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Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting online

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excellent, the kernels large, plump, of rich quality and particularly
sweet flavor. The kernels were a trifle dark, but otherwise this hickory
appears to be one of the most promising kinds yet discovered.

MILLER - This shagbark hickory is another apparently highly promising
variety, brought to light as a result of Professor Neilson's efforts. It
was awarded second prize in the 1932 state contest held under his
direction. The parent tree is owned by Mr. D. P. Miller, Route 3, North
Branch, Lapeer County, Mich. It and Mann are from adjoining counties,
and the parent trees are probably not over twenty miles apart. The two
are of about equal merit and much alike, although Miller nuts are
somewhat smaller. In the cracking test of the 1932 contest, fifty nuts
weighed one-half pound. Of these, two were spoiled, yet the percentage
of quarters was 48.02, that of small pieces 1.32, thus making a total of
49.34 per cent kernel.

The cracking quality was excellent, the kernel a trifle dark, yet very
plump, rich and sweet.

SANDE - The Sande shagbark hickory is from the farm of Elmer T. Sande,
Story City, Story County, Iowa, about sixteen miles north of Ames. It
was brought to light by the late S. W. Snyder as early as November,
1928, when he became responsible for having it mentioned (p. 24) in the
premium list of the Seventh Mid-West Horticultural Exposition held in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, November 14 to 17. It received seventh prize in the
1929 contest of the Northern Nut Growers Association.

Mr. Snyder commented on this variety, as recorded in the 1930
proceedings of the Northern Nut Growers Association (p. 15), to the
effect that the cracking quality of the Sande excelled that of any other
variety of Iowa origin known to him at that time. The variety has twice
received awards during the State Fair of Iowa. Mr. Snyder stated that
the parent tree was then rather young but bearing well.

As the latitude of Story City is slightly greater than 42 degrees, this
variety should do well throughout much of the northernmost zone.

SWAIM - The parent tree of the Swaim shagbark hickory stands on Maplewood
farm, R. F. D. 1, South Bend, St. Joseph County, Ind., and is now owned
by Mr. I. H. Swaim. It is one of a number of seedlings growing from
local nuts planted during the early sixties by the late J. M. Swaim,
grandfather of the present Mr. Swaim. It was called to the attention of
the department in 1912 by Mr. H. H. Swaim, father of the present owner
of the tree, who is still living near by on the same mail route.

The Swaim was first propagated about 1914 by W. C. Reed of Vincennes,
Ind., who has found it a highly satisfactory variety, with reference to
regularity and size of crops and general merit of nuts.

The Swaim is one of three varieties to tie for fourth place in the
contest of the Association held in 1919. In a cracking test conducted in
Washington with one pound of the 1930 crop, the nuts averaged 84 per
pound and yielded 44.73 per cent of quarters, 4.62 per cent small
pieces, and 0.44 per cent of bad kernels, thus making a total of 49.78
per cent of kernel. The cracking quality that year was excellent, the
kernels large, plump, and bright. The quality was rich and the flavor
sweet and pleasing.

As the city of South Bend is but a few miles below the Michigan state
line, this variety should be well worth considering for use in test
plantings throughout the lower fringe of the northernmost zone.

WESTPHAL - The Westphal is a shagbark hickory from Mr. Otto Westphal, R.
F. D. 2, Kendall, Monroe County, Wis. It was awarded fourth place in the
1926 contest of the Philadelphia Society of Agriculture. So far as
known, no other examination has been made of the nuts. However, the
place they received in this contest, together with its latitude of
origin, which is nearly 44 degrees, should commend the Westphal to the
consideration of all who are interested in hickories for the
northernmost region.

