Nut Growing Ontario Style

John H. Gordon
A publication of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers 1979-1992

Overview - Nut Trees and Growing Them
Basics of Nut Growing
Black Walnut (Native Walnut)
Black Walnut Cutter
Air Layering & Stooling
Heartnut and Heartnut Sorts
Persian Walnut
Nut Pine
Almond, Oak, Edible Landscape

Overview - Nut Trees and Growing Them

  1. The Society of Ontario Nut Growers (SONG) publishes this book as a guide to people interested in establishing nut tree plantings in fluctuating temperate climates. Many people believe that the Great Lakes Region is at the fringe of nut tree profitability, if not survival. However, since the formation of SONG on October 14, 1972, productive nut trees (North American natives as well as European and Asian introductions) have been reported growing from Edmonton through Montreal. Hardiness is led by hazels, butternuts, black walnuts and heartnut hybrids, but there is a scattering of heartnuts, chestnut hybrids and even Persian walnuts (hardy English). Establishment of the imports followed many failures. Thereafter hybrids occurred naturally. Many hybrids have the hardiness of native nuts and the kernel quality of the imports.
  2. To grow northern nut trees successfully, the rules about nature and nurture have to be followed. The nature rule says that hardy, productive and satisfying selected trees are genetic selections. Besides having production and quality in their genes, they have the ability to overcome climate, soil and competition. The main difference between natives and imports is that the natives are not easily pushed into growth, or quickly recover, from quirks in our weather. The nurture rule says that it is cultural care, starting with choice of site, which allows the full potential of nut trees to thrive. Don't pay attention to these rules and your expectations are more suited to the lottery. Which rule is more important? Without proper cultural care the finest tree will not grow.
    1. Many people plant a tree as though it was a spear. Stick the right end in the ground and like magic, it grows. Not so. We must visualize the conditions which permit a tree to grow. Temperature rise bubbles carbon dioxide from sap, pressurizing it. The sap can be expelled through wounds, or drive the rapid flush of new growth. At night the sap cools, carbon dioxide goes back into solution, and the vacuum created draws more sap from the roots. Trees which are only stuck in the ground, whose roots function poorly, risk a net water loss and drying.
      It may be that only pine trees are made for spring transplanting. Their leaves are permanent. Leaves which function and send food, stimulate root growth. Pine needles close their pores to prevent water loss. Pine roots are spread, and easily heal in the sun warmed upper soil. Spring planted nut trees can match pines if their roots are also spread in the sun warmed upper soil. These begin recovery in spring, though full recovery takes a year or two. Nut trees have mainly deep roots. Thus, their roots heal in summer. Their recovery usually takes two years (three for hickory and pecan).
    2. Granular fertilizer can be used incorrectly. It burns any plant tissue it contacts. That is why transplant fertilizer is coated (14-14-14 Osmocote). Even so, the tree roots should grow to it, not mix with it. This requires an extra large planting hole, or sticking "sticks" of fertilizer deep into the sides of holes which adequately hold a root system.
    3. Deep rooted trees gain root recovery most quickly, if transplanted in fall. The conditions which make this possible are: warm soil for callusing and root growth, moist soil so some root functioning feeds leaves, and some leaf functioning to feed roots and stimulate their growth. Root growth parallels leaf functioning. (A difficulty arises with white oak. Any tree which hangs onto leaves until spring will require more water from its roots than they can supply in their reduced condition.) Deep roots grow during summer and fall. That is why spring transplanting relies on uninjured root systems with many surface-feeding roots.
    4. Persimmon is a test tree for the expert at transplanting. Planted as a spear, persimmon drops its leaves upon being water stressed. No leaves, no root recovery. Leaves push out again, but the above ground portion of the tree is too weak to survive winter. The several ways around these difficulties are: water persimmon transplants with warm water whenever the soil dries, fall transplant with trees at peak health. Decapitate the root system to let it regrow from sun warmed roots which are planted horizontal. (This third case is not for grafted persimmons.) Transplant into a greenhouse (tree shelter).
    5. Tree roots need oxygenated water. Oxygenated water is usually on the move from where it fell as rain, to streams, and out to sea. Tree roots intercept it and use it to move minerals and food stuffs. Tree roots will not grow in stagnant, oxygen deprived water because oxygen is as essential to their cell functions as to ours, though they need less oxygen. Chestnut trees drive roots to flowing ground water. Pecan trees along the great rivers pump water made oxygen rich by swirling. How do we get oxygen to tree roots? By making sure rain water flows through the soil. Dish the soil surface so that moderate rains do not run on the ground surface into streams. Use organic mulch to open a tight soil by attracting worms, and their burrowing. Install drain tile to lower the water table and increase the drawdown of heavy rains. Each time a saturating rain draws down through the soil it pulls in air, oxygenating the soil. Hickory trees grow in tight soil where the spring water table is high. Speculation is that hickory, with its rapid flush of growth in spring, pumps out a bowl of aerated soil. Carbon dioxide pressure causes the quick flush of foliage, which takes over to draw water into the drying air.
    6. Saturation of the soil surface is a concern where crown rot fungus swims from host to host. Apple trees are the main victims though chestnut and tree hazel fall victim. Varieties will have to be matched to site. Some are resistant, some susceptible.
    7. Many chestnuts and all (so far) Persians have new growth snarled by heavy attacks of leaf hoppers. These tiny greenish insects are usually hiding in foliage and tall grass from late June through August. Disturb them and they fly like tiny grasshoppers. They slit succulent growth and suck fluids. Injury looks like drought curl and shrinkage. Organic gardeners can grow in town where large solid objects (sheds and houses) scare leafhoppers away. Small orchard trees have to be sprayed. Attacked trees grow too late into fall, and lose terminals even though the winter is mild, and spring is gradual.
  3. The true nature of a nut tree shows through if it is given adequate culture. Differences in the genetic code produce wide differences in growth. We see wide variation in a row of Persian walnut seedlings. The runts remove themselves. Given a good seed source, only 10% look thrifty and in step with our climate. Persians which remain succulent and growing too late, lack hardiness. Those which leaf early, freeze crack, and bud injure.
    1. Hardiness is being concentrated in Persian walnut seedlings by growing out successive generations. During the 1930's Rev. Paul C. Crath introduced many Carpathian strain Persian walnuts which he collected during his mission work in Poland. Our widely fluctuating climate produces much winter injury in Carpathians although the extreme cold of the Carpathian Mountains is seldom reached. These seedlings continue to grow, but become shrub-like. Freezing back causes this shrubbiness, though knowing the problem should cause prompt removal. A bit more hardiness am we have a class of Persian which makes a tree, but regular tip injury prevents cropping. This class has a crown which is too dense and bushy. Dead twigs and walnut blight abound. A few of the original Carpathians grew to look like nut trees. They are tall and usually have crops of fine nuts. This is the type most of us have in mind when we set out to grow English walnuts. Although test winters reduce their crops, we know that improvements can come from grafting high on black walnut, and moving to a better site. The straight, clean lines of a hardy nut tree will be maintained. Seed from original selection may be poor due to a poor pollen parent. After moving to seed orchards, improved seedlings can be expected.
    2. What if Persian walnut seedlings are to move to harsher locations than were they were raised? Experience has shown that Persians from Toronto do far better in Niagara than Persians from Pennsylvania. The same is true for chestnut, although heartnut and filbert easily make the move from anywhere to Niagara. Because Persians and chestnuts arc likely to be tender we have to demand that they look hardy. After harsh winters the seedlings must grow out from tip buds. The tip bud should be as completely formed as lower buds, except that the Persian terminals should be crowned with long, thick bracts which uncouple at the bud tip, unfolding into growth in spring. The diameter of the current year's growth (bud wood) should hardly taper or be ridged in its upper growth. The bark of the bud wood should be brown or dark grey throughout its length. Green bark is associate with growth late in the season, not an adapted tree. Persians, which grow moderately and maintain stout wood at their terminals, are in tune with our season. However, this is not the growth pattern of Carpathians, which are more willowy.
    3. Tip dieback is common among Persians walnuts, Japanese chestnuts, Chinese chestnuts, paw paws, mulberries, and pecans. It is flagged by leaf petioles which stick on at tip buds through winter, or burst free at killing frost with noticeable injury and bleeding at leaf scars. Often, when these trees grow large, they are thick with dead twigs. Few bear except from side buds.
    4. Until nut cropping on seedlings is demonstrated, final selection is not possible. In Persians the gamble is reduced because so many have fine nuts. Check bearing at six years old (8 cm diameter trunk). Female flowers should be observed in late May through early June. Young walnuts do not have pollen the first years of female bloom, so pollen must be brought in. Nut clusters of two and three should be common, and hang on until mature. In late summer the nut quality is inspected. Nuts should be self hulling weeks ahead of typical hard freeze. Way before harvest the terminal buds should be sealed with grey bracts to endure frost. Only dormant terminals survive, and they contain next season's female flowers. Leaves remain functioning (way past nut drop) unless knocked off by early frost, and drop in October when the abscission layer forms at the leaf scars. As long as leaves function they replenish sugar and wick moisture from the soil. Leaves may colour yellow, starches changing to sugars, but dropping early in a normal season indicates that the tree is adapted to a shorter growing season.
    5. Persian walnuts are examined here because their hardiness is visible and varies widely. All species contain individuals for moving north or south. Nature provides these seedlings and the grower must intelligently move the seedling around, into production, and into variety status.
    6. Although fully ripe, many nut species hold onto their crops until released by light frost, heavy dew, or rain. One must be observant to get these nuts before squirrels or crows do. The wind often needs to assist in bring nuts down.
    7. Bud tips are sheathed in small leaves resembling bracts in walnuts, hicans and pecans. Hickories, chestnuts and hazels (or filberts) sheath all their buds in scales, including their tip bud. Pecan is unusual because it forms a sock over side buds. Several of the northern pecans pop off the tips of these socks before winter begins. Individuals in most species partially open buds before winter, reason unknown. Butternuts and heartnuts break bud early, growing the bracts on their tip buds into leaves. The first green bracts seldom survive the last spring frost without injury. The flowers at the centre of these buds are seldom injured. The trade off is that early growth is sacrificed for latent heat which helps protect the flower that is only partially exposed. We wish Persians had this characteristic.
  4. Heartnut has the best shell structure for easy cracking. Given a good selection, pressure on the sides of the heart will release the shell into two halves. The kernel will dump free. Persians and filberts are nuts for cracking indoors. They have thin shells. The northern pecans which we have ripened are often too small to crack in the typical mixed-nut (lobster claw) cracker. We expect to get the size up. Once the quality of northern pecan is known, people will want the percussive crackers suited to pecan.
  5. Dry, cool storage is needed to hold the quality in oil rich nuts. Oil nuts contain antioxidants which prevent their oils from oxidizing while they are drying and curing. However, chestnuts are very good eaten fresh and raw. They can be taken into a semi-heated room a few days before eating to lose moisture until the hull dimples and the kernel becomes spongy. Then finger pressure will pop off the hull and pellicle. Nut pines, black walnut, and butternut arc not easy to hull, crack and extract. Emma K black walnut, etc and several butternut X heartnut hybrids are well worth the effort. Tree hazels stick in their husks, sticking them out of our reach but still available to animals. Yet, the unbeatable quality of tree hazel hybrid kernels encourages us to harvest them and improve their self-hulling.
  6. "What nut varieties do you recommend for our area?" This question is often asked by nut enthusiasts from remote regions. Soil, pH, minimum temperature, warmth of the growing season, and length of the growing season point toward the proper species and variety. Sometimes we know of a semi-local grower to be contacted. What works for him is the first to try. After local sources are exhausted we need hints about local cropping. If the only local fruit is Saskatoon serviceberry, the likely nut is Gellatly's Peace River hazel hybrids. Korean or Siberian stone pines might be substituted where low bush blueberries are the only local fruit. Dropping down to apple and pear regions, the hybrids of filbert, heartnut and chestnut should be the first to try. Depending on their success, heartnut and black walnut varieties are next to try. Finally, try Persian. Tender fruit (peach) growing areas can grow selections of most species, including almond.
  7. Introducing new crops takes effort. SONG has gained some public funding to establish trials. We expect hard won successes. We don't expect to test the limits of nut growing.
    1. The demand for good nut material is constantly increasing, buoyed by each successful crop. Although nurseries have to satisfy the demand for nut material, SONG's role is to transmit information on all aspects of nut growing: culture, selection(s), source, range, demonstration, research, use, etc. If it aids nut growing SONG should be involved.
    2. SONG has three meetings each year. The spring meeting has planted nut trees at conservation areas, or auctioned trees, seed and grafting material. The summer meeting, usually on the last Saturday of July, votes on officers and projects. Grower discussions follow the business, and a tour of a nut planting closes the meeting. The fall meeting has planted nut seed, or toured nut orchards to get a look at crops. We could be accused of tempting people with nuts. We should be credited with exhibiting the finest nuts in Ontario.
    3. SONG has two objectives:
      1. We must grow and show super nuts.
      2. We are to promote good nut growing.
    4. Because SONG is a club it needs exciting projects to keep up interest. With the basics in hand, we point to territory which needs exploring.

Basics of Nut Growing

  1. The Society of Ontario Nut Growers (SONG) is publishing this book as a guide for growers interested in planting and harvesting nuts in our climate which is unpredictable though we call it temperate.
  2. Two principles govern growing; what you grow, and how you grow it. Our nut trees must be genetically programmed to bear despite fluctuating weather and marginal soil. Secondly, we must maximize conditions which ripen nuts early, and ready the tree for the next crop. We continue to find productive and disease resistant trees which have crackable, tasty nuts. Nitty-gritty growing is testing new selections, and discarding varieties whose faults we no longer need to suffer.
    1. Our climate is quirky. Few imports endure its rapid changes (the Alberta Express). Those which do best come from harsh latitudes and elevations in mid continent. Imports, known to withstand deep cold, fail here due to our January and February thaws. They break dormancy and easily flush growth (as is displayed when indoor-fall-grafting Persians). Hybrids are selected which combine old continent cracking and size with native sweetness and hardiness. We must thank persistent breeders like Corsan, Gellatly and Weschcke who bred, tested and distributed better-adapted nuts. (Persian walnut has crossed to display quality nuts only within its own species.)
    2. What do we grow? Hardy, productive trees with dessert quality nuts. Buds are completely formed and sealed by September. Stems are thick with relatively little pith. Trunks take sunny, snow intensified, March days and arctic nights without cracking. The sheath of wood which forms under the cambium fully wraps trunk wood into limb wood. Winter sun, then freezing, does not wound bark low on the trunk, or in crotches of large limbs. The bark is thick and checkers with cork soon after its first season. Insects and disease pests do not slow growth. Buds do not move in March, or too early in April. When buds move they form large undistorted leaves quickly. Side buds are large, usually on a projected stalk, and carry flower buds. Leaves are large, dark green, thick and glossy. Pollen forms each year, but most sexual energy goes into nutlets. Nutlets form throughout the tree with a cluster of sunlit leaves nearby for feeding. Kernels form early. Nuts ripen (cure, flavour and come down, though not necessarily in that order) near mid September. The tree recovers for next year's crop from mid September to mid October. In September new growth is light brown and dormant. If second growth is caught by freezing in September, injury is held to the succulent tip wood. The central leader flows to the top of the tree without competitors (exceptions are the fan stemmed filbert, and the flat growing heartnut). Side branches should not become vertical, but tend upward for strength, and outward for light gathering and food storage. Roots should not sucker, wander on the ground, or go far from the tree. Side roots must hold quantities of mycorrhizal fungi (which display like needles on fir trees). These mycorrhizal hyphae vastly extend the roots, break down soil, extract minerals, and enter them into the roots.
    3. Whatever a tree needs, it must be furnished, or the tree must quickly grow to it. Sunlight, warmth, aerated water, fertile soil, and growth controlling minerals must all be sufficient.
  3. Nuts are large edible seeds which would propagate trees. They start life as an unusual tip of stem and leaf set. After bonding sexually to form an embryo the leaf set takes in food. The nutlet, part of the leaf set, does not repay by growing chloroplast and functioning as leaves (likely due to no light entering hulls), but absorbs and stores all the food sent to it. Planted nuts break down the food to grow out the embryo. Beechnuts, white oak acorns and many southern nuts start growth in the fall. With warm moist conditions a root (radical) emerges and turns down into the soil. Stem growth waits for spring. Northern nuts usually cure in fall, and germinate under warm moist conditions in spring. Moist curing, then drying, builds the most flavour. Moist curing with good aeration, stratifies a nut as when a squirrel noses a nut just barely into the ground.
    This is sufficient for spring germination. Nuts which are about to germinate are bitter. We assume their oils are breaking down to acids to spur root growth. After the root descends about 15 cm a shoot arises where the nut attaches, and ascends. Mycorrhiza grow on the nutshell and inoculate the radical as it emerges. Other mycorrhiza grow into the root from the soil as the root extends. Healthy seedlings will have a heavy display of fungi by the end of summer. That first fall the best seedlings cannot be chosen because buds set later than normal. Nor can characteristics of this individual be identified because most growth was produced by the food sack, not new roots and leaves. The nurseryman's hardiness check waits for the start of the fourth growing season when die back can be seen on second and third year growth. Selections can be made in the third growing season on the basis of second year die back, leaf size and gloss, growth rate, and bud set. At the beginning of the fourth season selections have to be set 1.5 m apart. Closer spacing inhibits fruiting. The struggle to dominate suppresses the flowering in otherwise fruitful trees. After spacing; fruiting, limb structure, and hardiness toward-a-"test"-winter can be checked.
    1. Transplant as nature plants. Insure root growth before leaf growth. The tree we see above ground is roughly half the plant. Luckily, trees survive transplanting if a third of their root system remains healthy. Scoop out the root system cutting roots 1 cm diameter and smaller. Shade the roots and keep them moist. Dipping roots in a clayey slurry is protective, but washing, drying, and exposing to the sun is injurious. Rapid freezing or rapid thawing is harmful and any freezing should be avoided. Keep roots moist and active with moist soil or moist paper, in turn wrapped in plastic film. Letting oxygen in without letting water out is tricky. Early planting rather than repackaging is more efficient, where possible. Heeling-in under sun warmed top soil can be beneficial until buds start to move. Speedy replanting usually saves roots.
    2. Granular fertilizer is a harsh chemical which will burn plant tissue. Transplant fertilizer is coated (14-14-14 Osmocote) to minimize contact. Roots should be led out, seeking the fertilizer, rather than entangling it. Watering must be generous to use fertilizer in early summer. Side-dressing with handful amounts of 10-10-10 sprinkled over grass and weeds to "hoe" them, and keep the tree roots reaching, is a good practice through July during a season of adequate rain.
    3. Like nut planting, fall is the best season to "professionally" transplant nut trees, if strong growth is to proceed uninterrupted in a larger tree. After mid September bag the foliage in plastic film, white or painted white. Leaves may also be clipped to diminish transpiration. Transplant early because, while leaves are on, they force root growth. Plant by early October because relatively warm soil, above 10C, speeds root healing.
      Dig the planting hole larger than necessary. Discard weed roots and grass clumps. Break up the soil so it will filter in among the tree roots. Plant the tree with its crown a few centimetres below the original ground surface. Water the tree as it is planted to soften and help compact the soil. As the hole is topped up, water to wash soil completely around the roots . The critical item in fall transplanting (less important than preventing leaves from transpiring, more important than soaking the root system) is to hill soil 15 cm above the root crown. Settlement of soil must not expose the root crown or the root crown will transpire (vent moisture) and kill the higher-up portion of the tree. With settlement a pocket often forms under the snow where mice nest, feasting on "nutty" tree roots. Planting a tree in the fall joins the rhythm of nature, rather than disrupting it.
    4. Spring is the time for most transplanting because nature provides cold storage while trees are dug, shipped, stored, replanted and resprouted. Fundamentally, some leaves must grow out before roots grow and reestablish. Actually, roots in the sun warmed upper soil become functional while leaves grow slowly. Small trees with many side roots do well when spring transplanted. Pines, filbert, heartnut and chestnut transplant easily in spring. Hickory, pecan and many walnuts will transplant in spring and suffer. You can read it in their roots Horizontal root systems spring transplant while vertical root systems fall transplant. To ease recovery, dig and plant uninjured root systems. Roots within 5 cm of the ground surface recover quickly and carry the tree through the first season. Any root exposed at the root crown increases desiccation often killing the top. Because root crown and roots should be in the sun warmed (but moist) region of the soil, a ground covering film is best employed to heat the soil and conserve moisture. Clear plastic (with weed killer) works better than dark firm because soil heats directly and more deeply. Hoe the patch of ground 1 m around the transplant to keep grass, weeds, and their travelling roots away from the transplant. Grass roots interfere with tree roots by releasing carbon dioxide. Tree roots need oxygen.
    5. Container growing nut trees is beneficial because trees retain functioning roots. Special precaution must be taken against roots coiling. Paint inside the pot with copper carbonate in latex paint (100 g/l), use open bottom pots (soil/above screen/above air), or bag in plastic duct. (Sausage-tie the bottom to trap roots in the folds.) The containered trees should be held in a lath house for the summer months and planted out in early fall or the next spring. The air break between ground and pot which is so beneficial during summer must not exist during winter, or the pot will freeze, killing roots and drying trees.
      1. Establishing trees in containers is elegant horticulture. The spring dug trees are set in deep pots with potting soil and moved into a lath house. Lath houses and newly potted trees go hand in hand. Until the trees recover they need moderated conditions. The tree roots are raised off the ground where they are warmed by the sun in semi still air. Watering is provided daily, if necessary, but usually less regularly due to moderated light, wind and humidity. Small trees, which stall growth if planted in the open, usually double their size if held in a lath house over summer.
      2. Root systems should always be pushed out the bottoms of containers, not pulled out by the stem. This is to keep the soil compressed against the roots. Whether pots are stacked milk cartons, coffee cans (plastic lid "bottoms" are hole punched), roll roofing, plastic duct, or plastic pipe, the root ball is pushed through the bottom.
    6. Herbicides are very important to the tree grower. Herbicides reduce weed competition with a minimum of hand labour. A positive feature of nuts is that they may be grown without chemicals. (Better still, they need not be a processed food.) However, a combination of hand weeding and herbicides establishes the trees most easily. Consider chemicals like the following and apply according to instructions on the label.
      1. Roundup (glyphosate) is a contact systemic grass and broadleaf plant killer. Wet weeds when green and rapidly growing. Do not contact the bark of young trees, especially when using a detergent as wetting agent. Spot treating of planting sites a few days before transplanting kills most weeds (which would regenerate from chopped roots) with no chemical carryover to the transplants. Roundup will absorb in a few hours if drying conditions are good, and allow spot treatment in the morning and digging in the afternoon.
      2. Premerge 3 (or Dinitro 3) (dinoseb) was a chemical hoe which burned any living tissue on contact before being neutralized. Contacted areas stained yellow (characteristic of nitric acid, which might substitute) and flag misuse. Small seeds, roots and animals in the top few centimetres of soil were also burnt. Nut seedbeds could be thinly (1 cm) mulched with sawdust litter and treated several times before nut germination to kill weed seeds and seedlings, and help decompose sawdust. Desuckering of filberts and grafting stock was possible with care and repetition. (Now, desucking of filbert is possible with 2,4-D, but not on walnut, pawpaw, etc.)
      3. Gramoxone (paraquat) is a potent chemical hoe. It is a slow poison toward animals. Misuse is initially hard to detect. (Similar plant poisoning is described among the effects of ionizing a nickel meteor).
      4. Princep 80W (simazine) is a pre-emergent grass and broadleaf killer taken up by roots to interfere with photosynthesis. Simazine will wash along the ground surface and concentrate in low areas. It seldom penetrates more than 5 cm into undisturbed topsoil. Most nut trees tolerate simazine. Exceptions are small filberts, small chestnuts and almonds, all on inorganic soil (sand). Solicam (norflurazon) is similar, though faster acting, and can act like a hoe when sprayed on any foliage.
      5. Treflan 4EC (trifluralin) is a pre-emergent grass and broadleaf (not ragweed) killer. It often injures starch nuts which are germinating or are about to (beech, oak, chestnut, "corn").
      6. Banvel + 2,4-D amine (dicamba + 2,4-D) is a systemic mix used as a directed spray on tough perennial broadleaves like thistle, dogbane, morning glory, milkweed, bushes and trees.
      7. Enide 50W (diphenamid) is a pre-emergent grass and semi- broadleaf killer for nut seedbeds.
      8. Fusilade (flurazifop-butyl) is a systemic grass killer used in seedbeds and nurseries heavily overgrown with grass.
      9. Goal (oxyfluorfen) is a pre-emergent grass and broadleaf killer which will hoe small weeks. It forms a growth barrier in the top of dust mulch until cultivation or weathering destroy it.
    7. Given warm wet weather during the growing season, a nut grower with seedbeds or small seedlings can spend much time weeding. If chemicals can be afforded, and equal those listed, weeding will be much more effective. Over-the-top herbicides are applied on weeds and trees without harming the trees. Simazine, Enide and Fusilade are often sprayed over the top. Treflan needs little drift control but should be watered or worked into the soil. The others listed act like hoes which should only drift on the trunks of trees if the label allows.
    8. A valuable investment for a nut grower with about ten acres of small trees is a backpack sprayer. 20 litres of spray can be put out each day in an hour from April through November. Spraying herbicide can start the season, or be a final job in fall. Spraying diluted latex paint can end the season in spraying the southwest sides of transplants or grafts, protecting against winter sun and freeze injury. A reasonable budget is $5 per day ($400 per season without labour) to release 10 acres.
    9. Tree shelters, tree growth tubes, are designed to put a small greenhouse around a knee high tree. These translucent plastic tubes help block wind, moisture loss, and molestation. The foliage and shoots grow rapidly but the roots and trunk cannot keep pace.
      Thus, the tube has to remain in a tree guard position for years to hold the spindly tree upright. Give tree shelters credit for greatly increasing tree survival. We don't monitor tree roots well, thus need this help in getting trees growing on weak roots. The cost is about $4 per tree for five years of protection (two years as a topless greenhouse and three more years a tree guard). Not much water is lost from the tube's open top because most condenses on its walls and runs back down to the soil.
      1. Because survival rate is high and rapid growth is so observable, tube shelters should start a revolution in hardwood tree growing. The valuable tree will be propagated much smaller as a stool, rooted cutting, or small grafted tree. People will be able to house these in tube shelters assured that in two years they will have a larger tree than the largest tree which could be mailed. Smaller will be better due to the start the leaves and shoot get inside the tree shelter.
      2. As in a greenhouse, trees in a shelter attain a pale green colour until the growth slows as leaves exit the top. Thus, it is appropriate and convenient to raise the height in stages. Conservationists usually provide a six foot stake driven a foot into the ground. As leaves exit the first tube, a second tube is stacked to protect from deer.
  4. Insecticides are necessary in the nut grove. Homeowners should investigate less toxic insecticides like Imidan and pyrethrum, even in bait form. They will be targeted against leafhoppers, husk maggot flies and curculios. Passing insects are unaffected. Curculios cause weevils which infest chestnuts and hickory nuts south of the Great Lakes. They might be baited. Like predator nematodes which are marketed to attack the larvae in the soil, human safety often translates to predator safety (poor results). Some broad spectrum insecticides to read about are: Phosphamadon 8 for walnut husk maggot once it is in the hull, Thiodan and Lorsban for moths which infect tree wounds with borers, Diazinon against aphids.
  5. Plant pathogenic fungi and bacteria also infect our groves. Work is being done on chestnut blight fungus, eastern filbert blight fungus, walnut blight bacterium, ice nucleating bacteria, and others. We hope to control these by selecting resistant trees, or populating the grove with weak races of these pests.
    1. Integrated pest management relies on targeting a pest for killing while preserving the natural (predator+) balance. It works very well where the pests are kept a small part of the population. Allow beneficial (predator + "saprophyte") insects to multiply by organic mulching (insect houses and feeders), multi-cropping (includes letting strips of hay stand as pest fodder between orchard mowings), growing pest resistant trees, and growing predator adapted plants.
      The bottom line is maintenance of tree health and accepting a small proportion of damaged nuts. Damaged nuts must be screened out. Dud, diseased and weevil damaged nuts occur and nuts endure the handling needed to remove them.
  6. Granular fertilizer is necessary. Without knowing soil and tissue analysis, one can only budget 500 kg of 10-10-10 fertilizer, knowing we have to maintain a fast growing stand, and later, replace minerals taken off in crops. Granular fertilizer should extend out from the drip line of the tree to keep roots extending. It can be used as a chemical hoe on wet grass and weeds. Our glacial and lake deposit soils are usually deficient in nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, selenium and boron. Nitrogen usually produces the greatest return, and phosphorus is the most difficult to direct to tree roots where it is needed. Zinc and potassium are processing agents, dormancy pills. Calcium is the regulator within the tree, directing the performance. Manganese and iron produce healthy colour chlorophyll.
    1. However, do not think that acidic chemical fertilizer will substitute for a deep, biologically active soil. Trees may suck up chemicals better than vegetables given enough time, but they don't feed directly, like vegetables. Their roots are condominiums of bacteria and fungi which convert the soil itself into soluble plant food and bring it into the roots. Destroy a biologically active soil and you destroy the way a tree grows, probably the tree.
  7. Choosing the site for a nut grove is like choosing a site for fruit or other large productive trees. The soil must be rich and deep or the trees grow poorly, or size only while juvenile. Nuts want land which grows large trees.
    1. Examine hill country fruit farms. They are deep soils, sited above surrounding land. Higher sites drain cool air off at night which is replaced with lighter warm air. Air drainage allows fewer frosts, faster nut filling, and quicker tree recovery for the next crop due to a warmer, longer season. The valleys, and clearings below, are frost pockets in which the relatively heavy cool air collects. In late summer when nuts are trying to fill, a valley tree can be two weeks behind a hill tree in ripening, and remain poorly filled. The narrower the valley, the higher the cool air puddles.
    2. Soil drainage is very important. Trees need air (oxygen from the air) and water at their roots. Water may saturate the soil during winter when the roots are inactive and the water retains dissolved oxygen. Standing water during summer is quickly depleted of oxygen and roots are killed. Secondly, slow draining soils are cold and reduce root growth early in the season. We try to find soil conditions where water drains deeply to move air deep into the soil.
      After flooding, water should reach 1.5 m below ground in 48 hours, and continue down. We get a picture of internal drainage by digging test holes at the orchard site. Digging a 2 m hole indicates how roots will penetrate the soil. We watch for collected water, tree roots, calcium carbonate deposits, iron staining, hardpan or rock. A good soil exists if holes were comfortably dug by hand, and water, calcium carbonate and iron deposits were near the bottoms. Blue soil, indicating a lack of oxygen, should also be near the bottoms. Topsoil should be 15 cm or more thick and dark with organic matter. Absent or light coloured topsoil may indicate that the soil is too rapid draining and the organic matter has burnt off. Such soil will need careful fertilizing, cover cropping and irrigating. Tree or weed roots should penetrate to the bottoms.
    3. Percolation should balance between a droughty soil where soil moisture drains too quickly and wet soil which needs improved internal drainage. Droughty soils might be treated with lime, superphosphate and green manure crops before planting. (Candidate trees are chestnuts and hazels.) Grow alfalfa hay in the row middles after liming them. Organic mulch and hay from the row middles could be used around (not against) the trees to add organic matter to the soil. The soil grains need to be coated with matter to hold water and minerals.
    4. Drain tile (corrugated plastic pipe which is slit with holes to intercept water, and covered with a nylon sock to keep soil particles in place) is trenched into wet soil to drain the subsoil and aerate the soil above. Drain tile increases the biologically active zone in the soil. Water percolates to warm the soil in spring, rather than evaporating, which cools the soil throughout the year. A much larger zone of mixed air and water provides a reservoir of water and minerals useful to tree roots.
    5. Clay will hold much water, but without an active biology, it is difficult to get clay wet, or to release. The better orchard soils are granular with enough clay to coat grains, but not fill the voids. Water can percolate, but a large volume is held in the voids. Such a soil may be damaged by compaction which closes voids, but is reestablished by using subsoil busting ploughs, deep rooted cover crops, and a healthy earthworm populations.
    6. Lake plain orchards are easier to establish than hill country orchards but land is more expensive to buy. At less than a kilometre from the lake, the lake stirs the air and produces warm nights in late summer and fall. The level fields allow rain to penetrate before running off. Drain tile produces the large air water zone in the soil. Drain tile is most efficient where land stands 2+m above water in the municipal drains.
    7. The chemistry and thickness of the soil is reflected in the species of native trees it supports. Deep granular semi-acid soil supports white pine, red oak, native chestnut, aspen. Clayey acid shallow soil supports beech, pin oak, hawthorn. Clayey about neutral shallow soil supports maple, elm, ash. Deep neutral limestone soils support hickory, white oak, walnut, mulberry. Surface soil is usually acid due to organic matter breaking down into acids. Subsoil is acid if broken down from granite or acid mudstone. Subsoil is basic if broken down from limestone. Where nuts lodge, and grow, they grow roots to their favoured soil, and try to convert other contacted soil to that pH. We are safest in growing nuts in topsoil that is slightly acid (pH 6) above subsoil that is slightly basic (pH 7+). Most nuts contain calcium and extract it from limestone subsoil.
  8. Trees are water engines. They rev up in summer, transpiring more than 3 cm of water per week. Where irrigation is installed 5 cm of water is usually budgeted. Rain and attention to water tension in the soil reduce the budget for irrigation. If trees are water stressed when nut shells are sizing, we have small nuts. Often these small nuts are so tightly filled that cracking damages the kernels. Chestnuts often split their hulls when rain returns. If water stress comes when kernels should be filling, the shell continues to thicken with delay of filling. If water stress comes just before ripening, the kernels are shrivelled and nuts refuse to drop. A tree which fails to replenish its water reserves before winter could succumb to desiccation. Flower buds initiate in the prior summer, if that was not a stress period.
  9. Tree spacing is based on light interception. A fruitful tree must be in full sun through the mid portion of the day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Go into a fruitful orchard and check out a few simple rules. Tree canopies should shade 50% of the ground at noon. Trees should be as high as rows are apart. The tree butt area is 30 sq.ft. per acre, 1 to 1500. We impose another rule where sunlight has to heat the orchard floor. We remove trees to maintain shade on the orchard floor between 70% to 50%. This ratio will be tempered by how well nuts crop and fill.
  10. What nut trees are economic? We can not directly answer this question. Nuts are imported and sold at very interesting prices. Listening to southern pecan, almond, walnut and filbert growers, the payback for crops has been great enough to increase acres planted. Recently, supplies have increased above demand. Nut kernels are treated as condiments rather than as basic food. At $10 per kg for kernels, versus $1 per kg for rice, only enough kernels will be sprinkled on rice to appeal. We will have to keep costs down and bring along customers as our production increases.
    The many strange creations in our nut groves have to be sampled, harvested and used. Visitors must be educated to tell their friends about local nuts and beautiful orchards. The planting pattern and horticultural mix must match efficient culture and harvesting. The outlook would be bright if we were paid to develop a research station, horticultural park, and nut orchard. However, pay will be related to the market price of nuts. While we are researching varieties, growers in more sunny climates are efficiently monocropping.
    1. Chestnut, filbert and walnut blights link with winter injury to cause crop loss. Local amateur growers endure this damage. Orchards need varieties with twenty years of bearing ahead. Bearing has to be maximized, or short term economics fail. ("Short term nut economics?"; last twenty years and you're a millionaire, last twenty years and you likely started with a million.)
    2. Grow filberts. People know these round kernel nuts. Apple orchards on M.26 give similar cultural techniques (3 m x 4 m spacing) and economics. European filberts (not recommended due to unhardy bloom and susceptibility to eastern filbert blight) are typically larger bushes than apples on M.26 while hybrid filberts (not tree filberts) are typically smaller. Growers must keep ahead with pruning and desuckering to display fruiting stems to the sun. Several 10 year old hybrid seedlings yield 10 kg whole nuts regularly (2500 kg per acre).
    3. Grow chestnuts. Chestnuts are grafted on sibling rootstocks. Culture is similar to apple on MM.106 rootstock (6 m x 9 m spacing). Pruning and thinning must size trees to grow extensive root systems. Minimum growth allowed while bearing is 25 cm on terminals. Without watering to produce this minimum growth chestnuts shrink to unmarketable size. Hybrid selections with some European parentage produce nuts with smooth sweet kernels as large as European. Tree trunks, especially young grafts, need painting against winter sun and freezing. Many 20 year old trees yield 30 kg yearly (2000 kg per acre).
    4. Grow heartnuts. Heartnuts are dessert quality nuts which can be cracked and stored with black walnuts to acquire the taste of a mild black walnut, or simply stored a long time to taste like Brazil nuts. When first dry they are very mild and are best used in cooking. They have year long shelf life, far longer than Persians and pecans. Hand cracking heartnuts is fastest of all nuts and without mess. Plier pressure on the edge separates the shell halves and the kernel dumps. Spacing would be 6 m x 9 m like chestnut, but not mixed with chestnut. Chestnut tree shape is a cone like pine tree. Heartnut is flat like an umbrella (grape culture). Heartnuts would about touch before thinning starts.
      Heartnuts are terminal bearers which their tree shape, branch strength, leaf density and cluster- bearing complements. Many short terminals must appear before high production is possible. Many 20 year old heartnuts produce 15 kg yearly (1000 kg per acre).
    5. Plant other nuts as selections evolve. Rootstocks of black walnut or northern pecan should be set out to start Persian walnut or pecan-hican, respectively, when they are proven. Persian walnut is now limited to commercial sour cherry regions. A few pecans and hicans are surfacing. The Campbell CES 24 shellbark is praised by hickory enthusiasts. Mitchell hybrid heartnut is performing in very difficult regions.
    6. The economics of nut growing must be considered. Interesting prices may bring you to nut growing, but the long wait for nut production will kill you at the bank. In 1985 whole nuts were selling near $4.50 per kg ($2.25 to the grower). Picking up, curing, drying and storage is nearly $.75 per kg. $1.50 per kg has to pay land use, establishment, maintenance, and profit. The quickest nut to reach production has the best chance of being economic. Filbert bushes start being productive in five years, and can be fully productive in ten. Drain tile and, perhaps, irrigation could be put off until the bushes are large. Reasonable production is totalling: $0 in 5 years, $6000 in 13 years (8 x 500 x $1.50), $9000 in 15 years (+2 x 1000 x $1.50). $9000 per acre at the end of 15 years should pay off tree planting and maintenance, though not the use of expensive land.
    7. During the early years of a nut orchard several intercrops should be considered though return is not at the monocrop level. The intercrop would be removed as the nut crop came along. Vegetables (like sweet corn), hay, strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, and nursery stock are examples. They cannot grow near trees. Soil compaction, root shearing and tree scuffing will occur. Birds are attracted to trees, then to berries. Hay fits nicely and is useful in row middles. Before planting talk hay with neighbours for the mix needed, and equipment use. Horse trade.
  11. Squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, blue jays and crows put pressure on crops and grower. Bangers (with and without lead), stove pipe shields, traps and netting get service in the nut grove. Standard practice is to put filberts on posts and watch for mem to disappear. When they disappear quickly, it is time to set a rat trap (loop wires above the post to repel raptors). When jays take nuts they perch and crack on the low limb of a nearby tree. Shell litter locates the cracking perch and shows where to locate a trap. Planting beds are also raided. A quickly killed cover crop of oats hinders the birds. Filbert and Persian walnut groves need to be hunted at daybreak. A little gore plus propane bangers gets the message across. Squirrels jump (fly) long distances. Trees in the open are protected with stove pipe collars tacked partway up the trunk.
  12. This is written with respect for the adage that knowledge is half the battle. Yet, growers know that pessimism is optimism plus experience. We promote selections and procedures. Given growing seasons of experience, we promote better selections and procedures.
    1. Do you remember SONG's foremost goals; that we promote good nuts and teach techniques for producing quality nuts? To do both we need to carry out projects which rouse interest. Showing super nuts gets a little interest. Explaining how to grow good nuts gets interest. It is very important to generate this interest outside our club or we cannot sustain nut projects which need to be done. It is no comfort that the rest of the world is cutting down their forests without knowing their contents. The same happens here.
    2. In the early 1980's timber walnuts were surveyed throughout Southern Ontario by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Many selections were gathered and grafted at the forestry station in Maple. This is not an on going project. Being busy with one thing and another, we never got these walnuts planted on public land where they would make a forestry demonstration. Walnut timber demonstrations are high profile and a planting of these, perhaps best- of-form local selections, deserved a demonstration.
    3. Native chestnut needs resistance genes against the bark blight. Genetic engineering is getting attention which we should direct toward chestnut. The Chinese report high quality "fish" oil concentrated in heartnut. Heartnut has exceptionally long shelf life. Nuts are a natural unprocessed food high on the goodies list of health foods. Nut shells, bran and kernels are high in antioxidants which bind with oxygen to keep oils from going rancid. These same antioxidants can pass into animal tissues where they destroy free radicals. Free radicals are waste products within cells and are implicated in the initiation of cancer.
    4. Nuts are used in cooking. Heating breaks up cell structure to make kernels "melt in the mouth" and present more taste. However, it is the oil content of nuts that is most useful in cooking. Even in storage nuts take on the odour of surroundings. Nuts stored with onions and garlic would not do well in fruit cake where they are expected to take on the flavour of fruit and spice. They might do well in Chinese cooking where they are expected to bind with ginger and saffron. In a mix of heartnut and black walnut kernels, heartnut would take on the harsher black walnut flavour while the black walnut becomes milder.
  13. We have more high profile public interest projects than we know what do with. We have to get cracking.

