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

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with a little land and the urge to grow things, to enjoy the planting of
nut trees.

Our function is in educating more people to an appreciation of what
improved nut trees are and what they can do as they are at present
developed. Nut growing is just beginning to come into its own and the
nut tree should take its place as a valuable shade tree, should be
included in the home orchard and used as a paying crop by the farmer in
the North. The Guild is especially interested in introducing and
popularizing new horticultural developments. It publishes a new type of
tree as a publisher does a book. We serve as a connecting link between
the horticulturist and the layman, aiming to coordinate the work of
horticulturists and to interpret the meaning of this work to prospective
planters of trees. We act as a sort of educational sieve, our aim being
to extend the number of tree planters. This is a sales job and the
Living Tree Guild is a sales organization. We work through the press by
means of conservative advertising and publicity articles, through
personal contact by means of exhibits and individual interviews and
through the mails by means of carefully prepared bulletins of
information and well selected photographs. We work to gather all the
authentic information and offer this to our customers as a unique
service. Frankly we believe that there is no other organization in the
country that is as closely associated as we are with the authorities on
tree planting. Dr. Morris, whom we all know as the dean of northern nut
culture, is a member of our Board of Advisors.

In order to symbolize the grafted nut tree the Guild has adopted a brand
name, Guild Pedigree, based on the fact that the mother trees have been
carefully selected and are well known for their quality. Experiments
have shown that they represent a selected family line and develop true
to its characteristics.

We have been in touch with northern nut tree planting for a good many
years, but our sales work has been limited to the past three years
which, of course, means that we have never tried to sell nut trees in
so-called normal times. Yet Guild Pedigrees have bucked these economic
obstacles and they are becoming recognized as offering a remarkable
opportunity to the business man who has property and to the busy farmer
to make their idle land productive with a minimum amount of care and
attention. They realize that the difficult operation of grafting has
been successfully accomplished and that they need only prepare the
ground for planting according to the character of the soil and with a
little pruning and cultivation within a few years may be assured of a
new type of crop for which there is a growing demand. They recognize the
value of these trees over ordinary fruit trees which require numerous
sprayings a year and whose extremely perishable crop must be carefully
picked from the trees. Everyone knows that a certain amount of effort is
required to get good returns from farming, but comparatively speaking
improved nut trees have a decided advantage in their facility of growth,
which means that they can be planted by a much wider range of growers
than almost any other kind of crop.

In all of this we speak primarily of the black walnut which we recognize
as the best nut tree for extensive planting in the North. We believe the
hazel hybrids and filberts are of value as a secondary nut crop, as
fillers-in between the black walnuts or used as ornamental bushes for
screening around the grounds. Where local conditions justify it we
recommend that the home orchard include a variety of nut trees, the
English walnut, the northern pecan, certain hybrid hickories and a
highly blight-resistant chestnut. The Guild has realized from the start
that most laymen know little or nothing about the planting of nut trees.
We, therefore, work with them individually, advising them in detail on
their particular plantings. We keep a record of all Guild Pedigree nut
trees, particularly of the black walnut, each one of which bears a tag
with a serial number. We keep a record of this number and are gradually
building up a case history of each tree, in so far as possible, in some
instances complete with photographs. We include the conditions under
which the tree was planted, whether as an orchard or as an ornamental
tree, the amount of care and attention given it and its gradual
development and increase in bearing. This is also being done with every
tree that is included in the experimental orchard the Guild is operating
in the Connecticut River valley.

The data that we are obtaining in this way is aiding us in publishing
the latest authentic information on what happens when nut trees are
planted by laymen under varying conditions. We believe these records
will be a unique contribution of the Guild to northern nut culture. By
this means we can already point to certain Guild Pedigrees as having
made unusual growth or only average development, together with the
probable explanation, and of course to some that have died from natural
causes or from attacks by woodchucks or the like. We can offer records
of plantings of Pedigrees that have been made in practically all the
leading states, Canada and even abroad. Perhaps one of the most
interesting case histories is that of Pedigree No. 1527 which was
planted in the spring of 1932 as a Washington Bicentennial tree. This
tree, set as a single specimen, came into full leaf immediately after
planting and a year later was all of seven feet tall and had three
mature black walnuts for its first crop. It is the proud possession of
two small boys.

