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anything which was not absolutely air tight.

Winter Injury of Filberts at Geneva 1933-34[A]

_By_ G. L. SLATE

_New York Experiment Station, Geneva, N. Y._

Last year I reported to you the winter injury to the Geneva filbert
collection resulting from a very mild winter. This year I am reporting
the damage resulting from the coldest winter on record in western New
York. Varieties that have withstood both winters may be considered
sufficiently hardy for anything western New York and regions with a
similar climate have to offer in climate.

A brief summary of the winter and its effects on other fruit plants in
the vicinity of Geneva will serve as a background for the data on
filberts. The first severe cold occurred on December 29 when the
temperature dropped to -21° F. This equalled the previous low record
established in February, 1896. On February 9 the minimum temperature
recorded was -31° F. or ten degrees lower than anything previously
recorded in the history of the Station. The minimum on February 8
was -16° F. and on February 10, -18° F.

Fruit trees suffered severe injury from these extreme temperatures.
Nearly all the older Baldwin apple trees in the vicinity were killed or
so severely injured as to be of no further value for fruit production.
Peach fruit buds were all killed and many of the trees succumbed, even
in well cared for orchards. Very few sweet cherry buds survived, and
many trees were injured or killed. Delaware, Catawba and Niagara grapes
were also killed to the ground or lost most of their buds. Japanese
plums failed to bloom, and the trees were severely injured. Nearly all
climbing roses were killed to the ground. Even the native elderberry,
Sambucus canadensis, was killed back in many cases. Such was the winter
experienced by the filberts.

Before classifying the filbert varieties as to their hardiness, some
general statements regarding the effect of the cold on the filberts may
be of interest.

The injury to the wood seemed to be due to a gradual drying out and the
clear cut distinction between winter killed wood and live wood so
evident in peaches, apples, and pears did not show in the filberts. The
wood of the filberts had a dried out appearance with a few brown streaks
so that one could not predict definitely in February the amount of
injury. It was not until midsummer that a true picture of the injury to
the wood could be obtained. This gradual drying out of the wood without
the clear cut distinctions between dead and live wood also characterized
the winter killing of the wood of grapes and raspberries. In the spring
new growth on the injured filbert wood started late. If the injury was
slight the foliage soon reached normal size. In some cases the early
leaves were very small, but later attained normal size. With trees that
were severely injured the leaves remained small until midsummer and then
gradually turned yellow and died. Many branches were killed outright and
failed to start or only a bud here and there would start. On the trees
of a few varieties that were injured the least, a few small leaves were
the chief evidence of winter injury.

The recuperative power of the filbert seems to be nearly as great as
that of the peach and pear insofar as this may be determined by
observation in the orchard. In spite of the past winter the station
filbert orchards present a fairly good appearance except for a few
varieties. It is probably safe to consider filberts as hardy as peaches
and sweet cherries.

The flowers of the filbert show a greater range in hardiness than those
of peaches and sweet cherries. The staminate flowers or catkins of a few
varieties are definitely hardier than peach flowers. Not a single peach
blossom survived but three filberts bloomed with only slightly more than
the usual amount of catkin killing. The pistillate or female flowers are
much hardier than peach flowers. The pistillate flowers are also hardier
than the wood as flowers were observed on trees the wood of which was
nearly dead by midsummer. In the older orchard about 16 varieties bore a
number of pistillate flowers that were recorded as medium or greater.
These did not all set nuts, however, owing to the scarcity of pollen,
but the crop on seven varieties was about medium. It should be
emphasized at this point that there were no peaches, practically no
Japanese plums, very few sweet cherries, and very few grapes in the
Station orchards and vineyards this year. Trees in the partially
protected orchard fared somewhat better in regard to catkin injury than
those in the more exposed orchard. That full exposure to the wind has
much to do with winter killing of catkins is shown by the following.
After the severe freeze of December 29 and 30 when -21° F. was
experienced, catkins of several varieties were forced in the office.
These all opened and shed pollen normally. January 29 and 30 near zero
temperatures were experienced with very strong winds. Catkins forced in
the office immediately after this were nearly all killed. Since zero
temperatures are not uncommon at Geneva in winter, but are rare with
strong winds, much of the injury may be attributed to the combination of
wind and cold.