Black Walnut (Native Walnut)

  1. Black walnut (Juglans nigra) is Ontario's highest priced hardwood:
    1. Black walnut grows in native stands south of a line from Orillia to Peterborough and through Montreal along the St. Lawrence Valley.
    2. Isolated trees are growing in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa.
    3. Good seed from thrifty trees is often free for the gathering.
    4. Nuts can be harvested for some income while timber production is anticipated. (Sought after selections have large kernels, thin shells and mild flavour).
    5. Outdoors, under warm dry conditions, black walnuts graft readily at or above meter height (Below 1 m there is too much bleeding). Smaller stocks graft readily indoors.
    6. Grass can be harvested or pastured under black walnuts due to good light penetration and beneficial shade. Walnuts raise the pH of the soil.
    7. Real estate values can be increased by growing black walnuts trees on odd spots around a farm.
  2. Limiting factors in growing black walnut:
    1. Typically, black walnut grows on rich, well drained soil where roots can extend down at least 1.5 m.
    2. Soil has to be naturally sweet to slightly acid or liming is necessary for walnut establishment.
    3. Hulling, washing and drying black walnuts is a messy cottage operation requiring boots, gloves and protective clothing.
    4. Custom hullers and crackers do not operate in Ontario. St. Williams Provincial Nursery does buy seed nuts from service organizations.
    5. Bunch disease may be masked in black walnut, ending nut production.
    6. Care in pruning timber is necessary or bark diseases can be carried tree to tree.
  3. Germination of black walnuts requires fall planting or moist stratification through winter.
    1. Harvest walnuts from tall, healthy trees which grow in the region of the permanent planting. Crack several nuts to check filling and kernel size. Very large nuts can produce grafting stock in one season for indoor bench grafting.
    2. Hulling nuts is unnecessary unless nuts are for eating. Nuts for eating are gathered every few days, hulled, washed and dried. The first nuts to fall are often blank. If nuts are allowed to lie on the ground and get soaked, the pellicle covering the kernel will stain dark and the kernel takes on a harsher flavour. Dry nuts by spreading on newspaper in a dehumidified room for a week, or hang in wire baskets in airy, dry conditions until the kernels are palatable. Discard hulls and wash-water with care because juglone, the inky fluid in hulls and roots, is toxic to pines, strawberries, tomatoes, apples and earthworms.
    3. Black walnuts for planting can be stored or planted in the hull. Hulls improve the soil. Stored in a pile on a earth floor, kept moist, and allowed to freeze and thaw through the winter, the hulls are all that is required for stratification. Cat or wire protection is often necessary to keep rodents away.
    4. To fall plant, lay the nut on its side; stem end horizontal. Cover with 4 cm earth, 2 cm sawdust and enough earth to hold the sawdust in place. Where mice and squirrels are a problem delay fall planting as long as possible while baiting, trapping and removing habitat.
    5. To spring plant, follow step D in March except stratified nuts will have split open and care must be taken not to shear apart the two halves of the nut. Unstratified nuts must be soaked for a week or longer before planting. Mark the rows well because black walnuts held dry over the winter often require a year in the ground to germinate.
    6. Just prior to seedling emergence, spray a contact systemic herbicide and an over-the-top selective herbicide (Roundup plus simazine, or equals) to kill growing and germinating grass and weeds. If the planting is small, hand weeding while weeds are small is appropriate, but not for sod.
    7. Keep the sawdust from drying out until most of the seedlings appear. Crows and especially squirrels will dig up the growing nuts long after seedlings emerge. Baiting is a deterrent. Agway and Co-op stores sell an effective orchard bait. The mulch should have worn to 2.5 cm because deeper mulches can host pathogens which girdle emerging seedlings.
    8. Simazine is an effective and long lasting herbicide, commonly used on nut seed plantings. On unworked loamy ground simazine stays within the top 5 cm of soil. When it is used on unworked soil, most of the common nuts, except filberts, display rapid growth and high tolerance. Working the soil deep, as in transplanting, allows simazine to wash deep and cause injury, though not to walnuts. To be most effective simazine, which is taken up by the roots of plants, has to go on early. There is about a month's delay between application and control. Deep rooted weeds are seldom affected by simazine. Also, it can be washed over the ground, carried by run-off, to do damage in neighbouring susceptible rows.
  4. Choosing the site for a black walnut planting should be step one in a grower's plan. The planting site should be a hilltop, hillside or stream bank location with a 1.5 m deep soil, minimum. A well chosen site has good water and air drainage. Surprise frosts on still nights are unlikely because cold air will flow downhill and be replaced with warmer air. At a frost pocket, which might be the flat below a hill or a clearing in a forest, late leafing walnuts, a lot of corrective pruning, and close spacing must be anticipated. If the soil is acid and not rich enough for good plant cover, it should be worked on for one or more seasons to improve it. Poor soil aeration and drainage must be improved by ditching or drain tile. Planting walnuts mixed with pines is highly beneficial to the walnuts. The pines give wind protection to the walnuts while forcing them to grow tall for the sun, producing good log conformation. The pines are eliminated by walnut toxicity as they grow into each other. Try to find sites where walnuts are already growing. Start looking where walnuts are seen from the road. A search of the nearby bush can yield walnut trees which have been naturally seeded. Releasing a stand of walnut seedlings will be well worth the effort.
  5. Improving timber production in walnut stands is a short cut in log production:
    1. Release:
      1. Release existing trees by removing vines from them and cutting back competing vegetation. Remove only enough brush and worthless trees to stimulate the walnuts to full growth because total growth will be faster in a clearing than in the open. Girdling weed trees without removing them that summer, wounds treated with Tordon RTU, allows fast release. Don't produce a park.
      2. Sell lower value trees for timber and fire wood while periodically clearing to keep young and higher valued trees growing rapidly.
      3. Fell trees carefully to avoid injury to the trees which remain.
      4. Pile slashings, rather than burning them, to produce cover for wildlife and enrich the soil. To return slashings to soil rapidly, cover them with earth. Also leave a few hollow trees on the edges of timber for use by wildlife.
        If a hunting camp is an option, European white oak should be in the planting mix for high quality acorn production.
    2. Prune:
      1. Prune all dead limbs. Double cut to prune all branches greater than 4 cm diameter. (In the first cut the branch is detached away from the trunk to release its weight without tearing the trunk. The second cut leaves the branch collar at trunk to promote healing.) Drought periods make poor pruning seasons because trees cannot drown the borers with sap flow. Current thinking is to prune in late summer through winter when fungi and insect pressure is low, leave wounds bare with no dressing, and, if borers become a problem, spray wounds with a Lorsban+Thiodan mix, probably late June. Most wound dressing seems to be superficial and only encourage rot. Look for fungicidal dressings.
      2. Try to confine pruning to the removal of lower shaded limbs before they reach 3 cm diameter. Annual pruning may be required to develop a 5 m log. Remember that reducing a tree's leaf area slows its growth. Better advice may be to do no pruning. "Corrective" pruning has demonstrated how easily bark disease can be carried tree to tree in state and corporate plantings. Thus, disinfect tools whenever a dead or diseased limb is cut. A 5% household bleach dip is often used, 3 tablespoons per litre (12 T/gallon).
      3. Correct a double leader in a young tree by crossing the leaders and taping them at contact. Remove the growing portion of the less dominant leader above the tape. At the start of the next growing season remove the rest of the less dominant leader.
      4. Always remember to bring a saw when pruning the walnut stand. Use saws, saws on poles, and shears for pruning. Axes and corn knives lead to reckless injury.
    3. Protect:
      1. In pastures it may be necessary to fence off young walnut trees to prevent browsing and soil compaction over the tree roots. Frequent grazing by heavy animals compacts the soil, thereby reducing the air-water balance at the tree roots. Deer rubbing and browsing can be ended by planting small seedlings in tree growth tube shelters if shelters are 1.5 m high and on a strong stake.
      2. Cut grass and weeds to prevent fire damage. Plough and disk lanes to prevent the spread of grass fire. Use simazine herbicide to clean spots around young trees.
      3. Attach no metal to trees, such as; staples, fences, nails, tags, signs, iron posts; also misdirected bird shot and slugs.
    4. Step planting one year black walnut seedlings is a proven method of establishing a stand. L planting method:
      1. Kill sod and weeds in a metre spot a day before planting with a contact systemic herbicide (Roundup or equal).
      2. Lift a 20 cm deep wedge of sod by two spade cuts, one just touching the other, and forming an "L" on the ground. Do not detach the third side of the wedge.
      3. Insert the seedling down the apex of the "L".
      4. Replace the wedge of soil as you found it, stepping it firmly into place.
      5. Stake a 1.5 m tree tube shelter over the seedling. Tap the shelter into the ground to avoid mice tunnelling underneath.
  6. Transplanting and maintaining black walnuts: ( Most heartnuts, their hybrids, butternuts, Persian walnuts and black walnuts which have become respected varieties are now grafted on black walnut rootstock. Some of our advice is gold plated, but not when trying to get expensive grafted trees started.)
    1. After grass has grown out 10 cm in the spring, kill sod in a two metre spot with a contact systemic herbicide (Roundup, or equal). Spray at least half a day before digging.
    2. Dig the planting hole broader and deeper than the extended root system to be planted.
    3. For a one metre high transplant, mix approximately one kg of bone meal into the planting soil. (Digging and mixing in the bone meal or granular fertilizer the previous summer is highly effective.)
    4. Spread the root system and trim off dead and badly injured roots. Roots greater than 5 mm diameter which have torn ends, should be pruned to smooth ends. Do not let the roots dry off. Roots which look grown together, like straws on a broom, will resist spreading, but must be separated. Packing and stacking causes this unnatural congestion.
    5. Place the root system in the hole so that the root crown is 4 cm below the original ground surface.
    6. Filter in the planting soil while spreading the root system. Remove weed roots and grass clumps from the planting soil as you come upon them. A fibrous root system on your transplant indicates a healthy, well nourished tree. This tree can be ruined by wadding together the roots. Rather than wadding, it would be better to trim off some of the hair roots. Inexperienced planters often need to be supervised.
    7. Tug on the stem and tamp to consolidate the soil while keeping the roots extended.
    8. Water to help consolidate the soil, but don't flood out the filtering-in of soil and tamping operation.
    9. After all the soil is replaced, mulch with plastic film in spring, wood chips in summer, avoiding permanent contact between the mulch and the stem. Because insulating a cold spring soil is to be avoided, mulching with clear plastic is welcomed as is spun-bonded landscape fabric or black plastic.
    10. Stake a tree shelter over the tree, tapping it into the ground a few centimetres so that mice do not enter.
      1. Alternatively, wrap the stem with a plastic coil tree guard, inserting the coil 4 cm into the ground.
      2. Trim the tree back approximately one third to balance it with the weakened root system.
      3. Water as often as is necessary to keep the mulched area from drying out. Soak the ground at each watering to get the water down to the tree roots.
    11. Use no granular garden fertilizer during the first season, except as you would a chemical hoe to burn back grass and weeds in July without completely killing them. Use .5 kg of 10-10-10 granular garden fertilizer per each 3 cm of stem diameter in early spring of each following year. Broadcast the fertilizer from the trunk past the outer branches. Keep the fertilizer 10 cm from the trunk, minimum. Any pellets contacting the bark must be removed before they burn the bark.
    12. When weeds return, hoe and spray with simazine. Grass sod is anti-walnut. Leaf health is far better where grass is eliminated under walnut trees.
    13. In future years maintain a 2 m wide bare soil mulch along the tree row. Spraying simazine has proven cost effective.
    14. Avoid pruning by crowding the walnuts with pines and other walnuts. Seed and seedlings from special seed trees consistently produces upright trees. Planting close allows quick removal of malformed trees. Prune to remove dead, malformed and rubbing branches, and those attaining 3 cm diameter within the length of the desired log.
    15. Once nut production is underway, expect to fertilize each year with 500 kg of 10-10-10 fertilizer per acre. Determine fertilizer supplements by leaf analysis. Leaf analysis is tricky due to the ability of leaves to concentrate the minerals tightly bound in the soil. Soil analysis and deficiency symptoms in the leaves can indicate binding. Mulching and keeping an active soil flora and fauna frees up bound minerals.
    16. As crowns touch, 90% shade pattern in timber, or 70% shade pattern in nut orchard trees, remove defective trees and trees interfering with more valuable trees.
    17. Before nut harvest, cut grass, and rake or shred debris which can hide nuts. The first nuts down are usually blank and should be treated as debris. Clean harvest all nuts to eliminate the pests they host.
    18. Trees producing mostly blank nuts will probably be removed The cause of blank nuts is usually root injury, foliar disease causing mid season leaf fall, potassium deficiency, or bunch disease.
  7. Black walnut preparations make use of the high flavour of the kernel which is unchanged by cooking. Cookies, candies and ice cream retain the black walnut flavour and "black walnut" in their name.
    Black walnut selections for hand cracking are chosen for their production, ease of cracking and mild flavour. Carefully substitute black walnuts for Persian (English) in a recipe. Half the original volume of nuts is replaced with black walnuts without overdoing the walnut flavour. Also, the mild English walnut is used to accumulate spice and fruit flavours in its oil.
    1. Harvesting and storing black walnuts is one of those jobs left for the little red hen. The reward is a long way off. First nuts down are usually empty. Pick them up with the grass clippings and other debris for disposal in a sanitary manner like composting or burying. The rest of the nuts should be gathered every few days as they fall. As the hulls turn from green to yellow, and on to brown and black, there is a good chance that the kernel will be moistened. The pellicle of the kernel will darken and the kernel will become strong tasting. A solution is to use tree limb shakers and drop cloths to speed the harvest. Nuts for eating or shipping should be hulled and dried. When the hulls turn yellow, they are easily stepped off the nuts. Boots and gloves are worn for protection against the inky walnut juice. Handy people have constructed hullers from 100 pound propane cylinders, using chain on a shaft and pieces of rubber tire for bumpers to ricochet nuts along the inclined cylinder. Constructed properly, the hulls break free, cease to travel, and fall through the screened bottom of the cylinder. A spray of water can be directed in so that the nuts emerge washed.
    2. A huller made with the front wheel of a front drive car is less work to construct. It works driven with a tractor's power take off, mounted on the hitch and scuffing along a track made of reinforcing bars. The tire-to-bar gap is adjusted by tire air pressure.
    3. Drying nuts may be by spreading on newspapers in a dehumidified room, laying in screen trays through which dry air is blown, or placed in onion sacks for storage in airy shelters. Drying takes from a few days to a month depending on the method. After drying, walnuts should be stored in a cool dry place, and protected in airy tins from mice.
    4. Cracking black walnuts in Ontario is a hand operation usually using a hammer or a vise. More recently walnut cutters have appeared to clean up "cracking" so that kernel extracting can be done in the kitchen.
    5. In the central US commercial walnut crackers buy and process black walnuts by the ton. Expensive devices fracture the shells of seedling walnuts well enough that many walnut kernels are gathered in quarters.
    6. Hand walnut crackers, usually made for mounting on a table or work bench, are available which use a 40 cm lever arm to easily crush shells without advancing the jaw enough to injure the kernels. Careful cracking will often produce kernels in quarters. A several step method for use on walnut cultivars uses the jaw cracker followed by clipping the centre post of the shell with electrician's clippers to remove the kernel in quarters and halves.
  8. After extracting, kernels should be packaged in plastic and frozen until used.
  9. Spacing black walnuts is based on spacing observations for productive trees growing commercially under lake region conditions:
    1. Approximately 3 m2 of trunk cross section, growing on 4000 m2 of land, produces the most nuts. (approx. 50% noon shade on the ground)
    2. Approximately 7 m2 of trunk cross section, growing on 4000 m2 of land, produces the most fibre (approx. 70% noon shade on the ground).
    3. Decline in both nuts and fibre production is uneconomical and indicates stress injury to the trees.
    4. Tree spacing has to increase with time due to growth competition. This dovetails with the need to sort out selected seedlings. Odds are that one in a group of ten seedlings, from exceptional parents, will be exceptional enough to be made permanent.
    5. Tree spades are available to move large trees without transplanting shock. These spades could be used to move selected trees rather than chopping them down, though expensive and unnecessary except for super trees. Large trees droop and close gaps in the canopy in only a couple years.
    6. The years-until-maturity, and the production rate of black walnuts, are slower than fruit trees, but walnuts are much longer lived.
    7. Black walnuts will shade each other without the rapid decline experienced with most other hardwoods. Reasons for this ability to tolerate crowding are extensive root systems that efficiently mine the soil, and open foliage that does not produce heavy shade. Increased shading of the ground, which harms grass, helps walnut. Shading the sides of walnuts is beneficial during their juvenile stage of rapid upward growth because shading encourages walnuts to grow tall. Reduction in the nut crop is slight because black walnut nuts are formed at the ends of short upper branches, mature nut tree branches which do not yet exist.

    8. walnut spacing
      The spacing chart drawn above is constructed from the above six spacing factors. Through the years the typical planting area, containing initially 16 trees, is cleared until one selected tree remains. The maximum diameter of a productive black walnut is expected to be 60 cm (at 60 cm diameter, trunk cross sectional area is .2826 m2 , yielding 11 trees per 4000 m2 of land, or 364 m2 per tree.) We space trees closer in north-south rows to help moderate west wind, speed application of pesticides, and ease machine movement and intercropping between rows. Choose 17 m on centres, north-south, with 21 m between rows for final spacing. This makes initial spacing 4.25 m by 5.25 m (equalling 16 trees in a 361 m2 area). Pine trees should be planted between walnuts, or the walnut spacing should be again halved for early crowding. Planting six feet on centres is recommended by many foresters.

      thinning walnut
    9. The thinning chart takes these observations into account by thinning the 16 tree base group to maintain maximum fibre production (6594 cm2 butt density).
  10. Black walnut timber is in limited supply and is sure to retain its value if enough quantity can be harvested to sustain an industry. Walnut is extremely crack resistant with good weight to strength ratio, making it the "gunstock wood". Because of its crack resistance and beautiful figure pattern, black walnut is unexcelled for veneer and cabinet wood. Some general rules in selling black walnut are:
    1. Investigate the market by contacting the Ministry of Natural Resources and logging contractors. As walnut becomes more scarce, few people will be in the harvesting business. You may receive only one bid. The government forester may be your only source of a second opinion.
    2. Typically, you should sell the standing timber because the logging contractor knows how to cut logs of the highest grade, and for the highest total value.
    3. Not all walnut trees are increasing in value. Some, due to injury, are decreasing. Given a good bid from a good logger, these should be sold and cut.
    4. Sell trees of only 45 cm diameter or larger, unless:
      1. the tree is crowding a more valuable tree;
      2. the tree is too defective in trunk to continue;
      3. the tree is injured in the top and has dead and dying branches.
    5. Many large walnut selections are prized by their owners. Sentimental value and the expectation of nut crops keeps these trees from the logger. Each year they increase in value.
  11. Propagation of black walnut selections is by grafting. Valuable seed trees, nut cultivars and curly wood trees are sought after. Graft unions are placed near the ground level (bench grafted and later transplanted because field grafting of walnut is successful above 1 m) because the union usually continues a mark which is best left in the stump. This will surely happen with the curly walnut, Lamb. Grafting at ground level causes too much bleeding, and mouldy unions, if done in the field. Bench grafting these inside is highly successful.
    1. Black walnut selections for Ontario can be grouped according to tree form, nut qualities, or tree health and cropping. We chose tree form because it is strikingly consistent orchard to orchard and season to season. Tree form has more meaning for orchard grown trees than for forestry due to wind damage in orchards. The close spacing in forest plantings forces uniform straight growth which is seldom wind damaged.
      1. The tall trees, requiring little training to produce a single leader and sound branching: Elmer Myers, Clermont.
      2. The trees that need some training:, Emma K, Sparrow, Thomas, Vandersloot, Burns, Bowser, Lamb.
      3. Trees that need training: Ohio, Sauber.
    2. High quality nuts usually are found under Elmer Myers, Emma K, Bowser from Iowa, Ohio, and Sauber. Even these will take a rest and not bear the year after a heavy crop. Elmer Myers and Emma K have the most ornamental foliage which likely produces their yearly crops. Sauber bears once every two years and it has terrible limb sockets. Do not trim its limbs and Sauber will carry its bushy head like Ohio, producing lovely nuts and few torn limbs. Trim Sauber to look like Myers and it will blow apart. Emma K nuts have the thinnest shells which easily cut for kernel extraction. Much of Emma K's crop hangs on internal branches which still get a lot of sun on their short little fruiting spurs. Emma K might be classed "desert quality" because of its large mild kernels.
  12. Projects with black walnuts:
    1. Leaf health is poor in many black walnuts. A lot of the poor health is due to growing in grass, especially fescue. Some poor leaf health is in the varieties chosen. There are upland and lowland walnuts; just as there are upland and lowland hickories. Emma K looks like a lowland hickory with its flat long nut, and long lived leaves. These lowland walnuts should be surveyed and selected.
    2. The health value of black walnut oil needs investigation.
    3. Survey and select seedlings of named black walnut selections.
    4. Identify sources of rapidly growing seedlings which produce upright trees.
    5. Demonstrate interplanting walnuts with Christmas trees, pines.
    6. Try intercropping western white pine with walnut for harvest as Christmas trees.

Black Walnut Cutter

  1. Black walnut shells are hard and brittle. Even the relatively thin shells on Emma K, Clermont, and Elmer Myers require the force of lock pliers for cracking. Then they pop and shell fragments are scattered. Because each of the four kernel lobes is surrounded by shell, initial cracking often causes all four quarter kernels to be crushed. The better method is to cut the walnut in two along its suture, the line dividing the shell halves. The shape of an owl's face appears on each half. Nipping above and below each "owl eye" releases each quarter kernel. A quarter kernel from a good black walnut is usually as large as entire kernels from typical hazels, hickories and northern pecans.
  2. Gaston Fornes, P.E. from Charlottesville, Virginia invented and patented the "Squirrel Tooth" Nut Kernel Extractor. Held in one hand, it is easy, fast, safe and clean to use. By cutting rather than crushing, the nut divides smoothly so that the few shell and kernel pieces remain in the hand which holds the nut. The Fornes method of cutting is good. Here is a method to accomplish it.
  3. The jaws of a 25 cm channel lock pliers can be ground down to cutter nibs:
    1. Thin the jaw ends to .5 cm by grinding on a 15 cm grind wheel. The jaws are held closed during this step so they match, cool each other, and are easier to dip in cooling water.
    2. After the jaws are thinned to .5 cm by revolving strokes, cycle in and out along the line of the jaw teeth, thinning their portion of the jaws the most, until the groove is over much of the ground faces.
    3. Open the jaws and grind each "nib" to a wedge blade. Leave the teeth with a noticeable thickness, not yet a knife edge, which meets on closing.
    4. Produce a knife edge on the teeth by a hand drawn stone or file. Knife edges will no longer stop each other on closing, but usually pass by each other.
    5. About 1 cm of square jaw remains on the "grab". This can be "pocketed", the center of the tooth pattern ground down, to hold and crush the narrow side of shagbark hickory nuts.
  4. Be warned that incorrect cutting with a black walnut cutting tool, made from channel lock pliers, can injure fingers. This is not a pecan cutter which nips the ends and sides off pecans. Each bite on a black walnut is to be cut straight onto a flat surface of shell, either directly across the nut at its suture, or in the "eye space" to release kernel. If the shell is cut at a slant the nibs can slip unpredictably and do damage.


(Native, Oriental, Hybrid, American, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Manchurian, European, Italian, Spanish)
  1. Sweet chestnuts may be Ontario's first large scale nut crop. The most successful trees are hybrids of the Chinese chestnut, Castanea mollissima, crossed with the native species, C. dentata. They gain more quality by becoming complex hybrids with European, C. sativa, and Japanese, C. crenata.
    1. Observations at Vineland indicate that several Gellatly selections crop economically in Niagara.
    2. Hybrids of Oriental chestnut, pollinated with native, rival the Vineland trees, plus they often ripen nuts in mid-September (as does Layeroka).
    3. The most northern reported chestnut is a native growing in Sault Ste. Marie. Others bear in Montreal.
    4. Chestnut soil is yellow sand, much like tobacco land.
    5. The hybrids recommended for Ontario resemble natives. Often the seedlings are timber trees, producing large sweet nuts when orchard grown.
  2. Limiting factors in chestnut production are:
    1. Current propagation of chestnut is by seed and grafting. Graft failure rate, after transplanting, is discouraging.
    2. Planting sites have to be well draining and moderately acid or the chestnuts develop root infection, become chlorotic and succumb to winter injury. Organic matter in the soil often causes this same reaction if it is in the first stages of decomposition.
    3. Chestnut bark disease, blight, is widespread, and a danger to all native and European chestnut, and hybrids between them.
    4. No chestnut is immune to chestnut blight, but in many nut trees the resistance is strong enough that the infection is of no consequence.
    5. Chestnuts require cross pollination. Isolated trees produce only 3% to 5% filled nuts.
    6. Biological control of the blight, using blight's hypovirulent form, is proving difficult, requiring much hand labour.
  3. Germinating chestnuts is very successful. Nuts should be fully matured on the tree (which depends on the season), kept from drying (which depends on prompt gathering), and directly seeded or refrigerated to produce stands of 95%. Once the nuts lose moisture, becoming spongy, they soon mould when water is added. Nuts cured for eating are in this spongy condition. Immersion in earth sometimes revives them. Germinating chestnuts:
    1. Harvest chestnuts promptly, before they dry.
    2. Refrigerate in a ventilated container in high humidity until you are ready to plant. To spring plant, store the chestnuts like seed potatoes using their same protection against freezing, drying, and sprouting. An unplugged refrigerator in an attached garage, which is temperature regulated with jugs of water and ice to stay near freezing, provides good storage. After losing some moisture chestnuts can endure some freezing and thawing depending on their sugar content and the freeze-thaw rate.
    3. Peat moss is the typical mix medium for over winter storage. Put freshly harvested chestnuts into air dry peat moss and check these after a month's storage. (A typical container is a plastic bag with a few small holes for slow air and moisture exchange.) Correct water content of the peat moss is indicated by a slight dampness which is impossible to gage initially. Chestnuts may have been too dry or too wet initially. Now, the chestnuts should be hard. If the chestnuts dimple, add peat moss which is 50% air dry and 50% squeezed dry. Check in another month.
    4. Fall plant in fertile, well drained ground. Fall planting allows a higher concentration of active organic matter in the soil. With the addition of moisture, chestnut seed will sprout and push down root growth even at near freezing temperatures. Rapid root growth with rising ground temperature sinks the roots into more sterile soil. A well advanced root system will resist decay as both become active in the warm ground.
    5. To fall plant, lay each chestnut on its flat side. The point is to be horizontal. The root emerges from the point and pushes downward. After the soil warms, the stem emerges and pushes up. In fall cover the nuts with approximately 4 cm earth, 2 cm sawdust and 2 cm earth. The second layer of earth and half the sawdust are only for insulation. Remove them before the soil warms in spring. Chestnuts should start to emerge in mid May.
    6. To spring plant, repeat the above step, omitting the insulation layers. Planting should begin as early in the spring as possible, with due regard for chestnut's inclination to sprout and grow in cold damp ground. Expect chestnut to root in April in or out of the refrigerator. Soil preparation should have begun the previous summer with working and raking the soil to remove organic debris.
    7. Keep the sawdust from drying out until most of the chestnut shoots appear.
    8. Just prior to chestnut seedling emergence, spray a contact systemic herbicide and an over the top selective herbicide (Roundup plus simazine or equal) to kill growing and germinating grass and weeds. If the planting is small, hand weeding, while weeds arc small, is appropriate.
    9. Protect the planting from animals. Where mice and squirrels are a problem, delay planting while baiting and removing habitat. In spring squirrels must be controlled long after chestnuts are up, or they will dig up kernels to nurse their young, thereby killing the trees. Again bait. Agway and Co-op stores sell an effective orchard bait.
    10. Planting sprouted nuts causes many mystery deaths. The root development of sprouted nuts is interrupted by planting during extension. This experience is lethal to apricots; semi-lethal to chestnuts. Both these trees are noted for their root infections. Store chestnuts with just enough moisture (humidity) to keep them from drying. Given damp conditions chestnuts will sprout even at 0C, 32°F. The root will grow out from the point of the nut and push downward. Sprouted nuts must be planted with the nut pointing horizontal and the root going down. As temperatures rise, the stem will emerge at the point of the nut and push upward. Avoid these problems by careful storage and early planting.
  4. Choosing a good site for a chestnut planting is critical. Natural chestnut sites are slightly acid to acid chestnut sand (fine yellow sand similar to tobacco land) or mixed sand and gravel. Drainage has to be excellent with the water table at least 1.5 m below the ground surface. Other native trees in the area are red oak, red pine, white pine, sassafras, native magnolia, and shagbark and bitternut hickory. Organic matter is a dark, well decomposed, 10 to 20 cm layer at the ground surface. Much poor farm land fits this specification, although the organic layer has been exhausted by cultivation. This soil is difficult to improve because added nutrients quickly wash deep into the soil. Heavier soil could grow chestnuts, if well drained with ditches and drain tile. Although many chestnut growers find the reasons and energy to transplant their trees, it is often more practical to find chestnut ground and seed chestnuts into it. Fall planting the chestnut seed allows the grower to concentrate his efforts in spring on fertilization at spring break-up and herbicide application just prior to seedling emergence. Transplanting and maintaining chestnuts:
    1. Transplanting chestnut benefits from a year of preparation. Fertilize heavily in early spring, and remove grass and weeds by mowing.
    2. After grass has grown out 10 cm in spring, kill sod in a 2 m spot with a contact systemic herbicide.
    3. Dig the planting hole deeper and broader than the extended root system to be planted.
    4. For a metre high transplant, mix approximately 1 kg of bone meal into the planting soil. (Digging and mixing in bone meal, and/or granular fertilizer during the previous summer is highly effective.)
    5. Spread the root system and trim off dead and badly injured roots. Roots greater than 5 mm diameter, which have torn ends, should be pruned to smooth ends. Do not let the roots dry off. Roots which look grown together, like straws on a broom, will resist spreading, but must be separated. Packing and stacking forms this unnatural congestion.
    6. Place the root system in the hole so that the root crown is 4 cm below the original ground surface.
    7. Filter in the planting soil while spreading the root system. Remove weed roots and grass clumps from the planting soil as you come upon them. A fibrous root system on your transplant indicates a healthy, well nourished tree. The tree can be ruined by wadding together the roots. Rather than wadding, it would be better to trim off some of the hair roots. Inexperienced planters often need supervising.
    8. Poke a rod into the soil to move it between roots. Tug on the stem and tamp to consolidate the soil, while keeping the roots extended.
    9. Water to help consolidate the soil, but don't flood out the filtering in of soil and tamping operation.
    10. After all the soil is replaced, mulch with sawdust or similar material, avoiding permanent contact between the mulch and the stem. Because insulating a cold spring soil is to be avoided, mulching with clear plastic is welcomed as is spun-bonded landscape fabric or black plastic.
    11. Stake a tree shelter over the tree, tapping it into the ground a few centimetres so that mice do not enter.
      1. Alternatively, wrap the stem with a plastic coil tree guard, inserting the coil 4 cm into the ground.
      2. Trim the top of the tree back approximately one third to balance it with the weakened root system.
    12. Water as often as is necessary to keep the sawdust from drying out. Soak the ground at each watering to get the water down to the tree roots.
    13. Use no granular garden fertilizer during the first season, except as you would use a chemical hoe in July to burn back grass and weeds without completely killing them. Use .5 kg of 10-10-10 granular garden fertilizer per each 3 cm of stem diameter in early spring of each following year. Broadcast the fertilizer from the trunk toward the outer branches. Keep the fertilizer pellets 10 cm from the trunk, minimum. Any pellets contacting the bark must be removed before they burn the bark.
    14. When weeds return, hoe and spray with simazine.
    15. In future years maintain a two metre wide bare soil mulch along tree rows. Spraying simazine has proved cost effective. If intercropping is not practised, maintain grass strips between rows.
    16. In future years prune only to remove dead, nibbing and malformed branches. Maintain a conical tree shape with the longest branches nearest the ground. Many sweet chestnut trees, even native, maintain the conical shape naturally, lowest branches following the ground, unless forced upward by tree crowding. Conical shape permits most of the terminal branchlets to fruit by eliminating the shading of branch ends, while protecting the trunk with dense shade, which works against sunscald, winter injury and blight. Descending limbs gather more light, storing more energy, than those that tend upward. Increased bending, due to nut load, helps sugar storage in the drooping limbs. It will be difficult to keep low limbs productive on chestnuts. Their shade is dense. Fruiting and fruit sizing wood has to be fast growing. Chestnuts try to shade out and discard low limbs.
    17. Once nut production is underway, after about 12 years, expect to be fertilizing at more than 500 kg of 10-10-10 fertilizer per acre per year. The fertilizer is broadcast at spring break-up (on the snow), especially ammonium sulphate which increases nut size when used heavily at a rate which would kill the tree if spread late. The exact formulation is to be determined the previous season by leaf analysis. Leaf analysis is tricky due to the ability of leaves to concentrate the minerals tightly bound in the soil. Soil analysis and deficiency symptoms in the leaves can indicate binding. Mulching and keeping an active soil flora and fauna frees up bound minerals.
    18. Begin removing trees before crowding. First, remove sick looking and stunted trees, and at 8 to 10 years start removing the poor producers. Maintain less than 50% noon shade on the orchard floor.
    19. Trees, which can not wall off blight in a 10 x 15 cm dead area, should be scheduled for removal.
      (Metric class 150 resistance is the width times height calculated when a 10 x 15 cm canker is produced in one year.) However, good production of high quality nuts will warrant further observation. Also, blight itself may be attacked by a virus-like parasite. It may prove beneficial to maintain cankers that appear to he weak forms of the blight. Natural inoculation of strong blight colonies by the weak forms is halting the spread of blight in France.
    20. Before harvest, cut grass, rake and remove debris which may hide nuts.
    21. After the growing season remove leaves, dead branches, burs, and especially, nuts from the orchard. Often these are homes for next season's pests. Chestnut weevils and filbert worms leave the nuts soon after they fall and spend winter in the soil. Daily nut collection is sometimes necessary to "harvest" them and rid them from the orchard.
    22. Learn to identify chestnut weevil and be prepared to spray filled burs which are starting to open with a recommended insecticide (usually Sevin).
  5. Harvesting chestnuts is great fun for the young, and young at heart. The nuts lie bright on the ground or loose in the bur, ready for dumping by the wind. Shaking rains them down. The smart chestnut gatherer goes to harvest wearing thick leather gloves. The spines on chestnut burs can puncture skin, breaking off, and later, festering. It is difficult to stay away from these burs when three bright nuts are spied in a partly open bur.
    1. Where squirrels are a problem, burs have to be gathered unopened. Long bamboo poles or aluminum tubes are used to swat loaded branches, flinging off the burs. Unopened burs have to be held for several days under cool, slowly drying conditions, before they release. Washing will be necessary if the nuts are muddy, or when mould is a problem due to bur opening under hot conditions. Wash in a solution made by mixing one tablespoon of laundry bleach into 4 litres of water. The wet nuts must be rapidly surface dried. Spreading them in a single layer on newspaper for a few hours drying in a dehumidified room or other airy location will surface dry them.
    2. Chestnuts should only be surface dried, and go quickly to refrigeration. Nuts for eating may be held fresh in a crisper for several weeks, but, for planting and long term storage, chestnuts have to held near freezing with no drying. 0C (32°F) high humidity storage is easily achieved by placing a non-operating refrigerator in an attached garage or enclosed porch and filling the bottom of the chest with 6 plastic 4 litre jugs of ice water. Put the surface dry chestnuts in plastic bags and poke several small holes into the bags for ventilation. Store the nuts on racks above the open water jugs. Check to see that the jugs contain mostly water during cold weather and mostly ice during warm weather. The ice water will hold the compartment near 0C.
    3. Usual preparation of chestnuts is to roast the nuts until they have cooked through.
      Before cooking, all but a few wilted nuts are pricked with a knife to relieve steam pressure. When the nuts are heated in a skillet or oven, the unpricked nuts pop, and, with a minute more cooking, all the nuts are ready to eat. Do not roast or microwave unpricked hard chestnuts. These will explode and are a mess to clean up. Roasted nuts are sweet with a slightly grilled tang. Many people prefer raw chestnuts which are milder. Raw chestnuts are prepared by air drying for several days until they feel spongy. Besides producing a folding texture, drying increases sugar content. When spongy, chestnuts have a sweet vanilla taste. Drying can be continued until the chestnut kernels become rock hard. At this hard condition the nuts are almost unusable, but may be ground into floor, boiled until soft in water (they are well past growing), or gnawed like a bone. Peeling the hulls and pellicles from chestnuts is the first step in many preparations.
      1. To peel and cook in a microwave: Cut raw nuts in two at their thickest. Set the nuts on the cut side and cook for 2 minutes. This removes hulls, but also cooks the nut. Microwaved or boiled chestnut is an easily mashed vegetable, most like a potato. The flavour is mild, but not bland, being sweeter and nuttier. Much like potatoes, chestnuts should not be frozen raw because their cell structure is destroyed and they rapidly decompose.
      2. To peel a quantity of chestnuts:
        1. Slit the dull side of the chestnut (the scar side of the nut, opposite the point) the long way, from side to side, with a sharp knife.
        2. Spread nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet and dehydrate hulls in an oven preheated to 230C for four minutes.
        3. Remove and pop off hulls and pellicles by squeezing the pointed ends. Rapid dehydration shrinks hulls and pellicles, and the uncooked nut is forced through the slit in the scar end of the nut. Kernels are still raw. They can be stir fried to produce a Crunchy sweet vegetable (not as crisp as a water chestnut), cooked for freezer storage, or used in various recipes for sauces, soups, and dressings.
      3. Chestnuts which have air dried in the house for a week should pop hull directly, with no preparation. Just roll the nut under finger pressure to split and remove hull and pellicle.
  6. Projects with chestnuts:
    1. Experiment with fall planting of chestnut seed. Some native and hybrid varieties are so sweet with sugar that they lie on the ground all winter and will grow.
    2. Experiment with seed planting at the permanent tree location.
    3. Identify seed sources which produce hardy, resistant and compatible root stocks.
    4. Breed hybrids for early ripening, productivity, resistance, high quality nuts, and hardiness.
    5. Locate the best native trees for breeding.
    6. Locate the best native blight resistance and best native forms of hypovirulence.
    7. Locate natural hybrids of chestnut.
    8. Relate leaf size, density of foliage, and winter foliage retention to blight resistance.
    9. Try to resurrect the Paragon variety and native species of chestnut with hypovirulent blight.
    10. Plant early flushing chestnuts on north slopes, or north of pines, to check on hardiness improvement.
    11. Try mixed plantings of pine and chestnut.
    12. Breed for the European chestnut traits: adaptation to sweet, clayey soil; large nuts off young trees; rapid, stiff vegetative growth in young trees, followed by high production and dwarfing in bearing trees.
  7. The timber and fuel value of chestnut wood is highly regarded. Chestnut wood has very high strength to weight ratio. The wood is highly crack and rot resistant. Thus, chestnut finds uses from furniture to telephone poles. Today old telephone poles are being sawn into panelling. Chestnut can be split into long straight rails and fence posts. Costly reforesting of chestnut stands was largely eliminated because of chestnut's ability to sprout from its root crowns. The regrowth is faster and straighter than the original trees. Chestnut transplants sometimes lose their upright growth form. A common remedy is to cut them flush with the ground during winter and allow the strongest of the regrowth sprouts to form new trees. Chestnut sites are often suited only to timber production. Native chestnuts were found in almost pure stands on wind swept ridges where the soil was dry, rocky and acid. The fuel value of chestnut is similar to red oak.
  8. Spacing chestnut trees is based on spacing observations for productive trees growing in orchards under lake region conditions.
    1. Approximately 3 m2 of trunk cross section, growing on 4000 m2 of land, produces the most nuts. (50% ground shade)
    2. Approximately 6 m2 of trunk cross section, growing on 4000 m2 of land, produces the most fibre (70% ground shade)
    3. Decline in both nut and fibre production is uneconomical and indicates injury to the trees.
    4. Tree spacing has to change due to growth competition. This dovetails with the need to sort out selected seedlings. Odds are that in a group of ten selected seedlings one will be exceptional enough to be made permanent.
    5. Tree spades are available to move large trees without transplanting shock. These spades could be used to move selected trees, rather than chopping them down. More likely, grafted chestnuts would be planted at the more permanent locations.
    6. The production rates of chestnuts may be slower than fruit trees, but they are much longer lived.

  9. chestnut spacing
    The spacing plot drawn above is constructed from the above six spacing factors. Through the years the typical planting area, containing initially 16 trees, is cleared until one selected tree remains. The maximum diameter of a productive chestnut is expected to be 50 cm (at 50 cm diameter, trunk cross sectional area is .1963 m2 , yielding 15 trees per 4000 m2 or 267 m2 of land per tree). We space trees closer in north-south rows to help moderate west wind, speed application of pesticides, and ease machine movement and intercropping between rows. Choose 14 m on centres north-south with 18 m between rows for final spacing. This makes initial spacing 3.5 x 4.5 m for 16 trees in a 252 m2 area. A good recommendation is to plant grafted chestnut trees 30 ft. on centres and interspace with seedlings, or alternate with seedlings and intercrop.

    chestnut thinning
  10. Drastic pruning can maintain chestnut production by allowing most light efficiency in the orchard while delaying the removal of trees. As chestnuts crowd and shade each other, energy conversion decreases, thereby reducing nut production. If drastic pruning is delayed until butt density reaches the point where fibre production decreases (3926 cm2 or 70% shade), nut production can be reduced by one quarter. More important, chestnut has to grow vigorously to six leaves past the bur cluster or nuts are small and unsaleable. Pruning radically the trees which are to be removed, thereby releasing more productive and more permanent trees, can maintain high production. Prune off entire limbs and sectors of trees that extend toward more permanent trees. Prune chestnuts during the dormant season to increase the vegetative growth necessary for large nuts. Maintain 50% to 60% noon shade on the orchard floor.
  11. Propagation of chestnut selections is difficult because grafted chestnut trees are often difficult to maintain. Even with tender loving care, chestnut seems programmed to sprout from the root crown rather than maintain an injured top; such as a grafted top. Incompatibility often starves and throws off rapidly growing grafts. Despite these difficulties, the extra effort necessary to graft valuable chestnut selections is encouraged, and is necessary to establish breeding partners. Once a selection is producing seedlings, grafting it onto its own seedlings greatly reduces the incompatibility reaction.
    1. Top working chestnut is most successful when grafting is done in early May. The materials needed are:
      1. Healthy rootstocks with a 5 mm diameter terminals which are starting to leaf out.
      2. 5 mm diameter dormant scions.
      3. A razor sharp, thin bladed knife capable of cutting curved chips off stems, rather than splitting them off.
      4. Rubber bands or rubber grafting strips.
      5. Branchlets, weed stalks or plastic artificial flower stalks, shaped like hat trees, capable of expanding half of a bread wrapper.
      6. Masking tape.
      7. Plastic food storage bags or bread wrappers.
      8. A can of white spray paint.
    2. Method of top working chestnut: (See Grafting Chapter for the Parafilm-foil method which uses more adequate materials and is easier.)
      1. Gather 5 mm or larger diameter dormant scions in March or just before bud movement. Store under cold, humid conditions. Crisper storage in a sealed plastic bag with a piece of paper tower to collect condensation will hold scions six weeks.
      2. Splice graft in mid to late May, using the English graft (heel & toe graft). Return the toe of the scion into the heel of the stock, and visa versa.
        1. Cambium to cambium healing is likely all along the union. A near perfect union is needed or the graft will go into decline. All growth within (below) 40 cm of the union has to be channelled through the graft.
      3. Wrap the union securely with a rubber strip under slight tension. (At this time the graft may be wax, pitch or rubber coated, but not asphalt coated. Chestnut is sensitive to asphalt. If the graft grows, the only after care required is to rub out buds on the stock.)
      4. Tape the hat tree shaped branchlet to the stock, positioning its arms to give 4 cm clearance between the scion and the about-to-be-placed food storage bag.
      5. Cover the graft with the food storage bag, drawing it down until resting on the hat tree shaped branchlet. Seal the open end of the bag against the stock with the masking tape. This vapour barrier should now be nearly air tight.
      6. Spray paint the bag wherever direct sun can strike during the heat of the day. The white paint is a sun screen which prevents overheating of the graft chamber.
      7. Check the graft at two week intervals to rub out buds which appear on the stock, and after each rain to dump water.
      8. Four weeks after placing the graft, remove all material and bindings except for the rubber strip at the graft union which will degrade quickly if exposed to the weather (cut it if coated).
        1. Incompatibility runs high in chestnut grafting. If the initial grafts start growth rapidly, but later decline and die mysteriously, this stock-to-scion combination should be eliminated from future grafting. Unless a stock holds grafts through two seasons it is only "under test". Only stocks, proving their receptivity and holding capacity, can be relied on for extensive top working. Closely related chestnuts are most compatible. Examine the union A callus knot and line of demarcation is incompatibility.
        2. Oriental chestnuts, which are top worked to native, often suffer winter injury on their trunks. They need shade from leaves retained through the winter. Several oriental limbs should be retained low on the south and west sides of these trees.
        3. The use of tree growth tube shelters (tree shelters) is especially suited to chestnut. They aid the recovery of transplants and give ideal growing conditions to grafts set low. The main reason to set grafts low is to bury blight susceptible, or incompatible, rootstock and allow rooting from above the graft union. Chestnut will self root but only off a shoot which starts form under the surface of the ground. To start a shoot from underground a scion with several buds must be set so that a shoot from a bud eye can start underground. The tree shelters guard against rodent damage and southwest injury which has made grafting at ground level nearly impossible. Anti-fungal grafting compound is also required.
        4. Tree shelters improve transplant survival to nearly 100% so that weak grafts may be started. Bench grafts which have just been grafted can be set out. The greenhousing potential of these tubes is maximised when an energetic root system is transplanted, and the new shoot starts at ground level.
  12. Selected chestnut seedlings are the most desirable trees for transplanting. They possess fast upright growth, dark green foliage, large leaves, large diameter branchlets, winter hardiness, and some fall leaf drop near the time for heavy frosts. Leaves held through the winter are no defect, if they are the sun screen leaves on the lower third of the past season's growth. Their parents should be known for large sweet nuts, heavy bearing, good form, and good blight resistance.
    1. Chestnuts which are being grown in Ontario can be divided into four groups:
      1. The Nanking orientals are productive in Niagara and along the shore of Lake Erie. Away from the lake they suffer from winter injury in their tender terminals. Southwest bark injury is common due to a thin bark which is easily heated by the sun then freezes. They lose crops from freeze injury due to October ripening. They lack the vigour of native chestnuts. Their hardiness and vigour are improved by hybridizing with natives.
      2. The Gellatly selections are grown in Niagara, at Brantford and along Lake Erie. They resemble hybrids of oriental chestnut pollinated by native and European, although J.U. Gellatly said they came as seed from China.
        The trees are more vigorous and hardy than the Nanking orientals. The Layeroka variety was tested at the Vineland station and found to be semi-commercial,
        1. Simpson chestnuts are even more European than Gellatly. They retain the European ability to grow on a sweet garden soil and produce large nuts in their first crop. Unfortunately, European's ripening season in October is also retained.
      3. The most hardy group of chestnuts are the natives. They are at home in Niagara, Hamilton, Oakville, Montreal, London and Sault Ste. Marie. They lack blight resistance and it is by luck that they are yet with us. They are timber trees. Nut size and production are lacking. Used to pollinate orientals, they could show their real potential.
      4. The Douglass hybrids are now being grown in Niagara but have not been tested farther north. Selections among them have resistance, native form, quality nuts, productivity, hardiness and mid-September ripening. Earl Douglass originated these hybrids in Red Creek NY by pollinating what he called Manchurian chestnuts with natives. Douglass chestnuts need acid soil.
        1. Montreal hybrids are similar to Douglass. Although their nuts look Chinese, their trees have better native form than Douglass hybrids, and seem to have more blight resistance in a more uniform group.
  13. We can spread hypovirulent blight infection. Hypovirulent blight can be found in many chestnut sites which continue to smoulder and ignite with blight, but never extinguish. Where infection attacks hybrid chestnuts the contest is more of a match. Hypovirulence becomes a tool for protecting productive trees with almost enough resistance (class 150 resistance). Spread infection among the class 150 resistant trees until healing forms of blight are discovered. One infection can be inoculated into another if cut bark is joined with dying bark in April. Cutting pits and plugs across the battle area reveals bark which is turning from greenish-white to olive- tan. Bark from this margin is inserted under flaps of healthy bark cut around the canker under treatment. Staple clear plastic film over the whole region with a paper stapler. You will see blight pustulating under this plastic, and with luck, the canker walled-off.


