ECSONG's Public Nut Groves

In order to better promote tree nut growing in the eastern Ontario region, ECSONG in collaboration with a number of public land managers, has established and developed several public nut groves for research and demonstration purposes. ECSONG members conduct regular field days in these groves for the purposes of advancing the groves, carrying out maintenance and conducting research and demonstrations. The public is invited to visit the sites with ECSONG members or to visit anytime with family and friends to see nut trees growing well in our region.

Filmore R. Park Nut Grove

This grove, founded in 1979 by Alec Jones, Fil Park & Mark Schaefer, is named to commemorate Filmore R. Park, one of the two founding members of ECSONG, and the original proponent of the nut grove before the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) in 1978.

The Nut Grove is located in the Baxter Conservation Area just south of Kars, Ontario on Regional Road 13. It can be accessed from the McManus Interpretive Centre in the Baxter Conservation Area by following the trail from the back of the centre, or by parking at the south end of the Third Line Road and following the old road beside the garage. At the entrance to the grove there is a sign kiosk offering a detailed map of the site. The picture shows the grove from a position at the northwest corner of the site, looking southward towards the Rideau River which is just beyond the farthest trees.

The site slopes from high dry ground, through to wetland, and has sandy to sandy/loam soils. It has been contoured to provide air drainage to the Rideau River, and a pond is located at the end farthest from the river. Thus the site offers a range of microclimates for testing. Many of the plants are now nut producers. New species, varieties, and cultivars are being planted every year, towards completing the collection of an estimated 60 to 70 kinds of nut trees that could grow locally. Today there are more than thirty kinds on display, comprising about 100 individual specimens. Included are Ginkgos, Nut Pines, Oaks, Walnuts, Hickories, Buckeyes, Horse chestnuts, Hazels, Yellowhorn, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Locusts, Beech, Black Cherry, Chestnut and Hackberry. Some commemorative Trees have been planted to honour individuals' contributions to the advancement of the Nut Grove.

The land is owned by the RVCA, whose staff and equipment help maintain the nut grove, along with volunteers from ECSONG members and friends, with help from the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

John Sankey, Moe Anderson, Kristal Verrière (NCC)
20 May 2000

Dolman Ridge Nut Grove

The Dolman Ridge Nut Grove, founded by Moe Anderson, in which ECSONG became involved in 1979, is named for its location on the Dolman Ridge, 45°24'N 75°34'W, in the Greenbelt near the Mer Bleue in the city of Ottawa. Originally planted as part of Forestry Canada's 385 ha Central Research Forest in the 1960s and 1970s, they were returned to the National Capital Commission in 1979, at which time ECSONG became a collaborator in the nut tree plantations. Moe Anderson planted many of these experimental plots of nut trees as a member of the CRF. And, Moe preserved many of the original planting records, which will enable the original CRF research goals to be continued.

On 20 May 2000, the oak groves were officially named the Mogens Leif Anderson Oak Plantations, in honour of his work to promote Canadian forestry.

The plantations include two dozen plantations of nut bearing trees and shrubs, with thousands of specimens of about a dozen species. Nut pines, oaks, black walnuts, butternuts, bitternut hickory, shagbark hickory, American chestnut and horse chestnut are represented: beaked hazel and American beech occur naturally. Most are similar in nature to a woodlot. Our programs offer participants the opportunity to observe, learn and experience agro-forestry activities specific to nut trees.

The land is owned by the NCC, whose staff and equipment help maintain the plantations along with volunteers. It is a collaborative project between ECSONG, the NCC, the International Oak Society, the Canadian Chestnut Council, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, with help from the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

Peter Carr, Marianne Wilson, Myrtle McKendry

Oak Valley Nut Grove

This grove, initiated in 1986 by Irene Woolford Broad, is named for its location in Oak Valley, Ontario, 45°00'N 75°22'W.