Young trees were injured less in wood than old trees. This is well shown
by a comparison of two lots of Kentish Cob of different ages. Nine
9-year-old trees were killed back from 50 to 80 percent in addition to
considerable weakening of the remaining wood. Eleven two-year-old trees
in the same orchard were uninjured.

The importance of exposure to winds as a factor in causing catkin
killing is further shown by a comparison of catkin killing in the two
filbert orchards at Geneva. In the younger orchard which is exposed to
the full sweep of the west wind not a catkin survived on any of the 66
varieties in that orchard. In the other older orchard which is protected
on the west and north by buildings and spruce trees, sufficient catkins
survived on three varieties to provide for proper pollination. In
discussing the effects of winter injury on the different varieties it
will be necessary to make a distinction between the two orchards.
Orchard 6 is the partially protected planting while Orchard 16 is fully
exposed. Most of the trees in Orchard 6 were nine years old, while those
in Orchard 16 are six years old or less. Wood injury, catkin injury, and
pistil injury will be treated separately.

In the first group are those varieties which suffered very severe wood
injury. They are Clackamas, Early Globe, English Cluster, and Oregon.
The latter two are very similar and may be identical. These were all
nine year old trees located in Orchard 6. The trees were so severely
injured that their recovery is doubtful and the development of new trees
from suckers will be necessary. Clackamas evidently suffered root
killing as only one of the six trees is producing suckers. In this group
the trees leaved out, but the foliage was small, usually less than
one-fifth the size of normal foliage, and growth weak. By August the
leaves were yellow and many were shrivelling.

Varieties moderately to severely injured in Orchard 6 were Barcelona,
Kentish Cob (Du Chilly), Fertile de Coutard, Minna, Purple Aveline, Red
Aveline, White Aveline, White Lambert, D'Alger, and Montebello. In
Orchard 16 the severely injured varieties were Garibaldi, Kentish
Filbert, Marquis of Lorne, Princess Royal, Red Skinned, The Shah, Webbs
Prize Cob, Bandnuss, Einzeltragende Kegelformige, Liegels Zellernuss,
Multiflora, Schlesierin, Sicklers Zellernuss, Truchsess Zellernuss,
Vollkugel, Volle Zellernuss, Romische Nuss, Kruse and Rush. The trees of
varieties in this group were severely injured, but have a fair chance of
recovering. In many cases from 50 to 90 percent of the top was killed
outright, and new growth was weak. Most of the trees have a few fairly
strong shoots from the trunk or larger branches from which a new top may
be developed. Four out of 22 trees of Barcelona were killed entirely,
indicating root as well as top killing.

The last group includes those varieties of which less than 20 percent of
the wood was killed. The new growth was weakened slightly or not at all.
In many cases the tree is apparently uninjured and occasionally a single
tree of a variety may be severely injured while the others are unhurt.
Varieties in Orchard 6 belonging in this group are Alpha, Buttner
Zeller, Cosford, Daviana, Gubener Zeller, Gunzlebener Zeller, Gustav
Zeller, Lange Landsberger, Fichtwerdersche Zeller, Noce Lunghe, Italian
Red, Large Globe, Medium Long, Bollwiller, Nottingham, Halle, Red
Lambert, Gasaway, Guebener Barcelloner, Blumberger Zeller, Bixby, Jones
Nos. 83, 207, 269, 310, and Corylus colurna.

In Orchard 16 varieties in this group include Cannon Ball, Duke of
Edinburgh, Pearson's Prolific, Barr's Zellernuss, Berger's Zellernuss,
Beethe's Zellernuss, Eckige Barcelloner, Grosse Kugelnuss, Heynicks
Zellernuss, Jeeves Samling, Kadetten Zellernuss, Kaiserin Eugenie,
Kurzhullige Zellernuss, Longe von Downton, Ludolph's Zellernuss,
Luisen's Zellernuss, Mogulnuss, Neue Riesennuss, Northamptonshire,
Prolifique a coque serree, Imperial de Trebizond, and Russ. Native sorts
in this group are Winkler, Littlepage, Wilder, a Corylus americana
variety from the east end of Lake Ontario, and a Corylus rostrata from
Rhode Island. Seventeen 3-year old French varieties were also uninjured,
but in view of the general lack of wood killing, on young filberts, they
are not included in this list. It is evident then that we have a number
of varieties of which the wood is fairly hardy.

