to deliver his cut roses to many places in the community including the Visitor's Bureau. His active involvement in these activities ended when he fell on Good Friday of 2005.

We would like to thank all those people who cared for Otto during the past years, Drs. Jaco Fourie and Greg Linton and their staff, the Home Care and support workers who came to look after Otto at Tuck and McConnell, Bill and others for bringing Meals on Wheels and the nurses and staff of McConnell Estates, Mills Memorial Hospital and Terraceview Lodge for taking such good care of him.

In Memoriam donations may be made to the Terrace Beautification Society, c/o Conrad Ganzenberg, 2814 Eby Street, Terrace, BC, V8G 2X5 or a charity of your choice in Otto's memory.

Eating Nuts Cuts Risk of Gall Stones and Advanced Macular Degeneration

Those who ate the most nuts (5 ounces or more) per week, including peanuts, had a 25% lower risk of gall stones than those who ate the least (less than one ounce (about 1/4 cup) per month.(Amer.J.Clin.Nutr. 80:76, 2004)

According to Michael Leitzmann, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, "the nuts could be decreasing insulin resistance. Or their fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, or unsaturated fats might affect the development of gallstones."

"Fibre, nuts and plant protein each lowers the risk of gall stone disease by 15 - 25 percent, but someone who combines several of them might well see a protective effect greater than 25 percent", says Leitzmann.

Harvard researchers found that patients who ate nuts at least once a week had a 40 percent lower risk of advanced macular degeneration than those who never ate them. Those who ate baked sweets and potato chips two or three times a day or more had twice the risk of people who ate those foods only once every two weeks or so. (Arch. Ophthalmol. 119:1259, 2003.)

So keep on eating nuts!

Letter to the Editor

This is in response to Gordon Wilkinson's article titled "Heartnuts in Eastern Ontario?"

Heartnuts may be tricky to grow in Eastern Ontario. Certainly, they are not very tolerant of drought, late spring and early fall frosts, and they hate to compete with weeds and grass. Japanese heartnuts do grow on the most northern island of Japan. It does strike me, however, that temperatures of less than -20.0 C do suggest extreme cold - especially if the trees are not sheltered and there is no windmill nearby to keep the air flowing. I note, too, that you are using seedlings. Generally seedlings have not been acclimatized to our Ontario winters. You may have better success if you plant grafted trees, particularly if the root stock is black walnut (which is native to this area). Additionally, I am always concerned that seedlings will not grow true to the "mother tree." I cannot venture a guess as to the impact of pockets of cold air caused by land level. Heartnuts do not tolerate "wet feet." Additionally, most nut growers to whom I have spoken caution that mulch should be kept away from the base of nut trees. And the clay soil is a problem. The Brookstone clay we have in the Windsor area does not permit roots to spread; heartnuts do not have deep taproots. I have never used mulch or newspaper around my trees so I cannot suggest what impact these would have. I have about 280 heartnuts (cross my fingers), and except for the grafts I lost, and the ones the deer have broken, they seem to be doing very well.

When we plant, we use a mechanical post auger to dig a hole two feet wide and three feet deep. We then fill this with a mixture of sandy loam and clay (easy on the clay), with some compost, and peat moss. Because we are organic, we add blood and bone meal below the roots of the tree and then plant the tree. For the first few years, we use forestry matting, covered with good soil instead of mulch; the matting does keep the water in, but because it is porous, it also permits the drying process.

If I were in your predicament, I would do the following:

  1. Use grafted trees and be sure that the graft was above soil level.
  2. Give them tender loving care. I am not sure that my off-key singing helps, but I am sure that my presence and attention does. All nut trees respond well when they do not have to compete with weeds (particularly perennials or clover), are watered in dry seasons, and have water drained away from them when there is a prolonged wet spell.
  3. I would not use newspaper as a forestry mat. Any mulch used would not be closer than twelve inches (30 cm.) to the trunk of the tree. That does mean that hand weeding must be done.
  4. Last, but not least, 1 would inspect them at least once a week and keep notes on those that are doing well and those that are not. This would provide some insight into what was a benefit and what was a problem. Also I try to note pockets of insects, diseased growth, and any other unusual characteristics.

Ernie Grimo, who is the treasurer of SONG, would be in a better position to help you with the problems you have mentioned, particularly the hardiness of Imshu.

I do hope this is helpful.

Olga Crocker
Director of Research - Heartnuts

Hazelnuts are on the Move

Research plantings have been established at Vineland Station and Simcoe Research Facilities. Replications of trees from Europe, Oregon and local growers are included in the plantings. Trees from the research being done by Dr. Tom Molnar at Rutgers University will be included also. The search is on to find the trees that are best for the Niagara area and the tobacco sand plains of lands on the north shore of Lake Erie. Some of the characteristics that are being investigated include filbert blight resistance, bearing quality, flavour, nut size and shape, cold resistance, catkin production, roasting quality among others.

At a meeting in 2009, project leader, Dr. Adam Dale is explaining how the 2 year old hazels are doing here at this Simcoe Station planting.

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