There was one in the J. F. Jones yard at Lancaster that I think was at least 14 inches in trunk diameter 20 years ago when I saw it. Do you know whether that is still there at the Jones place, that Turkish tree hazel, Mrs. Weber?
MRS. WEBER: Where is it located?
MR. STOKE: It's right near the house, it seems to me between the house and the side near the barn.
DR. MCKAY: Mr. Stoke, that tree is gone. We were there last fall.
MR. STOKE: But it was a very nice tree, and for shade it's very nice. The Manchurian hazel has been spoken of, and I might mention that, because I have dabbled in everything, I guess. I got seed from the University of Nanking along with some other things, and those seedlings were quite variable. The nuts compared rather favorably with the American hazel. Some were thick-shelled, but they will average almost as good as the American hazel, and they bore quite freely for me until I let the bushes get right thick. They will send out suckers and make a very spreading growth. If you dig them out and leave a piece of root in the ground, it will come up just like sassafras or persimmon will on that piece of root. But it is an attractive bush, and mine has a reddish-brown little spot in the middle of the leaf in most cases. It seems to be characteristic of that strain that I have. The nuts were quite variable and, as I say, they bore right well until I let them get too thick. I believe that's all.
MR. SLATE: I neglected to answer your question, Dr. Colby, but the squirrels have not been much of a problem with our filberts at Geneva, strange as it may seem. They have never taken a very high percentage of the crop. We have a Lancaster heartnut, and they clean up every nut on that tree every year before the end of August.
I'd like to comment on this matter of the name of Halle's Giant, I think you called it. I think the name is Halle, the German town where the variety originated. I prefer the name Halle, because calling it Hall's Giant is more or less a sign its origin is a man named Hall.
MR. STOKE: In some catalogs it is one way and some the other.
MR. SLATE: We have other items on the program tonight, and as the Latin student said, "Tempus is fugiting very fast," so I think we had better turn the meeting back to Dr. MacDaniels.
PRESIDENT MACDANIELS: The next two talks have slides to be shown, and it is suggested that you take about ten minutes, take a stretch and then come back when the slide projector is set up.
My Experiences With Chinese Chestnuts
W. J. WILSON, Fort Valley, Ga.
When I was asked to appear on this program to tell my experiences as a grower of chestnuts, I felt like a child, appearing before a group of grown-ups to tell them how to make marriage succeed. When I see the sages of chestnut knowledge seated before me I realize that I can only relate my experiences and ask your advice.
My father was a pioneer peach and pecan grower; he loved trees and has told me time after time that if I ever made more than just a living, farming, it would have to come from trees, not row crops. He was what I would call a self-educated man. He had small chance of formal education, being the sickly son, one of eight sons and three daughters, of a couple who eked out an existence on the poor, unproductive, sandy, soils of Crawford County, Georgia, growing the one and only cash crop of those days, cotton. The combined wages of these boys often amounted to more cash money than their own cotton crop returned because the supplier got most of the money from their own crop. They helped neighbors pick out their cotton crops after finishing their own. Grandfather must have liked to experiment in his limited way. Each spring as Grandfather would plant his small patch of Spanish peanuts and yellow corn, Grandmother would tongue-lash him, saying, 'so long as you fool away your time with Spanish peanuts and yellow corn you will remain a poor man. Time has proven Grandfather right and Grandmother wrong. Spanish peanuts is a huge industry; most of our hybrid corns, which have added millions of bushels to our yields are yellow.
My father wasted his time back at the turn of the century planting a peach orchard on his best cotton land. He planted pecans each winter, beginning about 1912, often to the ribbing of friends who still worshipped at the feet of King Cotton. One told him that he had a pecan tree or two about his home and the damn flying squirrels ate all of the nuts. Another told him that if he wanted a load of stove wood he would just as soon cut down a pecan tree as any other kind. At his death in 1942, my father had planted six hundred acres of pecan orchards, each acre having been interplanted with peaches, to produce income while the pecans were reaching bearing age.
I give you this background so that you may better understand my attitude toward chestnut growing. The scale on which I have set out on chestnut growing I know to some of you will seem rather bold or foolhardy.