(Hazels, Hazelberts, Filazels, Tree Hazels, Trazels)
  1. Filberts are Ontario's most widely enjoyed nut. The largest nuts are European filberts, Corylus avallana, or crosses of European with native American hazel, x C. americana, or native beaked hazel, x C. cornuta. These are lilac size bushes when they start cropping. Some tree hazel hybrids, x C. colurna, grow like an apple tree. Selections of hybrid tree hazel which produce large nut are often called tree filberts.
    1. Native hazels are gathered for home use throughout Ontario. Open husk hazels are native through Algonquin Park and Manitoulin Island. Beaked Hazels are native to James Bay.
    2. Filberts as large as the imported varieties are bearing in Montreal, Toronto, London, and Morden, Manitoba.
    3. Filbert nut flavour is appealing to most palates.
    4. Cracking and kernel removal is simple even with hybrids due to a shell that is round, without convolutions, like an egg shell.
    5. Most filberts and filbert hybrid selections drop free of their husks, partially dried.
    6. Planting select seed produces about one seedling in ten that equals the selected parent.
  2. Limiting factors in filbert production:
    1. Hardy native hazels, tree hazels and some filberts are small nuts enclosed by husks, unable to drop free. Husk enclosed nuts drop over a long period, usually past leaf drop and into the winter.
    2. The most productive stands of native hazels are reported in eastern Quebec, but they go unharvested due to the difficulties of gathering and husking.
    3. Hazel gathering, husking, and cracking inventions are lacking. Hand labour is too slow.
    4. Filbert selections bear heavily only where sheltered from desiccating winter winds and allowed to bloom in cool moist breezes of early spring.
    5. Filberts are easily water stressed. Their leaves brown off and upper twigs and even stems will die. Eastern filbert blight fungus will appear on stems after the bushes are stressed by water shortage or over-bearing. Filberts often die near thirty years of age, 7 m high and 20 cm in stem diameter (perhaps this is drought related). Native hazels form clump type shrubs 2 m high which spread out as their centres decline.
    6. Blue jays, grackles and squirrels take nuts, often before nuts mature (a nut with a thick end and entangling husk is not all bad).
    7. Local propagation is by seed due to the difficulties of budding, grafting and layering. Excellent seedlings have developed, but layering them is often neglected.
    8. Simazine, which is usually the economical herbicide for the release of nut trees, is tough on young filberts. Though filberts are sensitive, simazine is used on them, if they are in dark organic soil, or several years old.
    9. Shrunken kernels are often found under attractive shells, and indicate a seedling to discard.
  3. Germinating filberts or hazels is difficult because the nuts take up water slowly. Nuts, which are dried for eating, require eight weeks of cold, moist stratification to germinate at a fair rate. Even properly prepared nuts fail to germinate, if the rise in ground temperature is abrupt, or the soil becomes dry. Mark your planting well because germination, especially of tree hazels, may take two years.
    1. Seeding filberts or hazels:
      1. Harvest nuts before they dry.
      2. Refrigerate the nuts in a crisper until the ground cools in the fall.
      3. Fall plant the nuts, or stratify them in a wire package.
      4. To fall plant, cover the nuts with 3 cm earth and 2 cm sawdust. Add on a little earth to hold the sawdust in place.
      5. To spring plant, at spring break-up, cover nuts with 3 cm earth and 2 cm sawdust.
      6. Keep the sawdust from drying out until most nuts are up.
      7. Just prior to the emergence of the seedlings, spray a contact systemic herbicide plus an over the top herbicide. (Roundup plus Enide or equal) If the planting is small, weed by hand while weeds are small.
      8. Where mice are a problem, delay planting while baiting and removing habitat. Where birds are a problem, fall plant and sow a grass cover crop. Kill grass with Fusilade once filberts are in leaf.
      9. Squirrels and crows must be controlled in the spring long after seedlings are up. Again bait. Agway and Co-op make an effective orchard bait. (Step 9 is seldom needed with fall planting and a fall sown cover crop.)
      10. Stay ahead of weeds by hand weeding and careful herbicide spraying.
  4. Choosing the site for a filbert planting is the most important step in a grower's plan. The soil must allow 1.5 m deep roots. If the soil is not between six and seven pH, and rich enough to grow a thick plant cover, it should be modified and fertilized over one or more seasons. Filberts will not tolerate wet sites. The ground must be well drained with ditches or drain tile. Filberts need cross pollination. On protected sites this is seldom a problem because of the practice of planting filberts in seedling or pollinator groups. Catkin killing due to sustained -18C with wind (or short bloom receptivity due to harsh spring wind) eliminates filbert production on open sites. Choose a site protected from the wind. Likely sites would be in the lee of a woods, pine stand, hill, or other vegetated and built up area.
  5. Planting and maintaining filberts and hazels:
    1. After grass has grown out 10 cm in spring, kill sod with a 2 m spot of contact systemic herbicide. (Roundup or equal) Let the Roundup spray dry (absorb) before digging.
    2. Dig the hole deeper and broader than the extended root system to be planted.
    3. For a metre high transplant, mix approximately 1 kg of bone meal into the planting soil. (Digging and mixing the previous summer is highly effective.)
    4. Spread the root system and trim off dead and badly injured roots. Roots larger than 5 mm diameter which have torn ends should be pruned to smooth ends. Do not let roots dry off or sunburn. Roots which look grown together, like straws on a broom, will resist spreading, but must be forced apart. Packing and stacking forms this unnatural congestion.
    5. Place the root system in the hole so that the root crown is 4 cm below the original ground surface.
    6. Filter in the planting soil while spreading the root system. Remove weed roots and grass clumps from the planting soil as you come upon them. A fibrous root system on your transplant indicates a healthy, well nourished tree. The tree can be ruined by wadding together the roots. Rather than wadding, it would be better to trim off some of the hair roots. Inexperienced planters often need supervising.
    7. Tug on the stem and tamp to consolidate the soil, while keeping the roots extended. Use a stick or shovel handle to rod soil between the roots.
    8. Water to help consolidate the soil, but don't flood out the filtering in of soil and tamping operation.
    9. Mulch with sawdust or similar material avoiding contact between mulch and stem.
    10. Wrap the stem with a plastic coil tree guard, inserting the coil 4 cm into the ground. Trim the top of the tree back a third to balance it with the weakened root system.
      1. Alternatively, stake a 75 cm tree tube shelter over the tree, tapping the tube a few centimetres into the ground so that mice do not enter.
    11. Water as often as is necessary to keep the sawdust from drying out. Soak the ground at each watering to get the water down to the tree roots.
    12. Use no granular garden fertilizer during the first season, except as you would use a chemical hoe in July to burn weeds and grass without completely killing them. Use .5 kg of 10-10-10 granular garden fertilizer per each 3 cm of stem diameter in early spring of each following year. Broadcast the fertilizer from the trunk toward the outer branches. Keep fertilizer pellets 10 cm from the trunk, minimum. Any pellets contacting the trunk must be removed before they burn the bark.
    13. When weeds return hoe and spray Enide, or equal.
    14. In future years maintain a 2 m wide bare soil mulch along tree rows. Use simazine to kill grass and weeds after catkins are observed on the filberts. Maintain grass strips between tree rows, unless other intercropping is employed.
    15. Single stem tree hazels, and their hybrid forms called tree filberts or trazels, should be trained to conical shapes. Usual pruning is only to remove dead, rubbing and malformed branches. The conical shape is drawn in at the top with the longest branches hanging near the ground. This aids photosynthesis and fruiting by exposing all branches to direct sunlight. Drooping branches store more sugar than upward tending branches.
    16. Native hazels and some filberts divide into many stemmed bushes, often suckering so freely that they can only be grown as thick clumps. Unless the clump is an unusual producer, it is often removed. Clump hazels may be an advantage in native stands by providing their own wind break but they are a nuisance in orchard management.
    17. Filberts and hazelbert hybrids often grow into 4 to 6 m tall bushes of from 6 to 10 stems. They divide into multiple stems just above a noticeable root crown. Multi-stemmed filbert bushes generate a few stems from the root crown as older stems decline. When a declining stem is noticed, a dead branch or other injury can usually be found which has introduced decay into the core of the stem. Remove the declining stem flush with the root crown.
      Apply pitch base wound dressing (or no dressing) and mound earth on the cut area to simulate filbert's natural defence. Be watchful to remove all dead branches and apply pitch base wound dressing to all injuries. Be careful not to remove lower hanging branches because they are usually bent into full sun at the perimeter of the bush and are the heaviest producers.
    18. A few filberts resist dividing into multiple stems at the root crown and form a single short leader. The leader soon divides into upward tending stems. Unless these stems can be made to droop they are often shy bearers. The single stem filbert is much like the filbert bush and is cultured similarly.
    19. Once nut production is underway, after about 8 years, expect to apply 1000 kg of 10-10-10 fertilizer per acre in early spring. Exact formulation is to be determined by leaf analysis. Leaf analysis is tricky due to the ability of leaves to concentrate the minerals tightly bound in the soil. Soil analysis and deficiency symptoms in the leaves can indicate binding. Mulching and keeping an active soil flora and fauna frees up bound minerals.
    20. After 6 years growing, cull out poor producers. Filberts (not tree hazels) which refuse to bear while young, seldom become good producers. Tree hazels can take 10 to 15 years to start bearing.
    21. Before harvest, cut grass, rake and remove debris which can hide nuts.
    22. Early fall pasturing can remove leaves, branchlets, husks and nuts which are homes for next season's pests. Bushes must be large, and forage available, or bushes may be browsed.
    23. Learn to identify filbert blight. (Rapid decline of a stem, proceeding down from the top branchlets which look winter killed, and preceded by a straight line of pin head dots or dashes, spore pustules.) Remove infected stems in resistant bushes, and all the highly susceptible bushes. Spray resistant bushes in spring as growth starts with Bordeaux mixture. Fertilize heavily. The University of Oregon stepped up research on eastern filbert blight, Anisogramma anomala, when it invaded West Coast filbert orchards in the 1980's.
  6. Harvesting and storing filberts can be fun. Filberts are held loose in the husk in late September. Shaking a stem can rain nuts down onto a drop cloth. When first harvested, nuts are moist with a slight peppery taste. The nuts may be dried by placing them in a thin layer on several sheets of newspaper in a dehumidified room. In 4 or 5 days they are eating quality. Similar methods of drying involve blowers and drying trays in airy conditions. Once dried, the nuts may be stored in ventilated metal containers in a cooler. A porch or shed will do for storage if the container is mouse proof. Nuts will stay fresh all winter, but in a heated room their shelf life is less than a month before they become rancid.
    Once nuts taste slightly rancid they will no longer germinate. Nuts for planting should not be dried. They can temporarily be held in a crisper for fall planting, or packed in sand within a wire pouch for stratification and spring planting. If the nuts are left in the refrigerator until spring, they only partially respond to soaking and early planting. Many nuts remain viable but germinate the second season after planting.
  7. Preparation of filbert nuts is usually to air dry the nuts for several weeks, crack and cat. Many people like roasted filberts. Filbert butter may be produced like peanut butter. Done properly, roasting filberts heightens their flavour. Place a double layer of in shell filberts on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 170C. Cool outside the oven until warm; crack and eat. Cooling in the oven, or mounding hot in a bowl, will over-cook the nuts. Filberts may be substituted for almonds or English walnuts in many recipes.
  8. Filbert wood is much like elm. It can be bent to shape without cracking. Tree hazel may produce a high quality veneer, but the main use of tree filberts is landscape trees where a tall tree with white corky bark is desired.
  9. Propagation of filberts in Ontario is by growing seedlings of superior selections. Often one or two seedlings in a group of ten will be comparable to the selected seed parent. Evaluation of seedlings is possible 5 years after planting. Breeding of filberts is developing catkin hardiness, kernel quality, production, blight resistance, and a single stem tree form. On the west coast filbert propagation is by tip layering.
    1. Tip layering
      1. Tip layering filberts involves; growing a bush, removing its top during winter, thinning regrowth to about ten healthy stems, hooking the stems into the ground, and girdling for rooting. A young bush will raise about six healthy stems which are bent over when they stand 1.5 m high. The base of a 25 cm tip is pinned to the ground. A hog-ring staple is clamped on to pinch and girdle the stem as it grows. This area is covered with a high organic potting soil. The tip is turned up to continue stem growth. By winter the tips are well rooted. The top of the bush is again cut and the process repeated.
      2. Reasons for layering local filbert selections:
        1. Filberts root easily in high organic soils.
        2. Selections need distribution for testing and recognition.
        3. Filberts on their own roots ensure that all shoots are the same variety.
        4. Bending stems down can benefit the mother plant by bringing these stems into full sun light.
        5. If suckers start out from underground, the underground bark is ready to root. Sticking these suckers in a tree shelter is a successful method of rooting them.
      3. Factors limiting local filbert layering:
        1. Our growing season is shorter, harsher, and less sunny than at the western groves which slows our rooting. Consequently, two seasons are needed before the same strong plants can be taken-up. First roots should start in late June when the soil temperature reaches 30C.
        2. Owners of selections don't want to lose crops. Layering their bushes would have to be non-destructive.
        3. Stem terminals have to be trimmed back one year before layering, to obtain rapidly growing shoots.
        4. Rabbits and mice often destroy bent-down stems.
      4. Method for layering local filberts:
        1. After harvest drive a stake and draw a filbert stem out and down until it is hip high. Necessary materials are: metal fence post, plastic coated fibreglass clothes line and, for snaring stems, clamps cut from car tires, drawn tight with stove bolts.
        2. Prune the stem back to produce several cut ends 5 mm in diameter. Rub out all buds which arise more than 5 cm below the cut ends which are to be buried. Maintain rapid growth from shoots to be layered by rubbed out other buds until mid-summer.
        3. After grass has grown out 10 cm spray the area where the stem will touch down with a contact systemic herbicide. (Roundup, or equal)
        4. One day later spade the touch down area. Mix in one kg of bone meal and 50 1 of peat moss.
        5. At the first of June pin the bases of the growing shoots to the ground. Coat hanger wire bent to 15 cm staples may be constructed as pins. Mound the soil between the shoots.
        6. Cover the bedding area with black plastic film. Draw the tips of the filbert shoots through the film. The black plastic film is used to heat the soil to 30C, the optimum temperature for root initiation. By late June remove the film and spray Enide. Root development should proceed at 24C optimum. Strong rooted filberts may be taken in the fall of the following growing season.
    2. The tree tube shelter method of rooting filberts:
      1. Sever shoots from underground-arising shoots, cutting as close to the trunk as possible. These cuttings do not have to have roots but have to have at least a bit of yellow bark which is bark produced underground.
      2. Stick cuttings 10 cm into dark (organically rich) garden soil. Only the yellow bark will send roots early enough to produce healthy starts.
      3. Typically, stake a 75 cm tree growth shelter over the cutting.
      4. Move the cutting and shelter to a permanent location in fall. Stack a second 75 cm shelter on the first in spring.
  10. Spacing filberts is based on spacing observations for productive trees growing in orchards under lake region conditions.
    1. Approximately 3 m2 of trunk cross section growing on 4000 m2 of land produces most nuts.
    2. Approximately 6 m2 of trunk cross section growing on 4000 m2 of land produces most fibre.
    3. Decline in both nut and fibre production is uneconomical and indicates injury to the trees.
    4. Spacing changes because selected seedlings planted in an orchard need sorting out. Odds are that one in a group of ten will be exceptional enough to be made permanent.
    5. Tree spades are available to move trees without shock. Spades could be used to relocate selected trees, rather than chopping them down. More likely, rooted or grafted selections are planted at the more permanent tree locations.
    6. Filbert stems should droop over and gather light as in grape and Heartnut culture. A side benefit it is that downward movement of sugar is restricted, increasing nut set. Thin out filberts which are growing as single stem Christmas tree shape trees when noon shade on the floor of the grove increases above 60%. Filberts which are grown with flat tops, bushes with spread stems, are thinned when noon shade approaches 80%. Dense shade is only where filberts tower over aisles.

    7. filbert spacing
      The spacing chart drawn above is constructed from the above spacing factors. Through the years the typical planting area, containing initially 16 trees, is cleared until the one selected tree remains. The maximum diameter of a productive filbert is expected to be 30 cm (at 30 cm diameter, trunk cross sectional area is .0707 m2 . yielding 42 trees per 4000 m2 or 95 m2 of land per tree.) We space trees closer in north-south rows to help moderate west wind, speed application of pesticides, and ease machine movement and intercropping between rows. Choose 8 m on centres north and south with 12 m between rows for final spacing. This makes initial (seedling) spacing 2 m by 3 m. (Equalling 16 trees in a 96 m2 area.) (4 m by 6 m cultivars)

      thinning filbert

    8. Drastic pruning can maintain filbert production by allowing more light through the orchard while delaying tree removals. As filberts crowd and shade each other, energy converted to flowers and fruiting stems is reduced. If drastic pruning is delayed until butt density reaches the point where fibre production decreases (1414 cm2 or 75% of the ground shaded in an orchard of cone shaped trees), nut production can be reduced by one quarter. Pruning trees which are scheduled for the next removal, thereby releasing more productive and more permanent trees, can maintain high production. While pruning, remember that unshaded limbs, which bend down, gather more light and store more energy, producing more nuts, than ascending unshaded limbs. Prune off entire limbs and sectors of trees that extend toward more permanent trees. Apply pitch wound dressing promptly, or use no wound dressing. Take advantage of filbert's ability to bend without breaking. Draw stems to where they are exposed to full light. Try to maintain the shade on the orchard floor at 70%, if the fruiting branchlets are vigorous. Many filbert selections are locally grown and evaluated. The 1976-77 winter was harsh and few filberts bore. However, several of the Gellatly selections bore. Heavy production was reported on a filbert just north of London. Morden Experimental Farm in Manitoba also had a good hazelbert crop in 1977. Gellatly's trazel selection, Faroka, is highly rated for hardiness, quality and production. It has female flowers along peduncles which hold its male catkins. These bisexual catkins which are not typical catkins even in chestnut are linked with super vigour and nut production.
  11. Tree hazels hybrids may, in the long run, out produce filberts. Their main drawback is requiring more than 10 years to start producing. Tree hazels have hardiness, blight resistance and the ability to pack a tasty nut full of kernel in a short season. Deep root systems make tree hazels better equipped for summer water stress.
  12. Projects with filberts:
    1. Develop hardy tree hazel hybrids.
    2. Select among seedlings and varieties for the firmest kernels.
    3. Select for mid September ripening, late September drop.
    4. Root your selections.

Air Layering & Stooling

Root Generating Chemicals:
IBA = Indolebutyric Acid
IAA = Indoleacetic Acid
PPZ = 1-phenyl-3-methyl-5-pyrazone
  1. Air layering filbert:
    1. Air layering is used to generate roots on selections so that they are on their own roots. There are good reasons to grow filbert, juneberry, cherry dogwood, heartnut and chestnut on their own roots. Filbert, cherry dogwood, and juneberry sucker freely to renew stems. Thus, they need to be on their own roots or special root stocks so that the original variety is renewed and not the rootstock. Heartnut and chestnut often display incompatibility at graft unions. Heartnut is difficult to graft, but once grafted, the discontinuity at the union is unsightly rather than lethal.
    2. Verne Luvall of Galesburg, Illinois worked out these methods to quickly air layer filbert. He had been grafting blight resistant filberts on seedling stock, only to lose them when blight invaded the stocks. After treating and wrapping a softwood shoot, it is forty days until the layer is severed, potted and moved to a lath house or greenhouse.
    3. Dormant graft in early May. The union must be strong, so the saddle graft or English graft is used. Remove all sprouts from the stock as they appear. The root stock must be vigorous and the graft must be set on a strong, young shoot.
    4. After 15 cm shoot has grown in late May, girdle the scion 1 cm below the sprout or sprouts with three tight turns of wire. Cut a 5 mm ring of bark from below the bottom turn. If cambium reattaches, root generation normally fails. Strengthen the graft union with several turns of Blenderm first-aid film.
    5. Apply 8000 ppm IBA + 8000 ppm PPZ (or 8000 ppm IAA + 8000 ppm PPZ, or 8000 ppm IBA) in full strength grain alcohol to the base of the greenwood shoots, enough to wet them. They will appear dry in about a minute.
    6. Soak, then wring water from a double handful of long strand sphagnum moss. Wrap the moss around the scion from well above the treated area to below the union.
    7. Wrap the moss with several turns of food storage film. Seal top and bottom ends of the film to the stem with first aid film.
    8. Wrap the film with aluminum foil. If rain soaks the moss, it must be squeezed out again until roots take over and drain it. If watering is necessary to keep the moss moist, add some liquid fertilizer.
    9. Sever successful layers 40 days after treating. Many filbert roots should be 5 cm long.
    10. Pot the layer and move it to a lath house (a still, humid, semi-shaded environment where it is watered and fed). Temporarily (for 1 or 2 weeks) cover the filbert with plastic food storage bag to prevent wilting.
      1. Transplanting into tree shelters is adequate once some roots have formed on the air layer.
    11. Plant out as the filbert goes dormant in October.
  2. To Continue stooling:
    1. In later years sever stools in March.
    2. Bank new sprouts with highly organic potting soil. Expect these filbert stools to fully root inside two growing seasons. Optionally, the stooling may be speeded by girdling and treating as in air layering, although this weakens the mother plant.
  3. Heartnut will root easily, like filbert, but some species and varieties are tricky. Chestnuts and Illinois Everbearing mulberry do not root unless made to sucker from blind buds. Dr. Loy Shreve developed this sprouting technique for walnuts, and finds that it works with most hardwood species. Adventitious cuttings are taken after they have grown out 20 cm

Heartnut and Heartnut Sorts

  1. Heartnuts (Juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis) are hard shelled walnuts which can release whole kernels from unfractured shells because kernels are smoothly tapering and shells split into halves. Other heartnut sorts are hybrids with butternut (J. cinerea) or Manchurian walnut (J. mandshurica). As the population of butternuts declines due to imported diseases the population of heartnuts and Manchurian walnuts increases. However, this is untrue for Montreal through the Prairie Provinces. Butternuts and their hybrids are alone able to endure these short seasons and arctic cold. Hybrids like Mitchell are being bred to replace the butternuts of the North.
  2. The name heartnut describes a valentine shaped nut whose shell silhouettes its valentine shaped kernel. Heartnuts taste most like butternuts; a kernel mild in texture and flavour, rich in aromatic oil. Year old heartnuts taste like Brazil nuts.
  3. Crackability makes heartnut selections household nuts. The Fodermaier variety can part its shell when quickly dried. Sealed nuts release, "crack", when pressure is applied across their shoulders. Vise-grip pliers, those with curved jaws, are ideal for cracking heartnuts. The varying sizes, shapes, and textures of shell make the half shells decorative and useful in crafts.
  4. Hulling heartnuts is conveniently done by hand, once the hull has dried. Green hulls are fuzzy and sticky. Nuts drop in the hull and will ooze the black walnut stain while wet. Black walnut hulls become leathery upon drying and must be hulled while yellow-wet. However, heartnut hulls fray like old paper upon drying.
  5. Heartnut kernels are most like English walnut kernels in their uses. Both have a soft enough texture to be used in baking without dicing. English walnut kernels are lustrous and frilly while heartnut kernels are a yellowish tan (pellicle left on) and a smooth valentine shape. Home cracking of heartnut selections is faster than English walnut cracking. English walnut shells fragment and, if the kernel falls free of shell, it usually clings to the nut septum.
  6. An interesting pattern emerges in the following listing of walnuts. By routing from heartnut to Persian walnut to black walnut to butternut:
    1. Nut production gradually decreases.
    2. Crackability gradually decreases.
    3. Hardiness would have gradually increased if Persian walnut was pulled out to least hardy.
      1. Heartnut (Juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis)
      2. Persian walnut (J. regia) (English walnut)
      3. Heartnut sort, hybrid (J. cinerea x cordiformis) (Buartnut) or (J. nigra x cordiformis)
      4. Japanese walnut (J. ailantifolia)
      5. Manchurian walnut (J. mandsurica) (Black Pecan)
      6. Black walnut (J. nigra)
      7. Butternut (J. cinerea)
  7. Hardiness is easier to find in heartnut than Persian walnut. Most Persian walnuts are maritime or nearly tropical sorts which suffer more insect and disease damage than heartnuts. Hybrids of most walnuts have been grown. Heartnut hybrids are often successful. However, Persians hybrids stalled and it is noted that the Persians accumulate sterility, susceptibility to bacterial blight of walnut, thick twisted shells, poor hardiness with no retention of the black walnut flavour. (Exceptions are several Persian walnut hybrids by Kenneth A. Dooley of Indiana, and Clifford H. Dabb of Utah.)
    1. The Morgan Arboretum near Montreal has mature heartnuts and heartnut hybrids. The hybrids are healthy trees, but the full heartnuts suffer dead limbs and wounded trunks scarred by frost cracks and winter sun injury. These selections are from J.U. Gellatly from the Okanogan Valley in B.C. Gellatly selected for highly productive trees. Some production and landscape quality were gained, but hardiness and nut quality appear less than adequate. We have done further breeding and have good nut quality, but have not taken these for testing in Montreal.
    2. Heartnuts are hardy inland. Hybridizing them with butternut (or black walnut) offers:
      1. Hardiness increases against fluctuating and arctic temperature.
      2. Heartnut increases resistance to leaf hoppers, butternut canker and anthracnose.
      3. Heartnuts and their hybrids are productive. Flower stalks often contain 20 nutlets. 1000 kg per hectare of in-shell nuts (300 kg kernels) is nominal.
      4. Heartnut carries the crackability traits of a flat shell and tapering kernels.
      5. Hulls of heartnut sorts release on drying to allow hand hulling.
      6. Hybrids can attain the vigour of northern poplar and produce nuts.
      7. Heartnuts contribute large lush foliage even more tropical looking than Ailanthus, tree of heaven.
  8. Heartnuts have landscape quality for people who want tropical appearing trees. The heartnut variety CW3 retains its leaves all season in a lustrous green condition. Some varieties start to discard lower leaves at mid season.
    When leaves drop only the centre rib remains for raking. The leaflets disappear. Heartnut leaves and roots contain far less juglone than black walnut.
  9. Recently the best butternuts to appear have been heartnut hybrids (An example is Craxeasy.). This changeover will increase for two reasons. Butternut is being decimated by butternut canker and any spiny shelled nut is accepted as a butternut. Hybrids have a distinct suture line, and are sometimes flat and heart shaped. (An example is Mitchell.)
    1. Comparing heartnut trees to butternut trees, heartnut trees are low headed, spreading laterally from a single short trunk. Butternuts are much more erect, often seem to be excessively limby, and often have several trunks. Hybrids, especially the G. H. Corsan hybrids at Echo Valley Park in Toronto, are massive timber type trees. Juvenile heartnuts are similar to juvenile European chestnuts because they grow rampantly until bearing begins, then growth slows by two thirds. Young heartnuts have terminal branches that look like broom handles, crow perches. The bark below the reddish fuzz on the current seasons growth is yellowish. Butternuts have many more branches which are much thinner, about 1 cm thick. Current season's bark is greenish. Mature bark is light grey on both species.
    2. Butternut canker fungus (Siroccus clavigignent- Juglandace) is resisted by few butternuts. The wounds are much like chestnut blight cankers which kill patches of bark. These spread to girdle the tree. Butternut cankers exude a dark ooze. Chestnut blight cankers start as brown to copper patches where the bark breaks to expose sap wood. On chestnut no ooze is present, but under warm wet conditions the dead area is covered with orange spore bodies.
    3. Four serious walnut diseases are resisted by hybridizing:
      1. Butternut canker described above.
      2. Anthracnose fungus, (Gnomia leptostyla) or leaf blotch which defoliates black walnut during hot humid weather.
      3. Bunch disease (mycoplasma not identified) or witch's broom which is uncontrolled vegetative growth. Mid-season buds burst into growth as they form. Broom growth is not winter hardy.
      4. Stem dieback fungus, (Melanconium oblongum) where the butternut or black walnut declines from stem tips toward the trunk. The tree eventually dies from centre rot. This decline is similar to filberts declining with eastern filbert blight. On filberts spore bodies form neat rows of dots running down yellowing and dying filbert stems. In walnut dieback the eruptions form on thin walnut bark in a chicken pox pattern, dots at 3 mm centres. The fungus is feeding well below the eruptions as can be tracked by stunted growth and yellow foliage. It is assumed that Persian walnut is resistant to stem dieback but hosts the disease on winter-injured branchlets to surface as worthless graft wood.
      5. Stem dieback and bunch disease are slow spreading and are often treated by sanitary pruning. Whole sectors of a tree are removed because the disease extends below visible symptoms and several branches become involved before noticed. Growers from Central Illinois to Pennsylvania observe that bunch disease appears, then disappears in their trees. Groves of heartnut have died out in the South and in California. Surviving groves have been fertilized with potassium or otherwise tended to limit bunch disease.
      6. Good cultural practice with heartnuts is to fertilize in early spring to wash nutrients down and push the greening of the grass. Foliar nutrients should be added to the tree sprays as the season continues. Heartnuts have large roots near the surface which must not be injured in cultivation or orchard traffic. Any practice which encourages late growth will encourage leaf hoppers to suck the late growth, and this brings on a cycle of bunch disease, leaf hoppers and aphids.
      7. Though local heartnuts have not suffered any disease, the trouble farther south is worrying. We look to the fruit industry for ideas on control of fungal and bacterial diseases. Bacterial blight of walnut is controlled by copper containing chemicals as protect California's English walnut industry. Earl Douglass gained a control for chestnut blight in the orchard by trying fungicides, especially those for black knot in plums, but new regulations have discontinued and reformulated same. Filbert blight is getting control advice, now that Oregon is faced with the disease.
  10. Germination of heartnut seed has less need of cold moist stratification than needed for butternut or black walnut. However, stratification always pushes up a more vigorous plant. Heartnuts have thinner, less tightly sealed shells, and usually germinate 90% after a month of cold moist stratification. An abandoned refrigerator (with catch removed, and nail holes struck through the back for drainage) can be laid on its back on the ground, and mounded with earth to make a good walnut storage chest. Nuts should be gathered moist and left unhulled. Open the chest to rain in fall. Nuts should be planted out in the spring before nuts split, allowing the white root (radical) to poke out and down. Plant the nuts 2 cm deep. Heartnuts and all the walnuts are very tolerant of simazine herbicide.
    1. Squirrels and other rodents must be kept out of newly seeded nuts. They take the seed even after the trees are up. Crows and jays will feast on Persian walnuts and filberts, but take no notice of heartnuts or black walnuts, usually.
  11. Transplanting heartnuts is much like transplanting filberts although heartnuts are set farther apart. Both send major roots out at ground level. Before digging out, the large surface roots should be located and cut to retain a broad root system. Failing this, the tree is stunted because side roots are cut too close to the tap root, or the side roots pull shards from the root crown. After saving a few side roots transplanting is highly successful. The surface roots are first to warm, heal and begin functioning. All too often black walnuts, hickories, hicans and pecans lack surface roots and do not prosper when transplanted into cold northern soils.
    1. Use tricks to establish trees which arrive without side roots. Plant smaller trees because most of the root is near the surface. Mulch with plastic film to prevent evaporation and warm the soil (clear film warms deepest). Start grafted trees in tube pots (cut from 10 cm plastic pipe or duct) and give bottom heat, warmth from sun and still air. Set out the trees by mid-June by pushing tree and soil into the planting hole, exiting the tube root first. Don't pull the tree from the tube.
    2. Transplants with a large tap root and weak side roots can be heeled-in, laying flat, and lightly covered (only the root) with dark soil, kept moist, and started into recovery before careful planting in June. With the extensive side roots of heartnut and filbert these tricks are built-in.
  12. Encourage the surface roots of heartnut because:
    1. Surface soils are biologically active. They are aerated, organically enrichable, and easier to feed with leaf mould and broadcast fertilizer.
    2. Heartnuts are the most likely nut to prosper (next to pine) where a rich moist soil overlays a high water table, hardpan, bedrock or cold subsoil.
    3. Problems with the surface roots of heartnut:
      1. Surface soil has to be rich in calcium and organic matter, fairly moist (an unusual occurrence for native nut trees), and free of competing roots.
      2. Surface roots are easily injured by traffic and cultivation.
      3. Surface roots of walnut (especially black walnut, if that is the rootstock) give off their own weed killer, juglone, which injures strawberries, tomatoes, pine trees and apple trees. Under heartnut trees these plants would be shaded out anyway.

  13. spacing heartnut

    Spacing of heartnut trees is very similar to the spacing of bush filberts, but farther apart. Light efficiency is best when 3 m2 of butt area are growing on 4000 m2 of land. When hybrid heartnuts are grown for timber they should crowd each other by growing 7 m2 of butt area on 4000 m2 of land. The shadow on the orchard or forest floor would be about 70% of the area. Heartnut has a flat head with good light penetration from above. The forest hybrids will be forced tall by crowding. Heavily cropping heartnuts should grow to 50 cm diameter in fifty years. Timber types would about double this growth rate, but need crowding, thus could use a similar planting spacing. Initial spacing would be halved, like black walnut.
    1. Timber growers should delay thinning until the lesser diagonal and row can be removed at a usable 30 cm diameter. Pines should be set out four years ahead of timber walnuts to produce adequate windbreak and crowding. Some pines may be tended as Christmas trees. Heartnut hybrids might kill off the remaining pines after benefiting from the crowding by being forced tall.
  14. Selling heartnut hybrid logs may be tricky. All the walnut lumber can be stained to match black walnut. They have the same qualities of wood (probably not the curl of Persian or curly black). Yet, even black walnut is an uncommon log in Ontario. Consequently, there are few buyers. A few logs could best be sold to a local wood worker through a custom sawyer. Truckload qualities would probably be sold into Indiana, the big walnut timber state.
  15. Heartnut breeding may yield a clonal rootstock for walnuts. Clonal means one individual. In this instance its root system is needed for superior stool-rooting, grafting, transplanting, and site adaptation. Without cultivars on clonal rootstocks, planting plans are warped by trees growing at different rates with the trees which produce large nut crops being crowded out. J.U. Gellatly showed that heartnut would layer and stool, an exception among walnuts. Paul Sauber finds heartnut a valuable rootstock for Persians (also in France). However, Lawrence H. MacDaniels warns that many Persians will overgrow heartnut and cause a structurally weak union.
    1. Because Clonal apple root stocks are used in orchards and not forests, their counterparts would be used with nut producing walnuts. Think size control, dwarfing, irrigation and feeding of compact (weak?) root systems, and the highly productive dwarfish Persians, like Hansen, Metcalfe or Colby. These link together to produce an orchard of compact trees.
  16. To introduce adapted heartnuts, the Society of Ontario Nut Growers distributed heartnut seed from the most noted Ontario grove, the Elton Papple grove near Brantford. Roy Metcalfe is accumulating statistics from the 1976 SONG heartnut seed distribution. A few seedlings are succeeding into Agriculture Canada hardiness Zone 4 (Haliburton). After six growing seasons nuts were being produced. The first bearing trees have some nuts with kernels too bound to be useful and some nuts which require a 15 minute water soak and overnight storage in a paper bag before they release whole kernels.
    1. The Papple heartnut grove produces bumper crops of nuts. It missed cropping only in 1981 probably due to our Arctic Christmas of 1980. The trees appeared uninjured but did not fruit. At the Weschcke nut grove near River Falls, Wisconsin few of the 1981 nuts set and matured but the heartnuts bore as did Ohio and Patterson black walnuts, native chestnut and a small proportion of the hickories and Winkler hazel seedlings. Heartnuts near Preston, Iowa, St. Louis, Missouri and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania bear annual crops.
  17. Some heartnut cultivars are:
    1. The Etter heartnut is short season, high quality and highly productive. Though impossible to graft (or so it seems), it has many selected seedlings which were grown out here. Etter trees in Pennsylvania have had bunch disease, but make progress against it on a droughty chestnut site.
    2. Fodermaier is a twin of Etter except larger of nut and later ripening, much like Campbell's Centre.
    3. R. D. Campbell has produced fine seedlings from Etter nuts. The selection CW3 is top of the line with a heart shaped nut that dumps kernel even in a drought year. Drought years are known to pinch the kernels in many varieties, Faust especially, so that they no longer taper and dump. CW3 never lost a crop even during the test years of the early 1980's. It has the latest bloom and hardiest terminals. It retains its lowest leaves green all season, unusual for a heartnut. Other of Doug Campbell's Etter seedlings are West and Szukis.
    4. Campbell's West is a twin of Bates, but with less susceptibility to drought pinching its kernels (deeper creased yielding less air pocket). West produces flowers as a very young free. It is producing nuts as an understorey tree in two locations. Like Bates and Faust the nut is more a pointed long oval than heart shaped.
    5. The Brock heartnut is productive and has the plumpest kernel which drops free. Where pollinated by butternuts and hybrids, Brock produces many hybrids which appear to be Craxezy again.
    6. Wright produces a large kernel bound tightly in a round shell. The shell must be smashed to extract kernels. It is a step backwards in heartnut shell design. Round nuts have air pockets which fill out the shell during drought to pinch kernels. Others that pinch due to air pockets (lack centre crease) are Bates, Faust, Fish
    7. Schubert and Imshu are mother and daughter from seed brought back from Korea. Ken Schubert from near St. Louis lost the original free to a late freeze which killed foot long new growth and put the free out of synchronization with the season. The nuts and kernels are plump hearts like Brock.
    8. Pyke is one of a series of very flat heartnuts which has nearly 45° taper at all inclusions, a most extractable kernel. It is very early ripening with a very thin shell. It would be a twin of Rhodes except Rhodes is very late ripening, mid October in Niagara.
    9. The Calender is Elton Papple's best producer. It is much like Campbell West except the sharp nose typical of heartnut is small and blunt, offering hope that breeding will eliminate these sharp points which are currently removed by tumbling the nuts with fist size stones.
    10. The Mitchell Hybrid is a productive, large nut, spiny a bit like butternut, but the shell is flat and crackable like heartnut, kernels a bit tight in shell. Similar hybrids are Filzinger and Baker Hybrid.
    11. The Sauber Black Walnut Hybrid has a rough black walnut type shell which cracks like Wright. Sauber hybrid is a controlled cross with Fish heartnut and the shell binds one kernel lobe as does Fish. One seedling of Sauber shows its shell can improve with breeding.
    12. The Covel Manchurian Walnut is a productive "black pecan" which cracks like a heartnut, though its taper is hardly noticeable. The shell looks like a very large in-shell peanut. The original tree is winter-sun injured, hollow, and half dead on droughty clay near Lockport, NY. The kernels are bright yellow and slide out whole. The distinct scaly impressions on Covel, Schubert and Imshu shells indicate that these are somehow different from the other heartnuts. Covel and the Baker heartnut rapidly gain flavour to the Brazil nut taste with a few months of dry storage. Roth open shell poorly using side pressure, but will divide with a black walnut cutter.
  18. Future work with heartnut:
    1. Stool heartnuts, especially Etter.
    2. Breed heartnut sorts to the quality of CW3, Etter, Imshu.
    3. Determine breeding partners which produce quality offspring for nuts or timber.
    4. Evaluate heartnuts for disease resistance.
    5. Evaluate rootstocks which propagate by layering or stooling.
    6. Build on the Chinese work of evaluating the nutritive oils in Manchurian walnut.
    7. Evaluate the remarkable storage life of heartnuts which seems to improve flavour.
    8. Evaluate the edibility of green heartnut fruit in food preparation and pickling.