The four hectare grove, abutting a channel of the South Nation River, is divided into two roughly-equal areas. The east half is dominated by a Black Walnut Plantation, currently growing amongst White Pines, a nurse species, with a series of walking trails. The west half is open parkland with a variety of nut tree species. One of Ontario's three Butternut Archives of the Forest Gene Conservation Association is on the site. Co-located with the nut grove is the Pioneer Homesteads Heritage Site, an initiative of Dr. Ralph McKendry and family. Commemorative Stones are available for pioneer families in the area. The Truscott Nut Tree Nursery is a feature of the nut grove. The entrance has a large sign, and offers a map and brochure to visitors.
Myrtle McKendry, Murray Inch, Hank Jones, Robert McKendry, Lester McInnis, Kim McInnis,
Mayor Claude Cousineau of North Dundas Township, Marion Bartholomew and Gord Bartholomew The land is owned by South Nation Conservation, and is now managed by Oak Valley Pioneer Park Volunteers.

On 28 April 2003, the park volunteers were presented with an Ontario Heritage Foundation Achievement Award and an municipal appreciation certificate by the Mayor and councillors of North Dundas.

Dominion Arboretum Nut Trees

The Dominion Arboretum, founded in 1888, is located on the Central Experimental Farm of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa, Canada, 45°23'N 75°42'W. It is operated by the Department with the help of the volunteer Friends of the Farm. It is open to the public on foot sunup to sundown. The nut tree collection in the Arboretum is comprised of a few hundred specimens of a few tens of species, varieties, forms and cultivars, and is a collaborative project between ECSONG, the Friends of the Farm and the federal government, with help from the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

Over the years, ECSONG has contributed a number of nut trees specimens to this national collection; Ted Cormier and Jane Lynas have made notable contributions. Most notable were a number of bur oaks from Texas (Quercus macrocarpa) sent by Jane. Texas bur oaks produce starchy acorns the size of golf balls. It is hoped that these trees can grow well in our region. Their acorns could become an important part of our annual commercial and hobby nut crops if successful.

Jim Ronson, John Sankey, George Truscott and Len Collett

Lavant Shagbarks Nut Grove

This nut grove, located on provincial crown land on the French Line west of Brightside Ont. at 45°08'N 76°35'W, contains about 1000 shagbark hickory. Initiated by Jim Ronson & John Sankey, ECSONG is interested in studying these trees as they are the northernmost self-sustaining population of their species, and are very isolated from other populations. Superior trees are sought therein for tree nut propagation into similar terrains around eastern Ontario.

The trees appear to have regenerated from a clearcut about 1880. About 1980, someone cut down the considerable ironwood on the site. Pictured above are, left to right, Jim Ronson measuring DBH, John Sankey positioning each trees with GPS, George Truscott recording and Len Collett marking the trees.

ECSONG has the goal to ensure the long-term perpetuation of the population and associated ecosystem. We work with Mazinaw-Lanark Forest Inc. and Linda Touzin (Forester, Ministry of Natural Resources, Kemptville).

Dedication of the grove 17 May 2001

NRC Memorial Nut Grove

Five nut trees were planted on the NRC campus (45°27'N 75°37'W) in the spring of 2001 in memory of Dr. Ferrers Clark, a director in two divisions of NRC. The trees were donated by Kurt Wasner of Buckthorn Meadows Tree Farm. They are planted in a C formation for Clark and were watered by former colleagues of Dr. Clark until they were established.

A ginkgo tree was added in 2004 in memory of another CISTI employee, Sheri Campbell.

Sawmill Creek Shagbark Hickory Plantation

Located next to the Sawmill Creek reservoirs, this grove was established by John Sankey on behalf of ECSONG in partnership with the City of Ottawa, who own the land.

Hardy Heartnut Project

Located on the old Montreal Road between Rockland and Wendover, this experimental plantation was founded by Gordon Wilkinson to develop heartnuts hardy in Eastern Ontario.

Long Sault Plantation

The Long Sault plantation is one of several 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. 67 trees are located on Center Woodlands Island on the west side of the southern inlet of the island. Members of ECSONG and the Volunteers of Oak Valley Pioneer Park have visited the site to note progress of the planting, to retag surviving trees, and to install wire fence guards to fend off depredations by deer.

Other similar plantings at this time were at Oak Valley (99 trees), Alfred College (31 trees, currently being looked after by Boisés Est), Dominion Arboretum (18 trees), Filmore R. Park (24 trees), and the Rideau Valley Conservation Workshop (20 trees).

Nepean Creek Grove

Located on Nepean Creek just upstream from the storm water settlement ponds, this grove was established in 2004 by Bill Watt with the consent of the City of Ottawa, who owns the land. It now contains over 100 trees.

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