Young as we are in the field we have given authentic information on the
planting of northern nut trees to several thousands of tree lovers. We
have found a definite demand for detailed knowledge, and recognition of
our work has been shown by the great interests in exhibits we have
staged and from several awards which we have received from such
organizations as the Horticultural Society of New York. An analysis
shows that Guild nut tree plantings range from the true farmer to the
gentleman farmer, from the small lot owner to the owner of hundreds of
acres of non-dividend paying land, from the keen horticulturist to the
youth who is taking his first step in following a fascinating new hobby.

The selling of nut trees is a very special problem. It is not like
selling other kinds of trees. We recognize the fact that those who plant
Pedigree nut trees are in a class by themselves and we, therefore, set
up a separate department for them, making a special study of the
subject. We feel certain that there is a great future ahead for nut
growing in the North with our associations cooperating in the
distribution of information and stock developed from actual
experimentation over a period of years. Above all it is important to
understand what others are doing, and appreciate that the commercial
side should go hand in hand with the purely horticultural.

Progress Report on Nut Growing in the Ithaca, N. Y. Region


_New York_

The status of nut growing in the Ithaca region was reported at the
Washington, D. C. meeting of this association in 1932. Since that time
there has been little change in the situation except that a few more of
the varieties have come into bearing, and the severe winter of 1933-34
has injured the trees of many varieties.

The plantings in the vicinity of Ithaca are confined chiefly to those of
the Department of Pomology at Cornell University, and those of Mr. S. H.
Graham who is a member of this association and has been planting nut
trees for many years. Other than these there are only scattered trees
either native or planted around the dooryards by amateurs without any
very keen interest in northern nut growing. The purpose of the plantings
at Cornell University is primarily to test out varieties for their
suitability for growing in the rather rigorous climate of the region.
Farmers and others throughout New York state look to the experiment
stations for information regarding the possibilities of nut culture and
the varieties which might be planted to advantage.

As has been pointed out previously, the number of varieties adapted to
the region is distinctly limited because of unfavorable climatic
conditions. These climatic conditions are more fully described in
Bulletin 573 of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at
Cornell entitled "Nut Growing in New York State." The breeding of new
varieties and other investigational work is being carried on at the
Geneva Experiment Station where, as you know, Prof. G. L. Slate has been
growing many varieties of filberts for some years.

The university plantings at Ithaca consist of about an acre set about 20
years ago, including a number of varieties of different nuts recommended
for planting at that time. There is also about an acre of "butterjaps"
which are growing vigorously but have shown little promise of value
because of a lack of hardiness and generally poor cracking quality. The
most important planting is about 5 acres of cleared woodland in which
many hickories have come up naturally. These have been top worked to
many of the leading hickory varieties. A considerable number of walnut
stocks have also been planted in this area and top-worked to walnut
varieties. Plans are under way to acquire 10 or 15 additional acres to
be used for further variety tests as new varieties are brought to light
in the various nut variety contests which are being carried on.

Up to and including 1934 the black walnuts that have fruited are the
Thomas, the Ohio, and the Stabler. Of these the Thomas is the only one
which is at all satisfactory. This variety has fruited 3 years in
succession and has matured well-filled nuts every year. The Ohio and
Stabler have been shy bearers and in addition the nuts have been small
and not well filled. Both are evidently adapted to a longer growing
season than that at Ithaca. In 1934 one Stambaugh graft matured about 40
nuts. This variety appears promising but needs further testing. In
another year or two at least a dozen more of the promising varieties of
black walnuts should come into bearing.