Catkin killing was very severe in both orchards and only those varieties
which had a few live catkins are listed. In Orchard 6 the catkin killing
on five trees of Italian Red ranged from 20 to 50 percent and on six
trees of Red Lambert from 10 to 20 percent. A few catkins on Alpha also
survived. The remaining 35 filbert varieties in this orchard lost all
their catkins. Several Jones hybrids in this orchard fared somewhat
better. A few catkins survived on Bixby. Jones 269 lost 10 percent,
Jones 310 lost 30 percent, and Jones 207 lost none of its catkins. All
the catkins were killed on Jones 83.

In Orchard 16, the story is soon told. Not a single live catkin was
found in the spring on the 66 filbert varieties in this orchard. Of the
native hazels Bush lost all its catkins, and Winkler none. All catkins
were dead on the Corylus rostrata from Rhode Island.

As stated earlier, the pistillate flowers were hardier than the catkins
and nearly all varieties in both orchards had at least an occasional
female flower. However, only those in which the number of pistillate
flowers was described as medium or numerous will be recorded here. In
Orchard 6 these varieties were Alpha, Cosford, Fichtwerdersche, Gubener
Zeller, Gunzlebener Zeller, Gustav's Zeller, Longe Landsberger, Noce
Lunghe, Italian Red, Medium Long, Bollwiller, White Lambert, Gasaway,
Gubener Barcelloner, Blumberger Zeller, and Unknown. Five Jones hybrids
including Bixby had a full pistillate bloom. Due to wood injury and
possibly to a scarcity of pollen only a few of these varieties bore more
than a few nuts. Varieties bearing a medium crop are Cosford, Italian
Red, Medium Long, Gubener Zeller, Gunzlebener Zeller, Bollwiller, and
Unknown. Four of Jones hybrids including Bixby, are bearing fair crops.
The other varieties in this orchard are bearing only an occasional nut
or none.

In Orchard 16 the pistillate flowers were described as medium or
numerous on the following varieties: Barr's Zellernuss and the Winkler
hazel. The other 65 varieties bore only an occasional flower. No filbert
pollen was available in this orchard, consequently Winkler is the only
variety fruiting.

In Orchard 16 were 534 two-year-old trees from crosses between Rush and
various filbert varieties. The cross was made by Mr. Reed and the
seedlings were sent to Geneva by the late Mr. Bixby. Of these 534
seedlings, 62 bore catkins. The catkins on 14 of these were uninjured,
19 had varying amounts of injury, and 29 suffered 100 percent killing.
Three hundred and ninety-two bore pistillate flowers and 74 of these
would probably have had full crops had they been pollinated. In view of
the complete loss of catkins on the filbert varieties in this orchard,
the survival of catkins on about half of the blooming seedlings is of
considerable interest to the filbert breeder. In addition, none of these
hybrids experienced any wood killing.

If the list of varieties which passed through the very severe winter of
1933-34 is compared with the list of varieties which were not seriously
injured by the very mild winter of 1932-33, only two sorts, Italian Red
and Red Lambert are found to be satisfactorily hardy in wood and catkin.
Red Lambert is too unproductive to be used except as a pollenizer.
Italian Red may therefore be considered the most promising variety now
available for western New York conditions. The nut is satisfactory and
the tree is one of the most productive. Cosford and Medium Long may also
be considered among the hardiest in spite of the complete loss of
catkins last winter. In all previous winters they have been among the
hardiest in wood and catkins. No variety should be eliminated because of
a lack of hardiness during the coldest winter on record in the region
where it is being grown, if it possesses other desirable characters.

I think considerable encouragement may be derived from the previous
winter's experience. We are at last down to rock bottom and know what is
hardy and what is not. It is evident from the behavior of the Jones
hybrids and Mr. Reed's hybrids involving a similar parentage that
sufficiently hardy varieties will result from this line of breeding work
to make filbert culture possible in those sections of the country that
are not too cold for peaches.

[Footnote A: Approved by the Director of the New York State Agricultural
Experiment Station for publication as Journal Paper No. 49.]