Persian Walnuts

(English, Carpathian, Russian, German, etc., Manregian, Himalayan, Chinese, Pomeroy, Crath Carpathian)
  1. Most Persian walnut (Juglans regia) trees which are growing in Ontario are seedlings grown from nuts imported by a missionary to Poland, Rev. Paul Crath. These Crath Carpathian walnuts have been growing since the 1930's, and the original trees have reached their full potential.
    1. Where and how these trees are growing and producing is very interesting to SONG members. Though the information will never be complete, most successes are reported within 3 km of the shore of the lakes, from Kingston, clockwise through Midland. There are productive trees away from the lake shore. Inland trees are often troubled with winter injury and late spring frosts. However, if they are in town and among buildings they are usually productive after a mild winter. Very few are growing like hickories out in farmer's fields.
    2. Persian walnuts are prized for their nut and shade tree qualities.
    3. Persian walnuts fill their nuts under cool conditions. Productive trees are growing in Belleville, Goderich, Owen Sound and Collingwood.
    4. Exceptionally hardy trees produce yearly crops near Locust Hill, Woodstock and Mitchell.
    5. Persian walnuts are thin shelled, and often large. They can self hull and fall to the ground bright and clean.
    6. A few Persian varieties are self pollinating.
    7. Seedlings from selected parent trees often retain high nut quality, but hardiness and production vary widely.
    8. Persian walnuts are fast growing with the first nuts to appear in six year old, 8 cm diameter trees.
  2. Limiting factors in Persian walnut production are:
    1. Typical Persians require a lake moderated climate, a cool spring to hold back leaf flush and bloom until danger of frost has passed, and a long fall with several frosts before the plunge into winter.
    2. Away from the lake, underdrainage is critical for extensive root development which ensures fall dormancy and winter hardiness by providing uptake of fluids, then easy storage of fluids during cold.
    3. Persians grow best on 1.5 m deep gravel loam soil.
    4. The native soil of Persians is decomposed limestone. Locally they prosper on fertile soils of pH 6.5 to 7.5. Liming gets seedlings off to a good start and extensive roots locate the right soil.
    5. Productive groves usually need spraying for husk maggot, although a crusty soil, orchard sanitation and baits reduce this need.
    6. Bacterial blight of walnut can be mistaken for winter injury. Persian walnut trees can be riddled with black nuts, twigs and leaves by this disease where they are in congested, airless, and humid locations.
    7. Persians rarely self pollinate so that three or more should be brought into a yard for cross pollination.
    8. Mixed plantings of pines and Persians are successful at windy sites.
    9. Leaf hoppers suck juice from terminals and leaves during July and August. Hoppers shy away from large objects like houses which may help explain why Persians do best in town near houses.
    10. After cold moist stratification Persian walnut seed, like other nut seed, produces the quickest germination and strongest seedlings. However, total germination is higher after dry storage.
  3. Germination of Persian walnuts is highly successful, if after cold, airy storage, nuts are soaked before planting.
    1. Gather nuts from the best quality, most productive trees available. Never store in plastic, unless nuts go directly to airy refrigeration.
    2. During wet weather, gather and dry nuts daily.
    3. Dry nuts by air circulation and dehumidification. Nuts may be hung in wire baskets in a dry breezy space for longer than a week, or spread on newspaper in a dehumidified room for five days. Be sure kernels are palatable before moving the nuts to winter storage.
    4. Fall plant (You do not need to hull Persians which you fall plant), or store the Persian walnuts in cool, airy, rodent proof containers. Good results are achieved by storing the nuts in perforated cans in an enclosed porch or attached garage. Where mice and squirrels are a problem, delay fall planting as long as possible while baiting, trapping and clearing away habitat.
    5. While planting the nuts, position them carefully. Place each nut on its side with the suture line vertical. The point of the nut is horizontal. This configuration allows the root to emerge horizontally and push downward, followed by the stem which emerges as the soil warms, and pushes vertically. If the rise in soil temperature is rapid, the stem grows vertically before it exits the shell. A vertical suture line divides the shell above the stem, allowing it to exit without being trapped under the shell. Similarly, the root exits a dry nut.
    6. Cover the nuts with 4 cm of earth, 2 cm sawdust and enough earth to hold the sawdust in place.
    7. In spring the seed has to he soaked before planting. Soak the nuts by daily draining and refilling fresh water over the nuts for one week. Planting should be as early in spring as conditions permit seed to go in the ground. Usually the seed is soaked outside at 0C. Warmer temperatures speed the soaking process.
    8. Keep the sawdust from drying out until most of the Persian shoots appear. Crows and squirrels pull these bright red shoots from the ground to get the sprouted nuts. Plant the seeds where humans are active, or screen and bait the planting. Agway and Co-op stores sell an effective orchard bait. Grass grows early and can hide the Persians shoots from birds. Later the grass can be killed with Fusilade. The broad leaf weeds can be pulled, or their vigour limited by simazine.
    9. (Optional) Just prior to Persian seedling emergence, spray a contact systemic herbicide and an over the top selective herbicide (Roundup plus simazine, or equal) to kill growing and germinating grass and weeds. If the planting is small, hand weeding while weeds are small is appropriate.
      1. Simazine is an effective and long lasting herbicide for use on most nut seed plantings. On unworked loamy soil simazine stays within the top 5 cm of the soil. Used on unworked soil, most of the common nuts, except filberts, display rapid growth and high tolerance. Working the soil deep, as in transplanting, allows simazine to wash down and cause some stunting. To be effective, simazine has to go on early. There is about a month's delay between application and control. There is slight to no effect from simazine on deep rooted weeds, or walnuts. It can wash over the ground, carried by heavy rain run-off, to cause trouble in neighbouring rows.
  4. Persian walnuts need a special site, suitable for fruit growing. Persians which grow inland, away from the lakes, are hardy trees growing on well drained gravel loam. Only plant Persians which can maintain dormancy. A good orchard site will shed late fall rains. December of 1976 contained weeks of warm wet growing weather, followed by a deep freeze. Many Persians were destroyed which were previously hardy. The Carpathian strain of Persians endures deep winter cold probably better than any other strain. It succeeds by quickly moving fluids to warmer tissue. Waterlogged soil and a cold snap often causes ice to form in the wood of Carpathian trees. A split through the trunk is a common result. Low ground, especially hollows and toes of hills, must be avoided because of frosts and poor water drainage. Late spring frosts will remove the early growth and flowers from Persian walnuts, especially Carpathian. The fluids that quickly rise into warmed tissue move buds in early spring, following which there is no escape of freezing. Put the planting on a ridge, hill top, brow of a hill, or high bank location. At these sites cold air will flow down hill, and be replaced with warmer air during calm air, clear night conditions. High sites will need irrigation to be productive.
    1. Deep soil which allows 1.5 m of root penetration is necessary as with most nut trees. The surface soil should be between pH 6.5 and 7.5 and rich enough to grow a thick plant cover. Preplant treatment, one year prior to setting out trees, improves the site by liming, fertilizing, working, seeding with a legume mix, ditching, and mowing. Working-in bone meal at the tree pits is also advised.
  5. Transplanting and maintaining Persian walnuts:
    1. After grass has grown out 10 cm in the spring, kill sod in a two metre spot with a contact system herbicide (Roundup or equal). Spray at least half a day before digging.
    2. Dig the planting hole broader and deeper than the extended root system to be planted.
    3. For a one metre high transplant, mix approximately one kg of bone meal into the planting soil. (Digging and mixing in the bone meal the previous summer is highly effective.)
    4. Spread the root system and trim off dead and badly injured roots. Roots more than .5 cm diameter, which have torn ends, should be pruned to smooth ends. Do not let the roots dry off. Roots which look grown together, like straws on a broom, will resist spreading, but must be separated. Packing and stacking causes this unnatural congestion.
    5. Place the root system in the hole so that the root crown is 4 cm. below the original ground surface.
    6. Filter in the planting soil, while spreading the root system. Remove weed roots and grass clumps from the planting soil as you come upon them. A fibrous root system on your transplant indicates a healthy, well nourished tree. This tree can be ruined by wadding together the roots. Rather than wadding, it would be better to trim off some of the hair roots. Inexperienced planters often need supervising.
    7. Tug on the stem and tamp to consolidate the soil, while keeping the roots extended. Rod soil between the tree roots with a stick or shovel handle.
    8. After all the soil is replaced, mulch with sawdust or similar material, avoiding permanent contact between the mulch and the stem. Because insulating a cold spring soil is to be avoided, mulching with clear plastic is welcomed, as is spun bonded landscape fabric, or black plastic.
    9. Stake a 75 cm tree tube shelter over the tree, tapping it into the ground a few centimetres so that mice do not enter. Alternatively, wrap the stem with a plastic coil tree guard, inserting the coil 4 cm into the ground.
    10. Trim the tree back approximately one third to balance it with the weakened root system.
    11. Water as often as is necessary to keep the sawdust from drying out. Soak the ground at each watering to get the water down to the tree roots.
    12. Use no granular garden fertilizer during the first season, except as you would a chemical hoe in July to burn back weeds, but not to completely kill the weeds. Use .5 kg of 10-10-10 granular garden fertilizer per each 3 cm of stem diameter in early spring of each following year. Broadcast the fertilizer from the trunk toward the outer branches. Any pellets contacting the bark must be removed before they burn the bark. You may find that use of fertilizer will prevent some Persians from hardening off. Late rains and warm weather does the same, so seek hardy Persians rather than trying to save too tender a tree.
    13. When weeds return, hoe and spray with simazine.
    14. In future years maintain a 2 m wide bare soil mulch along the tree rows. Spraying simazine has proven cost effective. If intercropping is not practised, maintain grass strips between rows. Grass sod is injurious to walnut.
    15. In future years prune only enough to remove dead, rubbing and malformed branches. Maintain a conical shaped tree with the longest branches nearest the ground. Many Persian walnut trees maintain the conical shape naturally. The variety Colby is noted for this shape. Conical shape permits most of the terminal branches to fruit by eliminating shading of the branch ends. South-west injury, often a problem in Carpathians and other Persians which are quick to flow sap, is protected against by shade from long low limbs. Descending limbs gather more light, storing more energy, than those that tend upward. Increased bending due to nut load helps increase sugar storage by drooping the limbs. Maintain less than 50% noon shade on the orchard floor by generous spacing to promote this condition. Even less shade is advised where bacterial blight of walnut is a problem.
    16. Once nut production is underway, after about twelve years, expect to fertilize with about 500 kg of 10-10-10 fertilizer per year. 5-10-15 may be more effective in reducing the growth rate of the trees while maximizing production. Supplements will be determined by leaf analysis. Leaf analysis is tricky due to the ability of leaves to concentrate the minerals tightly bound in the soil. Soil analysis and deficiency symptoms in the leaves can indicate binding. Mulching and keeping an active soil flora and fauna frees up bound minerals.
    17. Begin removing trees before crowding occurs. First remove sick looking and stunted trees which are getting in way of more promising trees. At eight to ten years, start removing poor producers. Trees which sucker excessively should be removed. The cause may be bunch disease, walnut blight, wet feet or genetic lack of hardiness. Top working should be avoided unless the cause of the suckering is correctable and the leaf colour is dark green.
    18. Before harvesting nuts, prepare the orchard by cutting grass, raking and removing debris which mix with and hide nuts.
    19. After harvest, leaves, downed branches, hulls and especially nuts should be pastured off, or shredded to prevent their use as winter homes for next season's pests.
    20. Learn to identify walnut husk maggot flies (small golden "deer" flies) which appear on and lay eggs in the softening hulls of walnuts. Be prepared to spray with a recommended insecticide.
    21. Learn to identify walnut blight (black, dead patches and spots on current season's nut hulls, branchlets, and leaves). Remove highly susceptible trees. Spray at bud break and after rainy, humid periods with Bordeaux mixture or other copper sprays that are recommended. Some people say to spray before the wet period to remove the inoculum which would be splashed about in the rain.
    22. Learn to identify walnut bunch disease (rampant sucker growths at terminals, uncontrolled flushing even at secondary buds, followed by severe winter injury). Persians and black walnuts often mask bunch disease with mysterious poor performance. Trees which have pale yellow leaves are candidates. Japanese walnut quickly develops bunch disease if infected grafts are top worked there-on.
  6. Harvesting and storing Persian walnuts is as simple as picking the large bright nuts from the ground every few days. Dry them for storage in a cool airy location. Commercial growers in California use Ethrel spray and tree shaking to bring nuts down for a once-over harvest.
    1. Dry the walnuts under conditions similar to spreading in a single layer on newspaper in a dehumidified room for five days. Outdoor drying involves hanging the nuts in wire baskets in a stream of fresh air. After the nuts become quite crisp and palatable, they can go to winter storage. Store in rodent-proof, aerated containers in an unheated room or enclosed porch. Freezing kernels in an air tight container provides long term storage. That same containment in a heated room quickly produces the slight rancidity associated with some store bought kernels.
  7. Persian (English, California) walnut recipes are in many cook books. Store bought walnuts often need the rejuvenation cooking brings, to bring up their freshness. Ontario gathered walnuts are usually crisp and sweet due to cool ripening and a short period of cool storage. They are often enjoyed by eating out of hand. They impart a crunchy, nutty taste to cookies, cakes and candies. Persians will double for beef in hamburgers and meat loaf when mixed with egg and rice. The oil in nut kernels takes on the flavour of other cooking ingredients.
    1. Persian walnut wood may be used for lumber and fire wood. Nut production may be supplemented by an intercrop of Christmas trees, and wood from removed Persians. Persian wood is blond, not dark like black walnut wood, but can easily be stained to match black walnut. Left blond it is Circassian curly walnut. All walnut wood is strong and highly crack resistant. Many Persian walnut orchards in Europe were consumed for gun stocks during World War II. Small chunks of walnut may be used for firewood. Fuel value is similar to oak.
  8. Spacing Persian walnut trees is based on spacing observations of productive trees growing in orchards under lake region conditions.
    1. Approximately 3 m2 of trunk cross section, growing on 4000 m2 of land, produces the most nuts. This corresponds to 50% shade (shadow) on the orchard floor. Persians will not tolerate a higher density because of walnut blight and their dense shade.
    2. Approximately 6 m2 of trunk cross section, growing on 4000 m2 of land, produces the most fibre (70% shade)
    3. Decline in both nuts and fibre production is uneconomical and indicates injury to the trees.
    4. Tree spacing has to change due to growth, competition, and overcrowding. This dovetails with the need to sort out selected seedlings. Odds are that in a group of ten selected seedlings, one will be exceptional enough to be made permanent.
    5. Tree spades are available to move large trees without transplanting shock. These spades could be used to move selected trees, rather than chopping them down. More likely, grafted selections will be set into the more permanent diagonals and rows.
    6. The production onset of Persians is typically slower than from fruit trees, but they are much longer lived.

    7. spacing Persian walnut

      The spacing chart drawn above is constructed from the prior six spacing factors. Through the years the typical planting area, containing 16 trees, is cleared until one selected tree remains. The maximum diameter of a productive Persian is expected to be 50 cm (at 50 cm diameter, trunk cross sectional area is .1963 m2 yielding 15 trees per 4000 m2 or 267 m2 of land per tree.) We space trees closer in north-south rows to help moderate west wind, speed application of pesticides, and ease machine movement and intercropping between rows. Choose 14 m on centres north-south with 18 m between rows for final spacing. This makes initial spacing 3.5 m by 4.5 m. (Equalling 16 trees in a 252 m2 area.)
    8. Drastic pruning can maintain Persian production by allowing more light efficiency in the orchard while delaying the removal of trees. As Persian walnuts crowd and shade each other, energy storage for fruiting decreases, thereby reducing nut production. If drastic pruning is delayed, the stress of reduced light and water injures the tree and its flowering. Nut production can be reduced by one quarter without the cause being noted. Prune trees to be removed, thereby releasing more productive and more permanent trees. While pruning, remember that unshaded limbs which bend down, gather more light, and store more energy, producing more nuts, than ascending unshaded limbs. Prune off entire limbs and sectors of trees that extend toward more permanent trees. Prune in July and August, thereby directing the tree's energy toward nut production, rather than dormant pruning, which would stimulate vegetative upward growth. Spray wounds with Lorsban, or equal, to prevent egg laying by the clear winged moths. These moths start borers in tree wounds during early summer.
  9. Propagating Persian walnuts is best done by bench grafting or June budding. Both these methods control conditions well enough to demonstrate satisfactory results. Few other methods achieve the warm temperatures needed for walnut callusing. The conditions under which propagation is successful are daily temperatures around 24C with high humidity, overcast, ground continually drying, and grafting materials previously treated with copper bactericides. Because these conditions are most easily achieved in late spring and early summer, June greenwood budding is the most successful method of outdoor propagation. Indoor bench grafting is even more successful because all the conditions are maintained artificially. Bench grafting is time consuming due to digging, potting and replanting.
    1. Reasons for using black walnut root stocks:
      1. Black walnut seed and seedlings are commonly available and often free.
      2. Black walnut seedlings are hardier than Persians; thus, make fast growth which is retained.
      3. Black walnut has a deeper root system, more resistant to drought and temperature swing.
      4. No incompatibility has been reported in Ontario, although noted in Ohio. Under lake region conditions unions between black walnut root stocks and Persian grafts are usually permanent. In certain regions of California this combination usually fails due to peach leaf curl virus trapped at the union. This condition is aggravated by warm spells during the winter which start the black walnut into growth while the Persian top remains dormant (These are French Persians with delayed vegetation.).
      5. Top working 3 to 5 m high on black walnuts could produce a more acceptable timber crop.
      6. Black walnut is not as susceptible to south-west winter injury as is Persian. This injury is caused by fluids drawn up the trunk by sun warmed tissue and frozen under the bark when the trunk is suddenly shaded on a bright, but cold, day.
    2. Reasons for Persian walnut (or heartnut) root stocks:
      1. Persian root systems are easier to dig and transplant. Persians start the surface feeder roots early and often lack the single massive tap root of black walnuts.
      2. Persian tops often overgrow their black walnut (or heartnut) bases. Structural problems will eventually overtake such trees.
      3. Persian on Persian reduces the possibility of stock influence. (Black walnut stocks may lead to truncation of jumbo Persian nuts.)
      4. The Persian on Persian (or heartnut) combination unites quickly, yielding more takes, less failures.
    3. Spring bench grafting:
      1. Material = Incubation chamber, root stocks, approximately matching scions, sharp thin bladed knife, grafting wax.
      2. Before the winter becomes a test winter for Persians (-29C, -20°F), gather approximately 1 cm diameter dormant scions, rapidly grown terminal shoots of the current years growth. (Inspect some nuts and get an idea of the crop to determine quality, production, tree health, and if it is true to name.)
      3. Check for winter injury. Sacrifice a piece of scion wood by keeping it at humid, room temperature conditions for several days. Cutting into the wood should reveal green bark on white wood. Winter injury is a brown layer of dead cambium in between. In March the brown layer can be checked on the tree, immediately. Brown specking, usually on a small sector of a scion's bark, is probably walnut blight which will erupt during bench grafting.
      4. Wax each scion by brushing on a bit of paraffin. Dip your finger (rubber finger?) in wax and seal the cut ends. This generally takes two dabs because the first dab usually produces a bubble from the pith.
      5. Store the scions at 0C and 100% humidity. Wrapping in air tight plastic and refrigerating is sufficient for several weeks in a cooler. Double bagging with wet news paper wrapping the bag of scions is necessary in a self defrosting refrigerator, or long term storage.
      6. Dig root stocks in early April and store them where they will remain dormant but not freeze.
      7. Modified cleft grafts are recommended here because of their strength of union and the rapid callusing in the incubation chamber. Cut, don't split, the stocks diagonally across the top of the stem by rocking and forcing-in a thin sharp knife across, then smoothly turning down the stem. Cut in 3 cm Start the cut on one side of the stem, noticeably inside the wood and end it just over half way to the other side.
      8. Choose a scion (with two leaf buds) which best matches the diameter of the stock (cambium to cambium). The scion should be as fresh looking and as plump as when gathered. Cut the scion to a wedge shape. Force the scion into the cut. Hope you don't hear a split because this is a failure; a large, loose cleft which needs first- aid. Cut off split stocks lower and try again.
      9. Adjust the union so that cambium layer is touching cambium layer, even if a match is attained only on one side of the tree. (Every grafting method requires that cambium layer be by cambium layer so that callus tissue which grows from both stock and scion at the cambium will meet and complete circulation through the union. All too often overall symmetry or smooth bark to bark transition is sought, unfortunately displacing the cambiums from contacting.)
      10. Coat all exposed cuts on the stock and scion with grafting wax. Coat gaps between stock and scion (It is not necessary to fill gaps.). Try to form a wax shell over these gaps to allow the gaps to be filled with callus tissue. A double turn of masking tape is often looped around the union to bridge gaps and speed waxing, plus strengthen the union.
      11. Place the grafts in a tub of damp sawdust and incubate at 24C for several weeks. (A discarded freezer, door removed, can be used as a chest incubator. Thermostatically controlled heating cables can control heat. A steam humidifier under draped plastic film will provide humidity, often too much when the sun goes down.) Some propagators improvise a greenhouse so that grafts can leaf out in 100% humid, fully lighted conditions.
      12. Check to see that the grafts are uniting. Light should keep the grafts surface-dry or walnut blight could be severe. Remove sprouts from the stocks. In two weeks many Persians will have leafed out without any uniting of the unions. In three weeks, after stems are growing on the Persians, the unions should be competent enough to reduce humidity.
      13. After about three weeks incubation, walnut grafts should be carefully removed from the sawdust and potted. Remove all sprouts and buds appearing on the stocks. Move the containered grafts to a frost free shed where they can be exposed to sunlight but be protected from wind and cold night temperatures. Always keep the potting soil moist.
      14. At the date for setting out tomato, pepper and melon plants, plant out the walnuts into tree shelters.
    4. June greenwood budding-T bud:
      1. Material = Fast growing 1.5 cm diameter stock, Persian terminal, sharp knife, rubber strips, roll of food storage film, masking tap, wire twist ties.
      2. If the spring is dry, water the root stocks to saturation one week before grafting. The foreseeable weather should be dry and warm at the time of budding.
      3. Gather terminal branchlets containing leaf buds. Long, fast growing terminals usually contain leaf buds which look like tiny . cabbages. Short terminals usually produce male flower buds at leaf junctions, which look like tiny pine cones. Grafting male flower buds will do no good, starve any graft. Store the terminals in white plastic bags in cool shade. Spray a little house and garden bug killer in the bag to kill pests.
      4. Bud only the four tip most buds to ensure leafing out in July. (Thank you, Lois Davie.)
      5. Slit the bark of the root stock 10 cm above the ground in a "T" shape. Approximately, the hat is 1.5 cm and the T's stem is 4 cm. The slit depth is to the cambium, where the wood resists the knife's penetration.
      6. Lift one flap on the T with the point of the knife to discover if the bark is slipping. If the flap tears, refusing to lift, not exposing the glistening layer of cambium cells on the white wood, the bark is not slipping or peeling, and will not callus properly. Go to another stock.
      7. Remove one bud by splitting the terminal and severing-off the bud by cutting-in 3 cm above and below the bud. Hold onto the bud shield by grasping the base of the leaf stalk. Slice off layers of wood and green gelatinous pith from behind the bud. At the final slice the knife is breaking the surface layer of bark .5 cm aside the bud and 3 cm. below it, producing a smooth back-surface which retains gelatinous pith behind the bud and an all-wood tongue 3 cm below it.
      8. Insert the bud shield under the bark of the stock, using the base of the leaf stalk as a handle. Start it in by lifting the bark with the knife point. Shove the bud shield .5 cm below the stem of the T to seat it in its final position. The bud shield is below the bark of the stock on all sides except at the top. Cut the shield into place, to fit with no gap, by cutting to the hat through the shield. Callus tissue will build from where the cambium is least disturbed, typically, the top of the hat.
      9. Bind the bark to the bud firmly with a rubber budding strip under slight tension.
      10. Cut the leaf stem so that it will retain four leaflets. Bend up the leaf to embrace the stem where it can be bound with another rubber tie.
      11. Cover approximately 20 cm of the stock, centred on the bud shield, with one panel of food storage film, the kind that sticks to itself. Circle the stock with four or more layers of the film. Seal the top end of the film by stretching light and taping. In winding the film, leave a 2 cm to 4 cm clearance between the leaf stalk and the stock just above the bud. The film at its bottom end is pressed against the stock and fastened with a twist tie. This vapour barrier must not be a perfect seal. It must exit water vapour slowly at the base and around the turns by the bud.
      12. Approximately 18 days after budding, unwrap the film. Remove the leaf parts that will release with slight bending. If the bud is alive and callusing in, cut off the top of the stock 10 cm above the bud. Re-secure the film by wrapping it loosely and pressing it tight above and below the bud. Twist tie the bottom. Retape the top if it has come loose.
      13. Four weeks after budding remove the film and any leaf stalk that remains. Cut the stocks containing late-to-callus-in buds. Remove sprouts generated from root stocks, checking at two week intervals.
      14. In August cut the stocks on a slant behind the bud. Until this stub was cut it could be used as a prop to support the bud growth. Now you should bind the shoot to a stake to prevent wind from tearing it off.
      15. Buds which heal-in without flushing a shoot, hardly ever survive the winter. Shoots often winter kill, if located inland, and the winter is harsh.
  10. Persian walnut varieties:
    1. Hansen is a nut discovered in Ohio of German origin which is hardy along the lake shore (or house protected away from the lake). The nuts are small, 3 cm diameter. The shell is very thin, 60% kernel. The kernel is very sweet at drop time in September because the thin shell and small size allows the nut to dry and cure on the tree. The tree is nearly a dwarf and needs feeding to maintain its growth. Hansen has high nut production and often sets a crop after primary buds are frosted because it carries flowers in all its side buds, many of which remain dormant until frost removes the buds that vegetated. Metcalfe is Hansen's Carpathian twin except it does not have as much lateral bloom.
    2. Bauer 2 is a hardy Persian from near Mitchell, Ontario. Although away from the lake, it rarely misses a crop. Production and quality is very good. The nuts sometimes get hung up in the hulls by a late September freeze. Bauer 2 is a medium size nut, more than twice the size of Hansen. Typical of hardier trees it has medium shell thickness; yet, two nuts squeezed together in a fist will crack.
    3. Coble Jumbo is a nut from near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania which has brought us jumbo size, nearly 8 cm long, and fair resistance to the bacterial blight of walnuts. It has excellent flavour like Clarke Jumbo. It ripens in September, earlier than Clarke, is better filled, and being riper it is easier to dry without moulding. Its hardiness has not been tested away from the lake shore but its acceptance in Pennsylvania shows its frost hardiness. Frost hardiness is often more of an advantage than hardiness toward deep winter cold because a site can be chosen to moderate cold (as next to a house).
    4. Broadview and Young's Bl are large Persians with hardiness and good quality. In contests Bl has consistently scored in the top 2%. This strain is Russian with late bloom.
  11. Projects with Persian walnuts:
    1. Grow out Dr. Loy Shreve selections which have bacterial blight resistance.
    2. Grow out Chinese selections which have side bearing.
    3. Survey for Persians that produce in test years when harsh weather eliminates production on most trees.
    4. Plant and grow out jumbo Persians to verify George Corsan's statement that jumbos are hardier.


Pecan (Carya illinoensis),
Shellbark Hickory (Carya laciniosa),
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata),
Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis),
Hican (C. illinoensis x C. laciniosa or C. illinoensis x C. ovata),
Bitcan (C. illinoensis x C. cordiformis).
  1. Shagbark hickory is the sweet, white, round nut, large-gum-ball sized, familiar to most Southern Ontarians. Bitternut hickory is more widespread, but only food for squirrels due to its astringent kernel. Ontario shellbarks have 3 to 5 cm diameter nuts which are grey with tan veining. The bark of mature bitternuts and young shellbarks and shagbarks is like ash, but more polished and closely knurled. Mature shagbarks and shellbarks have identical bark which plates off in vertical 10+cm. wide strips which are metres long. Kingnuts are shellbarks which grow large nuts the size of small matchboxes. Kingnuts grow native through central Illinois. Ontario shellbarks are similar. Although smaller, kernels compare favourably due to the thinner shells of Ontario shellbarks. Typically, shagbarks, shellbarks and hicans have a mild walnuty flavour. Pecan is more bland but sweeter. Pecan is cooked to bond with spice in many rich recipes. The bits of bran which cling to the grooves of pecan kernels are rich in antioxidants used to cleanse wastes (free radicles) from animal tissue.
    1. Pecans, then shellbarks and finally shagbarks grow on low to high banks, respectively, along the Mississippi and other great rivers. This succession is seldom violated. Bitternuts can be anywhere. Seeing how nature grows these nuts offers insight on how we should grow them. Pecan is on low banks of sand and silty clay, between sloughs, 1.5 m. above low water (meters above the low water of drought, but under the level of most floods). Shellbark is on higher banks of sticky clay, at the level of fall floods. Shagbark is on the high bank where roads are built. Hicans are seldom encountered, but if discovered, pecans and shellbarks are nearby. Bitternut favours pecan sites and often hybridizes with pecan. Bitcan seems an appropriate name for this hybrid due to poor flavour, nut shell structure, and storage ability (Abbott's are the exceptions). Some bitcans will appear to be full pecans, except they have astringent kernels.
    2. Although pecan has its own chapter, it appears here again because it is central to the understanding of hickory. Pecan is a hickory; the least conservative hickory, the most commercial hickory. The theory at hand is that pecan evolved closely associated with oxygenated river water. Due to excess water, pecan uses the entire growing season, pumping brackish swamp water mixed with oxygenated river water. With constant water, pecan retains succulent growth and unfilled nuts far later in the season than any other northern nut. Genetic pest control of scab, anthracnose, casebearer, weevil (curculio), twig girdler, aphid, leaf hopper, Spittlebug, and squirrel evolved with the retention of late season growth and annual cropping.
    3. Shellbark hickory grows on higher, more clayey banks than pecan. Nearby sloughs are more brackish and dry by mid season. Fall floods reach both shellbark and pecan. While pecan nuts often float away to lodge in swamp grass, shellbark nuts sink and roll along the bottom to lodge in tangles of brush and logs. Some of the nuts are distributed by crows and squirrels, but the majority of nuts growing on flood plains were distributed and planted by flood.
      1. Shellbark hickory, like black walnut, is conservative about water, and rushes to complete the season before drought. Nuts are thick hulled and thick shelled. Walnuts, shellbarks and shagbarks from the Ohio Valley, St. Louis, Mo., and Tennessee will ripen in Ontario. Not pecans. For pecans to ripen in Ontario they have to originate where the growing season is as short as Ontario's. We lack mid continent sun and their early spring. We need the earliest of the Iowa pecans.
    4. Shellbarks, and especially walnuts and shagbarks, have defended against disease, insects and predators by quickly hardening shoots, foliage, and nuts, and by intermittent cropping. If abundant water washes away the conservative growing of these early hardening nuts, their renewed spirt of growth is struck with aphids and galls. They lack the defences of pecan (except for races which evolved with pecan).
    5. Shagbark hickory grows on the high bank or, if the ground is clayey (silty sand), at the edge of a wetland. When water is abundant, usually in spring, it is oxygenated and flowing. At a hickory bush (native stand) water recedes deep into the ground by mid season. The spike roots of hickory follow the water table and pump vast quantities of oxygenated water. Hickory roots are unlike the surface roots of filbert, and spreading roots of chestnut or walnut. Chestnut and walnut have deep roots, but their health depends on surface-feeding roots and rain.
    6. Shellbark hickory has commercial qualities. The leaf is larger and has more than the five leaflets of shagbark. The tree is faster growing, larger, more spreading, disease resistant and ornamental than shagbark. Doug Campbell's CES-24 and other selections show shellbark to be a unique nut; to try it is to like it. Transplanting difficulties, tricky watering and fertilizing of deep roots, and the need for more selections are problems we are solving.
  2. Storage and planting of hickory nuts:
    1. Collect nuts as they ripen through early October. Crack some to check kernel fill, shell structure and weevil damage. You should find that nuts which are smooth and flat on the outside, are also the easiest to crack and separate, reflecting a smooth, flat structure on the inside. Hulls which refuse to pop off are stuck to empty nuts.
    2. Storage of nuts has to be cool and airy so that nuts give up water without becoming surface damp and mouldy. Piles of nuts mould unless refrigerated near 1C, packed in dry peat moss in cool storage, bathed in rain, or stratified in cool sandy soil. Nuts for eating are dried longer than nuts for planting. Seed nuts need not be dried, except to prevent mould until outside temperatures cool and fall planting or stratifying is begun. A squirrel only noses nuts into the surface of the soil to store and germinate them.
    3. Stratify nuts in plastic bags with damp peat moss under root cellar conditions through winter. Alternatively, bag the nuts in wire screening with garden soil and bury the bag in a mound in the garden. Ideally, the nuts are moist and functioning, measuring time and temperature, as does the parent tree, to grow out after the hazard of frost is past.
    4. To fall plant, lay nuts on their flat side and cover with 3 cm of dark garden soil. Mark rows with sticks or sawdust. Remove the sawdust in spring, allowing full sun to heat the bare, dark soil. Usually, weeds are up in May and hickories in June, allowing prior weed killing sprays of Gramoxone and simazine. Sun scald and birds eliminate many nuts emerging from clean ground. Pine boughs laid on the emerging nuts offer protection and allow them to emerge unnoticed. In September remove the boughs or mice often invade.
    5. To spring plant, sow as in Step 2, above. Some of the nuts from stratification may be sprouted. These sprouts are roots and must be planted pointing down. If stratified in peat moss and none have germinated due to dryness, soak the nuts in cool water for several days, changing the nuts to fresh water daily. Agway and Co-op stores sell corn treated with zinc phosphide as an orchard bait. It may be necessary to bait the planting bed if the nuts are planted in May rather than April.
    6. Match the seed source to your local growing conditions. Length of season, extremes of temperature, type of soil, amount of rain, and the amount of summer heat and sun have kept us close to home while gathering northern nuts. Actually, this means going east and west for seed. Southern seed, brought north, should descend 300 m. in elevation for each 150 km. change in latitude, if it is to be at home in the northern location. Early ripening selections also travel north, but usually slip to a week later ripening for each 150 km. movement north. Western selections lose summer heat and sun when coming east. Southern seed might be screened for proper sleep period if fall cured, and stratified moist at 3C for less than our normal chill period.
      You should reject, rather than prize, nuts which come from this stratification germinated. These first-to-appear seedlings most likely expect southern growing conditions of a long hot growing season and a short mild winter. Also, there is the experience that southern hickories which look fully adapted, do not bear. That is because most people treat them like local hickory. Imports need a deep, rich soil and plenty of water to make flowers. Man and nature are in conflict to make trees productive every year. In the wild one tree in 100 will crop in a difficult year. Nature selects against trees which bear in an off year by heavy predation. Even most nut growers did not select for annual cropping, just for a good nut. Warmth, direct sun, water, and frost fluctuate year to year. Therefore, it takes us years to discover the hidden abilities of a hickory nut selection. In nature a successful tree produces one mature offspring. We are not as patient, seeking more productive results.
    7. Sites chosen for hickory tend toward moist areas. Native sites of pecan, shellbark and even shagbark are black soil locations which rim swamps. The trees stand in water temporarily during flash flood or spring run off. Ideally, fresh flowing water is a few metres underground. Upland sides can be improved for hickory by dishing the soil above the trees to catch water and deliver it underground. Near swamps the hickories pump the water down and, hopefully, it will wash in again with summer rains. Ontario hickory sites are the white oak sites, above elm-ash swamps, and below red oak, white pine ridges. Commercial sites would need land levelling for uniform irrigation.
  3. Transplanting hickory is strenuous. The single spike root of a hickory was meant to drive down until confined by rock or water table. Top growth is weak until the root can pump generous amounts of water. Two or three year old seedling transplants take hold mainly because the top of their root is in sun warmed surface soil. A plastic film mulch and other measures which warm and moisten the soil are required for large or grafted trees.
    1. Clear plastic mulch plus weed killer should replace black plastic for tree mulch. The soil warms faster and deeper. A herbicide like Goal is needed to remove weeds. The film should rest on the soil and confine moisture.
    2. Transplanting and maintaining hickories:
      1. Dig or buy hickories with roots approximately 1.5 cm diameter and 50 cm long. These are usually 2 or 3 year old trees 80 cm overall.
      2. Prepare to dig the planting hole by killing all vegetation in a 2 m spot well ahead of planting. Ideally, the hole is dug and refilled, mixing in a cup of bone meal and covering with black plastic the summer ahead of planting. Typically, a spray of contact systemic herbicide, Roundup or equal, is applied just as grass begins rapid growth (has grown 10 cm). Spray at least half a day before digging.
      3. Dig the planting hole broader and deeper than the root system to be planted, though a six inch auger satisfies most hickory and pecan planting.
      4. Mix a cup of bone meal into the replant soil.
      5. If root system is older and cultured by root pruning, it may have side roots. If so, spread this root system and trim injured roots. Thick roots, above .5 cm, which have torn ends should be pruned to smooth, slanting ends. Do not put roots in the sun or allow them to dry off.
      6. Place the root in the hole so that the root crown is 4 cm below the original ground surface. Hickory will refuse to leaf out if the root is injured by exposure to direct sun, or extended drying.
      7. Filter in the planting soil while spreading the root system. (Hickory and pecan will have few side roots, thus are augured-in in post holes.) Remove weed roots and clippings from the replant soil.
      8. Tug on the stem while tamping the soil to consolidate the soil and remove air pockets. Rod the soil with a stick or shovel handle to expel air.
      9. Water to help consolidate the soil but don't flood out the soil replacement and tamping until it is about complete.
      10. Stake a tree tube shelter over the tree, tapping it into the ground a few centimetres so that mice do not enter
        1. Alternatively, wrap the stem with a plastic coil tree guard, inserting the coil 4 cm into the ground. Peach trunk paint, white latex paint mixed with Thiram, is effective against sun scald and rodents.
        2. Mulch with clear plastic film. Kill weeds. Remove the plastic in late September. Soak the soil with warm water at weekly intervals through mid summer.
      11. Use no granular garden fertilizer during the first season, except as a chemical hoe in late June or July, used to burn down weeds, but not completely kill them. Use .5 kg of 10-10-10 granular garden fertilizer per each 3 cm of stem diameter in early spring of each following year. Broadcast the fertilizer from the trunk toward the outer branches. Keep it away from the bark or it will burn thin bark and girdle the tree.
      12. When weeds return the second year, hoe and spray with simazine, or equal.
      13. In future years maintain a 2 m. space of bare soil around each trunk by spraying simazine, or equal.
      14. Prune to remove dead, rubbing and malformed limbs. Plan ahead and remove limbs before they increase to 3 cm diameter. Maintain a conical shaped tree with the longest limbs nearest the ground. Conical shape reduces shading in a tree with dense foliage. Conical shape helps protect the trunk and major crotches from southwest injury. CES-24 needs the corrective pruning of pecan to remove limbs with narrow crotch angle.
      15. Once nut production is underway, after about 12 years, expect to fertilize with 2000 kg of 10-10-10 fertilizer per hectare per year. Supplements will have to be added per leaf analysis. Foliar sprays of zinc sulphate and urea are common for pecan. Leaf analysis is tricky due to the ability of leaves to concentrate the minerals tightly bound in the soil. Soil analysis and deficiency symptoms in the leaves can indicate binding. Organic mulches which keep soil active with flora and fauna frees up bound minerals.
      16. Begin removing trees as crowding occurs. Start when 70% of the ground is shaded at noon and end when 50% is shaded. Remove poor producers, stunted and diseased trees first. 10 m. spacing and intercropping is reasonable until trees are 10 m. high.
      17. Before harvesting nuts prepare the orchard by mowing grass and debris.
      18. Pick up all nuts and shred downed leaves, hulls and branchless to eliminate habitat for pests and disease.
      19. Aphids may be a problem, but can usually be controlled with turf management which provides as good a home for the aphids (and predators) as the canopy. The canopy usually gets much attention from insect eating wasps during hot sunny days.
  4. Establishing hickories:
    1. Start nuts where trees are desired. Plant extra. Eliminate misfits. Graft over poor producers, but only if they carry dark green leaves.
    2. Transplant small trees which fit the shallowly warmed soil and still surface conditions.
    3. Shelter transplants in tree growth tube protectors, Tubex, or equal.
    4. Use northern pecan or shellbark rootstocks for hardiness plus more rapid growth.
    5. Use solar mulch.
    6. Plant container grown grafted trees.
      1. Containered grafted pecans are sold by Wendell Greiner of Mulvane, Kansas. Survival and growth are excellent, with trees in full leaf and bearing nuts when planted. Establishment depends on getting enough water to the trees through the first season. Wendell buds pecan in the field, digs and pots after they have grown-out one year, and fortifies their root ball (cylinder) in a solar pen through two seasons.
      2. Greiner's containers are metre long cylinders of black plastic duct, 25 cm diameter, .15 mm (6 mil), cut to 1.3 m lengths. 12 side but no bottom holes are punched with a small piece of sharpened water pipe. A 15 cm pigtail is tied at the bottom with polypropylene twine. Soilless growing mix is used to save weight and hold extra water Soilless growing mix is equal parts of sphagnum peat moss (or pine bark) to pearlite (or vermiculite), 0.1 parts dolomitic lime finely ground, .05 parts 14-14-14 Osmocote, .05 parts calcium sulphate (gypsum), .0025 parts fritted trace elements. Ratio is be weight but assumes that the air dry mix weights 10 kg per 100 1. Pro-Mix is a ready-made soilless potting medium.
      3. A solar pen is necessary to deliver the sun's heat to the containered roots, speeding their recovery and lateral growth. Covered with lath, it doubles as a winter lath house for cold wind protection. However, as a solar pen, there is an air space between containers and the ground. In a lath house, the containers must sit on the ground, and draw up heat to keep the roots from freezing, Shredded paper may be needed for extra insulation around pots.
        1. Solar pen:
          1. Dig in poles as though to erect a board fence in the most sunny, non-windy location available; top rail at 2 m.
          2. Cover the yard with discarded pallets.
          3. Cover the pallets with black plastic, staying seams and edges with boards. This floor is the heat trap, extending well beyond shaded areas and without top or side openings to chimney-off hot air. 50% of its areas may be covered with containers.
          4. 15 mm (6 mil) clear plastic is draped over the fence, buried on the outside and covered with weights on the inside. The north wall may be black plastic. Take up pallets and set containers on earth during winter. Drape rugs over clear plastic during winter. Insulate pots, if necessary, with shredded paper.
          5. Spray hickories with foliar fertilizer, insecticide and fungicide at weekly intervals. Water the containers to saturation at weekly intervals or when underweight.
          6. Root growth in the containers tries to descend but is blocked. If you untie the pigtail and observe the tip of the cut tap root it is seen to generate a star-cluster of roots. These are trapped and remain stubby (Otherwise, a single spike would extend to regenerate the tap root.). Above, other cut roots are extending.
  5. Transplanting containered hickory:
    1. Dig a metre deep hole wider than the container.
    2. Mix the replant soil with 1 kg of bone meal or 14-14-14 Osmocote.
    3. Gauge the depth of the hole by inserting the containered tree.
    4. After the hole is ready, lay the containered tree on its side and untie the pigtail. Fold the plastic tube back against the container to form a cuff. Start pulling the cuff up along the outside of the container.
    5. Set the container in the hole and extend the cuff up as planting soil is replaced.
    6. Water the replant soil generously. Rod the soil to remove trapped air. Don't spare the water and wilt the tree.
    7. Mound an irrigation dish around the tree. Fill the dish with water to saturate the soil. Refill twice weekly, or however often it is necessary to keep the soil moist.
    8. Hoe, lay plastic, or spray simazine to control weeds. Remove the plastic by fall.
  6. Grafting hickory is delayed into late May and early June to coincide with hot dry weather. Methods used on fruit, chestnut and filbert in late April and early May are impractical for high temperature callusing and bleeding-prone trees like walnut and hickory. Dormant scions on stocks cut back to "dormant" wood could result in excessive injury and bleeding.
    1. Advantages of grafting dormant hickory scions on greenwood terminal shoots:
      1. Callusing and vigour are ensured in green shoots which spring out to the .8 cm diameter needed. (If the green tip diameter is too small, go down to dormant wood. Same process, but now you strip the new growth from the stock.)
      2. 2 to 5 leaves are left functioning on the greenwood shoot to feed the scion. The leaves duct excess water.
      3. Expect the scion growth to be short, but stock vigour is retained for full growth the following season, in fact, too much growth which needs staking.
      4. Dormant scions only need an aluminum foil sheath, crimped for removal by unfolding buds.
    2. Disadvantages of grafting dormant scions on greenwood:
      1. Scion to stock match is limited to tip shoots, .6 cm to 1 cm diameter.
      2. Pecans can be grafted later in the season than shagbarks or shellbark. Hickories bounce into growth and shut down by mid June unless abundantly watered. A week is typically the full season, window, of opportune grafting after stocks bolt 25 cm
      3. Hickories are often afflicted by sucking insects even though only three weeks late when these scions flush.
    3. Grafting dormant on greenwood:
      1. Gather terminals in early March. Wax by dipping cut ends and tips in melted paraffin. Double bag and store scions at 2C. Scions and air dry peat moss are sealed in a bread wrapper which is wound with moist paper towels and sealed in a second bread wrapper.
      2. Begin grafting when terminal growth is at least 30 cm long. Slice off terminal growth at the least diameter needed. If wood has begun to form, the union is good here. Without wood stiffening the stock, the celery-like stem usually withers from under the graft. Cut lower to find some stiffening wood. 2 to 5 leaves must be saved on the growing shoot to avoid bleeding and maintain photosynthesis. If no wood is between the third and fourth leaf, delay grafting for a few days. If wood has formed to the tip of the shoot, the scion usually grows too weakly to survive.
      3. Join stock to scion with an inverted saddle graft. Cut the stock, drawing approximately square across the shoot. Cut out a 3 cm long cusp of new wood. A drawing cut, down and curving axially, and a piercing cut, axial-upward and curving to the edge, should remove the cusp.
      4. Draw cut the scion to a wedge point.
      5. Insert the scion in the stock and see that cut layers of bark and wood are opposite.
      6. Wrap the union airtight, pulling the flaps of stock against the scion. Brown or green Parafilm florist's stem wrap is the best binding film, better than Parafilm laboratory film, and much better than plastic film or electrical tape can girdle and has to be cut off.
      7. Fold a loop of first aid film (1" Blenderm) over the Parafilm to add compression as the union calluses. Without this clamp of first aid film the stock, callusing from the base of the V upward, splits off the Parafilm expelling the scion. Blenderm stretches easily and forms an airless greenhouse, providing better callusing conditions than electrical tape.
      8. Form a cylinder over the scion, 1 cm above the lip bud to the top of the Parafilm, with extra heavy aluminum baking foil. Crimp this cylinder around stock and scion but only flatten it above the tip bud.
      9. In following seasons remove all growth from the stock to force growth through the graft. Brace the graft against wind.
  7. Shagbarks cropping in Ontario:
    1. Neilson, Yoder #1, Porter, Grainger are all large, thin shelled, and productive, though off years are common. Weschcke, Wilcox, Campbell #26, Campbell #8, Glover are all smaller, thin shelled and productive with off years.
    2. Weschcke can be a large nut in a wet season. Weschcke and Neilson are the earliest ripening and produce most often. Weschcke and CES-8 shells are flat, white and very thin. Weschcke's leaves are a glistening dark green. Porter is similar and has been bearing good crops.
  8. Shellbarks cropping in Ontario:
    1. Fayette, Campbell #24, Keystone, Henry are medium sized shellbarks, productive, with off years. Fayette is the earliest ripening. Henry from Pennsylvania has been the most productive and easiest to extract. Campbell #24 (CES-24) from Sarnia, Ontario has the best flavour and thinnest shell.
  9. Pecans cropping in Ontario:
    1. Campbell's NC-4, S-24, Colby, Fritz Flat, Lucas, and Fisher are 3 cm long nuts which just ripen in Niagara (ripen enough to germinate most years). They have been as high quality as typical of the mid West, but that was in the hot long season of 1991.
    2. Snag, Picture, Snaps, Cornfield, and several Carlson selections are smaller, and earlier ripening. Their tree health indicates full adaptation. Their nut size indicates a need for irrigation and breeding.
    3. Seedlings of these selections are coming into bearing and are proving that children often eclipse parents.