About ten years ago I found that the U. S. D. A. Pecan Experiment Station at Albany, Georgia had a small chestnut orchard. Max Hardy, was doing the chestnut work and was so much interested in them that I caught fire and have been burning ever since. When I found that the harvest came between the peach harvest and the pecan harvest it fitted right into my kind of farming. The fact, that it was a possible tree crop made chestnut growing still more attractive to me. Max suggested that I join the N. N. G. A. when I complained that I couldn't find much information on chestnuts. I attended my first convention at Norris. I have tried to make most of them since that time. Of all the discussions at the Norris meeting, the one that stuck in my mind was whether nurseries should recommend seedlings or grafted trees. I thought then, and still think, that for commercial production one must have varieties, because seedlings are so variable. I believe, that when, chestnut growing comes of age, the major part of the production will go through processing plants. It will be a great advantage to have nuts of uniform quality and size, which is and will be impossible with seedlings.
Of the fifteen trees that I planted in 1946, only one fruited in 1951. It bore only 3-1/4 pounds of nuts. The other fourteen did not fruit. This year there are a few scattering burs at seven years of age, on those that I did not graft this spring. I am now too old to wait seven or eight years for a chestnut tree to begin bearing. These trees came from a Virginia nursery. The trees I planted in 1947, I started grafting in 1950, to Nanking, Meiling, and Kuling, and finished this spring, except for a few replants. I also grafted ten trees in 1950 to Abundance. These tops bore the second year, several bearing good burs the same year the scions were set. These grafted trees are anxious to go to work, because they bloom in the spring and again in late July and early August. I have used the in-lay bark, modified cleft, the cleft, and what I call a saddle graft, bevelling two sides of the stock and splitting the scion, thus slipping the split scion down over the prepared stock. I have had equally good take on all types of grafts used. In 1948 I planted two hundred seedlings bought from Max Hardy, grown from seed from the Experiment Station orchard. I believe the production record of this orchard has been given to this convention at previous meetings. You will recall that the off-type trees were rogued, leaving the parent trees of Nanking, Kuling and Meiling and others of good bearing habits. In 1951 four trees out of this lot, were outstanding in precocity. The earliest started dropping nuts the fifteenth of August and bore 7-1/4 pounds. The next matured September 5th and produced 8-1/2 pounds. The third tree is unusual. I noticed it the 4th of October. The ground was covered with nuts, but only an occasional bur. All of the burs were wide open and still on the tree. The crop weighed 6-1/2 pounds. The fourth tree I found on the 5th of October with all of its nuts on the ground, the tree retaining the burs. The yield of this tree was 4-1/2 pounds. Mind you, this was the fourth summer after planting. These trees have repeated this year with another good heavy crop. The other trees in this block bore from none to one or two pounds of nuts in 1951. This year less than ten trees in the block are not bearing. Next spring these ten will be growing new tops, because their present tops are not satisfactory. I noticed that one tree in this block bloomed long after the rest this spring, several weeks in fact. It might have possibilities in northern areas because of its late blooming.
Of the eleven hundred trees planted in 1950, one bore nuts in 1951. I didn't know it until this spring, when I was pruning the trees in this block, and found nuts on the ground under this tree. It is bearing a good crop this year for its size and age. There are a number of these trees bearing this year. Dr. Crane in a hurried inspection of these trees this summer thought those trees bearing were offspring of a certain tree in the Philema orchard.
I do not give my chestnut trees special care. They are fertilized and cultivated the same as young peach orchards. We try to bring in a peach orchard the third summer, with enough fruit to make it worth spraying. I see no reason to wait seven or eight years to get a chestnut orchard into bearing. If you will keep down competition from weeds, cultivate frequently, and give the tree plenty of nitrogen you will be surprised at the growth it will make. I set the trees twenty-four feet each way, with the idea of thinning later when they begin to crowd. In this way I will get higher acre yields in the early years. When they reach maturity I will have them thinned down to forty-eight feet each way. As they reach heavy bearing the rate of growth will slow down and I will adjust the nitrogen to keep them from becoming too vegetative.
So far the only insects that have bothered me are caterpillars that ordinarily feed on wild maypops, or passion flowers. These caterpillars will defoliate a tree. The only tree that I have lost from winter-killing was one defoliated by the caterpillars early last fall. It may become necessary for me to spray for these worms if they become too plentiful.