Notes on Hickories


_Sterling, Illinois_

I am satisfied only when I am trying for the best, and the best to me in
nuts is the hickory. For the past nine years in the nut season, and
sometimes out of it, for nut shucks tell their story, I have been
combing my own territory with hopes of finding some hickories more worth
while. About twenty miles westward from my home brings one to the
Mississippi River. One hundred years ago most of this twenty mile land
tract was covered with timber, more or less interspersed with hickories,
most of which have been cut down. Along the Mississippi there were then
shellbarks and shagbarks, together with pecans, the latter of which I
understand are all gone now. My own location was originally prairie land
out of which one could not go in any direction without passing through a
woodland tract. These nearer woods held in nut trees more shagbarks than
of any other nut variety, with the bitter hickory nut coming in second
place. As I thought about it, given a good enough tree, it seemed to me
the hickory was the greatest one we could grow. Grandfather had let pass
his opportunity to save any choice ones. So had my father. And if the
neighborhood zest was overfreighted with purpose to find such trees I
had not found it out. It looked to me like a worthwhile endeavor not to
let this neglect go further, even though chance finds were much lessened
from what they probably once were.

Having three or four kinds of hickories is no doubt a fine thing for us.
Nature cannot manage nearly so well with them as can man, but she makes
something of a hit once in a while. More than we think for, perhaps, in
the hickories we are using to graft from, there is quite likely, in the
sizeable shagbarks, something besides shagbark. Their distinctiveness,
for which we selected them, is due to a fortunate, unlike cross bringing
out their exceptional characteristics. What most hinders progress is
quite conceivably a sort of swamped unchangeableness. That is very
possibly the likely ailment we've got in our hazelnuts. There were no
three or four kinds of them scattered more or less everywhere about the
country with which nature could make chance crosses as with hickories.
Seemingly my locality ought to yield as many, perhaps more, exceptional
hickory specimens than many could. Here, or near here, the pecan of the
south had reached its northernmost trek. Here also was the shagbark,
shellbark, bitternut. And uniformity here should have more chance of a
knockout. A riddance of sameness. Hazelnuts conceded no such diversity
to help nature make freaks. In the hickory field was alteration, hope,
and chance.

In the assemblage of varieties there is given opportunity for crosses
that nature occasionally delves into, and in the additional eccentric
types getting mixed, tending to offer in rare instances special merit.
We have then through mixture, not that fixedness that usually stands in
the way, but a getting away from set types where once in thousands of
offerings a more useful specimen is made, one nature herself cannot
handle to our advantage, but for which we should have our eyes open, and
make use of when chance comes our way.

Just two years ago tomorrow I came upon what to me was an eye feast. A
half grown hickory tree whose top-most limbs bent as in rare instances
do limbs when heavily laden with sleet. And the nuts were of good size
for shagbarks. With the shucks off there were forty-two pounds of them.
They proved to be quite good crackers. I sent a sample to Dr. Deming and
he very considerately gave them the name Anthony. From the shape of the
nut, I believe it has a trace of the bitternut hickory in its make-up.
Mr. Reed has likewise expressed such an opinion in writing me regarding
it. This foreign blood tinge gives it, I believe, its jump in size and
its rather attractive form, also I think, a bit lessening in quality.
While we would like the very highest quality in our nuts, it is
conceivable that it may be advisable to do with them as is done with
peaches. Take the Elberta, with its many good traits, even though it
does fail somewhat in quality.

Having found this nut tree just two years ago hardly gives time enough
for adequate judgement of its merits. With something like three-fourths
of an inch of rain this year, from sometime in March to the seventeenth
of June, none of our crops can be judged by their performance. Skipping
last year, except for a very few nuts, this hickory came out this season
heavy with bloom. I was watching it at blooming time. On May 23 I
brought home from it a bit of bloom, laid it on a paper and the next
morning it had shed its pollen. The next morning after that we had a
frost on low ground. This tree is near such ground. With frost, and two
dry seasons, this year's crop has amounted to but one and one-half
quarts. Most hickories have done little since 1932.

Another hickory tree found last year that I call No. 2 did have four and
one-half pounds on it last season. It is hardly half grown, is a
shagbark, my best find toward cracking out in halves, and the earliest
in maturing nuts of any hickory I have found. It has no crop this year
but is worth keeping an eye on the coming seasons.