The Filbert

The filbert situation in the north is difficult to characterize.
Repeated plantings have been established in this part of the country,
probably since colonial days, only to perish in due time. Filbert blight
was responsible for much of this loss, but so also were destructively
low temperatures. Western New York now seems to be particularly favored,
as trees there, notably at Geneva, bear regularly. Mr. Bixby's trees at
Baldwin, Long Island, failed significantly during practically the whole
of their life. Similarly, a comprehensive collection of varieties in the
orchard of Dr. F. L. Baum, Boyertown, Pa., fruits practically not at
all. Trees at Arlington, Va., on the government experimental farm,
suffer sufficient winter injury each late winter or early spring to be
quite regular in non-bearing. The varieties of all these plantings are
much the same, and failure is not due to winter killing of the trees, as
there is normally very little of this. It appears to be due to
destruction of the flowers wrought by low temperatures following weather
in January, February or March mild enough to start the flowers into
bloom. At the present moment it looks as though European varieties of
filbert might do much better where the trees bloom in April, as in
western New York, than where flowers come out in February, as at
Arlington, or in March, as on Long Island.

For the present not a great deal of encouragement can be offered
regarding the European varieties of filbert in the east, except in the
most suitable sections. Certain hybrid varieties are now being
developed, but they are not yet available for planting.

The Chestnut

No species of chestnut now available through the usual nursery channels
can be recommended at the present time for planting in the northernmost
zone except for experimentation along somewhat doubtful lines. The
American sweet chestnut appears likely soon to be wiped out by blight.
No chestnuts from the Old World, either European, Japanese or Chinese,
have yet been found which are entirely hardy and otherwise satisfactory
at this latitude. The European chestnut is quite as fatally subject to
blight as is the American. The Japanese is mostly of too low degree of
palatability to offer much promise, and horticultural varieties of
Chinese chestnut are not yet available. Varieties of the Chinese hairy
chestnut, Castanea mollissima, apparently of much promise, are now being
developed, but trees are unlikely to become available for foundation
stock to nurserymen for several years.

Other Species

The Persian (English) walnut, Juglans regia, and the Japanese walnut, J.
sieboldiana, are both planted to some extent throughout the entire east
and north, but neither promise to assume special prominence in this
zone. Fine appearing trees in small numbers or occasional orchards of
the former may be seen in many places. These are usually near large
bodies of water, as within a mile or so, or two or three at most, of the
shores of the lower Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes of New York, Long
Island Sound, and various rivers and other smaller bodies of water
within this general section. They are also to be found near buildings,
especially in villages and small towns, but as orchard trees, or even
single specimens out in the open, they are almost never met with except
possibly while very young.

The Japanese walnut is likewise little more than a novelty in this
region. It is probably somewhat more hardy than is the foregoing, but it
is not its equal in desirability. It grows rapidly under favorable
environment, often becomes a handsome ornamental, comes into fruit while
young, and bears freely but seldom heavily. The nuts are small, variable
in character, and not particularly popular on the market. In flavor the
kernels resemble butternut, but are much more mild. The nuts of this
species are of two distinct types, the larger being shaped like a guinea
egg, having a rather thick shell, and of doubtful merit. The other,
known as the heartnut, is small as a rule, distinctly heartshaped, and
easily opened with a knife by splitting the shell in half. A number of
varieties are available through nurserymen.

Between these two distinct types of Japanese walnut there are numerous
intermediate forms hard to classify but invariably less desirable than
heartnuts. There are also numerous offspring of marked vigor, producing
nuts distinctly butternut-like in form but having even thicker shells.
These last do not commend themselves for any purpose other than that of
genetic use.


The black walnut, the shagbark hickory, the sweet hickory, the butternut
and certain hybrid hickories are now believed to offer greater
inducement to prospective planters of nut trees in the northernmost
zone east of the Rocky Mountains than do other species. Varieties of
strictly northern origin are now available to those who are capable of
doing their own grafting. Many of these are of considerable promise,
apparently, at least, equal in merit to any of the older varieties now
being offered by nurserymen.

The Tour - September 11th

On Tuesday forenoon, September 11, the convention visited the Kellogg
Factory and the Battle Creek Sanitarium and at noon returned to the W.
K. Kellogg Hotel, where a delicious luncheon was served to the members
and guests. Miss Mary I. Barber, Director of Home Economics of the
Kellogg Company, in behalf of Mr. W. K. Kellogg, graciously acted as
hostess at the luncheon.

