SONG News January 2013 no.96
In this Issue...

Before the fall: American chestnuts in the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina in 1910.
Photo courtesy of the Forest History Society, Durham, North Carolina

Growers Report
We are pleased to advise that through our nursery supervision we have customers that have established, or are in the process of establishing, commercial plantings of edible nut pines in excess of 450 acres; ranging from a few acres up to 20 acres in size. Others have established, or are in the process of establishing, commercial crops of Asinima triloba (Paw paw) of more than 30 acres. While others have planted, or are in the process of establishing commercial plantings of more than 25 acres of Diospyros virginiana (native North American Persimmon). Summary of crops for this year: Even with the unusual Spring, we did have good crops of the following:

Poor crops (due to 2 weeks of Summer like conditions in late March, followed by very cold weather, then hot dry summer.) By Charles Rhora, Rhora's Nut Farm & Nursery. Wainfleet, Ontario

Why Do Shagbarks Shag?
John Sankey

The forces of natural selection are so strong that everything in living nature ultimately has a survival purpose. So, what advantage to survival might shaggy bark provide?

One possible answer might be an insect association within the crevices. Many woody plants world-wide grow homes for their insect defenders, for ants in particular. Of course, most woody plants are subject to pathogens, and few have evolved shaggy bark. Nevertheless, does anyone know of any notable insect association with shagbarks?

Shagbark hickory trees are a useful roost for little brown bats. The bark begins exfoliating after 20-30 years of age and progressively becomes a living bat house. Most other trees in our forests don't provide good bat roosting until the tree actually dies. A mature shagbark hickory is an investment in bat conservation for hundreds of years. But, if providing homes for insect eating bats is so useful, why haven't more of our long-lived woody species developed it?

Poria spiculosa and similar fungi infect hickory trees through wounds, notably dead branch stubs, then kill and rot heartwood. They don't seem to affect cambium or outer bark so shedding bark wouldn't seem to be able to have any effect. Besides, these fungi infect all hickories, shaggy bark or not.

Compartmentalization of disease internally is the standard disease resistance method for woody plants. Exfoliating bark doesn't seem to have any effect on this, as the shed bark is no longer alive or being used for nutrient flow.

So, why do shagbarks have shaggy bark anyway?

Minutes of The Atlantic Nut Grower's Inaugural Meeting
September 29th, 2012

The meeting was started at 1:00 pm by President Tom Haliburton. There were 18 members present. He requested that the people present introduce themselves, whether they had nut trees or not and what they were looking for by joining the Atlantic Nut Grower's.

The first order of business was whether or not to establish SANG as a part of SONG. There was a great deal of discussion involved mainly in what were the benefits involved. Many members were concerned with what would happen with the funds of membership and how would we pay for our organization here in the province. Previously, it was pointed out that we could benefit from SONG's experience, website etc but we have the organization basically in place and certainly have the experience present. We also have our own problems concerning nut trees that are relative to the province and may not be applicable in Ontario. Our "present" name was also questioned - Society of Atlantic Nut Grower's if we were not part of SONG.

The main feeling was that we would rather be independent but a final decision would be made after contacting Ernie Grimo with our concerns. The Executive committee would meet and make a final decision after hearing from Ernie.

The next order of business was confirming and establishing candidates for office. Tom Haliburton was confirmed as Chairman/President. Tyler Yeo generously volunteered and was confirmed as Vice President. Francesca Smith was confirmed as Secretary/Treasurer. Alex Smith volunteered and was confirmed as Editor.

Fran read the minutes of the last meeting and notes of the nut tour and these were accepted.

Alex talked about the cost of a website for the group which would be approximately $12 annually. He will also send out the complete results of the survey that was conducted earlier.

There was no collection of dues or an establishment of a bank account for our organization until a final decision was made on our status.

Les Corkum discussed the problems of chestnut blight. The government has not shown much interest. John Wilson, Tom Halliburton and Ees Corkum found the problem in Melvern Square and possibly in John's nut grove. Dr. Greg Boland was contacted. The culture was determined to be suspicious and was sent out and they are awaiting results. Originally, the trees were to be destroyed but Ees requested that this be held off until the final results were known and a proper decision could be made.

Discussion about the blight also covered that it could spread very quickly as it was a fungus blight and can travel by wind, insects and people. If it is suspected that blight is present in your nut trees then you should cover any cuts made with sealing wax, sterilize any instruments used and clean clothes so as to contain any spread.

Les also commented that he felt that we had the only true American chestnut and that we had been protected previously from problems because of our isolation.

The members then discussed goals for the group. It was stated that if you can grow the nut the commercial possibility is there. It was felt that the heartnut is the way to go. It is easy to grow and can compete in the woods. Butternut can also compete in the woods. Heartnut can be used in recipes where you would normally use walnuts.

There was interest shown in growing nut trees for lumber. Horse chestnut, black walnut and butternut were some of the suggested trees for lumber.

The topic of sharing or renting equipment from other members was also mentioned. This would result in a lowering of costs for all concerned. Naturally, the tools or equipment would have to be disinfected to prevent any spread of infection.

Perennia wondered if they should put out fact sheets on planting nut trees, pruning, diseases etc.

A pruning/grafting workshop was discussed and final details will be sent in an email before the spring.

There was also talk about marketing and as Les has quite a bit of experience in this area, he volunteered to assist where needed.

The next meeting will be in Truro and once the executive committee has met and decisions made, the date will be emailed out to the group.

The meeting closed at 3:17pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Francesca Smith Secretary/Treasurer

Apple Black Walnut Cake
Courtesy of NNGA web site

3 eggs
1 1/2 cup salad oil
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped black walnuts
2 cups of white sugar
3 cups chopped unpeeled apples
1 tsp. soda
3 cups all-purpose flour (add last)
3/4 stick butter
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup brown sugar

Blend batter ingredients in order - spoon batter into greased 8 or 9 inch tube pan - bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Before the cake is done make topping by combining topping ingredients in a sauce pan and heating them for 2-1/2 minutes. Then pour over hot cake. Let cake set until cool before removing it from pan.

Motion:By Ernie Grimo / Seconded by Bruce Thurston

Moved that free membership for officers in SONG and SONG Chapters be rescinded, except for the Treasurer and Auditor whose work load is highest.

It is agreed by the officers polled that they are happy to pay their dues in support of nut growing activities and SONG. The exception of the two officers identified above are usually given a stipend for their work in many small organizations. Since Bernice Grimo is the current Treasurer and part of a family membership, there will be no change for her. My membership dues will include her. This motion will affect other members that may become Treasurer in the future. The auditor is very generous with her time and effort. Without Joyce Branston-Hunter's generous support, we would be paying much more for this work. Your comments are welcomed.
Being no comments opposing this motion, this motion passed at the fall meeting held at the OMAFRA offices in Simcoe. So all members with the two exceptions must pay their dues to maintain good standing in SONG. This change is effective for the 2013 years dues.

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