  1. Pecan (Carya illinoensis) may become a common nut throughout southern Ontario:
    1. Northern pecans are as hardy as black walnuts. Often local pecan trees are misidentified as black walnuts which have great leaf health but poor limb anchorage. Many of the northern pecans which ripen with Colby, or earlier, are producing viable nuts. The northern pecans which have good flavour ripen with Snag, weeks ahead of Colby.
    2. Pecan trees tolerate flooding which would kill black walnuts. Pecan root systems are specially suited to growing on a flood plain. Immense pecan trees grow on compressible clay, silt and sand. The hundred pecans in the most northern grove on the Mississippi near Bellevue, Iowa seem to have no root crowns. They are buried by siltation. When planted as an upland tree pecan has a broad root crown like walnut or oak.
    3. Pecan selections are typically more productive than walnut selections. Along the great rivers of the central US native pecans enjoy constant water level fluctuation which can bring deposits of rich silt.
    4. Comparing pecans and hickories with the same percent of kernel, pecans are much easier to shell due to their brittle, smooth shell structure. (Crows seem to be the main evolutionary instrument for pecans. Brittle shell, smooth shell structure, easy to grasp elongated shape, bearing inside the canopy of the tree, all point to the crow which is noted for harvesting the best pecans. If you want to find the earliest and best pecan, look for crows feeding out of a large, dark green tree ) The bran which sometimes comes wedged in the groves of a pecan kernel might be valued if its antioxidant medical effects were studied.
    5. Pecans are harvested while the trees are growing to produce valuable timber. Pecan timber is usually harvested after a hurricane or ice storm ruins southern groves. This quickly builds a market, but scarcity ends it once damaged trees are cut.
    6. Grass can be harvested annually under pecans due to their open shade and deep root systems.(Harvesting the ground cover forces a radical change in the insect population. Insects are driven into the trees where aphids and leaf hoppers can do damage.)
  2. Limiting factors in pecan production:
    1. Northern pecan selections, which have been moved into Niagara from Southern Illinois, fill poorly and will need special conditions to propagate.
    2. The search for truly northern pecans is recent (1980) and many grafts and seedlings from Iowa, northern Illinois, central Indiana and southern Ohio are not yet bearing.
    3. Getting enough of the right seed remains minimal. Good northern seed comes from productive, far north trees with large, early ripening nuts. Trying to harvest these trees in the wild is proving difficult. Go to the native groves and you can get a few kilograms of nuts. Graft a small tree. Wait 10 years. You get about a kilogram of nuts.
    4. The ranks of the northern pecans are declining. Diking is converting flood plain to corn land. Damming is flooding stretches of river bottom. Where the only disruption is logging, the decline of pecan since 1900 is five fold.
    5. Northern pecan nuts are smaller than the southern selections, the paper shell, grafted selections. Northern pecans are bright coloured, high in oil and very sweet. Percussion shelling yields whole kernels quickly and easily.
    6. A domestic northern pecan market will have to be built. The experience of growers in central Illinois is that once people discover northern pecans, the demand for cracked nuts sells the crop direct from the farm in several weeks.
  3. Germination of pecans does not require cold moist stratification although it is advised for stronger, more uniform stands:
    1. Harvest pecans when the husks begin to open. Shake the pecans down by machine vibration or striking the limbs where they measure approximately 4 cm diameter. Drop cloths are necessary when harvesting large trees.
    2. Strip any hulls that come down attached. Wear gloves because the green hulls are as juicy as walnut hulls.
    3. Pecans may feel dry and taste crisp and palatable at drop time, but they usually require several days drying under cool airy conditions before going to storage.
    4. Store pecans in rodent proof airy containers in a cool location like an unheated room, enclosed porch, attached garage or refrigerator crisper.
  4. To fall plant:
    1. Lay each pecan on its side with the point of the nut horizontal. Cover the nuts with 4 cm earth, 2 cm sawdust and enough earth to hold the sawdust in place. (The root will emerge at the point of the nut and push downward. As the ground temperature rises, the stem will emerge at the point of the nut and push upward. In late May or early June pecan shoots will break ground, looking very much like red or green party toothpicks with frayed ends.) Where mice and squirrels are a problem delay planting as long as possible before freeze-up while baiting, trapping and removing habitat.
  5. To spring plant:
    1. Soak the pecans in water for one week, each day draining off and refilling with fresh water. Sow as in paragraph IV. A.
    2. Keep the sawdust from drying out until most of the pecans are up. (Spun bonded row cover would probably be better to use than sawdust in spring due to sawdust insulating the ground versus pecans needing heat.) Only a trace of sawdust should remain when most of the pecans are up.
    3. Just before the pecan shoots emerge through the ground, spray grass and weeds in the planting with a contact systemic herbicide and an over-the-top herbicide. (Roundup plus simazine, or equal) Hand weeding is appropriate if the planting is small and weeds and grass are pulled while small.
    4. Control squirrels and especially crows in the spring long after pecans are up. They dig up and carry off the sprouted nuts. Use of bail in the planting may be necessary before the shoots emerge. Agway and Co-op stores sell an effective orchard bait.
  6. Take advantage of pecan's unique physiology when choosing a site for a pecan orchard. Pecans are suited to flood plain growing and deal effectively with flooding, siltation, ice sheet movements and poor soil bearing capacity. Pecans have developed the ability to sprout from the root should ice sheet action carry away the stem. The young stems can send out side roots should they be silted under. Young pecans have a single long dark tap root of nearly uniform cross section. Side roots are small and weak, unless forced to grow by intentional tap root pruning. The root crown is difficult to detect except that the long typically black (dark brown or even dark red is possible) tap root turns a lighter shade at the grey-green stem. Pecans which grow as upland trees develop an enlarged root crown, but flood plain trees show no evidence of this feature. Because of upward siltation and poor soil bearing capacity of river deposited soil, a root crown is an unlikely feature. Unlike walnuts and butternuts, many northern pecans flush in April and early May. They are able to take a few degrees of frost without injury to foliage or bloom. (Frost, air pollution, and drying wind also injure flush and bloom, but return bloom from dormant side buds can restore it.) River bottom land is suitable for pecans if ice sheets can be controlled until the pecans have sized enough to take ice's rising, lowering, and shearing action. If the season is long and warm enough to ripen the chosen varieties, pecans will grow very tall and stand above cold surface air provided they stand on a broad plain where the cold air puddle is shallow. Sites for pecan planting need rich soil, high in organic matter and moderately basic to neutral in the surface layer. Root penetration of 1.5 m must be allowed. A thick plant cover must be evident or the site must be worked-on for one or more seasons to raise fertility. Upland sites can be improved to make pecans productive by fertilizing, liming, working and seeding a legume mix. Upland sites produce higher quality nuts than bottomland sites if irrigated, wind moderated, and fed properly because they are warmer sites.
  7. Transplanting and maintaining pecans:
    1. Dig or buy northern pecans with an adequate root system. A third year pecan requires 60 cm of root. The length of the seedling is about 1 m. from the cut root end to the stem terminal. The root diameter is a little over 1 cm The pecan transplant is not easy to dig, but requires the effort to make quick recovery. The planting hole is deep rather than large.
    2. After grass has grown out 10 cm in the spring, kill sod in a 2 m spot with a contact systemic herbicide (Roundup or equal). Spray at least one half day before digging, if the foliage dries off.
    3. Dig a deep planting hole, broader and deeper than the root system to be planted. Typically, pecans are augured-in, into a post hole.
    4. For a 50 cm high transplant, 50 cm above root crown, mix approximately .5 kg of bone meal per 25 litres of planting soil. (Digging and mixing in bone meal the previous summer is highly effective.)
    5. Root pruned pecans might require spreading the roots for distribution in the soil. Spread the root system and trim off dead and badly injured roots. Roots above .5 cm diameter, which have torn ends, should be pruned to smooth slant ends. Do not let the roots dry off. Allow as little direct sun on the roots as is possible.
    6. Place the root system in the hole so that the root crown in 4 cm below the original ground surface.
    7. Although pecans recover to full growth in three years with minimal holes or elaborate holes, the homeowner should take the accompanying precautions with a grafted tree. Filter in the planting soil, while spreading the root system. Remove weed roots and grass clumps from the planting soil as you come upon them. A fibrous root system on your transplant indicates a healthy, well nourished tree. This tree can be ruined by wadding together the roots. Rather than wadding, it would be better to trim off some of the hair roots.
    8. Tug on the stem and tamp to consolidate the soil, while keeping the roots extended.
    9. Water to help consolidate the soil, but don't flood out the filtering in of soil and tamping operation. Use a stick or shovel handle to rod the soil between the tree roots, or around a single spike root.
    10. Stake a tree tube shelter over the tree, tapping it into the ground a few centimetres so that mice do not enter. After one year, where deer are a problem, stack on a second tree shelter to re-enclose foliage until 1.5 m. above ground.
      1. Alternatively, wrap the stem with a plastic coil tree guard, inserting the coil 4 cm into the ground. Peach trunk paint, white latex paint mixed with Thiram, is effective against sun scald and rodents.
      2. Mulch with plastic film. Clear plastic, along with weed killer, heats the soil deeper than black plastic. Remove the plastic in late September. Soak the soil with warm water at weekly intervals through mid summer.
    11. Use no granular garden fertilizer during the first season, except as a chemical hoe in late June and July to burn back weeds and grass without completely killing them. Use .5 kg of 5-10-15 granular garden fertilizer per each 3 cm of stem diameter in the early spring of each following year. Broadcast the fertilizer from the trunk toward the outer branches. Keep the fertilizer 10 cm from the trunk, minimum. Any pellets contacting the bark must be removed before they burn the bark.
    12. When weeds return, hoe and spray the soil with simazine.
    13. In future years maintain a 2 m strip of bare soil mulch along the tree rows. Spraying simazine has proven cost effective. If intercropping is not practised, maintain grass strips between rows.
    14. In future years prune only to remove dead, rubbing and malformed branches. The typical malformation in pecan is straight-up branching. Some trees must be discarded for this defect. Most can be salvaged by pruning to promote the second bud at each node which grows a more lateral branch. Maintain a conical formed tree with the longest branches nearest the ground. As young pecans come into bearing, the first nuts are usually produced on the north side of the tree near the ground. When grown under orchard conditions pecans maintain a conical shape naturally. Conical shape permits most terminals to fruit by eliminating shading. Wind is reduced in the orchard. Southwest injury is protected against by the shade of the long limbs. Descending limbs gather more light, storing more energy, than those that tend upward. Increased bending, due to nut load, increases the sugar storage by drooping the limbs. Noon shade on the orchard floor should be less than 50%, especially if the grove needs heating.
      1. Malformed branching in pecans is a constant problem. If you believe that branching in a tree mirrors root structure, you know pecan is going to give you problems. The variety Hodge is one with the finest flavour and worst branching. Some growers say to rub out the primary buds on Hodge, except the terminals, and let all side limbs come from the lower of pecan's paired buds because their branching is much more horizontal than erect. Erect branches in pecan have very weak crotches which blow out. Pay attention; poor crotches in pecan have to be pruned out before they blow out.
      2. Because some pecan varieties bear inside the canopy, bear on side buds rather than on terminal buds, effort is made to grow such trees flat. The terminal is removed. Side limbs are selected for strength and spread. If the shading can be moderated by such pruning, the production, precocity, and ease of spraying makes flat the way to go. Lucas from Ohio may be a variety to try under flat culture in the warmest sites in Ontario (not even Niagara).
    15. Once nut production is underway, after about twelve years, expect to fertilize with about 1000 kg of 5-10-15 fertilizer per year. Supplements will be determined by leaf analysis. Foliar sprays of zinc sulphate and urea are common for pecan. Leaf analysis is tricky due to the ability of leaves to concentrate minerals which are tightly bound in the soil. Soil analysis and deficiency symptoms in the leaves can indicate binding (non-ionization). Mulching and keeping an active soil flora and fauna frees up bound minerals.
    16. Before harvesting nuts, prepare the orchard floor by cutting grass and raking or shredding debris.
    17. Pick up all nuts and shred downed leaves, hulls and branchlets to eliminate habitat for pests and disease.
    18. If aphids become a problem, as they often do where a single crop is grown, use a combination of spraying, and entertaining them on the ground cover until predator populations take control.
    19. Pecan weevil is not expected to be a problem in Ontario. Only exceptionally early pecans are affected. Weevil damaged nuts are associated with selections for moving north.
  8. Harvesting and storage of northern pecans is presently a commercial operation in central Illinois and northern Missouri. It requires tree shakers, drop cloths, pick-up machines, cleaning machines, chlorine baths, blow driers, and cold storage.
    1. Tractor mounted shakers grasp the trunk at the 1.5 m level and rapidly vibrate it 4 cm back and forth. Limited shaking by hand is accomplished by giving each limb a sharp rap where the diameter approaches 4 cm Ripe pecans "hang-up" in their open husks for days, weeks and even months.
  9. Spacing for pecan trees is based on spacing observations for productive trees growing in orchards under lake region conditions.
    1. Approximately 3 m2 of trunk cross section, growing on 4000 m2 of land(30 ft2 per acre), produces the most nuts. (Allow 50% shade as a maximum in cone shape trees; allow 70% shade as a maximum in flat top trees, side bearers.)
    2. Approximately 7 m2 of trunk cross section, growing on 4000 m2 of land, produces the most fibre. (Allow 70% shade as a maximum in timber trees after dense shade has produced the desired log length.)
    3. Decline in both nuts and fibre production is uneconomical and indicates injury to the trees. (Also, nut production should be kept below 50 lb. per ft2 of trunk area by shaking off half size nuts or the return crop will be small and winter injury could occur as flagged by brown streaked wood.)
    4. Tree spacing has to increase with time due to growth competition. This dovetails with the need to sort out selected seedlings. Odds are that one in ten select seedlings can become permanent.
    5. Tree spades are available to move large trees without transplanting shock. These tree spades will be used to move selected trees rather than chopping them down. More likely, grafted selections will be set in at the more permanent diagonals and rows.
    6. The production rate of pecan trees is slower to increase than fruit trees, but they live longer.

  10. A pecan spacing chart is constructed from the above six spacing factors. Through the years the typical planting area, containing initially 16 trees, is cleared until one selected tree remains. The maximum diameter of a productive pecan tree is expected to be 60 cm (at 60 cm diameter, trunk cross sectional area is .2826 m2 , yielding 11 trees per 4000 m2 of land or 364 m2 per tree.) We space trees closer in north-south rows to help moderate west wind, speed application of pesticides, and ease machine movement and intercropping between rows. Choose 17 m on centres, north-south, with 21 m between rows for final spacing. This makes initial spacing 4.25 m by 5.25 m, 14 ft by 17 ft (equalling 16 trees in a 361 m2 area).
  11. Pecan trees will shade each other without the rapid decline experienced with most other hardwoods. Reasons for this ability to tolerate shading are deep root systems which are able to efficiently lap and mine the soil, and an open foliage which allows light throughout the tree's canopy. Allowing a slight crowding in pecans, will be beneficial in moderating strong winds. The thinning chart takes these observations into account by thinning the 16 tree base group before maximum fibre production is reached. (6595 cm2 butt density). Northern pecans can not be water stressed or nut sizing and filling are delayed. A hot, dry summer will require 3 cm of water to be delivered over the orchard per week. Drastic pruning can aid pecan production by allowing light and water efficiency. While pruning remember that unshaded limbs which bend down gather more light and store more energy, producing more nuts, than ascending unshaded limbs. Prune off entire limbs and sectors of trees which extend toward more permanent trees. Prune in July and August, thereby directing the tree's energy away from vegetative growth next spring which dormant pruning would stimulate. Spray Lorsban, or equal, on pruning wounds to protect against borers. Maintain a nut producing grove at less than 50% noon shade on the orchard floor.
  12. Projects with pecans:
    1. Grow out seed from the earliest ripening and most northern pecans.
    2. Grow out seed from breeding orchards of northern pecan selections.
    3. Cross northern seedlings with northern selections.
    4. Explore and survey bottomland where native pecans crop undetected.
  13. Where pecan timber is grown, the logs are treated like black walnut and are of comparable value. Pecan will be a novelty in Ontario. Selling them for the right price may be difficult. The market for pecan wood in the deep south is expanded by hurricane injured trees coming onto the market, but log prices are low while the lumber stocks increase.
  14. Small quantities of pecans may be dried by spreading on newspapers or hanging in wire trays under dehumidified or airy conditions. After about one week's drying the nuts are crisp and tasty. The storage has to be cool and dry. Store nuts in a ventilated, rodent-proof container in an unheated room, enclosed porch or attached garage.
  15. Most northern pecans are small and tedious to crack, although hand held percussion shellers strip the shells and leave whole kernels. Most northern pecans are sold cracked, but with the shell fragments for sorting at home. Once mechanical shellers were introduced, the demand for cracked northern pecans has accelerated, selling out crops in a few hectic weeks which used to sell through the winter. Northern pecans are bright, rich in oil, and sweeter than southern pecans. Either fresh or cooked, pecans have a melting buttery flavour. They bring texture and balance to many sweet rich recipes.
  16. Pecan cultivar propagation is usually by top working in late May. Root stocks can be shagbark or shellbark hickory, but northern pecan root stocks are favoured because stock influence is much less of a problem. Pecan root systems are adapted to summer feeding in moist rich soil which productive selections will require. Hickory rootstocks seem to take a summer vacation. The favoured size of stock is finger diameter at a height of 1 m. Graft unions are most often successful at over a metre height.
    1. The three flap (or four flap for unions greater than 3 cm diameter) method of grafting is recommended for pecan. Pecan has a phenomenally healthy bark which resists infection. Wounded pecan bark has twice the life expectancy of walnut.
      1. The flap graft materials:
        1. Materials are smooth bark stocks of 1 to 3 cm diameter, prewaxed scions of 1 to 3 cm diameter, Parafilm (Florist's brown or green is preferred for cool Ontario.), first aid film (3M's Blenderm is preferred for its ability to stretch, stick, and make a waterproof seal.), sharp knife, and pruning shears.
      2. Method of making three and four flap grafts:
        1. In late May match a terminal of the stock to a scion. The scion can be millimetres larger or smaller than the diameter of the wood within the bark of the stock. The reason is that the stock is peeled, but the scion is shaved. The depth of shaving allows the size of the scion to range, but shaving to leave islands of cambium is best, then the scion is only millimetres thinner than the stock.
        2. Prune off the terminal 10 cm above where you want to butt the union. This will give you nominally 10 cm flaps of bark on the stock.
        3. With the point of a knife slit the bark of the stock vertically (axially) so you can pinch and peel down three flaps. This is like peeling a banana except pinch the top of each flap against the wood to start it sliding. Also, flaps are to be exposed to the air as little as possible and not at all to direct sun. Thus, each flap is peeled about 10 cm and pressed back to its original position.
        4. Open the flaps of bark and shear off an 8 cm (nominal 10 cm.),3 inch, plug of wood. Immediately replace the plug and flaps to their original positions so that they are not exposed while you prepare the scion.
        5. Shear 1 cm off the base of the scion in order to expose fresh wood.
        6. With a knife that is sharp enough to slit paper, shave three 8 cm. long shavings from the scion, drawing through the cambium and staying narrower than the flaps, so that each flap will cover each cut on the scion.
        7. Stick the scion, replacing the plug of wood at the union.
        8. Seal the union with Parafilm, leaving no gaps in the membrane, or air pockets in the union. Draw the Parafilm tight, but do not noticeably stretch it.
        9. Bind the union for strength with Blenderm using slight tension. Blenderm is preferred because it retains stickiness so that it can be reattached when and if necessary. Blenderm also stretches to allow a year or two of growth until it degrades.
        10. Adding a splint for support has not been necessary recently, but will probably be necessary in a wet season which promotes extensive growth.
        11. Rub growth and buds from the stock as they appear.
  17. Pecans cropping in Ontario:
    1. Campbell's NC-4, S-24, Colby, Lucas, Fritz Flat and Fisher are 3 cm long nuts which just ripen in Niagara. In the hot long (three weeks longer) season of 1991 these pecans had as high a quality as typical of the mid West.
    2. Snag, Picture, Snaps, Cornfield, and several Carlson selections are smaller, and earlier ripening. Their tree health indicates full adaptation. Their nut size indicates a need for irrigation and crossing with the larger selections above.
  18. Our report on pecans is not complete. We advise that the exploring of native groves continue due to yearly discoveries. Now however, evaluating past discoveries is consuming the time we once devoted to exploring. The effort was worth spending because we can look back at it and point out the discoveries, and the many selections and seedlings to be evaluated. When we started we did not know that we would find any pecans, though we hoped for new pecans for Ontario.
    1. The discovery of the Snaps pecan near Bellevue, Iowa is a breakthrough because it has brought early kernel filling to the same date as local hickories, weeks ahead of typical pecans in the Bellevue grove.
    2. The discovery of the Abbott pecan at Fulton, Illinois may answer why there are such strange looking bitternut x pecan trees and shells (We found shells, no nuts.) at Savannah, Illinois. Fulton and Savannah are at the edge of a massive lake bed which drained many thousand years ago when an earth quake changed the course of the Mississippi. The Abbott pecan (Abbott 30 hican) has a kernel which looks like a long bitternut kernel. The parallel groves of pecan are replaced with the convolutions of bitternut, convolutions of a brain. Otherwise, Abbott is like Snaps.
    3. Select seedlings from selected parents are eclipsing their parents.
  19. The Northern Nut Growers Association has promoted the growing of nuts in temperate climates since its founding in 1910. Through its network we made a northern pecan seed distribution, similar to SONG's heartnut seed distribution. The NNGA Pecan Seed Program caused us to explore for and collect pecans. We distributed seed in 1980 and questionnaires have returned indicating that home gardeners prefer to start pecan seeds in pots.
    1. Reasons for using pots:
      1. Squirrels are much too numerous and adept at scamming nuts. (One grower reports the theft while he was rebending the wire cover which had become too cramped.) Buried nuts are easily sensed by squirrels although they usually wait for germination before "spring harvest".
      2. The heat necessary for pecans to germinate is best controlled in a greenhouse or south window. Pecans have a heat-trigger. (Black walnuts, butternuts, heartnuts and filberts have almost a freeze-crack-trigger. Thus, after stratification they grow at the first rise of temperature while pecans wait for real heat.)
      3. During cool weather pecans are slow to emerge and gardeners forget where they planted a row of pecans.
    2. Planting nuts in pots is tricky because:
      1. Pots have to be deep to allow adequate tap root expansion and air pruning of the tip to initiate extension of side roots, rather than the curling of the tap root at the bottom of the carton. (Milk cartons with end flaps extended at both ends and filled with high organic potting soil produce vigorous root systems. Air pruning of the tap root usually coincides with stem emergence. A screen pan, supported on coarse gravel, will hold the soil above, air below, and allow drying of the root tip at that surface.
      2. Tiny soil insects must be controlled or they often infest and kill the embryo of a cracked, but dormant, nut. Embryo expansion and growth should coincide with shell splitting and root elongation.
      3. Pecans need wind action to sturdy-up their growth. When the seedling is approximately 8 cm high it must be moved outside to open shade, or screened by a board if planted out in full sun.
      4. Pecan seedlings should be planted out or repotted to a larger carton after six weeks growing. When planting out do not remove the milk carton. Root balls must not be disturbed while trees are in leaf.
      5. Do not try to hold pecans in leaf through the winter. Pecans need a rest period after summer's growth. Maintaining winter growth results in the pecan "resting" through the second growing season.
      6. The pot must be planted outside, not set above ground, or the root will freeze and die from being too cold during winter.
  20. During the past fifty years commercial pecan growing has moved north as far as central Illinois from the Gulf states. The productive capacity of the native trees had been known for generations, but harvesting and cracking of these smaller pecans waited for percussion type, end cracking machines to reveal their usefulness. Cracking machines deliver a mixture of bright whole kernels and shattered shells. Customers now order ahead to ensure a supply. A similar market can be built in Ontario.

Nut Pines

Western White Pines (Pinus monticola, P. flexilis, P. strobiformis)
Pinion Pines (Pinus edulis, P. cembroides, (P. monophylla)
Swiss Stone Pine, Siberian (Pinus cembra)
Korean Stone Pine (Pinus koraiensis)
  1. Western white pine from British Columbia is our closest native nut pine. Western white pine and Swiss stone pine are easily mistaken for eastern white pine except that they are more thickly thatched with needles. Eastern white pines, trimmed for sale as Christmas trees, are identical. Korean pine has sparse needles like eastern white pine, but holds them erect rather than flowing like eastern white pine. White and stone pine needles are frosted white on top and bundled in fives. These trees grow to be large timber trees.
    1. Korean pines have large wingless seeds, as do all nut pines, the size of dry kidney beans. Swiss and western white are a smaller size like white (navy) beans. Eastern white pine has winged seeds 20 to 30 times smaller. Eastern white and pinion pine mature cones in one year while western white and stone pine take two years.
    2. Pinion pine, except for its grey-black-bark, looks like a short needle Scots pine which is well trimmed. Monophylla is single needle while the other pinions are two needle (like Scots) except hybrids can have one and two needle bundles on the same tree. Cones are like Scots but stubbier. Pinions have large seeds like Koreans but hulls are much thinner. Stone pine nuts are easily confused with pea gravel, hence the name, and have to be cracked like hazel nuts. Southwestern United States Indians shake pinion and wood embers together to char and shrink the hulls for easy kernel extraction.
      1. We have not explored for the best nut pines for Ontario. Pinions, the tenderest mentioned here, are found in the New Mexico Rockies as high as 2,500 m (8,000 ft). Stone pines grow from the Alps to Siberia. To get the best sorts growing here we have to watch what the landscapers and Christmas tree growers are bringing in. Usually a tree which prospers and remains ornamental will be productive and have large seed if it is the right species.
      2. Korean pine is the nut pine which produces the most in Eastern Canada. Henri Bernard collected from mature Korean pine near Montreal, Quebec. The forestry station at Orono has mature Koreans. The Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton and Highland Park in Rochester, NY have Korean and many other nut pines.
      3. A Korean cone can contain half a kilogram of seed. If unharvested by squirrels, the cones come down during winter storms. In nature the cones remain encased in pitch far years. The seed remains viable lor years while the pitch erodes and cone decays. Squirrels seem unbothered by the pitch. They fall harvest, gnawing through pitch, closed scales and ends of seeds to extract the kernels.
      4. Seed for planting has to be removed from the cones and stratified in damp peat moss at 3C (40°F) for three months. To break apart cones, chill them to -20C (0°F) and while cold, hammer them apart. Alcohol or turpentine will clean up pitch.
      5. Pinions are easier to collect than the stone or western white pines. Their cones will shake off in late September. Don't delay gathering or the cones will open and the pinions will scatter.
      6. Pinion pine is quick to germinate, betraying its southern nature. Stone pines seldom have roots extended after prolonged stratification: Western white pine will have many roots started: If you are not careful stratifying pinions, come spring they can look like a tangle of bean sprouts.
      7. Stratifying allows nature to run her biological dock until the hours of chill are complete, and nuts germinate (or trees flush). Temperature goes up and down; growing days mixed with freezing days. This fall-winter-spring interval (the dull interval) has to be recorded in the nut (or the tree), and germination (or flush) is triggered by moisture and heat after the typical interval. Native trees have about 1,500 hours at about 3C for their chill interval. Southern trees have a chill interval of only hundreds of hours. Seeming exceptions to chill interval are white oaks and chinquapins which start roots in the fall, but they only start tops in late spring, or very northern hazels which see few growing days (moist chill at 3C) in their off-season. Imported seed nuts should be taken from stratification at a chill interval less than native, and exposed to growing conditions. Nuts which germinate should be considered unhardy. Non-growing nuts should be put back for full chill stratification. Seed sources can be surveyed and screened for their original latitude, elevation, landlock, and side of the mountain.
      8. Similarly, we make a mistake by keeping Persian (Carpathian) walnut seed stored dry through winter. Persians have poorly sealed shells which invite damage from many insects if stratified. Spring planting gives us far better % germination. However, Persians which require our typical chill interval will germinate late and grow weakly. This can sometimes get sorted out after some seasons in the nursery row. A better fix is insecticide and cold moist stratification.
      9. Pinion pines, pecans, hickories and Persian walnuts retain porous shells despite drying. Soaking and early March planting will often satisfy chill and deliver vigorous seedlings by late June.
      10. Stone pines, filberts and butternuts seal their shells upon drying. They need months just to absorb enough water to start germination. Store bought pecans and walnuts often germinate better than seed from local growers. Unless these are tested for germination only after 1,500 hours at 3C, do not expect them to be hardy.
    3. Korean pines make poor growth in our limestone soils. They are adept at growing in peat-acid soils. Even starting them with blueberry culture may not work due to the need for pine needle mould fungi. Litter from red or white pine contains the require fungi. Partial shade is of great benefit while the pines are young. Stone, pinion and western white pines benefit from the practices used with Korean pine, and they are much better adapted to growing on southern Ontario soils.
    4. Thatching is laying a pine needle straw on young pine seedlings. Red pine is the best straw because of the open airy thatch its large needles make. Light and rain come through from the top while the pine seedlings come through from the bottom. Surprisingly, even older needles, not just new growth, emerges. Besides moderating surface conditions and adding mulch nutrients the press of straw, and the struggle-up, protect the seedlings from frost heaving which is the main cause of death in open beds. This same process in grass mulch works with many pines.
  2. Planting pine nuts is like planting beans, about 1 cm under soil plus 2 cm under pine needle litter. Pines are planted in beds and thereby make a shady ground cover. Other shade screen is added as cover to get them started. 3 cm on centres is good spacing for pinions; 4 cm centres for the others.
    1. Shade screen, frequent liquid fertilizer treatments, and frequent transplanting are the rule in pine seedling production.
    2. Birds are keen to take sprouting pines, pecans, hickories and Persians. Row cover fabrics (Reemay, etc.) protect these germinating nuts. Mice and squirrels have to be controlled. Baits to investigate are zinc phosphide orchard bait or the second generation anticoagulants, Maki or Havar. Mice go for Swiss stone pine first, especially in beds under snow cover.
    3. Homeowners will find hand weeding semi-convenient but more extensive growers should check out the herbicides: Enide, Premerge 3, Goal, Poast and Fusilade. Transplanting nut pine, except pinion, is like other pine transplanting. Small seedlings arc set into slits in the soil, wet, spring ground and heeled-in. Korean pine needs acid soil and partial shade, continued thatching with red pine straw.
    4. Pinion pine has a long tap root with few side roots, much like pecan and hickory. Like with pecan and hickory, one has to dig a deep hole and plant all the root. Little growth is to be expected the first season after transplanting because of the folly of setting injured roots deep into ice cold ground.
    5. Potting valuable strains of pecan and pinion pine is worthwhile. Zarn-tainer (also Spencer-Lcmaire in Edmomton) make pecan starting pots, 4 inches square by 14 inches deep. Southerners plant seed directly in these, but locally they receive one year seedings. These catch hold quickly and fill the root space, if grown in solar growth chambers, A convenient solar chamber is made by covering a pallet with boards and plastic to hold 2 cm of water. Side rails are nailed to the pallet allowing Reemay fabric to be draped over. Rainwater will enter, hut the fabric must be lifted tor supplemental watering as the containers become light. The pallet is set in a cove location, out of the wind, but in full sun. Quick warming of the potting soil in the solar chamber is the secret to rooting success.
    6. Container grown seedlings have to be protected in the fall. If left unprotected, the pot freezes, water can no longer be taken up, the plant dries and dies. Container grown seedlings should not be taken Inside a heated room for the winter. Part of the problem here is that they need their chill interval to start growth properly in the spring. Cool storage as in a white plastic lath house or damp, unheated basement may work. Watering will usually be necessary. Mice will eat the entire seedling.
    7. In spring the seedlings are successfully planted as plugs into 15 cm diameter holes augured at permanent locations.
    8. Tree shelters, 30 cm high by 10 cm, tubes, are sold for pine planting. Both Korean and pinion pine need a breakthrough for easy establishment. Thatching the transplants inside tubes may work. Red pine thatch and duff is best.
  3. Grafting pines is more convenient than growing seed:
    1. Scots or white pine stock is usually handy and more adapted to Ontario conditions.
    2. Years of growing time can be saved because pines grow very slowly while young. Grafted pine bloom a year or two after grafting.
    3. Deer often clip off low pines, but terminals at shoulder height are usually safe.
    4. The best varieties can be kept true and bred.
    5. Graft two needle pine on two needle pine, and five needle pine on five needle pine. Success is usually best in grafting closely related species. We guess that typical nursery practice has all pines grafted on Scots, a bit of a mismatch. All the Scots foliage has to be removed after the first month or it out-grows the graft, starves the graft. That makes topworking large stocks tenuous.
    6. Grafting materials:
      1. Parafilm (florist's green or brown is recommended in a cool climate.),
      2. first aid film (Blenderm by 3M company is recommended.)
      3. 3 cm wide clear polyethylene strips,
      4. roll of heavy aluminum foil
      5. pencil
      6. pruning shears
      7. grafting knife.
    7. Grafting pines - side graft method:
      1. When weather warms and growth begins in early May match the stock to the scion. Clip or pull off the needles at the union.
      2. Perform a side graft modification of the inverted saddle graft by cutting a long wedge into the side of the stock and a long point on the scion. A scion must have a tip bud.
      3. Wedge the scion into the stock. The mechanical union should hold the scion in place and show the cuts as a smooth V line. Matching diameters usually puts cambiums within callusing distance. However, matching diameters is seldom possible when grafting on the large terminal of an older stock, so only cut shallow behind the cambium of the stock without removing a chip.
      4. Wrap the union with a complete seal of Parafilm.
      5. Bind the union with turns of first aid film.
      6. Wrap the clear polyethylene upward on the scion to pull-in the needles and semi-seal them, except for small gaps and at the growing tip. Tie off with a friction tie loop, top and bottom.
      7. Wrap the scion in a cylinder of aluminum foil. Crimp it to the scion, except at the growing tip. Flatten the cylinder so that the tip can emerge after extending 1 cm
      8. Pierce holes into the aluminum foil to allow most of the needles some light (10% holes) with the pencil point.
      9. Return in the third week to clip off the stock's candle plus half the stock's second year growth from above the union.
      10. Return at the end of the fourth week to remove the foil, plastic strip, and rest of the foliage from the stock.
  4. Nut pines are useful in providing a species mix to the nut grove. They moderate wind while the sun heats their needles generating a warm microclimate. The oils and resins produced in pines fight nearby insects, fungi, and bacteria. Bark borers, salt spray, rodents, and deer easily kill them because as imports they are poorly adapted and start growth too precariously. Grow them into their eighth season and they perform. There is no work being done with nut pines that we can find. Thus, one might say, that they do better for us than we deserve.

Almond, Oak, Edible Landscape

Beech, Native (Fagus grandifolia)
Beech, European (Fagus sylvatica)
Sweet Acorn Oak-select White Oak Family Trees
White (Quercus alba)
Swamp Chestnut (Quercus michauxll)
Bur (Quercus macrocarpa)
European White (Quercus robur)
Almond (Prunus amygdalus)
Sweet Kernel Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood (Cornus mas)
Juneberry (Amelanchier alnifolia, A. canadensis, A. laevis)
Mulberry, Russian (Morus alba)
Mulberry, Native (Morus rubra)
Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Jujube (Ziziphus jujube)
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
Nannyberry, Wild-raison (Viburnum lentago)
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Chinquapin (Castanea pumila)
  1. Edible landscapes is one label for these useful trees and bushes. Except for almond, they are used mostly in landscaping, conservation plantings, and agroforestry. They offer crops, and our work with them notes their high potential for food production, especially among selections. Very often we are growing beech, juneberry or mulberry in a forgotten corner without noticing. If cornelian cherry or autumn olive were native, they could be as widely distributed as beech or juneberry. If we live in peach growing regions, almond and sweet kernel apricot deserve much attention.
    1. Beech and oaks are genetically close. Oaks are easier to grow. They can be sown in full sun. Beechnuts, like chinquapins, have no shelf life and need immediate planting upon harvest to germinate. White oaks also germinate in the fall but can dry somewhat with little harm done. Beech transplants need partial shade. In the wild they root sucker to take over the forbiddingly acid, inorganic, rocky, clay ground as long as it is a bit above the water table. Beech wood is too hard to nail, and warps and cracks upon drying. Good logs usually become pallet lumber or short stakes.
    2. Acorns are more plentiful than beechnuts though there are more beech trees. This is a reversal from the early 1900's. White oaks bear annually. Their acorns extend roots in the fall. We have found "sweet acorns" which are bland, not harsh with tannin like acorns of red oat, (We have also found bland horse chestnut of the Aesculus octandra species |yellow buckeye] introduced to Ontario from the mountains of the Carolinas.) Red oak, white oak and chestnuts can be grafted on each other, though most unions tail from incompatibility. Red oaks differ from white in their pointy cusped leaves (white oak leaves are round lobed), two year nut development (white oaks mature acorns in one season), and acorn germination in the spring. (White oak acorns germinate in the fall.) Red oaks like acid chestnut ground while white oaks like bottom land and limestone soil. Bland white oak acorns may be ground into flour (cut with wheat flour for baking). Acorn flour and chestnut flour have to be refrigerated due to their oil content. The Asian countries import white oak acorns for medical use. Most of our white oat acorns are consumed as treats for wildlife. European white oak is by far the most productive. White oak wood is hard, nonporous and crack resistant. Spring transplanting is tricky. White oak sends most root growth in fall. Spring dug trees will be very weak growing, Fall transplants will desiccate because leaves are held nearly until spring. Fall digging, laying flat, covering roots with dirt and leaves with straw, allows root growth (recovery) in fall, then spring transplanting restores a stronger renewal of growth.
    3. Hard shell almonds are grown productively in our peach climates. Almond requires less care than peach but benefits from the same culture. Hail's Hardy and Campbell's NC-1 (a Titan seedling) do well, Almondier rootstock is propagated by greenwood cuttings off a hundred year old hardshell almond growing in a wet limestone soil in France, Almondier is a favourite Prunus rootstock in France and Italy. Almond seedlings rarely have soft shells. Many seedling almonds have bitter kernels. Today we need lots of seed to propagate in quantity for gains in quality. Almond has the ability to self pollinate which means that crossing selections is often done by emasculation and hand pollination. Once a selection is decided upon, green wood shoots are propagated as cuttings. Almond and apricot seed should be slightly dried, then held under cold moist stratification starting in August. These germinate promptly with warming soil. They should he refrigerated until planting in late April. Successful transplanting is also aided by cold storage. Once almond or peach starts to leaf out, they are easily tilled by transplanting. They should be the first trees dug in spring and immediately moved to cold storage or planted out. Hammers or vise-grip pliers are needed to crack hard shell almonds, although sweet kernel apricots yield to lobster claw crackers.
    4. Sweet kernel apricots (also called alpricots) will hand crack like filberts. Grafted trees like Stark's Sweetheart and Vineland's 510915 have sweet kernels as well as good fruit. Apricots self pollinate so Ernie Grimo has been emasculating and crossing Vineland and Harrow selections. Many crosses revert to bitter kernels. However, Doug Campbell finds that a strain was easy to fix with sweet kernels by selecting back to parents that bore sweet kernel seedlings. Apricots need the growing conditions and culture of peaches. The soil needs to be richer, darker, built up with organic mulch much more than peach soil. Apricot rewards the effort by being hardier to deep winter cold. Spring bloom is, like almond, often nipped by a late frost. Surprisingly, small fruits can tolerate some freezing.
    5. Cornelian cherry dogwood is a hardy ornamental bush. It thrives on the broken limestone of the escarpment in Niagara. As a hedge or border bush you will see its mist of pale yellow flowers, first to bloom in March, and oblivious to deep cold. Crops never fail. The small olive-pit-like seeds are hard and remain dormant for years. They accumulate under the bushes. Glossy green leaves start after bloom. The long fruit turns red in August and sour-cherry-like in September. Birds are seldom attracted. The bush is minimum care, forms a hedge, and transplants easily. Our very tart fruits are said to be poor compared to European selections. The selection Blackplum has fruit of Japanese plum flavour without any insect damage It has dark red fall foliage.
    6. Juneberry blooms in early spring with white (sometimes pinkish or yellowish) clouds of flowers. They grow unaffected by frosts. The blue berries ripen June-July. These berries are equivalent to blueberries though not "resistant" to birds. Juneberry is cultured like filbert, as a bush or a tree. They like apple ground and range into acid ground. Their vigour and ornamentality doubles with an organic mulch. They transplant easily although they lack roots. Except for the same lack of tree form for easy care as filbert, cherry dogwood, and autumn olive, they can grow on and on with minimum care. Fire blight is a problem if juneberry is kept growing late in the season by over-doing nitrogen fertilizer. The small seeds should be cold moist stratified.
    7. Mulberry grows to be a large tree although most large trees are centre hollow. While immature the tree has three lobed leaves. Mature trees have a broad leaf like catalpa. This leaf habit shows off grafts in small trees where competing growth must be trimmed. Grafts near the ground often fail due to bark splitting due to winter sun and bark freezing. Mulberries bleed. This explains some difficulty in grafting, and the tenancy to frost crack and become center hollow, just like Carpathian walnut. Like pecan and persimmon, mature mulberry is not hardy near the ground until the bark is corky and rough furrowed. Healthy summer growth, white latex paint, and mounded earth applied to the grafts carries most low grafts through. Illinois Everbearing and Wellington are northern mulberries often found in catalogues. Illinois Everbearing is hardier, has more flavour and larger-than-blackberry fruit which ripens over a long season, late June to early August. Illinois Everbearing should be propagated by stooling because many bearing grafts have been destroyed by winter injury to unhardy rootstocks. Bird problems abound. Seed handling involves washing, drying and cold moist stratifying, if not immediately germinated.
    8. Autumn olive is the grey-green bush used to border road rights-of-way to trap snow. The bush becomes brown-red with dense clusters of half centimetre berries in August-September. The berries of autumn olive are much like red currant berries, except more solid and sweet-acid-fruity. Sectors of the bush die from virus or winter injury, but the hush usually recovers. Autumn olive fixes nitrogen. It will grow on subsoil and blow sand, and return fertility. Transplanting is easy and aftercare is minimal. The bushes become large and dense making them hard to pick or prune. The berries can be used for juice, out-of-hand eating, or left for birds. After finding bushes with high quality, ease of stripping from the bush, good shelf life, and potential for distant shipping, one wonders why they are not sold in stores?
    9. Jujube is a desert tree from northwest China which suffers in Ontario, The selections we have don't ripen their date-like fruit, lose small limbs to winter cold, and grow very slowly. They flower in July-August with small fragrant whitish flowers. Branchlets are thorny. Leaves are small and glossy dark green. The roots send many suckers.
    10. Ginkgo is a strange nut. The same tree is older than the dinosaurs. Female trees have nuts with oil in their fleshy hulls which putrefies like rancid butter. Nut shelling, and the dry outer-pan of the kernel, are most like pine nuts. Raw, its kernel is mushy with a central fluid that tastes like starting-to-spoil milk. Roasting sweetens and firms the kernel, but only partially dries and sweetens the fluid. A yogurt taste is left; not what one expects from a nut. And yet, where the tree is native, in China, it is accepted as a nut.
  2. Is there a future for these fruits and nuts? A nut as useful and popular as almond has to have a future. Almonds are a high value import. Local growers can cash in on this trade with productive and high quality selections. Juneberry has the appeal of blueberry, ripening in an earlier fruit starved season. It must be social pressure that pushes raspberry ahead of autumn olive as a fall crop. All these fruits and nuts have some future. If we guess right, white oak acorns, Juneberry, almond, sweet kernel apricot, Illinois Everbearing mulberry, and autumn olive have a bright future.


