Long Sault Plantation Report - August 2010

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Long Sault Plantation Report - August 2010

Long Sault Plantation Report - August 2010
Murray Inch

The Long Sault plantation is one of four 1993-94 plantings of named nut tree varieties carried out by Ted Cormier with the support of ECSONG, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest and MNR. It is located on hill side lands of the St Lawrence Parks Commission. The lands face south east over an inlet from the St Lawrence River. Members of ECSONG and the Volunteers of Oak Valley Pioneer Park have visited the site annually to note progress of the planting, to replot the location of and retag surviving trees, and to install wire fence guards to fend off depredations by deer.

See The Nuttery vol. 23 no 3 for the first report on varieties and survival rates.

In June 2006, I, John Sankey, Kim and Lester McInnis plotted and retagged the trees, installed protective fencing, and cut back sumac and other brush. We prepared a map and a data base of locations, species and varieties.

I visited the site on August 27, 2010 to monitor progress. My general findings are as follows.

Growth has been quite good over the past four years and 40 of 41 surviving trees have made good progress. The trees which had grown above the reaches of feeding deer all seemed to be thriving, having grown about 5 feet over the past 5 years. The varieties include: black walnut, heartnut, butternut, buartnut, shagbark, American chestnut and hican. Several of these are still coping with repairing older damage to their trunks, with low survival probability for two of these trees. There was no appreciable seed production however, though there were some prior year walnut husks on the ground.

The fenced trees have made excellent progress, most having grown from a browsed 2 feet tall, to 4 to 8 feet tall and averaging 5 feet. I expect that the guard fencing can be removed over the next 2-3 years. One fenced American chestnut had died and a second has lost its lead, but ground shoots were thriving.

The best progress by the fenced trees was made by shagbarks, with the second place being taken by various varieties of walnuts, and the American chestnuts doing reasonably well. Carpathian walnuts have not grown well on this site. Two walnuts which had not been fenced were found in a patch of goldenrod and remained only 2 feet tall, after 17 years in the ground. One guard fence cage had been pushed over recently, and the posts bent, but the tree itself has survived, standing 5 feet tall.

General condition of the site is problematic as the sumac which was last cut back in 2006, is overshadowing several of the fenced seedlings, and thick patches of goldenrod were found in all open areas. Virginia creeper and grape vine thrived on the fence guards though I was able to remove most of the vines. There is some buckthorn on the site, and in adjacent bushes. There was less evidence of deer presence, so they may be at the low end of their population cycle, allowing the young trees to make significant progress and hopefully survive.

Some bur and white oak seedlings were seen on the site, plus one American chestnut seedling and one healthy Scots' pine.

It would be useful for a party to visit the site in the spring of 2011 to cut back the Sumac.