On Tuesday afternoon the convention went to the Kellogg Company farm by
motor bus and auto to visit the nut trees. They then proceeded to the
Bird Sanctuary and the Kellogg estate. This was followed by a motor boat
trip around beautiful Gull Lake and dinner at Bunbury Inn. A session
followed the dinner.


I wish to present Professor V. R. Gardner, the Director of the
Experiment Station at Michigan State College, East Lansing, who has
kindly consented to address us this evening.


In the field of horticulture we have many problems and these problems
may be classified in different ways. From one standpoint, at least,
there is a typical group or class of problems that arises in connection
with a crop like the peach or apple or pear. If you knew that tomorrow
or next week or next month you were to attend a meeting of peach or pear
growers, you would have a pretty good idea of the type of questions that
would be raised. They concern variety, insect and disease control,
fertilization, and many questions relating to harvesting, packing and
marketing the crop. On the other hand, suppose you were to attend a
meeting of peony, delphinium, or dahlia growers. You would find not only
an entirely different type of question under discussion, but an entirely
different atmosphere.

Now, are the problems of those who are interested in nuts more like
those of the peach or the delphinium grower? You probably have your own
answer to that question. At least, answers are coming to your mind. To
my way of thinking - though of course I may be wrong - the kind of problem
that presents itself to the person who is interested in growing nuts is
more like the type that presents itself to those who are interested in
dahlias or delphiniums or sweet peas than the problems that present
themselves to the pear or cherry grower. In other words, it seems to me
as though the problems of the nut grower are essentially the problems of
the amateur. That does not mean they are less important or less
interesting than they would be were the industry on more of a commercial
basis like peach growing.

About a year ago I was talking with Dr. Magness of the U. S. Bureau of
Plant Industry and the discussion happened to turn to nuts. I knew that
within the preceding six months Dr. Magness had covered most of the
southern states where the pecan is grown commercially and had occasion
to give considerable attention to the problems of the pecan industry. I
asked, "What percentage of the commercial pecan growers at the present
time are producing 1,000 pounds of cured nuts to the acre?" He replied,
"Don't ask me what percentage. We can't talk about it in those terms.
You can probably list on the fingers of one hand the growers who, year
in and year out, are producing pecans at the rate of a thousand pounds
to the acre, and certainly you can on the fingers of two hands." To me
that was a rather striking statement. Dr. Magness may not have been
entirely correct in his answer, but he was probably not far off. Anyway,
the percentage of commercial pecan growers obtaining really large yields
is extremely small. In the Pacific Coast States, a larger number and a
larger percentage of the walnut growers regularly produce a thousand
pounds of cured walnuts to the acre, though there are more who average
500 or 600 pounds. As yet, in any of our retail markets you may purchase
first class named varieties of pecans at from 25c to 40c a pound. The
same thing is true of English walnuts. If the cultivated varieties of
the black walnut, hickory and the chestnut are to be put on the market
in quantity, they will come into competition with the pecan, English
walnut, almond and Brazil nut. This means that they must sell at
comparable prices.

Therefore, one of the principal problems of the nut industry, as I see
it, just as with delphiniums or the peony or the dahlia or iris or in
others that I might mention, is the problem of plant materials, more
specifically, the breeding or discovery of varieties that are superior
and that consequently can really compete with the English walnut and
pecan and that likewise are productive and that can be produced at a low
cost. As a matter of fact, in all of your meetings up to the present
time the finding, testing, and the evaluating of chance seedlings that
appear to be of promise has constituted not only an essential but one of
the larger features to claim attention. Furthermore, I believe it will
continue to claim attention for many years to come.

Practically all of your present materials, from the Fairbanks hickory to
the Thomas or Stabler walnut, have just happened - that is, occurred as
chance seedlings. They have been found and recognized as something a
little better than the general run. Someone has brought them to the
attention of the public, your Association placed approval on them, and
they have been propagated and finally become more or less disseminated.