Native Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Oriental Persimmon (Diospyros khaki)
  1. Few persimmon cultivars produce quality fruit in Ontario. Though persimmons are native to Ontario along Lake Erie, they are heat loving trees which stall in grafting, growing, or ripening while the temperature is only 15C, 60°F,or below.
    1. Most named persimmons originated from southern Pennsylvania through central Illinois. Early Golden, a cultivar discovered near St. Louis, is a standard for earliness and non-puckery fruit. It fails to ripen properly at Queenston, Ontario during any season cooler than normal.
    2. In a cooler than normal season nearly all tree ripe persimmons leave a puckery aftertaste. Despite the aftertaste, most people would say a persimmon is ripe if eating one encourages the eating of another. This complicates the taste testing of persimmons due to the degrading of taste buds by the puckery aftertaste of the first sample. The first rule of persimmon eating is: Break the skin and smell. If the smell is not honeyed, don't taste it.
    3. Native persimmons are too soft to ship or stack. They usually mush if dropped from the tree.
    4. Native persimmon trees often suffer south-west bark injury on their trunks 20 cm to 60 cm from the ground. South-west injury and deep cold injury is lethal to oriental persimmons which are nut adapted to the rapid temperature swings which they must endure in North America.
    5. Like melons, both persimmons and pawpaws are instantly enjoyed by people who have never before tasted them.
      1. The typical astringent aftertaste of native persimmon can be eliminated by curing. Once coloured yellow and softening, they will ripen on the tree through warm periods following a freeze. Also, they can be brought to full ripeness by storage for a few days in a bag with apples. Ethylene gas which is given off by the ripening apples and completes the persimmon ripening. Harvesting native persimmons has to wait for the fruit to colour and begin to soften or ethylene ripening is ineffective. Oriental persimmons will ripen with ethylene after yellowing, yet hard, in early October. Crosses between oriental and native persimmon have been attempted to secure easy oriental ripening, and the size of oriental persimmon, fixing these qualities onto a native tree which has early dormancy and hardiness. Unfortunately, this cross has been unsuccessful.
      2. Another curing method for persimmon is to allow the fruit to raisin on the tree. Although the fruit has difficulty fall drying in our climate, once it accumulates some sugar, freezing will remove astringency without injuring the fruit.
      3. Freeze drying can take over and cure the persimmon. The fruit should be shaken from the tree while frozen, and bagged for freezer storage. Frozen persimmons which are ripe retain their shape, sugar and colour. A few cycles of freezing and thawing will darken them but not affect their taste. Eating persimmons direct from the freezer is much like eating a persimmon popsicle. It is hard to think of a 4 cm, or 5 cm diameter frozen persimmons as a marketable item unless you are eating one. Morris Burton persimmon (which semi-ripens under Ontario conditions) retains its persimmon flavour far better than other cultivars when its pulp is frozen. Persimmon pulp is a marketable item used in ice cream.
  2. Several native persimmons matured their fruit locally, even during recent short cool seasons.
    1. Pieper persimmon produces ripe fruit even though it overbears and should be thinned. It is worrying to see Pieper going into winter loaded with ripening fruit. Such treatment is known to kill persimmons, but Pieper returns to bloom with no sign of winter injury. Its foliage becomes ornamentally yellow in October before frost. A seedling of Pieper, SAA Pieper, may be an improvement on Pieper because of earlier ripening and larger (blue plum) size fruit. Slate is the equal of SAA Pieper.
    2. Richards from Indiana, and Meader from New Hampshire remain mysteries to us. The description which came with them said they were extra early ripening and high quality. Richards has only ripened once, Richards ripened as early as any in the long hot summer of 1991 but proved to be too soft. It was good eaten off the tree in early September, but would not store except as mush, Meader has never ripened except in a poor freeze dry form.
    3. Yates is a winner. It is from the hills of southern Indiana. It ripens large, Japanese-plum-size fruit, sometimes in mid September. When seemingly ripe, Yates is fully ripe without astringency. The latent astringency has been a fault of NC-10 persimmon. However, in exceptional 1991 NC-10 started ripening in August completely free of astringency. Geneva Pumpkin (the Geneva selections were bred by Prof. George Slate) is also very early. NC-10, Yates, and Hess have the best foliage. It is a lustrous, leathery, dark green from early June until October. Other selections have lighter green foliage which is often marked with black streaking. Hess has a long fruit, large like Yates, identical to Geneva Long, but too late ripening most yearn.
    4. Geneva Long is unusual because its fruit looks and tastes like oriental persimmon. Even green, Geneva Long has a bland, not-too- astringent fruit. The whole plant seems to invite eating because aphids and leaf hoppers love it. It is mid October ripening. The fruit retains texture so it can be sectioned like a tomato to be put in a salad or desert. Geneva Long's atypical lack of astringency may be why it fails to reach the semi-apricot flavour of the other natives.
    5. Szukis (pronounced Sue kiss) is a bi-sexual persimmon which yields pollen and fruit. It is early ripe like Yates, over productive like Pieper, and its fruit size ranges from small like Pieper and NC- 10 to almost the size of Yates. Because you need one male tree to produce good persimmons (seeded fruit are higher quality), Szukis satisfies that need plus produces good fruit. All other persimmon trees (except oriental) are typically totally male, producing pollen, or totally female, producing fruit.
    6. Seedless persimmons mature before persimmon fruit with seeds. Because they often have poor flavour it is easy to think of them as degrading rather than truly ripening. Pieper and NC-10 often produce seedless fruit. Persimmons with one or two seeds will ripen before persimmons with five or six seeds. Seedless persimmons are smaller than the same variety's fruit with seeds.
    7. Early ripening persimmons bloom early. Farther south any male tree will pollinate an orchard. We need male trees with extra early bloom to get bees gathering persimmon nectar before the females come into bloom or we lose the earliest part of our crop.
    8. Persimmons are insect pollinated. They are nectar trees. Male flowers are .7 cm long and born in groups of three. The male flower stems remain attached to the tree, allowing sex determination during winter. Both male and female blooms are white, bell-shaped flowers born at the leaf axils of new wood. Female flowers are 1.5 cm. long with a discernible fruit between flower petals and calyx. Female flowers are born singly. The flowers stem and calyx may remain on the tree during winter indicating that the fruit ripened on the tree. The size of the stem and calyx gives an idea of the size of the fruit.
  3. Cultural practices which aid early ripening:
    1. Plant trees in a cove location where they get plenty of sun and very little wind.
    2. Thin persimmon fruit to 6 to 10 cm apart.
    3. Produce a warm soil. Use drain tile, clean cultivation, a southern exposure, windbreaks, warm water trickle irrigation, clear plastic mulch, etc.
    4. Irrigate to eliminate moisture stress. 3 cm of water per week is typical for productive fruit groves.
    5. Plant pines to the north and west, and plant persimmons on a slope with good air drainage to the south and east.
    6. Interplant with black walnut.
    7. Late drought will ripen persimmons and cause the trees to go dormant.
    8. Where Evelyn persimmon grows in a walnut grove it is two weeks earlier than where it grows in the open. Anecdotal information on persimmon intercropped with black walnut is accumulating. The microclimate set up by black walnut is benefited by wind reduction, diffused light through an open foliage, deep roots drawing up moisture, plus persimmon seems to like increasing pH and juglone. Whether early ripening is microclimate induced, chemically induced, water stress induced, or root symbiosis, the research is left for tree crops study.
    9. Benefits to black walnut from persimmon intercropping can be wind reduction, a denser planting which forces walnut to grow tall, and less grass with increased culture and fertilization to produce persimmon crops. Persimmons grow slower than walnut especially when they start cropping.
    10. Fertilizer requirements of persimmons, similar to apple, will be about 500 kg per acre of 5-10-15 granular fertilizer broadcast in early spring. Applying much nitrogen to persimmons during the growing season will shock them. Persimmons will often drop crop and leaves if heavily fed during the growing season.
  4. Persimmon wood is very hard, crack resistant and polishes as it wears. Golf club heads and weaving shuttles are worked from persimmon wood. Persimmon is the most northern member of the ebony family.
  5. Propagation of persimmons is by grafting, seed, root sprouts, and root cuttings. Air layering and rooting of greenwood cuttings have been much more difficult though necessary to start stooling (root sprouts).
    1. Persimmons are easy to germinate. Seed will sprout which has lain outside through the winter. Persimmons from seed:
      1. Gather persimmon seed after it has turned dark brown. Seed turns from greenish yellow to brown as the fruit softens. For ease of storage remove the pulp, wash the seed and allow it to air dry for two days or less. Refrigerate the seed in a plastic bag with damp peat moss.
      2. Fall sow persimmon seed by covering with 1 cm of dark earth and 5 cm of hardwood sawdust.
      3. Spring sow persimmon seed after the ground loses moisture and can be worked. Cover the seed with 1 cm of dark earth and 3 cm. of hardwood sawdust. If the weather is dry, water the planting heavily at weekly intervals. Persimmons can grow 30 cm the first season and 1 m the second. Simazine herbicide is very helpful in keeping down weeds.
      4. Transplant persimmons by the beginning of the third growing season. Persimmons which are dug with complete and uninjured root systems can be transplanted early into cold ground. Unfortunately, persimmons have a combination of deep tap roots and long surface roots. Digging these uninjured is difficult. Delay digging until the buds begin to swell and hold the bare root persimmon in a cool location until the ground warms. Seal the roots in a plastic garbage bag filled with moist shredded newspaper.
      5. Dig a planting hole larger than the root system to be planted. Persimmons like a dark, warm soil. A well drained soil is necessary due to increased winter injury on a wet site though persimmon roots will tolerate a wet soil. Mix the replant soil with a cup of bone meal. Spread the roots while refilling the hole with soil. Tamp the soil around the roots while tugging on the tree to keep the roots extended. Rod the soil between roots with a stick or shovel handle. Add enough water to the soil to aid consolidation but less water than will turn the soil to mud. Persimmons grow best when liberally watered with warm water as supplied by drip flow from a hose in the sun. Persimmons do not repair their roots until their tops sustain growth. Like chestnuts, persimmon transplants grow rampantly in hot moist weather although their injured roots don't sustain this growth in drying winds and lack of soil moisture. Upon wilting, their leaves fall off. Growth is renewed, but it comes too late in the season to save the top from winter injury. Next spring the top is dead and sucker growth comes from the root crown.
      6. Plastic tree tube shelters are almost essential. Stake a 1.5 m tree tube shelter over the tree, tapping it into the ground a few centimetres so that mice do not enter. Alternatively, wrap the stem with a plastic coil tree guard, inserting the coil 4 cm into the ground. Trim the tree back approximately one third to balance it with the weakened root system. Water as often as is necessary to keep the soil from drying out.
      7. Apply no granular fertilizer the first season unless it is buffered (coated) against directly contacting plant roots.
      8. After the transplanted persimmon starts growth and the first handfuls of weeds have been pulled, simazine herbicide should be applied. Use something like simazine each spring to keep the soil under the tree bare of sod or weeds.
      9. Fertilize persimmons with 10-10-10 granular garden fertilizer while they are small. Apply .5 kg for each 3 cm of trunk diameter to soak in with the last snow in March. Broadcast the fertilizer from the trunk toward the outer branches. Keep the fertilizer 10 cm from the trunk, minimum. Any pellets contacting the trunk must be removed before they burn the bark.
      10. Use the filbert planting plan for growing productive fruit. Mature spacing will be 12 m by 8 m. Wild persimmon trees which bear irregularly will grow to 20 m tall and 50 cm diameter. Summer prune to keep fruit trees small and productive. Train a short tree with five main branches that go out like a spiral stair around the central leader.
    2. Persimmons are unusual because they drop (prune) twigs as well as leaves. As the trees go dormant their leaves turn yellow tinged with pink. The leaves fall after a hard frost. The yellow fruit remains ornamentally on the tree. In spring the small twigs release from the tree. This is natural pruning. Persimmons are born on new wood. Dropping of the twigs which have fruited may be part of process by which persimmons mature and raisin their fruit. Oriental persimmons are harvested in their native lands by severing the fruiting twigs and weaving them into garlands for curing and moving to market. Any persimmon limbs which grow tight upright against the leader (weak crotches) have to be pruned off.
  6. Oriental persimmons have survived for several seasons at Queenston, Ontario. Now, only Sheng remains and has attained 20 cm. diameter. These trees were grafted in place on terminals at least a metre above the ground. Sheng fruited successfully after -20C, but Peiping and Great Wall died.
  7. Dormant grafting of persimmons in mid May follows filbert, chestnut, and pawpaw grafting. Be sure to top work on a thick, winter hardy stock. Try to graft as high off the ground as possible and with the thickest scions available.
    1. Grafting one's own persimmons is advisable to bring you within a year or two of fruiting the newest selections. First, you need to grow large stocks to ensure they are hardy. Like selecting hardy Persian walnut, many persimmons succumb to a test winter which is cold and clear.
  8. Transplanting instructions advise trimming off dead and injured roots. Persimmon roots are black, some black to the core. Who knows which roots are dead and which are healthy? The next problem is to maintain good growth. The soil must be kept moist and warm through the summer. Like chestnut, persimmon will extend lush new growth although its roots are poor and unhealed. The grower mistakes this growth for a successful transplant and ends watering. Next, the shoots droop and the leaves fall. Re-applying water will start new sprouting though this is seldom enough to sustain the top over winter. The grafted portion of this transplant will have succumbed, though the root stock sprouts from ground level the next spring. A clear or black polyethylene film ground cover should be used unsparingly around newly transplanted persimmons to warm the soil and keep in moisture. Black plastic film could help smother weeds. Maintain watering even though the growth seems adequate. Remove the plastic mulch in August or it could delay dormancy and induce winter injury. Persimmons often bear the season after top-working. Top-worked persimmons are much hardier and much more precocious than persimmons grafted low.
  9. Persimmons are used in many recipes. The North American Fruit Explorers have published a persimmon book which contains growing and cooking information. Persimmon bread, cake, etc. are set down. The essential piece of advice is to never use an iron knife, pot or pan in contact with persimmon. Use stainless steel or aluminum because iron turns the yellow-orange of persimmon pulp to black.
  10. T spacing chart drawn below is constructed from six spacing factors. Through the years the typical planting area, containing initially 16 trees, is cleared until the one selected tree remains. The maximum diameter of a productive fruit tree is expected to be 30 cm (at 30 cm diameter, trunk cross sectional area is .0707 m2 , yielding 42 trees per 4,000 m2 or 95 m2 of land per tree.) We space trees closer in north-south rows to help moderate west wind, speed application of pesticides, and ease machine movement and intercropping between rows. Choose 8 m on centres north and south with twelve metres between rows for final spacing. This makes initial spacing 2 m x 3 m. (Equalling 16 trees in a 96 m2 area.) A combination of tree removal and pruning is needed to limit shade to 50% of the orchard floor.


Papaw, Paw Paw, Custard Apple, Indiana Banana (Asimina triloba)
  1. Pawpaw is a native fruit of Ontario which is growing along the Niagara Escarpment and the shore of Lake Erie. Most pawpaws are tropical fruits which leads to confusion. Native pawpaw only tastes like a tropical fruit. It grows farther north than persimmon, is more hardy, and ripens more reliably.
    1. Pawpaws are a concentrated carbohydrate food, tasting much like vanilla custard.
    2. People who crave tropical fruit enjoy pawpaw. They find European fruit too watery and bland.
    3. Pawpaws start ripening in early September. A succession of cultivars can produce fruit through heavy frost.
    4. Pawpaws can bear in five years from seed and produce unblemished fruit without spraying.
    5. Pawpaws retain quality for weeks if stored in a cool humid environment. Brought into a warm, dry house, they usually degrade in a day.
  2. Pawpaws bloom in early May just before they leaf out. Blossoms are 2 cm diameter purple flowers at about 8 cm centres.
    1. Pawpaws set fruit on relatively few of their flowers but the set flowers load the tree because each flower forms a cluster of about five pawpaws. This cluster can weigh up to 1 kg Thinning a cluster down to one fruit will greatly increase the fruit size. Flower buds are 3 mm diameter velvety brown globes. Leaf buds are 1 mm waxy crescents. Pawpaws are about 15 cm long. They resemble a greenish yellow frankfurter. Inside the flesh is at least one stack of about ten, dark brown, bone hard, nickel size, glossy seeds. In a good pawpaw these seeds melt smoothly from the flesh.
    2. In Ontario pawpaws are native on the north shores of Lake Erie and along the Niagara Escarpment. Pawpaws have adapted as understorey trees. They grow in cool, moist, leaf litter and humus covered, soils. The soils themselves can be poor and shallow, the kind of soil which running trees like beech and persimmon end up on. Pawpaws spread by stolens and root sprouts, as well as seed. They spread easily along talus material at the base of cliffs to fill openings caused by cliff falls, felled trees and rights of way. In the open they can become 25 cm diameter, 10 m tall trees. Their smooth grey bark never furrows. Small native magnolia frees (cucumber trees) which are in leaf are easily mistaken for pawpaw.
    3. Pawpaws have very long and coarse roots. One might expect this from an understorey tree spread by root extension. Lack of hair roots makes transplanting tricky. However, once pawpaw becomes established, their extensive root system makes the pawpaw very productive even when growing on a poor soil. Small trees, grown in the open, often yield baskets of fruit. They are a berry and need cool moist culture like berries.
    4. A wild grove of pawpaw will often be barren of fruit and speculation is that the grove is a single individual. Pawpaws have a complete flower. Flowers become receptive just before pollen is shed. These flowers bloom under moderated forest conditions just before the flush of leaves. Both can be injured by a heavy freeze, but because the flowers bloom from the bottom of a stem to the top, some always escape the freeze. Insect pollination was suspected but it took the recent observations of Corwin Davis to reveal the insect and how to attract it. Corwin identified carrion flies and beetles as the vector. The tedium of hand pollination is eliminated if a dead animal is introduced into the grove before bloom to get the territory well populated with carrion insects. They hide at night and during poor weather in the tent-like pawpaw flowers.
  3. Three classes of pawpaw can be described by their fruit ripening characteristics:
    1. Pennsylvania Golden pawpaw - ripens early September to October. The smooth, thin, pear-like skin turns yellowish as the flesh softens on the tree. The flesh is yellow-orange. The tree goes dormant by October, dropping pale yellow leaves with its fruit. The trees are found growing in talus formations in gaps through the mountain ridges of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania golden pawpaws can have a chemical-coffee taste if ripened under hot dry conditions (This may be another case of ripening for the wrong reason, therefore not really ripening.). The selections Zimmerman and McKay have a mild flavour. Dr. L. H. MacDaniels named a seedling Pennsylvania Golden the "Zimmerman" for this devoted breeder of pawpaw (MacDaniels' seed source). McKay is also traced back to Dr. Zimmerman. Several Pennsylvania nurserymen have distributed selections of pawpaw under the name Pennsylvania Golden. They gathered root sprouts from favourite groves and pampered them with mulch and water for a year before distribution. We are continuing this line as PA Golden because the typical fruit is pure confection with no hint of green pepper flavour (pawpaw scent), rubbery texture, or watery texture in its flesh.
    2. Cream fleshed pawpaw - ripens in late September and October. Examples are Overleese, and TayTwo. The smooth, thin, pear like skin turns a transparent green with yellow underneath. The pawpaws start to soften as they release from the tree. The ripe flesh is a creamy yellow colour. Their flavour-texture is a fruity vanilla custard. Davis from West Virginia and Sunflower from Kansas fit this description, but do not ripen in our season. Those that ripen have full quality with the first soft fruit. Thus, these are probably the better varieties for a hot climate. SAA Overleese is a seedling twin of Ovcrlccsc which ripens in our season, late September.
    3. White fleshed pawpaw (these may just be too late ripening pawpaw though their seeds seem early ripe) ripens in October. The skin is thick, lightly veined, and leathery. The skin breaks down, turning from green to dark brown, before the flesh softens. When soft ripe the skin is pared off before eating. If the season has been long, and the weather mild, the white fleshed pawpaw will have the familiar vanilla custard taste. Often the conditions are chancy and the white fleshed pawpaw remains resinous and rubbery, turning grey and degrading before ripening. Selections of white fleshed pawpaws are all but unknown, although Paul Sauber of Ohio selected a hardy and productive tree which bears very large fruit.
    4. All pawpaw fruits degrade rapidly under hot and dry conditions. Unlike bananas they can endure freezing and ripen with quality. Finger size fruit are almost all seed. Most fruit nurseries avoid pawpaw because of transplanting difficulty. Most people have not tasted a good pawpaw. However, if we could grow several baskets of well ripened fruit for our fall SONG meetings, there is little doubt that these meetings could be turned into pawpaw festivals.
  4. Pawpaws germinate at a high rate if seed is not allowed to dry. However, the seedlings are slow to come up and are lost among the weeds. Pawpaws come up when daytime soil temperature is 30C. Once up pawpaw seedlings are often burnt by intense sun and hot surface temperature. Moist storage, weed killers and lath shade get us around these problems. Thick stands of 80% germination are possible. Some do not come up completely the first summer. None make more than 10 cm growth.
    1. After the first mature pawpaw fruit falls to the ground, shake the tree tn remove ripening fruit. Some of the crop is usually unobserved among the large leaves. (These large leaves also make fruit thinning very difficult.) Two weeks of intermittent harvesting will remove the crop.
    2. Gather fruit into paper bags. Store them in a cool, airy and shady location at 10C if possible. Pawpaws are best eaten just as they soften. Do not take the fruit into the warm dry house or it will become resinous-coffee tasting. Seed should be refrigerated in a crisper after being put into a plastic bag with damp peat moss. Do not allow the seed to dry. Unlike persimmon seed, pawpaw seed can become (white) mouldy and are unaffected internally.
    3. If mould starts to appear on the fruit, transfer the fruit to a pail of cool water for further ripening, or cold water for storage. Maintain fresh water if eating quality is needed.
    4. Fall plant pawpaw seeds at 3 cm centres in beds. Cover with 2 cm of dark earth, then 2 cm of chopped leaves or sawdust to prevent frost heave.
    5. To spring plant, sow the seed at 3 cm centres in beds. Cover with 2 cm of dark earth, and 1 cm chopped leaves or saw dust. Pulp does not have to be completely removed from the seed. The white mould that it initiates may aid germination and proper colonization of the roots with microbes.
    6. Apply a herbicide spray of Roundup and simazine in late June before pawpaw emergence.
    7. When pawpaws start to appear in July, spread fly screen or snow fence on rails to shade the tender shoots. If the summer is cool and wet, the sun screen may not be necessary. Pawpaws in a thick stand can shade each other. Pawpaws may be sown in rows but shading them is more difficult. As they start appearing in July cover the rows with a layer of pine bows which will be left to degrade naturally.
    8. In their third growing season pawpaws should be dug and planted out. Pawpaw transplanting needs care and effort due to pawpaw root systems being sparse, only a few coarse, long roots. Digging 50 cm long roots, planting in a tree growth tube shelter, and frequent watering are advised. Once established pawpaw will produce in a poor soil. They are highly ornamental. Pawpaws prefer a cool moist soil. Heavy mulching with wood chips is advised. Pawpaw bark has a natural bad taste (similar to very strong green peppers) which discourages mouse and rabbit (even goat) chewing.
    9. Pawpaws which are expected to crop heavily will need feeding. 700 kg of 10-10-10 fertilizer in yearly additions per acre may be necessary to maintain production.
    10. Tree spacing is similar to filbert spacing. Mature trees will do well at 12 m by 8 m centres. They suffer the same lost production as filberts when planted in a wind swept location. At windy sites their leaves may be stunted, and the tree killed. They do best in a sheltered cover which gets lots of morning sun. Unlike filberts pawpaw prefer a moist location. They do better at the base of a hill than filberts.
  5. Pawpaws graft easily even at ground level. Dormant scions are thin, but they retain life, and graft with 90% success, if all the energy of the stock is forced through the scion. Getting pawpaws established is a challenge due to their sparse root system. Transplants leaf out so weakly that their leaves need noon shade or they sunburn off without colouring green. Tree shelters promote rapid growth and greening of leaves. Seedlings are easier to transplant. People should evaluate seedlings, then topwork deficient pawpaws, because many varieties come true from seed. Like persimmons, pawpaws sucker at shallow roots, so use trunk injection to kill.

Grafting and Budding

(Bench Grafting, Dormant Chip Budding, May Dormant Grafting, May Dormant on Greenwood Grafting, June Greenwood Grafting, August Slip Budding)
  1. Grafting is a loose term for making a mechanical union which grows together.
    1. Grafting and growing go hand in hand. We plant a few trees, watch them grow, and wonder why we did not plant earlier, more and better. So it is with grafting. We set a few grafts. They grow. The way is open to gathering and observing the most unusual selections.
    2. Grafting multiplies a selection, using its branchlets to replace the tops of seedlings. Budding can do the same though initially a single bud and flap of bark attaches the selection to the side of a seedling. Grafting cuts into the wood to match tissue layer to tissue layer on edge. Budding raises a flap of bark to match and mate all the glistening, cell producing, area beneath to a flap of bark, glistening beneath, containing one bud atop. Walnut and chestnut have sickly bark and are tricky to bud. Pecan has healthy bark and buds easily. Chip budding and flap grafting are in the middle ground. The three flap "graft" of pecan takes advantage of "budding" to contact a massive area of cambium and continue the strong growth of a scion with several buds.
    3. Grafting and budding give us a tree with seedling roots and a mature, selected top. A year after removing the seedling top of a budded tree, the budded tree should be identical to a grafted tree. We generally speak of a"grafted" tree; actually, what underlies the union is either a "grafted" or "budded" tree.
    4. Grafted trees are much different from seedlings. The difference is that we set down low what used to be the top of a mature tree because we liked it. It was a super tree which had shorter, stockier terminals; darker green, glossier leaves; large, projected buds full of flowers; well socketed, drooping limbs ; and delightful fruit. Our reward for grafting is another of these trees to better manage.
    5. The bad news is that we really do have to manage a grafted tree. They are easily stressed. They grow slower, especially when allowed to carry full crops. Nuts can be small due to the small starved root system. The thin but active bark injures easily from southwest sun, then freezing, because it is mature and not prepared to be low to the ground. Deer, rabbits and mice eat the sweet, low and thin branches and bark. Earth is banked up against low grafts. Also, white latex paint made bitter with Thiram should be applied until the bark becomes thick, corky and furrowed.
    6. Budding transfers the selection to the side of the seedling as a single bud. Always think slip buds. Slip buds slide into virgin cambium which never has and never will see light. Slip buds (T, H, or any form of flap) lodge their own bark at the point of deepest penetration. Resistance to penetration determines the greatest manageable depth of penetration. Grasp petiole and a shield of bark, then, twist-wiped it from the bud stick so as to retain a plug of pith behind the bud. The pith plug must be surrounded by a glistening wet surface of cambium cells as found under water activated bark, or the slip bud won't work. This shield is worked into a slit in similarly slipping bark of the seedling stock to fit glistening cambiums together like a native bud. (Even minimum air and light exposure injures the cells of cambium surfaces.) The bud and leaf continue to function. Moisture flows through the cambium on contact. Normal vegetative growth continues and is redirected by breaking over the seedling top. Later the seedling top is removed.
    7. Grafting transfers the selection to the seedling as a stem piece, scion, inserting it in the cut back top of the seedling. The scion has several buds. The lower cut across the scion matches the cut across the seedling to get a continuous mechanical union. Cambium contact is along a line just under the bark. Moisture flow is broken. Moisture flow must reestablish in three or less weeks. Even in perfect grafts callus cells pushing from the cambiums meet and unite to reestablish moisture flow. The scion must lose little water for three weeks or percent survival will be poor.
    8. Bark flap grafting allows more moisture loss from scions which are bud swelling. It approximates slip budding but uses three bud scions full of energy. Large diameter stocks with slipping bark are sheared across to accept scions shoved between wood and bark. A thin tongue is cut on the bottom of a three bud scion. Bark is on one side and wood on the other. The margin of bark on the bark side is shaved thin, to a feather edge, exposing cambium, but very little wood. This is slipped under the bark, wood against wood, nailed and sealed. If moisture flow is not interrupted the percent of takes is high. Nailing is needed, or callusing will push out the scion.
    9. Chip budding also invades the middle ground between slip budding and grafting. Early-to-leaf species are chip budded because they will callus under sun warmed bark before bleeding or leafing becomes a problem. A chip of wood, bark, and a tiny bud are cut from a bud stick. A seat is cut in the side of the seedling to fit the chip bud. Cambiums are active but not slipping. Bleeding is being overcome by cool nights, not cutting deep into the stock, accurate fitting of the chip with no gaps, and snug binding. The chip has to be faced into the sun for callusing.
  2. Usually, dormant scion wood is cut in late February and early March. Persian walnut and other tender species are gathered before deep cold whenever it is first forecast. Filbert and heartnut move early so they are gathered even earlier. Pecan and hickory are gathered late, when they are full of moisture. Except for heartnut and filbert, we want scion wood full of moisture, therefore we wait tor a few mild days, then cut.
    1. Greenwood scions and stocks are ready in early June, when and where wood is funning (Tissue is stiff against cutting, is not celery, and is non-shrivelling upon drying.). The pitch is gelatinous and not separated.
    2. July-August slip budding sticks and stocks are ready when watering forces bark to slip.
    3. Dormant scions need preparation for storage. If cut as early as September the leaves must be kept from wilting until they slough. The pecan branches brought back from nut gathering were held cool and moist under the leaf mould of pines and freshly pulled weeds (similarly in the shade in white plastic bags) until the leaves would slough. Then a short refrigeration in plastic, followed by a day out in the fall rain, refreshed their moisture and helped destroy mould. After being surface dried they were waxed as below.
    4. Gather dormant scion wood before long thawing is expected. Walnut scions, especially heartnut, need all the buds for catkins, those that look like tiny pine cones, rubbed off. Dry the scions off for a day or two in an unheated room. Precut the scions 10 to 15 cm. long, two or three buds. Wax by dipping in bee's wax, or brush buds and cuts with very hot grafting wax cut with paraffin. Plug the ends of scions with cooling wax. Bee's wax in a water bath can be dipped with a finger and dabbed on the end of the scion to plug the bubble that forms after dipping. Scions should be held in an unheated room for a day. This seems to allow some scion shrinkage and wax flow. The wax usually cracks if immediately refrigerated.
    5. Scions for dormant grafting are waxed and stored for months. A special refrigerator set at freezing, 0C, is needed to store dormant scions the several months until spring grafting. Even at freezing temperatures moisture is drawn to the walls of the scion package. We should insulate the package and double wrap the scions in two plastic bags. The inner bag contains the scions and air dry peat moss. The outer bag contains the inner bag wrapped in wet newspaper. This insulation minimizes water loss.
    6. Bud sticks are often held with ice for short periods. Waxing would encumber bud selection and removal. Chip bud sticks are double plastic bagged, only sticks in the inner bag, wet newspaper added to the outer side. Slip bud sticks go wrapped in moist paper towelling in a plastic bag into the vegetable crisper.
    7. Windows of opportunity open and close throughout the year. Some of the critical times and activities are: As fall sets in, nuts and trees are evaluated, and dormant scion collection begins at semi-hardy trees like Persian walnut. Gathering is best between leaf drop and deep cold, sometimes in December. Some years -15C temperatures are not reached and Persians may be gathered in March. Dormant scions of heartnut should be taken at their highest rest state in late February, definitely before the March thaws.
    8. Chip bud sticks should be gathered in March before bud swell.
      1. Stocks for chip budding are ready in late April with days of 15C, nights about 5C, and buds are starting to swell.
      2. Stocks for dormant grafting apple, almond, apricot, plum, Juneberry, cornelian cherry, mulberry, chestnut and filbert are ready with the first visible leaves in late April until nearly full sized leaves in mid May.
      3. Walnut, hickory and pecan stocks are left until late May, periods of warm dry weather (either grafting or slip budding).
    9. Grafting material is gathered late because the later gathered, the less chance of storage failure. Grafting is held off to avoid frost, cool weather and heavy rains. However, procrastination is as fatal. Mark May as your month to graft in the field. Chip budding will always risk bleeding, rapid flushing and frost. DOTman graft hickory on greenwood to end the grafting season.
    10. In late May hickory puts on its spurt of growth and sets its terminal bud. We have to catch it with wood stiffening its fourth node, above three well sized leaves, with pith gelatinous, not separated. A few days early and the stock shrinks from the union. A few days late and growth pushed from the scion is so weak that it hardly extends. Such weak growth barely survives the summer.
  3. Graft union shape varies with knife skill, strength needed against wind, speed desired in grafting versus healing. Grafting machines rapidly turn out unions by striking a notch in the stock and a point on the scion. A sharp pointed knife easily carves this notch in the greenwood stocks, but only the grafting machine easily notches hardwood. Two wing shaped knives are held with points pressed together forming the apex of this notch, or pointed wedge of the scion.
  4. The English graft slices easily because the notches are small and close to the edge of the scion. The thin side flexes to free the knife, and bends to the shape of the scion. The slant cut across the scion is described like a foot. The point is the toe. The flat cut is the sole. The end of the cut opposite the toe is the heel. The English graft is notched off-centre by making small cuts into the heels of both stock and scion. The fit should be tight to let it stand free for inspection of the cambium match-up and absence of gaps. Toes are buried so they won't dry and die. Callus formation can not push the scion from the stock, but seats it. The two wedged ends transmit the best wind resistance in unions. Shaving the bark side of the toe to expose cambium improves its healing-in.
  5. Bind the graft union: to seal against moisture loss, close openings, convert sunlight to heat (ultraviolet light kills callus tissue), and add strength to the union.
    Dark brown florist's Parafilm stem wrap is most convenient. Parafilm is inert, seals moisture, and never girdles. Tension used in wrapping is self limiting if you do not exceed the pull that would start the Parafilm to yield. Parafilm will yield and extend over 10 times original length but this elasticity must be retained for callus expansion. Parafilm welds to itself with finger heat and pressure. It does not stick to itself like masking or electrical tape, snap away like rubber bands, or need friction tying like rubbers or plastic strips. Inverted saddle grafts can overpower Parafilm because callusing bulges inside the V. Sun bathed Parafilm is weak, and saddle grafts are forced open by callus, ejecting the scions. Clear first aid film is used to strengthen Parafilm at saddle grafts. Two turns of Blenderm clamps the nibs of the stock closed and completes the binding.
  6. Aluminum foil, heavy foil wrap, limits the number of buds which can flush and be dried by the wind until the union is fully mended. The ideal jacket would: allow unions to warm in the sun, reflect sun to keep the buds cool and in stasis, allow fresh rain to wet the scion, cycle between condensation and high humidity daily, and unfold like a deep bud coat as the bottom and top buds move. (If there are only one or two buds on a scion, there is no need for aluminum foil because the sealed union should transmit enough water to sustain two-bud flushing.) Aluminum foil can be wrapped and crimped to meet these needs. A two or three ply cylinder of foil sleeves the scion from above the Parafilm and the lowest bud, to 1 cm above the top bud. Before crimping the sleeve is loose, touching the scion on several sides, but fits snugly after crimping. Some condensation under the aluminum should touch the scion, but amount to only a film which evaporates at mid day. The top of the sleeve is flattened for easy opening, not crimped from all sides. Until bud extension opens the top, rain entry will be slight and drawn between plies. As the buds swell on their own reserves, the foil should remain as a cover. As the bud growth extends, the foil should unfold slowly to block direct wind and sun. In the fourth week shoot growth should be centimetres long indicating a successful union. Remove the foil.
  7. Plastic bags are the necessary vapour barrier when grafting greenwood or bud swelled scions. These bags are sealed against the stock below the union. White spray paint is applied to the top and south to moderate the heating of direct sun. Growth in the bag will often be vigorous due to warm humid conditions, and seldom due to union until the fourth week. The bag may have to be removed in the third week due to mould problems, but failure is to be expected until scion growth is 4 cm Bags need to be checked regularly for wind damage, and collected rain water which must be dumped.
  8. The bark of a slip bud should be sealed by binding, avoiding the complete cover of the bud. The petiole should project and continue to function with moisture flowing through the cambium. The film directly above the bud might be cut to open the bud to the air.
  9. Renewal of growth from the stock should be longer than the scion growth. If it is not, you should suspect stock failure as a probable cause of graft failure above this union. Direct all the stock's growth through the scion by removing any stock sprouting that is noticed. Budding, and side grafting, page NUT PINE 105, are exceptions where healing-in is promoted by the stock continuing its normal circulation for two to three weeks.
  10. Hot pipe callusing is used during late fall and winter. It is an indoor operation much like bench grafting. It is possible because cambium is active unless refrigerated. Seedlings and scions remain dormant. Hot pipe callusing goes with cold storage or greenhousing after callusing. A 75 mm plastic pipe sleeves a much smaller pipe holding water and a heat tape. The heat tape is adjusted to maintain callusing temperature in the pipes. The plastic pipe is saw cut to cradle tree stems (unions). The plastic pipe is covered with form rubber which is slit at each cradle to heat seal over unions after they enter it. Scions are nearly 30 cm long to allow for some injury to buds near the union. Away from the heat pipe the air is cold and still. The unions are press fit into the pipe through the slits in the foam rubber. Thus, the unions have to be strong, bound with Blenderm. The cut upper ends of scions are waxed. Moist sawdust or potting soil over the roots keeps the tree roots functioning.
  11. Plastic tags, those made from pool liner, can be written on with graphite pencil. They last many years, if doubled and hung on a growing twig.
  12. Indoor Bench Grafting
    1. Indoor Bench Grafting Advantages:
      1. Callusing is maximized due to setting heat and humidity high.
      2. Initial success rate is high, conserving rare graft wood.
      3. Root injuries are healed by the same conditions that promote callusing.
      4. A short period of container growing which accompanies bench grafting increases rooting, and aids transplanting.
      5. Indoor bench grafting in early spring is relatively convenient and comfortable.
    2. Indoor Bench Grafting disadvantages:
      1. Setup for bench grafting is time consuming, requiring extra steps in digging, storage, incubating, potting, lath housing and replanting small trees.
      2. Growth stalls after grafting unless the trees are potted and moved to a lath house or greenhouse.
      3. Container growing requires daily attention.
      4. Small grafted trees need attention and much protection.
    3. Indoor Bench Grafting materials:
      1. Large tub of inert damp sawdust or potting soil, and a plastic canopy or cover.
      2. A small room which can be kept at callusing temperature, usually by the added heat of a space heater.
      3. Small root stocks and matching dormant scions, usually 1 cm in diameter.
      4. Kit: pointed knife, clear first aid film, melted wax and brush, pencil, labels.
    4. Indoor Bench Grafting method:
      1. Match scion to stock. Scions may be slightly larger because callus blooms outward from the stock. Smaller scions will work if one side matches and the other side is bevelled to flow callus outward.
      2. Cut the scion and stock on a flat 4 cm slant.
      3. Cut a 1 cm long notch into the heel of each slant cut, starting at the cambium and ending 2 mm into the wood. V out the notches by cutting toward the toe and removing a 2 mm wedge of wood to make the sole flat.
      4. Shave bark off the toe to fit the notch in the matching heel.
      5. Push the stock and scion together until they lock and match cambiums all around. Ideally, no clearance can be seen between scion and stock.
      6. Tape the union with clear first aid film.
      7. Seal over the union, the scion top, and all wounds with grafting wax.
      8. Label and incubate the grafts. The roots go beneath the damp sawdust. Some people have antiseptic sawdust and bury scions. Some people have greenhouse conditions and pure water tor mist. They use high humidity and indirect light to grow leaves during callusing. Heating in the tub should be uniform, or warm areas will dry out, and cool areas will moisten with condensation. Approximate callusing temperatures are: Prunus, apple, pear 19C; persimmon, pawpaw, chestnut, filbert 21C; walnut, heartnut, butternut 24C, hickory, hican, pecan 27C.
      9. Incubate for 3 weeks at 100% humidity, or high humidity and mist. Bud break will not dry out scions. The bad news is that these conditions will maintain growth though the unions have not knit. The humidity must lower at night to surface dry the plants, or blight diseases will take a large toll. Wait for 5 cm of scion growth before moving grafts to potting. Rub buds and sprouts from the stock.
      10. Move containered trees to a lath house. Freezing will kill them. Wind shake will stunt them. Some humid location where light, heat and cold are moderated is necessary to promote growth. Potted trees need daily watering.
      11. Plant potted trees out anytime after the terminal bud has set.
  13. Chip Budding
    1. Chip Budding advantages:
      1. Chip buds callus-in due to sun warmed bark in April.
      2. The small bud and chip lack the reserves to flush on their own, and are regulated by terminal growth to only callus-in.
      3. Cool nights, small wounds, and snug binding prevent bleeding.
      4. Small flat chips make chip budding simple and fast.
    2. Chip Budding disadvantages:
      1. The tiniest buds on a bud stock work best.
      2. Warm rains cause bleeding, ending the chip bud season.
      3. Frost can kill sprouted buds.
      4. Rapidly growing buds must be tied, then staked, to avoid blow-outs.
    3. Chip Budding materials:
      1. Dormant bud sticks gathered in March before bud swell and stored unwaxed but double bagged at freezing.
      2. 2 cm diameter root stocks in full sun with smooth bark. Bud activity just starting with bright days and cool nights.
      3. Budding kit: knife, brown florist's Parafilm stem wrap, clear first aid film, pencil, labels.
    4. Chip Budding method:
      1. Chip bud when buds on the stock begin to swell, before hot weather produces the full rush of spring.
      2. Cut a 4 cm bud seat by slicing downward and 2 mm into the wood. Sever the chip by slicing diagonally downward from 1 cm above the base of the first cut. Bud is in full sun on the south side of the stock.
      3. Select a small leaf bud from the bud stick and cut a matching chip bud. Shave wood from behind the bud until the width between the cambial lines matches.
      4. Insert the chip bud in the seat on the stock. Inspect for gaps which must be shaved away to allow binding without air space which would fill with sap.
      5. Wrap the entire union with vapour tight seal of Parafilm. Draw tight, to the full strength of Parafilm, without yielding it. Weld the first turn of Parafilm with finger pressure, and the last turn.
      6. Wrap the union with a single layer of clear first aid film, Blenderm.
      7. After leaves start, break over the top of the stock, or cut it way back to force the chip bud into growth. The bud will pierce both Parafilm and first aid film. Buds which have not moved in five weeks should be unbound, and inspected.
      8. At the end of four weeks cut off stocks 20 cm above live buds.
      9. As the bud extends 20 cm, drive a stake by it and tie the shoot loosely to the stake. Buds not healing-in on all sides need to be tied to the 20 cm stub of the stock above the union at 10 cm extension.
      10. In mid September cut the stub from the stock on an upward slant, ending just above the bud. Cover the wound with aluminum foil or Elmer's glue.
  14. Dormant on Dormant Grafting
    1. Dormant on Dormant Grafting advantages:
      1. Dormant scions have half the blight problems of greenwood scions.
      2. Dormant stocks are ready as soon as the weather warms.
      3. After care is minimal.
      4. Grafts grow most of the growing season, giving tender species like Persian walnut time to harden for winter.
      5. Pines can be dormant on dormant grafted.
      6. Dormant scions are easiest to negotiate and get mailed.
    2. Dormant on Dormant Grafting disadvantages:
      1. Done early, dormant grafts of walnut and hickory species bleed, and trapped sap ferments the union. Done late, the energy of the stock is wasted, and the tree can not prepare new growth for winter.
      2. Scion wood has to be taken during full dormancy and stored to retain full dormancy for months. Persian walnut scion wood is collected in fall before winter injury.
      3. Grafting is slow compared to budding.
    3. Dormant on Dormant Grafting materials:
      1. Root stocks with healthy terminals, 7 mm diameter for fruits, chestnut and filbert.
      2. Waxed scions cut to length, 12 cm typically, with two or three fully dormant buds, one bud near the top.
      3. Grafting kit: sharp pointed knife, brown florist's Parafilm stem wrap, 8 cm by 16 cm of heavy duty aluminum foil, pencil, labels.
    4. Dormant on Dormant Grafting method:
      1. Cut back stocks to the stems to be grafted, and to a little above the planned union. At your option this may proceed in March-April, or at grafting in early May, which is time efficient but works better with young stocks which do not shock.
      2. In early May match scion to stock, removing all leafing buds and competing growth below the union.
      3. Cut the stock and the scion on a flat 3 cm slant.
      4. Cut a 5 mm long notch into the heel of each slant cut, starting at the cambium and ending 1 mm into the wood. V out the notches by cutting toward the toe and removing a 1 mm wedge of wood to make the sole flat.
      5. Shave bark off the toe to fit the notch in the matching heel.
      6. Push the stock and scion together until they lock and match cambiums all around. Ideally, no clearance can be seen between scion and stock.
      7. Tape the union with a vapour tight seal of Parafilm. Draw the Parafilm tight, to the full strength of the Parafilm, without extending it. Both the first turn and last turn of Parafilm are welded with finger heat and pressure. Callusing is expected to stretch the Parafilm to its limit.
      8. Wrap a two or three ply cylinder of aluminum foil about the scion, from above the Parafilm and lowest bud, to 1 cm above the top bud. Crimp the foil against the scion, removing air pockets. Do not crimp the top of the cylinder, but flatten it for easy opening by the top bud.
      9. Remove stock generated buds by rubbing before their sprouts get woody.
      10. Remove the foil at the end of four weeks. The foil may be removed earlier if the top bud is 2 cm out of the foil, or sprouts have been removed from the stock twice and the foil is ballooning with growth.
      11. Remove sprouts from the stock throughout the growing season.
  15. Dormant on Greenwood Grafting
    1. Dormant on Greenwood Grafting advantages:
      1. Carbohydrate manufacturing leaves are retained on the stock to maintain growth throughout the growing season.
      2. Dormant scions have half the mould problems of greenwood scions.
      3. The bleeding associated with walnut and hickory species is minimized by waiting until late May, the season for grafting on greenwood. Leaves are retained below the union, dissipating moisture.
    2. Dormant on Greenwood Grafting disadvantages:
      1. Scion wood has to be taken during full dormancy and stored for months, retaining full dormancy.
      2. Persian walnut scion wood has to be taken in fall before winter injury.
    3. Dormant on Greenwood Grafting materials:
      1. Root stocks have spike growth nearly 1 cm in diameter and wood fibre forming at the fourth leaf node. The pith at the union near the fourth leaf node is gelatinous and not separated.
      2. Waxed scions cut to length, 12 cm typically, with two or three fully dormant buds, one bud near the top.
      3. Grafting kit: sharp pointed knife, brown florist's Parafilm stem wrap, clear first aid film, 8 cm by 16 cm pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil, pencil, labels.
    4. Dormant on Greenwood Grafting method:
      1. After weeks of warm weather check the spikes of new growth on hickory, then walnut, species to find wood forming near the fourth leaf node.
      2. Match the scion to the stock at about the fourth leaf node. Clip off the top of the stock with a horizontal cut at the top of the union. The leaves below are to be retained permanently.
      3. Cut a 4 cm notch in the top of the greenwood stock for an inverted saddle graft. In one "saw" stroke cut horizontally, then down, from the cambium on one side to mid scion. Reverse the knife to pierce in and up from the bottom of the first cut. In one "saw" stroke cut vertically then to the side to exit on the opposite side from the first cut. Remove the cusp of greenwood from the notch.
      4. Similarly point the scion to fit the notch. Cambium should press cambium on all sides.
      5. Wrap the entire union with a vapour tight seal of Parafilm. Draw tight, to the full strength of the Parafilm, but do not stretch it. Callusing will stretch the film to its limit.
      6. Wrap the union with a single layer of clear first aid film. 1 inch Blenderm by 3M Co. works best. For months the union will rely on Blenderm for its strength.
      7. Wrap a two or three ply cylinder of aluminum foil about the scion, from above the Parafilm and the lowest bud, to 1 cm above the top bud. Crimp the foil against the scion, removing air pockets. Do not crimp the top of the cylinder, but flatten it for easy opening by the bud.
      8. Clip the shoots which grow from the stock's leaf axils as they reach 8 cm long.
      9. Clip the shoots which regrow from the leaf axils when they reach 8 cm long again. Unfold the foil from the scion. Likely, this is in the fourth week after grafting. Another indication that it is time to remove the foil is growth ballooning the foil and growing 2 cm above it.
      10. Remove sprouts from the stock as they appear, but not the mature leaves.
  16. Greenwood on Greenwood Grafting
    1. Greenwood on Greenwood Grafting advantages:
      1. Scions can be gathered the day of grafting.
      2. Winter injured scions and long storage common with Persian walnut are eliminated.
      3. Carbohydrate manufacturing leaves are retained on the stock to maintain growth throughout the growing season.
    2. Greenwood on Greenwood Grafting disadvantages:
      1. Persian walnut, or other trees which go into second growth easily and grow late in the season, are easily winter injured.
      2. The blight already started in greenwood scions often takes control.
      3. Scions have to be sent by overnight mail.
    3. Greenwood on Greenwood Grafting materials:
      1. Scions are 1 cm diameter rapidly growing terminals.
      2. Stocks have 1 cm diameter rapidly growing terminals. Wood fibre is forming at the fourth leaf node. The pitch at the fourth leaf node remains gelatinous, not separated.
      3. Grafting kit: sharp pointed knife, brown florist's Parafilm stem wrap, tops of last year's goldenrod cut to match 15 cm high hat trees, clear first aid film, clear plastic double wall freezer bags, twist ties, aerosol can of white paint, pencil, labels.
    4. Greenwood on Greenwood Grafting method:
      1. In late May check the spikes of new growth on walnut (or pecan) to find wood fibre forming near the fourth leaf node.
      2. Match the scion to the stock at about the fourth leaf node. Clip off the top of the stock with a horizontal cut at what will be the top of the union. The leaves below are to be retained permanently.
      3. Clip the scion to two leaf nodes with leaf buds and partial petioles. (An option is to use the flushing terminal of the scion stick.)
      4. Cut a 4 cm notch in the top of the greenwood stock for an inverted saddle graft. In one "saw" stroke cut horizontally, then curve down, from the cambium on one side to mid scion. Reverse the knife to pierce in and up from the bottom of the first cut. In one "saw" stroke cut vertically, then to the side, to exit at the side opposite the first cut. This should remove the cusp of greenwood from the notch.
      5. Similarly point the scion to fit the notch. Cambium should press cambium on all sides.
      6. Wrap the entire union with a vapour tight seal of Parafilm. Draw tight, to the full strength of the Parafilm, but do not stretch it. Callusing will stretch the film to its limit.
      7. Wrap the union with a single layer of clear first aid film, binding in the stalk of golden rod to act as a bag spreader above the scion. (An option is to let leaf petioles spread the bag. The Parafilm requires reinforcement with first aid film at a saddle graft.)
      8. Fit the freezer bag over the weed stalk. Tie the bag to the stock 3 cm below the union by spiralling on a double twist tie.
      9. Spray the bag with a bit of white paint on the top and south side to reflect direct sun. Use the unpainted side of the bag to inspect growth.
      10. Inspect the grafts at weekly intervals and after thunderstorms to tighten bags and dump water. Remove stock sprouts from the leaf axils as they reach 8 cm long. Remove sloughed leaves and petioles from in the bag.
      11. At the end of the fourth week, or when the leaf axil sprouts on the stock reach 8 cm the second time, or when the graft grows 4 cm., it is time to remove the bag.
      12. Remove sprouts from the stock as they appear.
  17. June Greenwood Budding
    1. June Greenwood Budding advantages:
      1. Bud sticks can be gathered the day of budding, or stored in a cooler for a few days.
      2. Winter injured scions and long storage common with Persian walnut are eliminated.
      3. Scarce material is fully multiplied.
    2. June Greenwood Budding disadvantages:
      1. Blights already started on greenwood often take control.
      2. The union cannot always be sealed tight and pockets of sap or moisture can be trapped to ferment the union.
      3. Bud sticks have to be sent by overnight mail.
      4. Persian walnut buds which do not grow a bit after knitting will often winter kill. Those which bolt usually die back.
    3. June Greenwood Budding materials:
      1. 2 cm to 3 cm diameter rootstocks in the scion's genus.
      2. 1 cm to 1.5 cm diameter terminal growth of a selection in the stock's genus.
      3. Budding kit: knife, clear first aid film, long thin strips of inner tube, 2 litre clear plastic food storage bags, pencil, labels.
    4. June Greenwood Budding - H budding method:
      1. Bud into June as long as bark is slipping, and the pitch under the bud is gelatinous, not separated. Choose a plump leaf bud. Trim the leaf stalk to a manageable two or four leaflets. Persian walnut leaf buds look like small cabbages, while catkin buds look like small pine cones and must be avoided.
      2. Cut a bud chip extending from 3 cm above the bud, down the centre of the stick, and out 3 cm below the bud and petiole. Hold the chip mainly by the petiole. Shave off pith until the underside of the shield is mainly wood.
      3. Looking at the bud side of this wedge, gauge a uniform width from side to side. Cut feathers of bark off each side beside the bud to give the shield uniform width. Cut this width into the bark of the stock, forming an H where the bud will be centred.
      4. Lift the flaps (tabs) of stock bark (H) a bit to note bark slipping. Cut a long wedge of bark off the bud shield, below the petiole, trying to expose a bit of cambium to mate the lower flap of the H. The bud chip will move under the bark of this flap. Press these tabs several times to get them moving but do not peel them back.
      5. Slide the bud chip under the lower tab of the H, using it in a rocking motion to pry up the bark as it slides.
      6. Cut the flaps of the H to match chip cuts. The bottom flap was raised by sliding and should need little or no trimming. The top flap needs to be cut, picked out and replaced with the top part of the shield. Use the same knife cut to cut the top shield and flap. After picking out this flap the shield should make a snug fit into the "pocket" which is left. (This modifies typical H budding to eliminate counterproductive repositioning of the bud after insertion.)
      7. Tape the union with clear first aid film or bind it with a rubber budding strip.
      8. Insert the leaf into a food storage bag and draw the mouth around the budding area. Seal the bag against the stock with the rubber strips at slight extension. Embrace the stock with the leaflets.
      9. After one week break over the tops of the seedling stocks,
      10. Inspect after rains to dump water and remove sloughed leaf parts. Remove bags after the third week,
      11. Cut back the stock the following spring.
  18. Slip Budding
    1. Slip Budding Advantages:
      1. Fruit species will slip bud through August whenever the bark is made to slip by heavy watering. Persian walnut will slip bud, but it must be done early in the season to force a bit of growth for winter survival.
      2. Slip buds establish close-enough union immediately to furnish moisture for transpiration.
      3. Many reproductions are possible from a few bud sticks.
      4. Root stocks can be small and young, easy to dig and ship.
      5. Cambiums are overlain so that your eyes do not get strained trying to match cambial lines.
      6. Skill at slip (sliding under to release bark and seat the bud) budding applies to bark grafting and "H" budding as well.
    2. Slip Budding disadvantages:
      1. People unfamiliar with cambium sensitivity, open the cambium to air and sun, killing it. Slip budding is best done with three people; one trained in slitting bark and pushing in buds, and two people binding.
      2. Nut species are seldom slip budded due to their large awkward bud shields, tendency to bleeding and bud injury during winter.
    3. Slip budding materials:
      1. 5 mm diameter, and above, young stocks with smooth, thin bark which is slipping.
      2. Bud sticks with slipping bark, and trimmed to petioles with a bit of leaf.
      3. Budding kit: knife, clear first aid film, pencil, labels.
    4. Slip Budding - T budding method:
      1. Soak the soil of the rootstock throughout the root zone within a week of slip budding.
      2. Gather terminals or sprouts from selections which have grown rapidly. Retain partial leaves and all the petiole. These are wrapped in moist towelling for storage in a cooler, or sending in overnight mail, or soaking in warm water overnight to get bark slipping.
      3. When the bark on the bud stock and rootstock slip, cut a "T" in the bark of the stock, 5 mm cap and 1 cm stem. Lift a tab of bark only enough to check slipping and replace. If the bark does not release easily from a wet cambium, move on to another stock, and apply more water.
      4. Remove a bud shield from a bud stick. Do not tear the bark; do not completely sever the bud wood chip from the stick; and do not touch the cambium with a finger, though it may be held moist against one's tongue while pressing and rubbing the "T" to ensure that it comes free. Cut upward from 1.5 cm below the bud, 1 mm below the wood, until well above the bud. Withdraw the knife without severing the wood chip. Sever the bark 5 mm above the bud, raising this end of the bud shield onto the knife where it is clamped with the thumb. Twisting and shoving the top of the shield, wipe it off the chip, retaining the plug of pitch beneath the bud by a shearing motion.
      5. Insert the bud shield into the top of the stem of the "T" cut in the stock. Grasp the base of the leaf petiole, using it as a handle. Work the shield lower than the bottom of the "T". Leave it thus seated.
      6. Cut the top flap off the bud shield. Gauge this with the cap so cutting seats the shield snugly in the "T".
      7. Wrap the cut area with clear first aid film.
      8. In the second week after budding, break over the top of the seedling stock.
      9. If the slip budding was done in June, sever the stock just above the bud after the third week. Cover the wound with aluminum foil or seal it with Elmer's glue. If the budding was done July through September, leave the top to be cut next April.
      10. Stake and tie the rapidly growing shoot. This is especially important if the stock is much thicker than the shoot.
  19. Bark Grafting
    1. Bark Grafting advantages:
      1. Wet and active scions, cut and sent too late for usual dormant grafting, can be salvaged.
      2. Larger trees can be top-worked with the fewest scions
    2. Bark Grafting disadvantages:
      1. Stocks are large compared to scions, requiring cutting back three weeks before grafting, and the discontinuity of large stock to small scion needs staking and healing treatment for several years.
    3. Bark Grafting materials:
      1. Large stocks cut back three weeks before grafting.
      2. 1 to 2 cm diameter scions with holes drilled in bases for nailing, and all wounds sealed with Tacky or Elmer's glue.
      3. Grafting kit: pruning saw, knife, 2.5 cm flat head wire brads, tack hammer, clear first aid film, Tacky glue, aluminum foil, pencil, labels.
    4. Bark Grafting method:
      1. As the cut off stocks start to regenerate buds, rub these buds off and bark grafting can begin. Cut slopes on the branch stubs to ease the discontinuity from stock to scion, easing healing and binding.
      2. Point the scions by taking a 5 cm chip from its base.
      3. Match the scion to where it will seat flat against the stock and mark its outline.
      4. Holding the scion in your teeth, so your breath can condense on the cut, remove the top 3 cm of bark from the scion seat. Push the bark at the base of the scion seat back and forth to free it from the stock.
      5. Cut long thin wedges of bark from the margins of the scion base to butt cambium against the stock's inner bark. Shave bark off the wedge point of the scion, uncovering cambium to be united below the bark of the stock.
      6. Shove the scion 1.5 cm under the bark low on the union.
      7. Nail the scion to the stock.
      8. Bind the union with clear first aid film.
      9. Run a line of Tacky glue up the scion to tack on 1.5 cm turns of aluminum foil to be bud-opened. Cover cut portions of the union with aluminum foil, tacked with glue.
      10. Inspect the stock at two week intervals to remove shoots,
      11. Brace extensive growth against windstorms.