No. 3 is my best find in quality, quite good of cracking, good in size
for a shagbark and has possibly a trace of shellbark in its make-up.
While bearing light crops, it has been very consistent in doing so every
year for at least three years. It is an old tree, medium early in
maturing its nuts and doubtless could do better if freed from the under
and surrounding smaller trees. Its crop, shucks on this year, is
sixty-five pounds, or above eighteen pounds shucks off but not dried.

To the best of my present knowledge, and with such conveniences as I
had, and to aid in grafting, I should have been told to make a long
narrow box, put a wire screen bottom on it, make a cover for it, fasten
a wire at each end, put my scion wood in and let it down deep in a
cistern, and let it hang two or three inches over the water for scion
keeping. When grafting I should have been told to carry my Merribrooke
melter around in an empty pail to keep the wind from blowing it out and
to be able to better hold the blaze down and keep the wax at the right
temperature. And when and if the blaze does go out, do not try taking
the thing apart for relighting. Instead, split a small stick, put a
match in the split, take out the wax cup, strike the match and reach
down from the top for relighting.

Talk to people about better hickories and you discern first that the
subject has never been brought to their attention. On further
discussion, when they are made to understand that worthwhile hickories
can be grown, you come to the balking point. It's the crop! It's too far
off! People do not let the time question bother them when they set out
the usual dooryard trees because expectancy goes no further than trees.
In our latitude grafted hickories, first of all trees, rightly should be
in everyone's dooryard. It takes about as much time to grow the best
ornamental and shade trees as to make a hickory tree. And the latter
furnishes quite as much ornament, just as much shade as were it some
other kind of tree. Even if one cannot live long enough to eat nuts from
his own planting, plant grafted hickories anyway. Left to their own, and
most people's council, their lesser tree selections would approach the
eventual worth of a good hickory. Why not make the choice a good one?

No one knows, so far as I have ascertained, the age of a hickory. It is
much beyond that of an apple tree, at least in my locality. Of its close
relation, the pecan of the south, it has been said there are pecan trees
there now bearing nuts that were here when Christopher Columbus
discovered America.

Not long ago I read that there are something like five thousand
telescope nuts in the country. (You know we here are all interested in
nuts.) I can understand that it is interesting to search off in vast
spaces to ascertain facts, but it is hard to understand why more people
cannot find interest in rare and useful nut sports that can be strived
for and, in addition to that enthusiasm, help give to future mankind
that first of all essentials, food.

Whether we can get a helpful clue with experiences of the past I do not
know. But I often cannot help but recall a bit of the blindness of man
when I think of the potato. It was once said that they were fit only for
hogs to eat. Many years back when they were having war in Ireland,
soldiers would go through people's home and take all they had to eat. It
was found, however, where there was a potato patch soldiers would run
right over them, giving no thought of there finding food. There then was
a chance for home dwellers to better hold their own and it gave the
impetus, the beginning of potato growing, to the Caucasian race and the
name we have to this day, Irish potato. Years later, when they still had
kings in France, their ruler realized his poor subjects could help
themselves so much if they would only grow potatoes. There seemed no way
of getting them to do so. One day, however, the king went and had a plat
of ground planted to potatoes, set guards around it day and night, and
let it be known they were the king's potatoes and no one was going to be
allowed to steal them. That awoke the people. If potatoes were that good
the king would have them, they would have them also.

Franklin Roosevelt likes trees. Do you suppose we could get him to be a
king to lead for the finest in tree planting, grafted hickory-nut trees?

Another thing. Every bit we can add to the feeling and knowledge of our
securing is a help to us. We have many people whose make-up is not one
that enables them to provide for their later years, not even if they
earned ten dollars a day over a long period of time. Planting grafted
hickories would be something of a standby, extend away into the years,
and helping too when physical strength is no more ours. So too, we can
count too much sometimes on what we have in a bank. We may do likewise
with an insurance company. And there have been people whose governments
went back on them. Ours has, on gold promises! All one's hickory trees,
had he such, are not likely to treat him like that, at least won't all
die in a bunch! They won't even refuse a crop because of a depression!
And if one couldn't eat all of his nuts or even any of them, they are
something to offer in trade for that which can be used.

Again, if I am not mistaken, there is nothing that we of this latitude

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Online LibraryAndrew LangNorthern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting → online text (page 5 of 15)