I presume that by a more thorough combing of the territory more good
material will be found and brought to the front. However, after you do a
certain amount of combing, you eventually exhaust the resources.
Nevertheless, when that time comes in a matter of this kind, a good deal
more can be done. If the plum or grape grower had stopped when he had
scouted all of the territory where vines are native and had introduced
into cultivation the best of the chance seedlings that nature had given
us, we wouldn't have the grapes or plums or other fruits that we have

At this point I wish to make a suggestion as to one thing that this
association, as an association, and perhaps some of its members as
individuals, can give some attention to as a part of your program in the
years to come. It is the job of breeding superior varieties of nuts,
because much improvement is called for in walnuts, hickories, and the
other kinds before they are all that you or the consuming public wants
of them. The situation is essentially the same with nuts as with other
fruit and ornamental plants. We have some pretty good peaches, but ten
years from now the producers in Michigan will be growing very few of the
varieties that they are growing today, and I dare say that twenty-five
years from now they will be growing hardly any of them. We have some
very attractive delphiniums and dahlias, but in 1950 few of today's
favorites will be in cultivation. They will be superseded by new and
superior varieties. In 1950, or 1975, we should be growing nut varieties
that are far superior to what is available at the present time.

To say that there is room for much improvement sounds all right, but who
is going to effect it? Nut trees are not the easiest things in the world
to grow. They require a long time to come into bearing, and it is almost
out of the question for a person of middle age to undertake a breeding
project with a crop like the black walnut or northern hickory and expect
to get anywhere. Even if an Experiment Station undertakes a problem of
this kind, there is the likelihood that it may be dropped before much
will have been accomplished, for the person who starts it may go
somewhere else or be compelled to divert his attention to something
else, while the person who succeeds him has no interest in the project.
That has happened time and time again with investigations of many kinds,
but it has been particularly true of breeding projects.

If we are ever to make any real progress in the breeding of nuts, one of
the first things we need to know is the value of the different materials
with which we have to work and the varieties that are used as parents.
The Stabler, Thomas and Ohio are relatively superior black walnuts, but
we do not know which is the best of these for breeding for size or vigor
of tree or productivity or quality of nut or any other quality. We
haven't the slightest idea. Yet before really scientific plant breeding
work can be initiated, there is need of information as to which of these
can be depended on for transmitting to its offspring certain specific
qualities. Through experiment and experience we have learned some of
these things with regard to some of the other fruit and ornamental
crops. For instance, we know that the J. H. Hale is not only a wonderful
variety in itself, but that it has the ability to produce superior
progeny. Certain other varieties lack this ability. So, doubtless, it is
with nuts. How are we to obtain this information? If your Association
could get two or three growers, say here in Michigan, to inbreed the
Stabler walnut and grow the resulting seedlings - perhaps a thousand in
number - to fruiting age and someone somewhere else to do the same with
the Thomas and with the Ohio and other varieties, it would not be long
before a body of information would be collected that would furnish a
definite basis for the scientific breeding of nuts. Incidentally, the
chances are that some of this first group of seedlings would be superior
and I believe that the chances are better than 50-50 that the resulting
nut orchard would be a fairly good one.

Where are you going to get these inbred seeds? That probably is what you
can put up to your experiment stations. For instance, I am inclined to
think that Mr. Neilson, if he found out that there is a member of this
organization that is willing to grow a hundred inbred seedlings of the
Stabler or Thomas to maturity, would undertake to hand-pollenize the
flowers for that number of seeds, you would have a start in the
direction of developing superior varieties of nuts. I don't mean to say
that by undertaking a thing like this you should pay less attention to
looking for native trees that are superior, but your problem now, and
for the next thirty years, with northern nuts, is one of materials and
the method of procedure that I have suggested would put it on a basis of
a fairly definite breeding project.


I think it is self-evident that this association came here to Battle
Creek for its convention this year principally because of the work that
has been started by the Michigan State College. We think that the states
and the national government ought to do just what you are doing here,
and the power of the association is going to be back of those projects
in the future. To our sorrow, and I'd say to the loss of the entire
nation, several very valuable plantings have been started and the
passing of the owner has made it necessary that they be abandoned, and
in some cases lost entirely; in others a few of the trees have been
transplanted. We feel that if these specimen trees can be maintained on
state and national property, it will serve to call attention to this
nation's potential resources, which are not appreciated at present.