Controlled Pollination - Self, in Line, Strain, Cross, Hybrid
  1. Plant breeder's philosophy: Plants respond to a changing world by semi-random variation. If the grower knows what to look for, he can direct plant reproduction toward improvement.
    1. The great problems of the tree breeder are:
      1. Trees are out pollinators and hold more diversity than the breeder knows what to do with.
      2. Turnover time is longer than most breeders can sustain interest.
      3. Trees are large. Real estate is expensive. Replication of one strain is seldom enough.
      4. The final test of a nut or fruit tree is at maturity, some ten years after bearing begins. Branchlets, buds, and leaves change with growth stage: vegetative, fruiting, mature.
    2. Aids to the tree breeder are:
      1. The mother tree produces a tree with a nut, both an approximate 80% reproduction of herself, rather than her same- species pollinator. (This trend is reported word-of-mouth from growers.)
      2. The mother tree controls most of the processes in reproduction, contributing the cell structure and polar body heredity, plus, normally, half the chromosomes.
      3. Good trees can be reproduced by grafting.
      4. Nature and seedling growers have grown out many trees which await observation and selection.
      5. Good trees are a joy to observe. They have fingerprints of fruitfulness.
      6. Traits which come with maturity are linked with juvenile traits. Seedlings are candidates for screening.
      7. Bud mutations often grow into sport branches, yielding improvement.
      8. Production, the trait most important to the grower, accumulates steadily with breeding.
    3. Trees have endured because:
      1. The variability in a stand has met and matched gradual change in the environment.
      2. Trees endure stress with little reduction in population. Stress such as:
        1. Erratic growing season.
        2. Defoliation.
        3. Loss of leader.
        4. Loss of top, if regenerated from roots or root crown.
      3. Strains adapt to their site and breed to hold it, often becoming dependent on it.
    4. Blockages to tree propagation:
      1. Destruction in one or a few generations due to:
        1. An imported disease or insect.
        2. Loss of site conditions.
        3. Loss of breeding partners.
        4. Transportation to a site beyond adaptation.
        5. Having to screen trees in the wild rather than under cultivation.
        6. Having to screen juvenile trees for mature traits.
    5. Possible role of the grower in breeding:
      1. Gather selections.
      2. Isolate breeding partners.
      3. Grow seedlings.
      4. Screen seedlings.
  2. Husbandry is the 19th century term for raising crops. Husbandry remains a descriptive term for the close care and observation needed in controlled breeding. To grow nuts and fruit profitably we must nurture them and genetically improve them. Husbandry leads to the intimacy needed for close observation which leads to improvement.
    1. Selecting and rejecting breeding partners is the bulk of what breeders do. For plants to express traits, the traits must be in the plant's genes and adapted to the culture provided. The desired trait must be there to be passed to the next generation. We either observe the desired trait in the breeding partners or know it lays hidden in the strain. An example is manregian walnut which tends to bear on the side buds of the previous year's growth. Thus, we breed with that strain to increase production.
    2. Certain genes, traits, are passed from generation to generation linked with other genes. This happens because chromosomes which contain the genes pass as units from generation to generation. Each chromosome contains a multitude of genes. For example, the gene (or group of genes) that control early ripening are screened for in seedlings by noting their link with the visible juvenile traits of early sizing of leaves and quick turn to dark green. One link with production seems to be large side buds which extend out of leaf axils on bud stalks. We can not grow out the whole spectrum of seedlings.
    3. Selections out of the wild are nature's gifts in establishing hardy nut crops. In nature one seed in a million becomes a tree. Far northern pecans from the latitude of Chicago, exceptional black walnuts from the central divide of Ohio, and high quality shagbark and shellbark hickories from near Sarnia, Ontario arc starting domestication. These acquisitions sometimes have production on smaller, younger trees, but few orchard traits can be expected straight from nature. The Fritz pecan or Starking Hardy Giant pecan are unbeatable when reproduced in their own native groves. Bring them to an orchard with Colby and similar Ohio Valley selections and they fizzle. This fizzle is so typical of trees from the wild that until several members of the same strain are brought together for evaluation, we may not be able to evaluate them. The groves where Fritz and Starking Hardy Giant originated contain many high quality pecans.
  3. Controlled pollination kit:
    1. Compartmentalized apron, carpenter's apron or ammunition belt, manicure scissors, eyelash tongs or tweezers, paper bags or breeder's bags which are water resisting and have a view window.
    2. Small glassine envelopes sized 55 mm by 85 mm and 80 mm by 125 mm flap on long side, some labelled (containing pollen), most cut in half through flap, ready for enclosing bloom.
    3. Paper clips, string, ties and gauze.
    4. Tags, or strips of file paper cut with an eye end for making hanging tags.
    5. Nursery pen, or grease pencil.
    6. Note pad and pencil.
    7. Pipe cleaners, small artist's brush, or glass rod.
    8. Medicine bottle with rubbing alcohol dipped swabs for sterilizing equipment.
  4. Pollen collection:
    1. Pollen is mature and free to move when it easily dusts off of male flowers. The trick is to find a collection method that gathers mature, viable and free-to-disperse pollen which is free of contamination by stray pollen. We try to reproduce the conditions of natural pollen maturation, but in isolation. Nature's way is to shed pollen abundantly from exposed male flowers as the sun evaporates off dew and the wind begins to stir on a very warm, very humid morning.
      1. Chestnut pollen, which is considered to be insect distributed, will disperse in a breeze under the above limits. Most often chestnut pollen is difficult to make free because it is sticky. Rain and high humidity cause it to cake and remain unusable for pollination. Taking chestnut catkins from one tree to another has produced seed when the elapse time was less than two hours and no special care was given to catkins. Pollen germination tests show 30% strong germination at 4 hours, 5% germination in one day. Strong germination can be maintained for several days if a vase of branchlets with leaves and shedding catkins is topped up with water containing flower- stay-fresh sold by florists and garden shops.
    2. Pollen, which is soon to be contaminated, is harvested by removing branchlets and maintaining them under greenhouse conditions. Usually the pollen is collected as it matures by tapping or vibrating it onto a glass plate. A few hours of warmth and drying are needed to stop germination temporarily. The pollen is scraped into a glassine envelope. Store the pollen at freezing. Store with calcium chloride granules in a sealed glass jar. Such storage maintains 40% relative humidity and is good for several weeks storage.
  5. Pollination occurs when viable pollen from a breeding partner contacts the moist and sticky stigma of the female flower. The pollen grains germinate before rain washes them off or the stigma dries. Controlled breeding must ensure that only the pollen from the desired breeding partner contacts the stigma and germinates. Perfect flowers contain a male part, the stamen, and a female part, the pistil. If the flower is sheathed, the petals and stamen of the about-to-open flower can be pulled off upon hand pollination. This assures that entering pollen is only from the desired male. Although the stigma may be greenish and dry, indicating it is not yet receptive, applying the pollen and enveloping the pistillate flower will keep the pollen viable until the stigma becomes receptive. Unsheathed flowers require bagging before undesired pollen is abroad. Bags are only slit or temporarily removed to introduce pollen, then replaced, for several days incubation until stigmas dry. Chestnut and filbert catkins need not be removed from these bags because they rarely self pollinate.
  6. Pollen maturation under greenhouse conditions on vased staminates:
    1. Remove the staminate branchlet to isolation before contaminated by stray pollen.
    2. Smash the base of the stem with a hammer and immediately vase in water containing flower-stay-fresh.
    3. Bag the branchlet in plastic to prevent immature staminates from drying.
    4. With food, humidity, and radiation as at 20 cm from a 100 watt bulb, the branchlet should continue to function and mature pollen.
    5. As the pollen matures it may be tapped off and stored. Be careful not to get it wet or it will become caked and useless.
    6. Pollen ripening is hastened by greenhouse conditions. As staminates mature they can be used directly to pollinate early flowering selections.
    7. Branchlets from isolated trees are vased using flower-stay-fresh and bagged at the tree for transportation.
  7. Pollination of isolated American chestnut trees by hand is difficult due to pistillate bloom in the top of a large tree. Previous attempts at hand pollinating have yielded few nuts because travel time injured the catkin pollen, and rubbing the catkins on the pistillates injured them also. Herb Darling of the New York Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation pollinates large isolated natives to produce seedlings, thus saving the local trees for one more generation. Blight resistance is to be introduced to these timber trees, probably through genetically engineered breeding partners which are currently being assembled at Syracuse University. Herb has produced hundreds of seed from previously barren trees by hanging vased catkins. These catkins would die in a few hours if only watered. By adding flower-stay-fresh to the water a vase of catkins can be kept alive and attractive to bees for three days.
  8. American chestnut continues as a forest tree, but barely. Darling has been spotting large chestnut from an airplane as they flower in early July. You would think that after resprouting and standing against the blight for half a century these large chestnuts would endure for the several years yet needed to engineer a breeding partner. Typically, they are suffering from blight infection and only have a year or two of bearing left (mainly due to drought). If today they produce seed, there are plenty of people willing to grow it. We can get another generation out of them, but to breed, we need to fund more laboratory work to continue its recent progress toward inheritable immunity.
  9. The existence of large chestnut trees today is not an indication that the species of trees and blight are mutating to coexist. The blight is still winning. An infected tree can not withstand severe drought.
  10. Schedule of controlled breeding manoeuvres:
    1. Plant the breeding selections in isolation.
      1. Plant only female trees of a species, or pollen sterile trees like Layeroka chestnut and Weschcke hickory.
      2. Plant breeding pairs, usually, proven parents.
      3. Graft branches of the desired pollen parents.
      4. Hang or prop vased and shedding staminates in the tree tops for wind or insect pollination.
    2. Bag flowering branchlets.
      1. Collect dry and pure pollen by bagging before pollen maturation.
      2. Emasculate male pollen by removing staminate bloom before bagging.
      3. As or just before stigmas become sticky moist and white, yellow or red (indicating receptivity) open the bag and dab pollen with a glass rod onto each stigma.
      4. Sheathed flowers may be bagged at the same time they are emasculated, and pollinated, provided they are about to open.
    3. Tent the entire shrub with white plastic, or clear plastic which is painted white on surfaces toward full sun. 3.a,b,c,d are similar to 2.a,b,c,d above.
    4. For pollen collection, gather staminate branchlets or flowers before contaminated by stray pollen.
      1. Mature pollen under greenhouse conditions.
      2. If grown in isolation, collect and use stamens as dabbing brushes. Unopened apricot or almond blossoms are often unsheathed and used as is.
      3. Bagging pistillates, or staminates: Because brown paper bags disintegrate in wet weather, many prefer special breeder's bags which are white, water resistant and have a view window. Gauze wrapped at the neck of the bag assures a tight, insect proof grab. Few, if any, leaves are removed because they are needed to nourish the seed and help spread the bag.
      4. Enveloping blossoms on spurs: Glassine envelopes which arc cut in half can be clipped onto fruit spurs to isolate bloom. Dimple the hat end. Fold a diagonal tight to the spur. Clip the fold with a paper clip.
    5. Intersterility: Chromosome pairing favours uniformity and discourages exotics. Hicans, hickory-pecan crosses, are often unproductive. Burton, Burlington, Henke, Des Moines and Rockville are the exceptions. Persian walnut-black walnut hybrids are more unproductive. Nature permits variation within limits, but the abundant variation of hybrids is rejected. Yet, the rewards are great enough to keep many breeders interested. The hardiness of pecan has caused Russian and Chinese breeders to report hybrids with Persian walnut. Nuts of up to 25 in a cluster and 65% kernel are reported. Heartnut-butternut crosses exist which have the better disease resistance and shell structure of heartnut. Crosses of native and oriental persimmon species are also "reported".
      1. Persimmon breeding is blocked between oriental and our native. The chromosome count is the first block to check. The Chromosome Atlas lists both having 90. 15 is the basic number in the genus. The genus has many tropical species. Blocks against crossing may be chromosomes breaking at a different node, oriental flowering before native, native ripening before oriental causing immature seeds to abort, pollen tube growing too slow or small, differing structure for seeds causing misshape and split coats. Many cultivars of persimmon tend to be seedless under all conditions, Wabash and Pieper. Looking at Geneva Long, maybe the cross has been made and not recognized.
      2. Filbert hybrids are now common although rare at the turn of the century. After Jones matured European pollen and used it on native pistils, hybrids became common.
      3. Chestnut is noted for its quality hybrids. Gellatly, Etter, Graves, Douglass, Dunstan, Simpson and other chestnut breeders have made fine and productive crosses. Selection of good breeding material at the outset is witnessed in chestnut progeny. Many of the European hybrids are pollen sterile.
      4. Aids to difficult pollination:
        1. Aid pollen with growth promoting additives. 50% weak pollen from a female's species to trigger receptivity, + food. Powdered sucrose for food, about 5%.
        2. Fruit set sprays:
          1. Gibberellic acid before or after pollination.
          2. .001% boric acid, pH 5.5, before pollination.
          3. Apple set, NAA, after pollination.
        3. The US Agriculture Handbook #450, Seeds of Woody Plants in the United States, lists species and their pollen germination procedures. This book and reading the labels on flower set preparations are steps in the right direction. Rather than try chemicals and concentrations, it seems obvious that weakened pollen from the female parent's species will contain the trigger chemicals and nutrients required. "Kill" this pollen without over drying it: the least time in a microwave oven, something less than a minute. The sterilized pollen should be used on some control flowers to check its sterility.
  11. Working definitions:

