SONG News April 2015 no.103
In this Issue...

SONG's March 2015 Technical Meeting
A great meeting with excellent presentations. A thank you to Bruce Thurston for organizing it each year.

ECSONG Winter Meeting/AGM
John Sankey

The ECSONG Winter Meeting/AGM was held at the Ottawa Citizen auditorium on 24 January 2015. Constanza Maass, a 2nd year student at the University of Ottawa who used a collaboration course to study butternut canker with Murray Inch and John Sankey, spoke on the results of her work. She discovered two papers we didn't know about; thai the canker is an asexually-reproducing single clone that seems unable to adapt to defensive measures, and that it requires saturation moisture for a full day for the spore to activate. The latter helps us to understand our local observation that healthy isolated trees (maximum ventilation) are frequently found here even when surrounded by crowded infected trees. She was followed by the RVCA's Rose Fleguel, who presented results so far of the butternut recovery program of the FGCA. Given that back-crossing seems to fail with butternut, no hypovirulence has been identified for its canker, and that the spores are too widely spread for geographic isolation to be effective, her work seems our only hope of retaining this wonderful native nut tree.

The usual break for coffee, treats and conversation included pecan tarts by Elfriede Ronson, black walnut and date balls by Gordon Wilkinson, pecan and almond truffles by John Sankey.

Then, Dr. Lorne Jordan and Erica Drummond of the CFIA presented the current state of their efforts to build a practical national strategy to protect our nut trees. It will be wonderful if in the future we are able to successfully avoid a repeat of the devastation that the chestnut and butternut fungi have caused. We all need to support their work. (SONG is represented by Linda Grimo on their advisory committees.) They were followed by Gordon Wilkinson, who updated us on his efforts with Ottawa Valley heartnuts (he has nuts!).

The AGM portion of the meeting acclaimed John Sankey as Chair, Richard Viger as vice-chair. Ted McDonald will continue as councillor, and will be joined by Rurt Weiss and John Adams. The position of secretary is vacant.

Walnut Husk Fly, a Major Walnut Pest

2014 was a bad year for this walnut pest Rhagoletis completa. It looks like the common house fly but wing stripes and the yellow dot between the wings is an identifying marker. It is a common pest of the black walnut and is found throughout its range. This fly has one generation per year. Walnut husk flies overwinter as pupae in the soil and emerge as adults in some areas as early as May but generally around July 1. Peak emergence often occurs late July j through August.

The female fly deposits eggs in groups of about 15 below the surface of the husk. Usually the first sign of an infestation is a small, sting-like mark on the husk caused by this depositing of eggs. Eggs hatch into white maggots within 5 days. The maggots feed inside the husk, enlarging the black area, which remains soft, unsunken, and smooth. The outer skin of the husk usually remains intact, but its fleshy parts decay and stain the nutshell and often damage the kernel on Persian walnuts. Though this pest will attack heartnuts and black walnuts, the kernel is not affected.

Ontario Spray Calendar, Publication 360, Chapter 7 'Tree Nuts' offers suggested sprays. Use one of: GF-120 Fruit Fly Bait (5) @ 1.5 L/6 L water/ha; Delegate WG (5) @ 420 g/ha; Surround WP (NC) @ 50 kg/ha.

Comments: GF-120: Under high pest pressure, this product may provide suppression only. Apply when first fly is caught on sticky traps. Re-apply weekly while flies are present. See Using Organic and Biopesticide Products on the spray calendar website.
Delegate: Apply 7-10 days after first fly is caught on sticky traps. Re-apply 14 days later depending on pest pressure.
Surround: Apply when sticky traps show adult activity, typically August to mid-September. See Using Organic and Biopesticide Products on the spray calendar website. If gardeners feel treatment is necessary in home orchard situations for trees with early or severe infestations, they can make multiple applications of insecticide combined with bait beginning in August. These sprays are aimed at controlling adults before they can lay eggs. Spray on a 7 to 14 day interval until within 1 month of harvest. If a bait is used, only lower limbs need to be sprayed. The bait will attract the flys to feed. Eggs laid later than this will not have time to develop and cause damage.

Molasses might work as a bait in backyard situations when mixed with insecticide. Add about 4 to 6 tablespoons of molasses per gallon of water applied.

Walnuts are the Healthiest Nuts

Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania told the American Chemical Society that walnuts contain the highest level of antioxidants compared to other nuts and should be eaten more as part of a healthy diet.

Dr. Joe Vinson analyzed the antioxidant levels of nine different types of nuts and found that the antioxidants found in walnuts were 2 to 15 times as powerful as vitamin E and 2 times more powerful than any of the other nuts in the sample.

He mentions the walnuts should be eaten raw or unroasted to get the full benefit as the heat from roasting nuts reduces the quality of the antioxidants. The study also sees 29% reduction in heart disease

It's the largest study of its kind that followed close to 120,000 people over 30 years which not only saw reductions in the death rates of participants, but also reduced risks of deaths from heart disease and cancer.