The 1934 Ohio Black Walnut Contest

_By_ CARL F. WALKER, _Cleveland Heights, Ohio_

The first prize contest confined to the state of Ohio to discover
superior seedling black walnuts was conducted in the fall of 1933 by the
Ohio members of the Northern Nut Growers' Association in co-operation
with the farm paper, the Ohio Farmer. The original announcement was made
in mid-September and several follow-up articles were published,
including some illustrations. Further publicity was obtained by mailing
press copy to the rural newspapers throughout the state.

The response was generous with 303 persons mailing in 423 samples of
black walnuts. These came from all sections of the state, indicating a
universal interest over the entire area. The first package of nuts
arrived on September 25th and for the next six weeks few further sample
lots were received. During the latter part of November and up to the
date of close of the contest, December 15, the entries were mailed to
the judges in quantity. This period coincided with inclement weather
when outdoor farm work could not be carried on.

The growing season had been abnormal due to a lack of precipitation and
it is believed that the nuts were not as large nor as well filled as
could be expected in a normal season. Defoliation through caterpillar
attack had been severe, especially in the northern third of the state,
and this condition may also have affected the normal development. The
kernels of many lots were shrunken and since these included some nuts
which would otherwise be given a high score, the method of judging by
points, partly mathematically determined, was used as a guide only,
rather than an exact means of choosing prize winners. Shell structure,
together with the shape and relative size of kernel cavity, was the
determining factor in choosing the prize winners. No differential for
kernel color was made, for it was recognized that this was dependent in
part upon the method used in harvesting and in handling the nuts. The
varieties that were poorly sealed were discarded.

All of the prize winners, on the basis of the merits of the nuts, are
considered worthy of propagation for home or experimental orchard
planting. The locations of the parent trees give a sufficiently general
coverage for the entire state for the selection of a variety to
propagate for almost all climatic and soil conditions in any part of the
state. This, in itself, is considered the advantage and the
justification of a contest confined to a single state or a limited
region. Also, when residents of a state, through a contest, discover
promising seedlings within their own state, it is believed that there is
created in the sponsors more incentive to compile continuous data about
the new kinds than would exist when the prize winners are chosen from
regions quite removed. That so many examples were submitted was the
result of excellent publicity by the Ohio Farmer.

The first prize was ten dollars, the second five dollars, the third
three dollars and the remaining seven prizes were subscriptions to the
Ohio Farmer of from five years to one year in length.

The prize winners were as follows:

First - Mrs. Willard Brown, Rock Bridge, O.

Second - Sam Tritten, Lisbon, O.

Third - B. A. Cowle, Defiance, O., Rt. 8.

Fourth - W. W. Janson, Jefferson, Ohio.

Fifth - Harmon Barnhart, Mt. Vernon, O., Rt. 6.

Sixth - R. E. Havice, Bellevue, Ohio, Rt. 1.

Seventh - C. H. Markey, Beallsville, Ohio.

Eighth - Kermit C. Hoover, Glenford, O.

Ninth - Ralph H. Miller, 300 Monroe St., Delta, O.

Tenth - F. C. Murphey, Sunbury, Ohio.

The final judging was done at the Ohio State Experimental Station by Dr.
J. H. Gourley, Chief of Horticultural Department, Walter H. Lloyd,
Editor of the Ohio Farmer, and Carl F. Walker, assisted by Homer L.
Jacobs of the Davey Tree Expert Co., John T. Bregger, Editor of the
American Fruit Grower, and Ray T. Kelsey of the Ohio Farmer.


That concludes the program. There is just a little business to handle
now. Before we go on to that I would like to call attention to Dr.
Deming's remarks about some of the old timers, which I thought very
touching, interesting and instructive. There are two foreign members of
the association whom I have never met. One is Mr. Spence, an Englishman,
and the other Mr. Wang of China. Mr. Wang was a life member. The reports

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Online LibraryAndrew LangNorthern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting → online text (page 13 of 15)