Among the hickories the Barnes, of which there are 3 trees, has fruited
several times but in no case have the nuts been filled. The Brooks, the
Stanley, and the Weiker have also fruited sparingly but the nuts have
not been filled. During the past season, 1934, a few nuts were borne on
the Taylor, Kentucky, and Vest hickory trees, which were well filled. It
may be that these varieties will prove suitable for the region. The
Kentucky looks particularly promising. The Beaver and the Fairbanks have
borne a few nuts but the quality is not sufficiently good to make them
worth growing. The Burlington hybrid pecan makes a very beautiful tree
and has set nuts in several seasons, but they are not well filled. About
half a dozen varieties of northern pecans have been fairly hardy but the
seasons are too short to mature the nuts. They have always been frozen
on the trees while still very green.

During the past winter the temperature went down to -35° F. at the
University orchard. This killed most of the Persian walnuts outright.
Even the hardy varieties, Rush and Hall, were killed back to a few buds
on the trunks and larger branches. This experience has been quite
general throughout New York where the temperature went down below -25° F.
It is to be hoped that some of the new sorts being introduced from the
Ukraine will be better able to stand the low temperatures experienced in
New York. The low temperature very seriously damaged the 60 Chinese
chestnuts growing in the University orchard, killing the terminals back
for several feet and the sapwood all the way out to the combium and down
to the snow line. The trees so injured made only fair recovery and it is
doubtful if they are worth saving. Some Chinese chestnut trees nearer
Cayuga Lake where the temperature only reached -27° F. were only slightly
injured. It would seem, therefore, that around -30° F. was the critical
temperature for the Chinese chestnut. The Japanese walnuts were not
injured seriously by the cold weather of the winter. Many of the more
tender seedlings had already been eliminated by the cold winters of the
past. The Japanese walnuts were, however, badly damaged by the late
spring frost which froze off the catkins and new shoots. This has
occurred several times in the last ten years and is a serious drawback
to the bearing of this species. Hickories and black walnuts for the most
part showed no injury except in the case of rapidly growing grafts. All
of the McCallister hican grafts were killed outright as were a number of
grafts of the shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa). At Enfield Park where
the probable temperature was about -27° F. one McCallister pecan graft
survived. The filberts were quite generally damaged both in wood and
catkins, except the Rush, which fruited heavily. Northern pecans had
their terminals killed back about 6 inches but were otherwise uninjured.

In my judgment the greatest need of northern nut growing is the
discovery and testing of new varieties adapted to the different northern
regions. To find and test these varieties is probably the greatest
service that the Northern Nut Growers' Association can perform. We
cannot expect that nurserymen will propagate commercially the new nuts
which are discovered until they are sufficiently tested to establish
the value of the variety for different regions. As has been pointed out,
the Northern Nut Growers' Association is in much the same position as
was the American Pomological Society 100 or more years ago when
information regarding new varieties was the main interest of the fruit
industry. In this connection it would seem to me well worth while to
carry out the idea proposed by Dr. Deming last year which he called the
Roll Call of Nut Varieties. The older sorts have now been planted
sufficiently widely by members of the association to make it possible to
get some adequate idea of their suitability for growing in various
localities. Those who have the interest of the association at heart
should do all they can to obtain and grow any new varieties that offer
any promise of being adapted to their locality. It is only by carrying
out such a program that we shall have any real basis for making
recommendations as to varieties adapted to different regions.