I do not come before you as an authority on chestnut growing. I feel that to force myself to do my best I should plant enough trees to make me find out how to handle them. In the rush and bustle of peach and pecan growing if I had only a few chestnut trees I might decide that not much was involved, and neglect the chestnuts. I know that with two thousand trees already planted and some of them bearing I am going to make a great effort to make the project profitable. I have decided that chestnut growing has possibilities as a tree crop in my section, and is worth my time and effort. I know there are many problems ahead, but so did my father when he planted peaches and pecans many years ago. I am still meeting new problems with them each year. Problems go hand in hand with the fruit and nut business. It is the fellow who is willing to try to work them out who has a chance to profit. If I wait until all the problems are solved I will never grow chestnuts. The day that I decide that I know all the answers about growing peaches, pecans or chestnuts, is the day I start going broke. I have been badly bent several times while I was struggling to find an answer. Each year starts full of hope, with visions of a nice fat bank balance when the jobs are all done. Then the problems start and if I can lick enough of them, I come through with the right to see if I can't do a still better job next year, despite the risks of too much rain, not enough rain, hail, insects and diseases.
I have found that each year from 15 to 50 million pounds of chestnuts are imported from Europe. The same blight that destroyed our native chestnuts, is going full tilt in Italy and other European countries. If the blight runs its course as it did in this country, it will not be many years until we will not have chestnuts from Europe. I am going to grow some to fill this gap. In 1950 Dr. McKay sent me eight trees, four Meiling, two Nanking, two Kuling. Two Meiling and two Nanking to be planted together, two Meiling and two Kuling together. Each combination to be isolated so that the nuts produced would be of known crosses. These trees bloomed this spring and two of them set a few burs. Next year I hope to turn over to Dr. McKay nuts from these trees to be planted, and grown to fruiting age. I now have about one hundred and sixty grafted trees. I intend to fruit my seedlings with the hope that among them I will find trees superior enough to be given variety status. I will then top-work the rest to varieties. At present I intend to plant more trees each winter until I have at least one hundred acres of orchards. If and when the weevil moves in I will have the equipment on hand to spray, using the same equipment on peaches or pecans.
I would like to see this Association ask that more research on chestnut production be done by the U. S. D. A. It will not be done until we ask for it. The men in the department are not in position to do much asking for additional funds. It is the responsibility of groups like the N. N. G. A. and the Southeastern Chestnut Grower's Association. We are in need of more breeding and selection of new, and better adapted varieties. We need processing research, marketing research, and research in the field of production. We are not going to get it done until we insist on it good and strong.
This spring, at Fort Valley, Georgia, the Southeastern Chestnut Grower's Association was formed. We hold our convention in March and will be glad to have everyone interested in chestnut growing, marketing, processing or research, attend our convention. I think in time this organization will want to become affiliated with the N. N. G. A., to the mutual benefit of both. I will be glad to have any of you visit my orchards and show me how to grow chestnuts, I am constantly searching for information.
PRESIDENT MACDANIELS: We thank Mr. Wilson very much for his talk, and we think it does take a lot of courage to embark on an experiment of that kind.
In view of the lateness of the hour, unless somebody objects, we will adjourn until tomorrow morning at 8:30.
At 9:40 o'clock, p.m., the meeting adjourned.
TUESDAY MORNING SESSION
(Called to order at 8:30 o'clock, a.m., President L. H. MacDaniels presiding.)
Persian Walnuts in the Upper South
H. F. STOKE, Roanoke, Va.
My experience with the Persian walnut has been acquired in the Roanoke district of south-west Virginia. It is located 300 miles from the Atlantic seaboard and my trees are at an approximate elevation of eleven hundred feet. Roanoke is on the same parallel as Springfield, Missouri, and about thirty miles south of Rockport, Indiana.
This experience covers a period of more than twenty years with named varieties and seedlings of the species. I shall here attempt to present some findings that may be of some value to others similarly located.
For the sake of brevity I shall put the cart before the horse, the findings before the facts from which they are derived.
For the upper south and, in my opinion, for the middle west, late vegetating and blossoming is of prime importance for success with the Persian walnut. No matter how vigorous, prolific and precocious the tree may be, nor how fine the nuts, the variety is worthless for anything except shade if the crop is destroyed by normal spring frosts.
In the second place is winter hardiness. This is of two kinds; resistance to extreme cold, and resistance to the wooing of warm winter days that starts premature activity, followed by a destructive freeze.