The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine and found that the biggest benefit was seen from eating a daily portion of nuts. Eating nuts has been associated with a decreased risk of developing a number of major diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, but there had never been a study examining the association between nut ; consumption and mortality.

What likely has an impact on the study is that the participants consisted of 76,464 women in the Nurses' Health Study (1980-2010) and 42,498 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2010). Participants with a history of cancer, heart disease, or stroke were excluded.

The research team said nut eaters were also likely to have healthy lifestyles, including being less likely to smoke or be overweight and more likely to exercise, but they say the nuts themselves were also contributing to the longer life spans.

Among the results:
Eat nuts Ix a week =11% reduction in death rate
Eat nuts 4x a week = 13% reduction in death rate
Eat nuts 7x a week = 20% reduction in death rate

Lead researcher Dr Charles Fuchs, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brighan and Women's Hospital, said: "The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease, but we also saw a significant reduction -11% - in the risk of dying from cancer."

Funding for the study came from the US National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. Read the actual study in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Increasing nut intake has also been associated with reduced risk of diabetes mellitus, which is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. After adjusting for age, height, smoking, physical activity, and total energy intake from the same study group, found that women who consumed a 28 g (1 oz) serving size of nuts up to 2 times per week experienced a significantly lower risk of pancreatic cancer when compared with those who largely abstained from nuts.

Hazelnuts in PEI
Linda Grimo

Linda Grimo had the opportunity last summer to travel to Prince Edward Island to learn more about their hazelnut research programs.

In the early 2000's agricultural proponents in PEI recognized that due to to the effects of climate change PEI would not be able to grow potatoes there in 50 years. This lead to the development of research plans to find crops that PEI farmers could potentially grow. The funding was provided through the PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Association.

Producers in PEI were looking for alternate crops for the steeply sloping land that was no longer producing annual row crops. The alternate crops being considered needed to be suitable for these sensitive areas for soil erosion and must also provide a potential economic benefit to producers. Since hazel trees are perennial plants, tillage and soil erosion would be all but eliminated.

The researchers believed if the trees survived and reached the productivity levels found in other area, this crop might have the potential to return $5,000 per ha at maturity.

In 2005 they began their first project to compare northern seedlings with grafted Winkler hazels but blight was prevalent in the seedlings. In 2006 they added a number of new Oregon releases along with more seedlings, but again faced high mortality and slow growth and terminated this part of the project by 2010.

In 2008 they already decided to initiate a new project on sites which were protected from the prevailing winds with hazelnut cultivars from Oregon and southern Ontario to evaluate a wider selection of immune or blight resistant varieties and no longer used seedlings in their studies.

Linda was able to meet with Delmar Holmstrom, William Glen, and David Garragher and visit their well maintained and carefully organized planting sites.

Holmstrom, Glen, and Garragher were now working on a project to test for pollination and which trees could successfully pollinate the others in the planting. Without genomics funding they relied on the traditional method of bagging the flowers and hand pollinating each flower with selected pollen. This was labour intensive and will take a couple of years to get complete results.

Their 2008 project showed that hazelnut cultivars can grow and be productive in their climate. With further study of the newest selections from Ontario and Oregon they will continue to select the best trees for their growers. Hazelnuts are proving to be a promising crop for PEI.

Nut Butters

General Directions:
Food Processor: Place roasted hazelnuts in food processor container with an all purpose blade. Process to a coarse butter texture, about 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar, salt or other ingredients through the feed tube. Scrape down sides of container and continue to process until the desired texture is achieved, 4 to 7 minutes.
Blender: Place roasted Hazelnuts and 1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil in blender container and grind to meal at low speed. Continue to blend on low for several minutes scraping down sides as needed and adding another tablespoon of oil, if necessary. When butter is fairly fluid, blend on high 2 to 3 minutes or until desired texture is achieved. Gradually add sugar, salt or other ingredients and continue to blend on low speed until thoroughly mixed.
For crunchy butters: stir in 1/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts or raw sunflower seeds to finished butter.

Natural Hazelnut Butter:
2 cups (9 oz) roasted hazelnuts
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon powdered sugar
Follow general instructions. Makes about 1 cup butter. Natural butter may be dark brown depending on how many skins are left on

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter:
2 cups roasted hazelnuts
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
3-1/2 tablespoons cocoa
Follow general instructions. Makes 1-3/4 cups of butter.

Cinnamon & Spice Hazelnut Butter:
2 cups roasted hazelnuts
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Follow general instructions. Makes 1-1/4 cups of Butter.

Note: These butter recipes are for "old fashioned butters" with no stabilizers or preservatives. If kept in the refrigerator very little oil separation will occur. Shelf life is about 3 months if refrigerated. Try other ingredients like honey and cinnamon, try this recipe with other nuts like almonds.

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