I must confess that I am still skeptical about a commercial nut industry
in New York on the basis of our present varieties. After more than 20
years of variety testing in Ithaca only the Thomas black walnut has
shown any real merit. All the other sorts that were propagated and
recommended have shown themselves to be quite unsuitable to the climate.
A grower setting out a commercial orchard 20 years ago on the basis of
our knowledge of varieties at that time would now have practically
nothing to show, except as he happened to have the Thomas black walnut,
or possibly some of the hickories of northern origin. At the present
time the number of promising varieties known has been greatly increased.
They are, however, not available in the trade, nor will they be until
they have been adequately tested to establish their merit. Fortunately
some of the nurserymen growing nut trees are willing to run test
orchards as well. They are few in number and of course their work must
be augmented by the work of others in the association. What we need more
than anything else are test orchards in different localities in which
the relative yield of the different varieties over a period of years
will be kept. On the basis of such data recommendations as to varieties
to plant can be made with some degree of assurance that the information
given is sound.


Prof. MacDaniels may have told you of a number of promising varieties
which he personally has been responsible for bringing to light during
the last year. If he didn't I hope that he will tell as a matter of
record how he came to get them and just what they are.


Prof. O. F. Curtis of Cornell University and I made a pilgrimage of
about a thousand miles back to the stamping ground of our youth with the
avowed purpose of hunting down some of the best black walnuts of the
region. The trip, though a hurried one, was packed with interest. In
all, four walnuts were located which seemed well worth testing. Probably
the best of these is the Albert Todd. The nut is thin hulled, a little
smaller than the Thomas but with a thicker kernel. The tree was about
dead when found but scions were procured and are now growing at Ithaca
and Geneva. Another variety is the Emerson, located at Madison, Ohio.
This is a large round nut with a rather tough shell and high proportion
of kernel. Mr. Emerson has a good stand of native walnut growing on
bottom land. A few years ago he sold 25 trees to a furniture company for

The third nut Dr. Curtis found on a previous journey to Ohio. It is a
large nut of rather unusual shape being higher than it is long. It has
good cracking quality and deserves further testing. The fourth walnut,
the Chase, is growing in a dooryard at Oberlin, Ohio. It is larger than
any of the others, with good shell conformation. It has the reputation
of not always filling out the kernels, a condition which may be seasonal
or possibly an inherent defect. Grafts of all four of these walnuts are
growing at Ithaca and at Geneva and will be available after a year or

We had one disappointment in that a tree that we particularly wanted was
found to have died only two years before. It was the old story of being
too late. Certainly such experiences ought to spur this association to
new efforts in trying to locate the best nut trees before they are

Some Random Notes on Nut Culture

_By_ D. C. SNYDER, _Iowa_

Any notes concerning the behavior of nut trees in Iowa this year
necessarily recall the trying weather conditions and these must be
referred to again and again. Although winter temperatures were quite
mild, catkins on the filberts and hazels were so badly injured that none
bloomed on the filberts and very few on the Jones hybrids which had
previously been hardy. The native hazels bloomed but set very few nuts,
apparently because of their repeatedly freezing during the blooming
period. The Winkler hazel seems to be a phenomenal individual and a poor
parent, not reproducing anywhere nearly true. Thus far all its seedlings
have produced nuts inferior to the parent variety even when they were
from seed which was cross-pollinated by other choice hazels or filberts.
They do, however, show much variation in foliage, bushes and fruit and
what the second generation may bring forth is yet to be determined.
Established hazel plants endured the extreme heat and drought
splendidly, but newly planted bushes did not. Well-rooted layers and
divisions planted out early made a splendid start, then backed up and
were a total failure before the July rains came.

That you may know how dry it was in Iowa the first six months of 1934,
let me tell you that only about two-thirds of the oats sown in April in
well prepared soil got moisture enough to germinate then, and about the
same part of the corn planted in May germinated. Well, along in June a
shower furnished enough moisture to germinate the remaining part, so we
had corn 2 to 3 feet high and in adjacent hills only 2 or 3 inches high,
and oats which were headed out mixed with others of the same sowing
which were just up.

The walnuts endured these extremely dry conditions better than any fruit
or nut bearing trees. Young seedlings made quite a satisfactory growth
and year old seedlings lined out for future grafting made almost a
perfect stand, as did the grafted trees which were unsold and lined out
at the end of the selling season. The heavy loss in walnuts was in the
grafts set in May. This will be mentioned later.