    1. Chromosomes are: Packets of heredity which make cell reproduction an orderly migration and plant reproduction a statistical process. Think of a plant (or group of plants similar enough to each other to be in one species) as being determined by a code made of approximately fifteen playing cards (the face values do not repeat, as in one suit, and code by their position when linked one to another) . In analogy, chromosomes are these cards. Each sperm (microspore) or egg (megaspore) of this reproducing plant will contain these letters and none will repeat until fertilization. Upon fertilization the card-chains match in code between male and female parents. The chromosome chains have the same value-code-order. These chromosome chains next wind together and pair cards as if to identify they are in the same value-code-order by electrical bonding, and making compounds for the plant. Chromosome chains are "mirror" perfect cell to cell. The 2n chromosome count for this plant is thirty. Most cells contain thirty, except sixty when each chromosome chain reproduces itself, then divides to repel its likeness to an opposite pole just before plant cell division. When the germ (spore) cells next form, the chromosomes do not reproduce, but each card separates and one of each travels randomly, but repelling their like-value-card, to an opposite pole, same card code, but a new set of like-cards in the same code order in each germ. No mirror perfection germ to germ is probable. Thus, we have thirty chromosomes in a typical cell, sixty in a dividing plant cell and fifteen (random as to parent) in a germ cell. In actuality each chromosome is a long coil molecule built from four nucleic acids, four types of DNA (a, t, g, & c). These are the molecules, again bound in a chain, which copy themselves for reproduction.
    2. Genes are: Traits written in sequences of the four simple DNA molecules that form the chromosome molecule. Genes order up plant features and chemical processes. Another simple nucleic acid, RNA, acts as a catalyst in duplicating the chromosome by using its sequence as a pattern.
    3. Dominant gene is: A gene which will express its characteristic although paired with a gene which tries to express a different form of that characteristic.
    4. Recessive Gene is: A gene which will express its characteristic only if paired with another gene for that form of characteristic. This trait remains hidden when paired with a dominant gene. The dominant gene expresses its trait.
    5. Reproduction is: The division of an individual, or part of an individual, to multiply itself.
      1. Asexual reproduction attempts to multiply the plant exactly, cloning it by sprouts which slough off and grow on their own.
      2. Sexual reproduction attempts to multiply two plants by combining their traits. Involved is: chromosome separation then random migration to form unique germs (spore cell formation), pollination, fertilization, undifferentiated cell division, differentiated cell division as genes express the rudimentary plant.
    6. Propagation is: Reproduction.
    7. Breeding is: The production of healthy plants by sexual reproduction. Transmission of the genetic code from generation to generation not garbled by chemical, electrical, radioactive or other physical interference. Matching changes in the genetic code to changes in the environment. Trading uniformity for vigour by mixing parentage.
    8. Abortion is: The death of the embryo, rudimentary plant, because genes conflict with the environment or each other as they express.
    9. Selection is: A term used to describe: The process where fit plants propagate successfully and weak plants die. The choosing of a plant for propagation. The plant chosen for propagation.
    10. Clone is: An individual multiplied by asexual propagation, cloning.
    11. Variety is: A selection which is widely propagated by cloning and gains recognition by name. A grafted variety is a tree propagated by transferring a growing tip from that selection to the terminal of a related seedling so that the selection replaces the seedling above the union. A seed variety is usually a named garden vegetable which maintains its uniform genetic information from generation to generation by sexual reproduction within its group, line. A hybrid seed variety is really an end-of-line seed crop, the harvested generation of a grain or vegetable, which is the culmination of breeding two or more lines of plants in order to cross them and produce the hybrid seed generation. These hybrids have previously explored resistance, vigour and yield in the crop generation. Future generations are nonuniform and unproductive as a group.
    12. Line is: Similar to seed variety. It is being bred toward variety status or as one parental group in the production of a seed hybrid.
    13. Strain is: Similar to seed variety, except less uniformity is expected. Example, Broadview Strain Walnuts - the characteristics of the seed parent, Broadview, usually predominate when bred with similar Persian walnuts.
    14. Race is: Similar to seed variety except likely to have been bred by chance in the wild and in isolation. As a genus contains species, so a species contains races.
    15. Sport is: Change in the genetic code of a typical cell which perpetuated itself because it was caused at a growing tip and took over. Sports often arise in hybrids when the genetic code is affected by electrical, chemical, radiation or other physical interference. Cells are often cultured under harsh conditions to isolate sports which survive.
    16. Sterility is: Blockage to breeding which separate similar breeding groups from each other. Mountain ranges, oceans and climates are physical blocks which produce races that develop chromosomal blocks. Differing chromosome count, or break point, and improper pollen tube growth are fertilization blocks. Genes, poor for heat units, photo intensity, day length, cell chemical concentration, cell size, maturation time, or other stress, cause abortion.
    17. Back cross is: Breeding a parent with its offspring or a close relative to reinforce a trait which is easily lost by not using partners with this trait.
    18. Identical twins are: A double embryo, each the clone of the other, caused by the splitting-in-two of the undifferentiated cells soon after fertilization. This is typical and normal in chestnut.
    19. Selling is: Breeding to itself one plant which contains both sexes. The seedlings are similar to the parent but in their millions very few are clones due to the chromosome shuffling that proceeds spore cell formation. (Reassembly of the chromosome string upon fertilization results in differing suit, but same value, card combinations. Either card can migrate to either pole in spore cell formation.) Grasses often spontaneously double their egg chromosomes to asexually produce seed. Very few are clones due to chromosome shuffling. There seems to be another process at work in chestnut where the mother can insert her own genes for the embryo's. Thus, we have many seed twins of Layeroka though Layeroka is pollen sterile, and no other chestnut with pollen looks like Layeroka.
    20. Pedigree is: The family tree records kept while we select for accented characteristics visible in uniform lines.
    21. Hybridize is: Breed between species by removing the isolation between them. Resulting offspring have transposed traits, increased vigour, and disorders such as albinoism, sterility and tendency to sport. First generation, Fl, and second generation, F2, hybrids are often propagated asexually if the cross resulted in a good tree. Hybrid seed varieties are produced by growing uniform plant lines and crossing them. The uniform lines have to be maintained to continue producing the hybrid seed which has known Fl traits.
    22. Cross is: Breed between species or lines or clones. Breed across the barrier, hybridize, or unite two special individuals.
    23. Fix a dominant gene is: Because a dominant gene expresses itself whether paired with the same dominant gene or a recessive gene, the breeder does not know until growing the offspring of a controlled cross what the offspring will express, and thereby, the gene combination of the parents. Annually selecting desired parents will not select double dominant genes, produce seed purity, fix that gene in the population, unless it is recessive. Therefore, two parents suspected of having double dominant genes must be isolated and crossed. If neither parent was double dominant, the recessive trait will express in a fraction of the first seed generation, and the seed is discarded. If only one parent was double dominant, the recessive gene will express in the second seed generation, and the seed is discarded. Purity of the trait in the second generation proves the double dominance in parents and offspring, the seed is saved. As long as the seed is grown in isolation from the recessive gene, double dominance is fixed, captured.
    24. Inbreeding is: Breeding close relatives together to fix desirable traits. Lack of vigour arises and must be controlled by selecting from a large population, or out crossing, nature's way of sustaining tree vigour.
    25. Breeds true is: A trait repeats in seedlings because it is double recessive in that line, or it is in a seed variety where many genes control visible traits.
    26. Breeder's records are: Notes, tags and maps kept to identify parentage and trait expression.
    27. Non-genetic inheritance is: Polar bodies passed on in mother's egg cells.
  12. Better nut trees are about us. We must select them, and breed them. Nut qualities, from flavour to ease-of-storage, attract us, but it is the trees that own these qualities. As breeders we seek to improve on varieties. We assemble trees with desired traits, seed their crop, select seedlings again displaying these traits, seed their crop, select again, steadily moving a population toward improvement.
    1. Probably the most important economic trait is cropping. Landscapers may afford poor producers. Orchardists want to see their trees cropping heavily even along the long stems of young trees. Typical nut trees are productive when mature, not productive while young. Most nut trees bear on terminals, tips of branches, which are relatively few until trees are old. We have to assemble breeding trees which extend lower buds to flower like terminal buds. Not only do the old trees we are watching fail to give us side bearers, hardy trees tend not to. Side bearers tend to be the trees which grow very late into the season. Their side buds are better formed than their terminals. Without side bearing these trees would not seed propagate. We move our tree population toward hardiness while retaining the highly visible projected side buds.
    2. Next, we assemble fertility. Somehow these nuts bear with very little pollination. Doug Campbell's CW3 heartnut sets nutlets although catkins have dropped and pollen is almost gone. Winkler hazel and Graham hybrid filbert are unusual by bearing though isolated from cross pollination. Infertility is common in filbert and chestnut. It is overcome by having many pollinators. European hybrid chestnuts are usually more fertile than native trees. Fertile breeding lines will reward us with the largest crops and most offspring to evaluate.
    3. Early leafing deserves our attention. Large hard kernels are born on trees first to extend full size leaves. In our lake moderated climate the earliest and best filling filberts, pecans, chestnuts and heartnuts can be in full leaf two weeks ahead of the general population. These species can take several degrees of frost and go on to bear a crop.
    4. We assemble races of nuts for their breeding potential. Northern pecans get most of our attention. The most northern race of pecans comes from the Mississippi flood plain at Bellevue, Iowa. These are maturing during short warm summers. A second pecan race is from border areas of Iowa-Missouri and from central Illinois and Indiana. They ripen early to recover energy before what could be a killingly dry and cold winter. A third pecan race is from the narrow frosty valleys of these states. Cool night air puddles on them, stunting maturity. Put these three traits together and we can sort out the best combination. Ditto, black walnuts, and hickories.
    5. Some trees are super healthy and thereby ornamental. Selecting these eliminates many faults, like insect attractiveness, mineral toxicity or non- absorption, mycorrhizal incompatibility, or other genetic defects which produce chlorotic, stunted or cankered trees.
    6. We try to identify observable traits which are linked with desirable but invisible traits. That is how we hope to trace eastern filbert blight resistant hybrids. The Winkler line of hybrids is distinct enough (ornamental enough) to be traced through several generations of filbert and tree hazel types. Open pollination and a large seedling stand are visually screened. Retaining hybrids leaves us with manageable numbers of the most promising seedlings. To screen we need to know that Winkler hybrids have reddish new growth covered with plant hairs. Foliage turns orange in early October. By mid November the hybrid bushes defoliate. Most filberts are relatively green and hairless at all these stages.
    7. We assembly breeding partners whose traits complement. Crossing Hemming and Simpson chestnuts has shown nut improvement. Simpson is late to fill its large round nuts. In the first week of October, when most chestnuts are ripe, Simpson leaves some hull unextended (sides dimpled). Hemming is full, to over full, by late September. If it rains in early September, Hemming often splits through the sides of its hulls. Bred together they yield large dark brown round nuts, ripe in early October, filled solid without splitting.
    8. The combining of Hemming and Simpson nut traits shows how nut trees use many genes to compromise their traits. Races with noticeably differing traits breed populations with traits between those of the parents. We select and discard to move a population toward improvement. Trying to capture a "single gene", keeping the relatively few seedling that best exhibit "it", leads to dilution in the next generation, due to the new mix of governing genes.
    9. If xenia, the influence of the pollen parent on how the nut forms, could be seen and traced to the pollen donor, it would ease our troubles with hand pollination and isolation. Nut shape, especially in heartnut, changes greatly from year to year. Heat and moisture are the primary causes, but shape within a cluster also changes. Faust, Wright and Bates usually lack a central crease. Brock, Campbell CW3, and Etter have the central crease. In the Etter grove most Faust have flat sides, some have slight creases, and a few have deep creases. In choosing Faust seed it is tempting, perhaps wise, to save Faust with creased sides, hoping they are crossed with the excellent varieties which are deeply creased.
    10. Nut shape is very important in breeding. Heartnut reveals its kernel shape by projecting it into the shell. The central crease is one step farther in kernel projection. We assume the kernel of these nuts is forming with, or before, shell formation. Drought when kernels should be forming usually extends shell formation to produce heavy shells that year. Heartnut has produced kernels in hulls with no shells though the cause is probably ethylene contaminated foliar spray. Kernel outline raised into the shell relief is also seen in walnut, hickory and pecan. Skipping days or weeks of shell formation is useful in a limited season. Thus, we assemble nuts with the thinnest practical veneer of shell. Hardy nuts are not noted for their thin shells. Weschcke shagbark and Snaps pecan are exceptions indicating breeding populations can be moved toward thin shell and be hardy.
    11. Where do we see most progress in nut breeding? Progress is in hardy nuts with round, easily extracted kernels. They are filberts, chestnuts and heartnuts. These are equipped with antifreeze to get swollen buds and foliage through cold swings during spring, and fall. Their shell structure is thin and simple, dish shaped. Pecan fulfils these requirements, but are not properly selected for our short cool season. Hickory breeding is confused by its intertwine of kernel and shell. Ditto black walnut. Persian walnut lacks antifreeze and leafhopper resistance. However, Persian's clean, thin shell and satisfying kernel will maintain our interest until we find hardiness.
    12. In breeding filberts, chestnuts and heartnuts the required traits showed themselves with regularity. Breeding Persians is sad. Leafhopper resistance eludes us. Persians should be covered with sticky hairs like found on the young growth of heartnut, or repel like pecan. High concentrations of leafhoppers cause stunting of new growth during all of summer.
    13. Cold hardiness and frost hardiness seldom appear in the same Persian tree. Persians hardy toward deep winter cold, leaf early, fill nuts early, colour leaves yellow before frost, frost crack in cold snaps, freeze sun warmed bark in cold snaps, and freeze swollen buds in late March and April. These are typical Carpathians, able to perform after cold winters, but more injured at each deep swing from warm to cold.
    14. The Broadview type of Persian is slower in responding to warm spells and is more likely to continue dormant through spring frosts. Like Carpathian it flags, sends long terminals of second growth, after wet periods during summer. Often flags do not mature, ending the season hollow with a mere shell of wood. Flags feed summer leafhoppers. The Broadview type Persians grow later into fall, retaining green leaves. Deep cold injures terminals. Severe cold can kill every visible bud on a tree though bark and wood remain sound. The Carpathian buds remain sound.
    15. Persians survive. Heartnuts prosper. Heartnuts are sticky and irritating to leafhoppers. They spend the whole summer laying down thick wood in one flush of growth. Heartnut sap is rich in sugars, antifreeze. Heartnuts retain their dark green leaves into fall. Heartnut, grafted onto Carpathian, is able to takeover the "bush", the same way that tree hazel grafted on native hazel helps eliminate all stems except that grafted. Heartnut finishes the season with dark green leaves, like the dark green leaves of northern pecan, not the bright growing green of southern pecan or flagging Persian. Persian stocks overgrow heartnut tops like pecan stocks overgrow hickory tops. Heartnuts and Persians flow sap copiously, bleeding where wounded. The conclusion is that easily flowing sap should build wood rather than new growth during the last half of the growing season. Another hardiness ability is the production of a type of protein which attached to forming ice crystals to end crystal growth. Cell water is allowed to supercool.
  13. Needed breeding:
    1. In general, all nuts and fruits need: Production on spurs; balance between fruit and leaf; short internode distance between buds; a branch stoutness which indicates a short vegetative interval and associated precocity, early ripening, hardiness, and ability to synthesize at cool temperature; disease resistance; roots which associate with microbes for nitrogen fixation and nutrient pickup.
    2. Filbert needs: Eastern filbert blight resistance; larger kernel size; more solids in the kernel to reduce shrivel; more melting kernel; more ornamental bush; more open and better socketed branching; more a tree form; lighter coloured and thicker bark; deeper roots; bud mite resistance.
    3. Amelanchier needs: More roots; berries which are more resistant to birds until fully ripe; smaller seeds.
    4. Almond and apricot need: Later flowering; larger, sweeter kernel; adaptation to wet sites; thinner shells; canker resistance.
    5. Cornelian cherry dogwoods need: Larger, less tart cherry with better flavour.
    6. Autumn olives need: Larger, earlier fruit; more open bush like a small tree.
    7. Northern kiwi needs: Later leafing; frost resistance; larger fruit; earlier ripening; ability to grow in full sun.
    8. Pawpaw needs: More shelf life; sweeter, thinner skin; less seediness; ability to ripen under dry indoor conditions.
    9. Stone pine needs: Ability to grow like Scots pine; thinner shelled, larger kernels like pinyon pine.
    10. Black walnut needs: Flat kernel; side or end cracking; leaves anthracnose resistant; side bud bearing; in a heartnut shell.
    11. Butternut needs; hybrids which crack on the suture like heartnut; resistance to three destructive walnut diseases, smooth shell.
    12. Heartnut needs: More selections with totally free kernel; hardier; shorter internodes; more bearing on side buds; higher flavour like black.
    13. Persian walnut needs: Hardier toward deep winter cold, fluctuating North American temperature, and spring freezes; more production from side buds; more blight resistant; more salt spray and leafhopper resistant.
    14. Hickory needs: Flatter, larger kernels in thinner shells; side cracking or end cracking nuts; more insect and disease resistance on a tree with a longer, less explosive vegetative interval; more side bud bearing.
    15. Pecans need: Early ripening; ability to make sugars, darken leaves at cool temperatures.
    16. Persimmon needs: Hybrids which carry the oriental traits of post harvest colouring-up, and ripening firm, large fruit without astringency, or shrinkage; earlier bloom.
    17. Chestnuts need: One pistillate bloom on each catkin and catkins only at nodes five through nine; more blight and sun scald resistance; sweeter, larger nuts with darker hulls.
    18. Elderberry needs: Sweeter berries with smaller seeds; less puckery.
    19. Filbert Breeding
      1. Filbert traits surpass those of all other deciduous nuts in cold adaptation. They pollinate during the warm spells of March and April. Unexposed flower parts endure frost and push receptivity when warmth returns. The embryo remains a single cell until summer. Unfolding leaves, stems, unexposed flower parts, and embryos endure freezing. This says something for testing embryos with freezing to gain freeze resistance. Leaves function during the entire season despite untimely cold spells. Nuts are a yearly crop as long as mature trees are kept vigorous. High nut quality takes our main effort in breeding and selecting. Luckily, Jack U. Gellatly, George L. Slate, Cecil W. Farris, Carl Weschcke, S. H. Graham, Willard G. Bixby, J. F. Jones, J. G. Rush and others passed to us much improved varieties.
      2. European filbert, Corylus avellana, genetically contains large, thin-shell nuts which drop cleanly from open hulls before leaf drop. Relatively few nuts are in clusters, unlike the large clusters on the end of terminals in native. Most of the filbert crop is apt to be in single and double nuts spread through the small tree. The natural plant form of filbert is a bush, a little larger than lilac, with a single root crown. Orchardists convert these to single stem trees. Buds are tight and resistant to bud mites. Avellana has problems with eastern filbert blight, harsh winters, and short, dry growing seasons. March female flowers of filbert can be inoculated with the spores of eastern filbert blight, cancelling pollination, and killing terminals in a few seasons after blight erupts through the bark of that stem. Avellana has difficulty going dormant and staying dormant, the product of long, moist and moderate growing. We want the early maturing and dropping nuts of Barcelona, but on a tree which colours up after the first light frosts, and goes dormant for a long hard winter and erratic March.
      3. Native hazel, C. americana, is a small bush (half lilac size) which spreads itself just under the soil surface, using warm spells during dormancy to grow a thicket. The original root crown is not distinguishable after several years. Hazel nuts, native or tree, are pea size, tightly bound in the hull clusters, and thick shelled. Though the nuts fill early and are eaten off by raccoons, nut drop or hull drop is during leaf drop. The open buds of hazels, and many hazel hybrids, attract bud mites. The mites swell buds, most often the terminal bud, causing the next sound bud along the stem to take over as terminal and flower. Native hazel is in tune with our season. Pollination is in April after C. avellana. Winkler is a noted selection from northern Iowa which passes traits of hardiness, self (or super) pollination, and resistance to eastern filbert blight. The bush is tiny and ornamental, turning red in October. Hybrids are larger bushes and turn orange. Much of the current work with Winkler hybrids is done by Phil and Mary Rutter in Minnesota.
      4. Tree hazel, usually Turkish, C. colurna, imparts its traits: a large single stem tree; new bark is white and papery; older bark is corky and white with orange fissures; leaves, glistening dark green, cut out like a bat wing on lower margins; pointy red buds; dormant buds are open like crushed oats at terminals; pea size nuts with thick shells; high quality kernels in a light colour pellicle; nut clusters (which hang down from terminals and branchlets) mildew during wet summers; few nuts release from the thick, gelatinous, spiny, tentacled clusters before leaf drop. It is a property of these large trees to quickly fill kernels even during cool, dry seasons. Hybrids, which turn out more bush form, often retain the glossy leaves and quality kernels (Faroka and Chinoka hybrids). Tip buds usually remain unsealed, but resist bud mite. Both C. avellana and tree hazel can start pollination in February and complete before native starts. Despite early flowering and eastern filbert blight infection, vigorous tree hazels will bear small crops, and limit blight spread to branchlets by walling off infection at crotches. Due to the thick foliage, one has to look for the dead branchlets to notice the blight on the tree hazels in blight regions. Breeding with Winkler hybrids such as Graham can increase resistance because these hybrids have healed cankers in branchlets. The upright growth, whitish bark, and glistening leaves make tree hazel an ornamental. Quality nuts with large, firm kernels are coming from tree hazel hybrids: Laroka (though not a yearly producer, and kernel is long and pointed, rather than round), Morrisoka, Schubert, and seedlings of Faroka and Chinoka.
      5. Resistance to eastern filbert blight is not easy to gain in quality nut selections. Graham and other resistant New York selections were sent to a blight-test centre in Illinois and failed. Our best current advice is to grow the most vigorous, most ornamental, and latest pollinating sorts which show native and tree hazel in their breeding. Native is flagged by new stems covered with red hairs, thick hardy leaves, and foliage colouring reddish after the first light frosts. Tree hazel is flagged by pointed buds, papery bark, and glistening leaves with bat wing lower margins. Despite native influence, the larger frame of tree hazel dominates.
      6. In October of 1979 SONG planted seed of nut selections 70 km northwest of Toronto in Agriculture Canada's hardiness zone 5A. This planting on the Orangeville Reservoir property of the Credit Valley Conservation Authority supplies us with thousands of seedlings to evaluate. Several Faroka tree hazel seedlings are outstanding. Only one in one hundred of these is tree hazel form. To properly evaluate for filbert selections, we should visit Orangeville three times each year to note their growth cycle.
        1. Mid May is the time to check for large leaves among filbert seedlings. (Also check for plant hairs, bat wing lower margin, and, if possible, thickness and gloss.) These bushes with largest leaves usually fill hard kernels quickly during the season. Large leaves in May mean large nuts in July, and full, hard kernels in September. The cup size leaves and sound kernel of Laroka tree hazel come to mind. This quality of kernel brings repeat customers. Small leaves in May often mean a small watery kernel in September. A caution about surveying for leaf size; leaf size reduces as much as 50% and takes on extra glisten when a branch starts to bear. Compare juvenile stems to juvenile stems, and bearing branches to bearing branches. There is a distinct branching pattern in bearing branches. It is easiest to familiarize with this pattern by viewing branches which hold catkins.
        2. In September check nut drop. Nuts should ripen and begin dropping a month before fall colour change; size in early August, months before leaf drop. Kernels must be hard, not soft and watery. Barcelona comes to mind. Leaves remain dark green while nuts have pulled fluids from their brown husks. Kernels are dry and even starting to soften for the right reason, due to oil conversion.
        3. In mid October the tree should be ablaze. Red or orange leaves are our indication that native hazel hardiness was passed to this tree. Yellow or bronze leaves may be acceptable, but the dark green leaves acceptable at leaf shed of heartnut, walnut and pecan indicate lack of native dormancy in filbert. Barcelona remains green. Given an extended summer, one can find bloom starting to extend from Barcelona buds. Hybrids should bloom in April. Catkins have waxed brown by October, and we should check that selections have three or more buds lining the peduncle which holds the catkin. These buds are pointed flower buds rather than round vegetative buds.
          1. Before final screening of seedlings we have to pay attention to bisexual catkins. The most willing-to-bear nut frees manifest their ability to produce flower strings. These catkins are bisexual. Their lower flowers are female and mature first. Their upper flowers are male and mature after the female. On walnut and hickory (even August chestnut flowers) our short season usually prevents this bloom from maturing nuts because it is a second flush of bloom , but filberts, and chestnuts with June flowers, mature normally. Trees which quickly form bisexual catkins are strongly female, abnormally stout, and willing to set crops with a minimum of pollen. Many of their side buds contain female flowers. (We have temporarily changed male persimmon frees to female by heavy pruning until only stout branchlets remain.) Filbert is most obvious in displaying bisexual catkins. The peduncle, or droopy stem which holds the male bloom, can carry a dozen buds, female bloom. Three and more buds indicate strong female tendencies. The majority of filberts have less than two peduncle buds. These are terminal bearers. They may possess only enough vigour to bear at terminals. When these lose vigour they bear very few nuts.
          2. At the October survey, and anytime we see a catkin, we can count peduncle buds (PB). Barcelona, Gordon 1, Grimo PB, Laroka and Hambleton have up to four. Doug Campbell's NC-PB often has five. Ennis, Faroka, and Morrisoka often have seven. By virtue of femininity these frees bear nuts throughout their canopy. Many are singles and doubles with good leaf to nut ratio, which aids filling. Single nuts drop blanks without sizing shells. Blank nuts which are harvested are from clusters containing some filled nuts. Terminal clusters usually have many small nuts because of poor leaf to nut ratio. However, if they only contain a nut or two, these nuts are jumbo size being on vigorous shoots in full sun. On weakly growing frees leaves near a cluster are often killed as filling draws off the leaves' reserves, and filling can be incomplete.
      7. As we survey for selections, it pays to look for mutations. Spotting a useful mutation is so insightful while breeding is so work intensive. Some variants strengthen a free and take over a section: hardier, earlier ripening, thriftier growing branches. Some are neutral: improved shell structure, or limb anchorage. Some free weakening mutations which quickly die out are dwarfism and super receptivity. Increased bearing weakens a free or limb, but is not always fatal because of the increased vigour needed to produce flowers.
      8. Breeding can be laborious, and it can simply be rewarding. We are starting to produce nuts at Orangeville. Their success should fuel other nut seed plantings in conservation areas. We should do better at it, and get better nuts from it, each time we do it.
    20. Chestnut Breeding
      1. We expected native chestnut to survive the harsh climate of Orangeville, and planted two strains of hybrids, Sauber and Douglass. The Sauber strain is doing better, looking much like native-cross-Japanese. The Douglass strain of native-gross-Manchurian is struggling. It may take a generation or two for Douglass to get a grip on the morainal soil at Orangeville: sand, gravel, limestone fragments and clay. Douglass likes a more acid sand, orange with oxidized iron, and topped with leaf litter. Sauber trees jumped two meters taller. Only a third of the seed grew and a test winter is expected to thin their ranks. Given the mild winters of late, and the fine growth of most species, hindsight shows we should have planted Layeroka seed and other complex hybrids.
        1. The hybrid chestnuts which look commercial in Niagara are highly European and Chinese: Layeroka, and Simpson. Layeroka looks like Chinese dusted onto a European frame. Layeroka's glistening leaves and early bearing look Japanese. Simpson is less ornamental, but similar.
        2. European chestnut, Castanea sativa, carries commercial traits. Nut size is as large as golf balls. Hulls and pellicles are thick to resist drying and mould. Hulls are dark brown, and thick enough to crack under finger pressure for easy removal. Leaves, shoots and buds are the fattest, double the thickness of other chestnuts. Leaves and new growth carry leafhopper resistance. Like white oak, Europeans will grow on clayey, more sweet, more wet soils. Phytophthera crown rot is said to upset soil tolerance, but has not been witnessed in our selections. Single embryos, thus single kernels, are maintained in nuts. Folding of pellicle into kernel has been eliminated in our sorts by breeding with Chinese and native. Bark freezing and bark blight are easy to produce in European hybrids. Test winters are below -26C, resulting in frozen terminals, sunward patches of dead bark within 1.5 m of the snow line, and in crotches of large limbs. Peach trunk painting methods, as with white latex paint, are necessary at open plantings, especially grafted orchards.
        3. Jack U. Gellatly of Westbank, B.C. gave us his many 'oka hybrids. William J. Simpson of Erie, PA gave us the Simpson strain. The Paragon strain from Pennsylvania fills nuts too late in Niagara. Full European trees die out in Niagara, though Leamington has its share.
        4. Layeroka and its twins, identical seedlings, are pollen sterile. Immature male catkins drop as female flowers become receptive at the start of summer. Catkins become bisexuals at the sixth, seventh, and eighth leaf node. All catkins which push out on second growth are bisexuals with non-maturing pollen. Simpson has some pollen. The fifth catkin out on Simpson usually starts its bisexuals. These hybrids often push a succession of bisexuals and make too great a load, except in a moist season. Nourishing nuts to proper size is a problem. We must prune trees to open up leaf density. Vigour in the tree must push terminal growth to size leaves fully, five leaves past the nut cluster.
        5. Viable chestnut pollen does not travel far. It loses the ability to germinate with any strength unless rapidly dried. Most growers graft selections, and harvest catkins, which are dusting, just before brushing them on receptive females. Even on a tree, pollen viability changes from day to day. Repeated crossing overcomes pollen viability problems, and not knowing when flowers are receptive. Start pollinating when stigmata become white and extend. Some catkins on that branchlet will be shedding pollen, though not that receptive bisexual.
        6. Native chestnut, C. dentata, is very much like European. In fact the report of visitors to northern England and Scotland is that their native chestnut is identical to ours. The bulk of its leaf, bud, stem, and nut crop are all reduced to concentrate on taking over rocky, dry sites in the forest. Our natives are hardy to -30C. Below that, tip buds remain hardy, but trunk bark injures just above the snow line and in low crotches on open grown trees. This injury is small and easily healed on seedling trees, unless, as often happens, blight takes hold. Native chestnuts are teardrop shape and dime size. Hybrids with Chinese often ripen early, size large, but retain a native tendency to form the double embryos, and bear above the eighth catkin, like typical native. Very light pellicles make these double embryos somewhat acceptable, not at all fibrous like some Japanese and European.
        7. The Douglass strain of native cross Chinese (Douglass Manchurians) looks native except for plant hairs on buds, shoots and leaves. Blight resistance is far from perfect, but much greater than in most other hybrids which look native. Except for limbyness and too thick a leaf density, Douglass has grown at an equivalent rate to native seed except about the sixth season blight takes the native. Douglass needs 90% culling due to bark freeze, tip injury, leafhopper injury and blight. Their nuts seldom approach commercial size. In a conservation planting Douglass brings back the American chestnut, if the number tried was great enough.
        8. Japanese chestnut, C. crenata, is similar to European in large nut size, marginal hardiness of hybrids, and tolerance of white oak soils. New growth is willowy. Buds are dark, spherical, pin heads. New green shoots extend late in August. The bark colours yellow to maroon, as it darkens with age. Some Japanese races carry resistance to phytophthera crown rot. Nuts are single embryo, but the thick pellicle is often stuck tight to the kernel. Nut size on a Japanese tree can vary from large to small depending on the flowering time span and when pollinated. Unlike Europeans which bear large nuts on young seedlings, Japanese rarely bears large nuts until its trees are old. Nut hulls are yellow-orange with fine dark lines 0.5 mm wide and 3 mm apart drawn from scar to point. Scars are large, covering a third of the nut, like native, but smooth without the raised sunburst pattern. Leaves are long and narrow with close hooked cusps for edges. High leaf gloss which links with early maturity of a tree is often passed to hybrids. High gloss seedlings usually bear in their fourth season.
        9. Chinese chestnut, C. mollissima, is typically a long season tree that expects droughty summers and falls. Its round nut is the size of a quarter, just about commercial size. Their tight tan pellicles peel easily, and pass to Chinese hybrids. Hemming is a short season strain promoted on the eastern short of Maryland. It has marginal hardiness in Niagara, and September rains often cause its hulls to split. Hemming, Orrin, and Eaton set terminal bud in early August, six weeks earlier than typical Chinese. Chinese terminals and bark suffer injury at -26C.
        10. Breeding of chestnut to be done: Make Layeroka sorts into dark hulled nuts, quicker to push bisexual catkins with some viable pollen, on a tree which is hardier and more blight resisting. Cross Simpson. Simpson has been crossed with Hemming to produce a large dark nut, very hard, and not hull splitting. The tree has to be made hardier. Cross Douglass. The teardrop shape of Layeroka, and perfectly round shape of Simpson, are distinctive and should be saved although it means selling their nuts separately.
        11. European chestnut have stout vigour. European orchardists have selected for stout, conservative growth as the quick way to large crops and large nuts. As we continue to plant and select seedlings to grow out, we have to choose among growth forms that are weak-slow, stout-slow, moderate, stout-moderate, rapid, stout-rapid, and skyclimbing. A chestnut on its own root system has to be growing stout-moderate to produce commercial crops. We reach this conclusion in several ways. Good bearing begins when the trunk diameter above the root crown approaches 10 cm (No denying that glossy leaves mean bearing at any diameter.) Height has much less influence on bearing, except that turning energy into height eats the reserves needed for flowering and fruiting. Thick branchlets and buds store these reserves. By analogy the stout-slow persimmons turn out female, and early ripening in our climate. Stout-moderate persimmon ripen well during a dry season, but ripen too late in a wet fall. (Production of the plant hormone ethylene is main cause for slowed growth and ripening) Pecan trees which are selected for top growth are likely to have large nuts and small fill. Stout-moderate pecans usually put more kernel into their nuts. Layeroka and Simpson are stout-moderate in their growth. They fit our model with their large crops and large nuts.
    21. Heartnut Breeding
      1. Some of the best heartnut selections in Niagara have come as seed from the Etter variety grown in southern Pennsylvania. Looking at the row of Etter trees, it is apparent why. Etter ripens and goes dormant ahead of its neighbouring trees, except for the Weschcke shagbark hickory from northern Iowa. Etter is several weeks ahead of the neighbouring heartnuts, mainly Brock, Rhodes, and Faust. Etter, Brock, and Rhodes (by far Rhodes) have thin shells with well rounded cavities. Rhodes is late in ripening, and cannot be expected to perform north of Niagara. However, even Rhodes heartnut is much like butternut, containing enough antifreeze in its sap to overcome deep winter cold, and spring and fall frosts.
      2. Brock and the Etter seedling, Doug Campbell's CW3, are selections by which to judge marketable heartnuts. Their shells are thin and flat enough to pry open upon drying. (Heartnut kernels resist going rancid for years.) Their kernels taper down into shell cavities so that they dump out. Tapping or squeezing at the suture splits apart their shell halves. The kernels lie on the shell halves. Other heartnuts in this class are Pyke, Fodermaier, Imshu, Schubert, Campbell West, and Dish.
      3. Both heartnuts and butternuts were planted at Orangeville. The butternuts are slightly hardier and taller. The heartnuts are stouter and starting to bear. We will look for quality, early ripening, and hardiness to improve, and be sent on to future plantings.
      4. Although heartnut has stout vigour, it is overly male. Most of the buds are catkins. It is not unusual to find that only the terminal bud is a leaf bud and contains the flower stalk. CW3 has born nuts on side buds, but very few. Usually, side buds on heartnut do not break dormancy, or are stunted by the vigorous growth of the terminal. Without side bud bearing, we are very limited in improving production on young heartnut trees.
      5. Butternut breeding will come along with heartnut breeding due to their easy crossing, and the many good hybrids produced. Heartnut gives resistance toward the three diseases knocking down butternut. Nut production and structure are improved over butternut. Heartnut's spreading tree form is somewhat improved by butternut. The Mitchell Hybrid is an example of improved hardiness, earliness, and nut structure.
      6. Like filbert, once a good heartnut is discovered, it can be air layered, and propagated by stooling. Grafting pushes heartnut to bear and grow flat. Rooting heartnut selections should reduce early bearing while the tree grows upright toward full height.
    22. Black Walnut Breeding
      1. Native black walnut grows to become large, productive, "estate" walnut trees. These natives show very good adaptation which usually includes a very hard nut shell. Our timber plantings never seem to do as well as isolated trees. The likely cause is grass competition and bark infections spread by pruning young stands. Little is being done to improve nut crops from black walnut. Although their kernels are valuable, we lack the set-up for commercial extracting. Where black walnuts are processed commercially, the very hard shelled round nuts are valued over named varieties because the named varieties have thin shells which bend past rollers and crush kernels. Long flat walnuts have to be oriented correctly for cracking.
      2. Archie Sparks of Beaver, Iowa is propagating trees which bear heavily off side buds. During hot, wet seasons fungal diseases defoliate black walnut too early for the crop to mature. Hybridized black walnut have not yet produced a black walnut easy to extract. Ken Dooley of Marion, Indiana, has gained likeable hybrids for us, but without the black walnut taste. Many black walnuts have limb sockets too poor to trim and form into orchard trees. Forest trees socket lower limbs for sloughing, rather than reinforcing their trunk sockets with wood arches, top and bottom, to grow limbs in the open and load with nuts.
      3. Purdue University in Indiana is making progress with Clonal black walnut varieties, and several are patented. They are upright, fast growing trees for open growing where both logs and nuts are produced (dual purpose). These help along our dream of returns from 20 year old trees through maturity at 50. However, that is only a hope. Trees in the wild hide from parasites behind diversity. The life expectancy of a one species (non-clonal) stand is 80 years before a parasite is expected to evolve and become a virulent pathogen. Seedlings are expected to continue as our source of reforesting material. Foresters know of healthy and high value seed trees. Nut growers give advice on trees which produce the sturdiest seedlings. High-grading from nursery beds ensures that select seedlings will size as economically as most clones. Not many of our seedlings will have the strong and single leader top of proven clones. Two metre spacing in reforested stands assures straight trees with small side limbs. Deformed trees should be removed as they occur, allowing growing space to the sturdier trees.
      4. Weakly supported side branching is a major problem in black walnut and pecan nut orchards. Approximately 80 percent of seedlings from the wild have weak crotches. This is genetic. Trees in the forest are skyclimbers where side branches are only temporarily in the sun, and are quickly sloughed as the top grows. To buttress side branches would bend them into shade, and might inhibit clean sloughing.
      5. Many nut producing selections have to be discarded for not connecting side limbs to the trunk with arches of wood above and below. Elmer Myers is a dual purpose tree which is suited to open growing. Its central leader can be traced to its top. Side limbs spread horizontal and size small compared to the leader, and are well socketed. This is the type of tree to be kept when after timber and nuts.
      6. Elmer Myers, Emma K, Sparrow and Sparks 127 are candidates for breeding dual purpose black walnuts. These are chosen for tree form, nut quality, foliage health and lateral bearing. People who hand crack black walnut prefer a nut like Emma K which is long, flat and thin shelled.
      7. Until black walnut extracts like heartnut, it will continue as a basement nut, foreign to the main household. A target of $4 per kg for the price of in shell nuts may never be realized. Black walnut has been crossed with heartnut. There is interesting breeding to be done using Muhleman single lobe (actually, the embryo region is enlarged and there are no lobes) with our dish shelled heartnuts. We now know the great difficulty in retaining black walnut flavour in hybrids. After we achieve easy extraction, we will have to concentrate on heightening black walnut flavour. Many seedlings will have to be screened for the acrid scent of black walnut. When we get black walnut into to the dished shell of heartnut, we will be closer to the banana of the nut industry.
    23. Persian Walnut Breeding
      1. After growing out generations of Persian walnuts in southern Ontario, one would expect some Persians to be nearly native trees. We have a market for these thin shelled, bright nuts, and the trees which produce them, but hardly one hardy variety to promote for production.
      2. Establishing a grove of Persians is difficult. Even on apple sites Persians suffer from leafhoppers, -26C winters, spring frost, and fluctuating temperatures which race above and below freezing to kill buds, freeze bark, and split trunks. Persians remain a much more maritime nut than filbert. However, even mid Europe Persians suffer. If these become large trees, they lose nuts due to walnut blight and husk maggots.
      3. Some growers look for late leafing Persians to carry dormancy through the warm periods of February and March. Comparing Persians with northern pecan should show that this is too simple a solution. Many Iowa and northern Illinois pecans are hardy to -30C. The seedlings which are not hardy only lose tips because they grow too long during summer and cannot harden during our fall. Most northern pecan varieties freeze thin bark above the graft union, where grafted low. Devore pecan is an analogy for a late leafing Persian. Devore is a stout moderate grower, hardy to -40C, and is resistant to bark freezing above low unions. Devore leafs late and slowly grows its leaves pale green until the heat of June. It wastes a lot of our growing season. Many Persians do better here than Devore.
      4. A super dormant type Persian could allow temperature swings from above freezing to near record lows well into March. However, it remains likely that bud movement signals the end of freeze resistance. Spurgeon, Burtner and other late leafing Persians have shown this, late leafing one year, no bud survival the next.
      5. We need Persians which allow a slight freezing of leaves while the centre of the bud is protected. Heartnut is the analogy. Pecans in this mode are Snaps and Cornfield. They are hardy to -40C. Bark freezing above low graft unions compares with the super dormant Devore. Their leaves grow like most Persians, full size and dark green, weeks ahead of Devore.
      6. Stateside, Persians are said to suffer from Interstate 80 disease. It is a rare Persian which crops north of I-80. The same could be said about pecan. Devore is from 90 km south of I-80 (Burlington, Ia.). Snaps and Cornfield are from 90 km north of I-80 (Dubuque, Ia.).
      7. Heartnut is also affected by I-80 distribution. It prospers north of I-80 and gets whacked farther south. Heartnut leafs early. Warm spells, then sharp freezing, have bled to death heartnut trees which were in full leaf.
      8. Above I-80 heartnut shows how to move fluids into stems without freezing buds, bark, and wood. Does heartnut have reservoirs for dumping freezing water (pith, unfolding leaves, wood)? Is the sap high in sugary antifreeze, and able to supercool without freezing? Does heartnut wood grow volume and flexibility to regulate slow freezing? Heartnut leafing is slightly slower than Manchurian walnut, slightly ahead of butternut, ahead of Persian, well ahead of black walnut, pecan and hickory. Despite early leafing, heartnut produces crops regularly though the outer leaves are usually burnt by freezing. The core of the heartnut bud is protected. At this same time the core of the Persian bud is frozen.
      9. Heartnut and pecan grow their tender terminals during the heavy attack of leafhoppers in July. Sticky, hairy heartnut shoots repel. Pecan looks as suitable as Persian (or hickory in second growth) so must contain a chemical defence. Lacking leafhopper defence, Persians will have to cease growth in early July to display leathery leaves like hickory.
      10. Some early leafing Persians, Papple for example, are hardy to deep winter cold, though nowhere as frost resistant as heartnut. Bauer 2 is similar, and has a pointed bud which opens more like heartnut to size outer leaves before moving the inner bud. Both suffer from walnut blight, leafhoppers and husk maggot. Bayles, Young's B-2, Korn and Nebraska have unusual hardiness. During test winters nearly 20% of their seedlings are winter hardy compared to about 5% hardy seedlings from less hardy selections.
      11. Stout, rapid growing Persians are planted in the mountains of Washington state. Chester H. Ferguson of Yakima has been promoting very hardy and short season selections from several plantings. Like other mountain Persians, these endure -40C and crop. These crop in mountains where temperature fluctuation is normal. Observing their grafts, the terminal wood is a little stouter than black walnut. Heartnut grows stout wood. Heartnut seems to produce rich sap, turn off growth, and hold the sap in reserve.
      12. Several Rumanian, Bulgarian, and Chinese Persians are highly resistant to walnut blight and anthracnose. Through Dr. Loy Shreve of Texas we have them for breeding and must gain their traits.
      13. Today's orcharding depends on trees which bear heavily while young. To be commercial almost all fruit and nut trees have to be side bearing for early production, rather than terminal bearing which necessitates large, mature trees for production. Side bearers have side buds on spike projections, like Bauer 2, and most pecans. Projected side buds can be seen on 3 and 4 year old seedlings which carry this trait.

        M. To gain improvement and produce hardy Persians we have to grow out more and better seed. We must select critically among the seedlings in future generations.

    24. Pecan Breeding
      1. Pecan is native to North America, the most northern race growing on the Mississippi at Bellevue, Iowa. Some years many northern pecans ripen in Niagara. Other years only Snaps, Snag, and Picture do. A little breeding should produce the required selections for Ontario.
      2. It seems unlikely that pecan trees will perform much better as they age. Certainly, S-24 is not the ideal selection for Ontario. This tree starts the season too slowly. Its leaves size slowly, and never reach the healthy green of walnuts or several other pecans. Its leaves drop naturally by November, ahead of nuts. This is opposite, and weeks later than, where discovered in central Indiana.
      3. We have gathered many pecans which mature early. Early ripening evolved for three main reasons. The Bellevue race has a short growing season. Where native, some of these nuts have enough fill in mid August for squirrels to begin harvest. (Evers is a southern pecan incorporated in Texas breeding for sizing and filling early. Its progeny was too tender in Niagara. Snaps should give this same early fill on a hardy tree.) Other selection which look interesting from Bellevue are Cornfield, Coffee, Picture, Deer Stand, Oaks, Pkolby and Snyder Lake East.
      4. The original group planted in Niagara was the Ohio Valley type which can fill nuts although some nights are cold. These are larger nuts, but late October ripening here. They gained an ability to ripen though bathed in cool night air by growing in steep valleys. Colby and S-24 fit in this group. Gibson, Fritz Flat, and Anderson Flat are similar, but from the wide Mississippi flats farther north. Carlson Crow and Carlson Delta were more recently gathered after we were shown their early fill and 3 cm long nuts.
      5. The third group is from droughty regions where nuts need to ripen, and trees need to harden, before lack of water forces premature dormancy. Devore, S-11 and Henke hican are in this group.
      6. Our pecan breeding strategy is to cross these three groups (quick northern, cool night and quick drought) and sort seedlings to match the quick northern selections from Bellevue. Earliness in leafing is exhibited by Snaps, Cornfield, Picture and Gibson. These also show full leaf of a healthy green about mid May. Nut sizing is expected in July, and filling in August. Shuck splitting and nut drop should be in late September, before leaf drop in mid October. Petioles should drop from the tip buds during the first hard frost of October. The most northern of pecans are stout-moderate growers, whose petioles all slough with no bleeding. If size does not increase, we can incorporate hican breeding.
    25. Hican Breeding-Hickory Breeding
      1. Hickory breeding is for you if you believe the intertwine of shell and kernel is a small problem. There are many fine hickory selections which provide seed: Weschcke, Yoder 1, Wilcox, Neilson, Grainger, Cedar Rapids, CES-8, CES-26, Eller and Porter which are all shagbarks; Fayette, Keystone, Henry, Scholl and CES-24 which are all shellbarks. Most hickory growers believe that the shell of hickory needs more improvement than is likely achieved by crossing with another hickory. Hickory's complex shell, early arrest of growth in spring, poor leafhopper resistance in second growth, and September dormancy point to pecan for improvement.
      2. There is a nut industry built on northern pecans. It remained small until cracking machines shelled full half kernels to show what a delight these smaller northern types could be. These machines will crack hicans, but not hickory. Hicans from these northern groves are top priced with the largest pecans. Where native, hicans fill and drop ahead of pecans. Native chestnuts get accused of being hybrid when they resist the blight. Pecans are accused of containing hickory when they ripen early.
      3. Relatively few hicans exist in the wild. At the native pecan grove near Bellevue, Iowa, one hican, HY-6, was found, along with over 100 pecans and nearly 30 shellbarks. We don't have many good hicans to point to because there were few to chose from. Only Henke, Burton, Burlington, and Des Moines have the reputation of cropping good nuts. Only Henke fills in Niagara. We might use Burton-seedling, as grown from a Burton nut by Ken Dooley of Marion, Indiana. It looks like a long, fat shagbark, but cracks much like a hican.
      4. Our energies would be well spent in growing out hicans. The strategy would be the same as for pecan. Breeding partners would be the quick northern pecans, and the hicans: Henke, Burton-seedling, HY-6, Abbott, and several Henke seedlings. The hickory selections above are likely to be used for pollen because they bloom earlier than pecan types.
    26. Native Persimmon Breeding
      1. Persimmon is a minimum care native fruit. Many nut growers have this tree which grows broad, and fruits early, like Chinese chestnut. Selections are grafted females known for quality. Seedlings are usually completely male or female. James V. Claypool of St. Elmo, Illinois is the leading breeder of native persimmons, turning out a half mile row each year. Spacing has gone from 10 ft to 5 ft to 2.5 ft. Now that his pedigreed seed numbers over 1000 per year, the time has come to start two rows per year. The Claypool strategy is to hand pollinate taking pollen from the occasional male flowers on Early Golden strain selections. Early Golden is a proven parent, known to produce selections even when insect pollinated. Its fruit is the highest quality, and has no astringency upon ripening. Using pollen from these top line females, and setting seed on other named selections, moves selection ahead at a high success rate. Some Claypool breeding partners are: Morris Burton for pulp which holds quality through storage, Mitchellena and Jewel for overall quality, and Wabash for early ripening.
      2. The earliest ripening Niagara persimmons are: Yates, NC-10 (from Doug Campbell), Richards, Pieper, Slate, and Szukis. Szukis is bi-sexual and should speed our persimmon breeding.
      3. Early ripening persimmons are those which flower early and get a head start toward ripening. Only one in a thousand males is early enough to cover the female bloom if it is left to bees. It takes bees a week to get interested in the nectar of persimmons and by that time the females have lost many flowers.
      4. To gather pollen, dry the flower in a prewarmed oven (door open, as it cools) for an hour to free the pollen. It will shed with a gentle tap on a glass plate, leaving a small smudge. This extracted pollen is moved into female flowers, using a sharpened pencil eraser (or bulb of a medical thermometer, if collected in quantity in a vial).
      5. Breeding makes it necessary to remove many unworthy trees. Persimmon root suckers like plum. Removing each tree without starting all its suckers is tricky but simple. About mid May, as you are discarding all the male trees which bloom too late, girdle the unworthy tree, chipping the bark downward with a hatchet. Put a teaspoon of Tordon RTU in the wound. In a year you can break over that persimmon by hand and discard it.
    27. Pawpaw Breeding
      1. The pawpaw tree has the leaf, and general appearance of a flowering type magnolia. With its bitter bark and leaves it will grow in a rabbit or goat pen. The injured green parts of a pawpaw repel with a harsh green pepper odour and taste. The fruit is like a stubby banana; pear skin on the outside, creamy pulp and button seeds on the inside.
      2. Edible pawpaw fruits are difficult to obtain. The typical offering tastes like banana dipped in cleaning fluid. The problem is the way pawpaw changes its chemical repellant to fruity attractant. Many pawpaws don't manage to complete this chemical change. The chemical smell of green skin changes to an aroma which attracts possums, skunks, fruit flies, bats, and nut growers. If the skin of ripening fruit dimples to finger pressure, flavour and texture are at their custard best. If you let the fruit ripen in a warm dry house, you have an over ripe "banana" with a harsh caffeine taste.
      3. As we go into pawpaw breeding it seems wise to gather selections which have no repellant in green fruit, or little of that odour while ripening. This should eliminate the need for much chemical change during ripening. Fruit, picked hard green, has seldom ripened. Surprisingly, fruit can get knocked down too early and ripen among downed pawpaw leaves. If you pick too early, leave the fruit under the tree. Pawpaws are said to ripen well when set into the oats in an oat bin. One would suspect that oats absorb enough of the ripening vapours to keep ripening a slow process.
      4. Davis cross Overleese has produced seedlings with large fruit and few seeds. We should repeat and expand these qualities. Doug Campbell's NC-1 pawpaw has this pedigree. The fruit is .4 kg with six to eight seeds, but late ripening. The Zimmerman plantation near Harrisburg, Pa. had several trees which bore pleasant green fruit. See the pawpaw chapter for other selections to cross.
    28. Nut Pine Breeding
      1. Two nut pines deserve wider attention. Korean pine is hardy, growing north of Quebec City. It is native to Korea and Manchuria. Unfortunately, it does not survive on sweet garden soil. Pinyon pine from Colorado and New Mexico is much easier to start on sweet soils. It is a slightly larger nut than Korean, though only pea size. Pinyon hulls are thinner and able to be finger cracked. Pinyon pines are less hardy than Korean pines; hardy in southern Ontario. Pinyon pines are difficult to transplant due to a spike root reminiscent of hickory.
      2. Charles Rhora of Wainfleet, Ontario is doing most of the work with nut pines. He produces good seed stands. This leads one to believe his lake bed black silt-sand is acid and contains pine mycorrhiza. This soil doesn't seem to need the shading, other than allowing a grass cover and mulching over-the-top with pine straw.
    29. Almond Breeding
      1. Titan and Hall's Hardy are the strains of almonds most often grown in our tender fruit areas. Their hard shells, as well as the bitter kernels from many seedlings, remind one of peach. However, hard shells and bitter kernels come out in the seedlings of most almonds. Northern Europe almonds are hard shell. Currently we are working to increase stands of open pollinated almonds. Doug Campbell's NC-1 titan almond seedling is the seed most used. Most almond flowers self pollinate. We need more selections to move toward thin shells, large kernels, sweet kernels, hardy buds, and hardy flowering.
    30. Sweet Kernel Apricot Breeding
      1. Apricots crop when and where almonds crop in southern Ontario. Ernie Grimo has been emasculating and crossing Vineland selections and numbered trees with sweet kernels for years. Doug Campbell has been crossing for sweet kernels and discarding anything with a bitter kernel. Now, most of the Campbell seedlings are fixed with sweet kernels.
      2. Chestnut Bark Blight Breeding (Also see CHESTNUT 44.) Chestnut blight can be found in most of our orchards, despite eradication efforts. Because blight is as much a saprophyte as pericyte, it is present on most decaying leaf mould, bark, wood, and soil. The effort to eradicate it does no good, but the effort to propagate a weakened form may match it to the barely adequate defences of native chestnut. Work at Michigan State University by Dr. Dennis Fulbright has shown seemingly resistant native groves in Michigan are maintaining weak blight, the kind of blight most hybrids can fend off. Weak blight is usually infected by a simpler pathogen like a virus. Virus can infect a strong race of blight naturally by merging cankers, if the strong and weak blight races bond mycelia, or by weak and strong blight sporulating sexually to produce infected forms which will bond. The virus passes to strong blight by counter infections. We are able to heal weak blight and converted strong blight cankers. Weak blight is recognized as swelling, non-girdling cankers on native chestnut. To use its best forms, in March cut into the bark and raise flaps in four directions from an advancing strong canker. If the inner bark is grey, rather than new leaf green, you are in the dead zone and have to move outward to cut another flap. Cut hunks of infected bark with some live bark from the puffed cankers on native. Deposit them in the pockets. Staple 6 mil clear plastic over the inoculation, giving enough cover to slow drying by one day after rain.
    31. Others
      1. The list goes on. Nanny berry needs the removal of its large seed to make it a truly wild raisin. Mulberry and autumn olive are being collected for evaluation and selection. Juneberry (saskatoon) is receiving attention for fruit and wine. Other sorts: beech, Siberian stone pine, western white pine, Cornus mas, medlar, elderberry, etc. are seldom looked at. Pawpaw receives about the most interest. Selections are being gathered for evaluation. An attempt at producing seedless pawpaws is under way. Native and oriental persimmon crosses are being attempted at a Japanese research station.
      2. We most respect efforts put into research leading to an improved world 25 years in the future when the work was done 26 years in the past. A great deal of soul searching comes out at grower meetings about species which merited much more interest than they got. Japanese heartnuts and Manchurian walnuts are woefully overlooked, misunderstood, and neglected. When valuable trees surface, as they do in most nut species, we know these species were too much neglected in the past.
      3. Who should do research on these species? Not just those who fund research. Not just the professions doing research. Not just those who need the research done. But also those who take their research home with them. If the people who are really interested in a species do not come together and move the breeding along, it is going to be done glacially. The first three groups license research. The problem is that they are usually licensing the intangible. The fourth group, the amateur group, keep up an infrastructure of plants, growing methods, and personal contacts to keep on growing.
  14. Evaluating the Nut Tree:
    1. Orientals are impressed with the ginkgo tree. Its form is simulated in their pagoda architecture. Like Emma K black walnut, it has a strong structure where main limbs sweep out from the central leader to form an open, airy structure. The fruit buds of ginkgoes fan out fruit from second, third, etc. year wood. Secondary branchlets carry the crop on Emma K, but as years go by these decline due to shading, die and are sloughed.
    2. Many species have the ability to bear heavy fruit interior of the vegetative wood where the tree is better able to support it. Fruit growers refer to flower buds (fruit wood) and vegetative buds (structural wood) as different organs of the tree. Most nut trees are terminal bearing on branchlets which extend many centimetres each year. Spurs only extend millimetres in a year. Most nut trees are upland trees, more concerned with gathering health for an eventual fruitful year where terminals bear, rather than setting up to bear each year like spurs bear. We find lateral bearing in river flat trees where nutrients and moisture are adequate for annual bearing and the side buds in the terminal are tricked by strong growth into setting flowers. That is why black walnut, shellbark hickory and pecan are often side bearing (or lateral bearing) trees, but more often bear on branchlets off third and fourth year wood. Ginkgo is the nut tree which has mastered spur bearing and lateral bearing because it bears on spurs which extend millimetres each year, as well as on the buds of last season's terminals.
    3. We are nut consumers and want our nuts every year. This may not be possible because most nut trees need many centimetres of yearly growth to finish the attached nut cluster while setting flowers buds. Considering the cycle of bearing from branchlets, followed by their shade suppression, death and sloughing, one envies spur bearing for its economy. There should be a genetic trigger for branchlet sloughing to be economical, just like persimmons slough branchlets. Without genetic branchlet sloughing, branchlets which are healthy enough to fill their nuts may be too healthy to die before the tree becomes a clutter of branchlets. Weak branchlets consume more of the tree's energy than they produce in photo-food. We look at each nut tree for a natural renewal which allows regular crops, perhaps yearly, on a healthy productive tree. If we select a tree from the wild only for its nut, and put it in an orchard setting, we often have: structural disappointment, photon processing disappointment and photo-food storage disappointment.
    4. North American winters with their warm spells and cold snaps defeat the less hardy nut trees. Imported walnuts, filberts and chestnuts suffer freeze-thaw injury. None of the local native chestnuts have been defeated by cold snaps even in early October.
    5. Native chestnut is unusual in that it bears nuts on the current season's flush of growth. New terminal growth which receive enough energy to start seven catkins usually produce one or two with female bloom. To produce healthy nuts the new growth continues five fully formed leaves above the burr. A cluster of more than two burrs is unstable and can break off under unusual wind or animal loading. However, native chestnut usually has two spaced burrs on each of the sun drenched, stout terminals near the top of the tree.
    6. European chestnuts differ from native in having a more stout tree form which carries a larger crop of heavier nuts. Besides growing a nut which is much like a potato, chestnuts hold the crop erect on green stems of current growth. The green stem is a stout cylinder of wood spread over star shaped pith. Above the burrs the stem is willowy, without pith, except at the leader, if one exists. Chestnut wood continues this stout, light wood pattern with many hollow tubes, larger than in red oak. This tree structure carries heavy nuts on many terminals which bend low in the final few weeks of the season.
    7. Heartnut is sort of like chestnut in that it usually bears some of its crop on the same terminals which are the main leader and top of the tree. Heartnut sets its cluster at the fifth leaf out and continues the leader from there after leaving a branchlet behind to feed the cluster. The leader is usually projected out another ten leaves. The cluster of heartnuts may weigh a pound, so the new branch which supports the leader and the cluster is several centimetres thick. Heartnut branches bend mightily in the wind and under crop load without breaking. Unlike chestnut, heartnut has many growing-flowering tips throughout its canopy. Most support a cluster of nuts except where bug injured. The nuts are usually well filled except where shaded by overhanging limbs. The major overhung limbs must be pruned off. Because the heartnut is a leaning tree only a few branchlets are self pruned by shade each year. Most continue to find light as the centre of the tree opens up as the leaning trunks and branches bend down under loads from wind, nuts and their own weight. Heartnut seldom grows a vertical trunk or its centre-of-tree would not effectively open to the light.
    8. Persian walnut does not grow like a heartnut. It grows a vertical leader. It suffers all types of cold and frost injury. Once heartnut has produced green leaves these are subject to freeze injury. Once Persian walnut swells its buds these are killed in the core by a freeze. It is as though Persian walnut had become a subtropical tree. Cycles of freezing usually end bearing for that season. Persian walnut sap must be low in sugar to freeze so easily. To stop sap flow Persian walnut shades its bark from the sun with clusters of branchlets. The branchlets, many of which are dead or dying, cover the major branches as well as the trunk. Walnut blight lodges in the dead and dying branchlets and feeds on them, waiting to splash onto new growth and enter it. A drip of dew on the base of a nut is the usual site of a blight canker. Carrying dying branchlets and suffering many injuries it is difficult to expect good cropping, but there is enough cropping to keep growers interested.
    9. If Persian walnuts can be kept in a healthy condition, they will crop heavily. Several are lateral bearing on the side buds of vigorous terminals. Although side bearing Persians consistently produce nuts along second year wood the ratio of leaf to nut is low, yielding smaller, more poorly constructed nuts. Side bearing trees are usually weak from cropping, winter injury, and blight. They must be pampered with cultivation, spraying, feeding, pruning and irrigation which are finely tuned to ensure winter dormancy.
    10. Filberts are similar to heartnuts in that their major limbs lean wide to open the centre-of-tree to light. Main problems are: bush types which travel underground, bush types which sucker from a crown, shrinking and gritty kernel quality rather than the melting kernel of tree hazel. Hybridizing with tree hazel moves from these flaws as well as gaining in bud mite and filbert blight resistance. Few of today's hybrids have the winter hardiness and dormancy of native hazel.
    11. As you can see, the progress we make in nut growing is built on the progress we make in nut trees. The tree is our foundation. It needs to be a very firm foundation. However, current trees are temporary in nature's plan. Growers have to have a plan which is consistent with nature's relentless change, or we will be swept away. A reasonable plan would be to decide on approximately five nut types per species which are marketable. About five clones would mix nuts to be marketed as one type. Europe now markets several chestnut varieties which are the mixed nuts of several clones. The five original clones would be traded in on better models as succeeding generations warrant. We have to have a plan to gain succeeding selections. Current selecting is a failure because too few trees are grown from select seed. The base for selection is too small. The time span of local programs is too short. Programs have to be located to cause trees slightly more distress than at the proposed orchards. The solution proposed is conservation plantings from the best nut seed. With tree shelters it is likely that we can grow any seed into a tree on a proper meadow. All of a planting will eventually be harvested for lumber, but after selection. We have to get foresters interested in a plan to plant nut trees. Nuts are interesting to children of all ages. After we have a working group, and a planting set out, as it is in Orangeville, we have to produce an education packet to use the schools to produce seedlings in a continuing cycle of support. The native chestnut is a local, touchable, endangered species. We need: conservation literature, instructions, Pro-mix, containers and good ideas to add to the plan. Such a seedling might cost us $2 in materials, but pay big dividends.
    12. Native chestnut trees receive the most attention as people seek to preserve this once commercial tree. The most ambitious are not nut growers, but forestry oriented. They picture chestnut as a clean and thrifty log and forest. The route to this ideal tree and forest is fractious, littered with wasted people who could not support the method of improvement chosen by their group. Groups have formed around methods of fixing resistance:
      1. F1, F2, F3 Group which accumulates resistance only within the native species.
      2. R1, R2, R3 Group which irradiated native nuts and now selects the seedlings.
      3. H1, H2, H3 Group which augments selecting natives with Hypovirulence, even extracting this agent from the fungus and copying it into the tree genetically.
      4. G1, G2, G3 Group which splices resistance genes into natives from incompatible organisms.
      5. B1, B2, B3 Group which initially hybridizes for resistance, then backcrosses to retain native form.
      What is interesting is that each group is succeeding (G and H groups are at generation 1 rather than demonstrating resistance accumulation in later generations like the other groups), though initially each group thought it was on the best path. Why? Numbers and generations. Though a starting point is important, it is far less important than selecting from one generation to the next, a yearly planting. Perhaps any method works if it is supported by a large enough group of individuals, people and trees.
  15. Conservation plantings seem to be the most likely sites to grow a large number of nut trees over future generations, agroforestry. Along with the interest of a science class in the native nuts (initially gained by comparing native to the store bought nuts), we need local representatives to coach on appreciating local races as well as orchard varieties. SONG can send samples, and eventually starter kits, but the filter which allows this project to proceed is local representation to give hands-on training, and organize the planting. We would like a mix of good nut trees and people doing yearly planting so that there is a next generation.