The shortage of moisture in 1933 apparently was responsible for
considerable winter killing of young hickories which were in sod. There
was no loss in cultivated ground. The hickories were like the apples
this year in that they did not bloom much, and unlike them in that the
apples ripened ahead of their normal season, while the hickories ripened
later. Stratford nuts are usually ready to gather September 1 but this
year are still clinging to the trees. Fairbanks is our most prolific
kind. Nuts closely resembling Fairbanks, yet somewhat different from it,
keep bobbing up on different sides of us when there is a good crop of
hickory nuts. None of them have yet been superior to Fairbanks. Perhaps
one should give each a good testing and keep up a search for one with
better quality than Fairbanks. Certainly there is no reason for calling
Stratford a hybrid. It is one of a group of shagbarks with smaller
leaves and buds, and thinner husks than are found in what we would call
a typical shagbark. The shagbarks might be divided into several species
and be as distinct as some of the species of other trees, such as the
ash for example. Vest and Hand represent another group with thin, wavy
shells and thereby are quite distinct from the typical shagbarks.

On account of extremely hot weather coming so early the nut trees were
grafted earlier than usual and in this order: chestnuts, bitternuts,
hickory stocks, shagbark stocks and, after a few days, the walnuts and
pecans. The grafting was successful in the order worked. Immediately
after the walnuts and pecans were worked the temperature began mounting,
reaching 114° F. in the shade at one time, and of course much more in
the sun and just above the bare dry ground. The chestnuts and bitternuts
had time to knit together before the extreme heat and gave a splendid
stand. The shagbarks also made a good stand. But the walnuts and pecan
stocks were near a total failure. Apparently what occurred was that the
grafting wax and paraffin which was coated over the scion melted and
penetrated the union, like that much kerosene or penetrating oil, and
prevented callusing. The cions remained plump and green for a long time
except for a thin layer at the cut surfaces. The usual resin, beeswax,
linseed oil and lamp black grafting wax was used. Can anyone suggest a
wax which will remain absolutely dry under the conditions described
above? What happened, as near as I can tell, is that the extremely hot
weather and the continuation of it melted the grafting wax and the
paraffin. They fused and made a new combination which looked like grease
and absolutely prevented any growth. The shagbark hickories gave a good
stand, about as perfect a stand as you could expect in hickories. Last
of all the pecan stocks were worked. They should have been the easiest
to work but they were a total failure. That is because the hot weather
set in less than a week after they were set, while the others had more
time. The problem I would like to see solved is one of a wax which will
remain absolutely dry during such times, and I think then we will have
solved one of the big problems of propagation.


I've had more or less trouble with grafting waxes since I began to graft
nut trees, and I have therefore been looking for a wax that would stand
up under extremely hot weather and which could be applied cold and was
not too costly. I think I have found one that comes nearest to the
ideal. It is an asphalt tree emulsion made by the Flintkote Co. of New
York City. This emulsion can be purchased in five gallon drums at 60c a
gallon in Detroit. It can be diluted with water and applied in a thin or
heavy coating. I used this wax last summer and I am better pleased with
it than any other wax I have ever tried.


I thought a few years ago that I had eliminated wax trouble, but finally
I came to the conclusion that when you have a temperature that runs
beyond the place that will melt ordinary paraffin the heat will kill the


This question is an old one. Last winter and the winter before I did a
little work on the old reports. You will find some mighty good winter
reading there. I find things hashed and rehashed over and over again.
The subject of grafting wax, of course, was discussed years ago. I might
caution you on the asphalt. It will have to be the highest, purest


You can easily prevent wax from getting in between the scion and the
stock by using a paper or cellophane.


These grafts were tied with tape. I'm sure that this oil would penetrate

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Online LibraryAndrew LangNorthern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting → online text (page 4 of 15)