My experience with the Payne variety is a case in point. Having read some place of the vigor, precocity and heavy bearing of the new variety, then called the Payne Seedling, I secured some scions of it from its originator and worked it on a young black walnut. The variety was already making a name for itself in Northern California and Oregon, not only because of its bearing habits but for the superb quality of its nuts.
During the first few years it did well despite its early starting in the spring, and bore heavy crops; then disaster fell. One spring the tree failed to leaf out at the usual time. On examination I found that it had winter-killed back to five-year wood. The winter had been unusually cold, and the tree could not take it. Pruned back, the belated new growth did not fully mature before winter so in turn was damaged, a phenomenon that recurred from year to year. Exit Payne as a Virginia prospect.
An example of the other type of winter injury was that of my first Crath Carpathian. I secured scions of this variety from Rev. P. C. Crath in 1929. The parent tree had been growing and bearing in the vicinity of Toronto and was apparently fully hardy. The scions grew vigorously on the young black walnut stock on which it was worked, and completed their longitudinal growth early in July, giving ample time for the ripening of the wood before winter.
After several years I noticed the bark on the south side of the trunks dead from so-called sun-scald. Activity had been induced by the warmth of the winter sun, followed by freezing. After some years the wood was killed back to limbs the thickness of one's wrist, and this has been again repeated. The tree was hardy in Ontario, but not in Virginia.
The nut of this variety, which to me is the Crath, is much superior to the average Carpathian, and I think might be well worth while in the north-east and along the Great Lakes, but not in the upper South nor the Mid-West.
Besides their winter weaknesses, both the Payne and Crath start too early in the spring for my conditions.
Broadview and Lancaster both blossom here in mid-season and, since both have a rather long period of producing pistillate blossoms, they seldom fail to produce a crop when properly pollenized.
Franquette and Mayette, both highly recommended as being late vegetating and producing excellent nuts, have offered me some difficulties of another order. With Franquette the chief trouble has been to get a suitable pollenizer. Like the Mayette, its pistillate blossoms appear ten days or more after the staminate blossoms and self-pollination is not effected. I tried King, recommended as a pollenizer, but it was too early to be reliably effective. When Franquette is properly pollenized it, with Payne, is one of the heaviest bearers.
Mayette in Virginia produces a fine, healthy, vigorous tree, but it refuses to produce pistillate blossoms. A dozen nuts is an average crop for a tree that should produce a bushel. It, like Franquette, demands a late pollenizer, but the pistillate blossoms are simply not there. Neither of these two late varieties have ever suffered winter injury with me, nor have been damaged by spring frosts.
I will not attempt to go into detail regarding all the varieties and seedlings that I have tried through the years; Eureka, that ranks with Mayette and Franquette for lateness, but refuses to bear, apparently for want of pollination; Chambers that was recommended along with King for pollenizing the late bloomers but not fully successful; Breslau, with its huge nuts but slow growth, in addition to an assortment of Carpathian seedlings. Of the latter my Caesar is one of the more promising with its vigorous growth, large thin-shelled nuts and ability to pollenize itself in some seasons. Gilbert Becker has reported it passing through Michigan winters unhurt.
As matters now stand, I believe Bedford, Caesar and Lancaster have proven the most satisfactory varieties to date under my conditions, although some seedlings I have grown appear even more promising. Chief of these are several that I grew from open-pollenized nuts of the Lancaster, which I am here exhibiting.
You will note that the one I designate as L-2 is an extremely large nut, considerably larger than its seed parent which it somewhat resembles. L-8 is of somewhat similar type, but smaller. L-3 and L-6, on the other hand, are of entirely different type. Much smaller, they are smooth, thin-shelled and well filled, with kernels running 50% by weight and of high quality. They resemble their seed parent, Lancaster, not at all but in type are much nearer Bedford, their probable pollen parent.
Another one of these seedlings, L-7, resembles Caesar, its probable pollen parent, far more than it does its seed parent.
Some years ago I hand-pollenized several blossoms of Broadview, using pollen from my original Crath.
One of the seedlings from these hand-pollenized nuts resembles Crath much more than Broadview, the seed parent. I have it here as C x B 2.
Aside from the apparent profound influence of the pollen parent on the offspring, there is the unexplained fact at that with the exception of L-8, all these seedlings are later vegetating than the seed parents and any of the suspect pollen parents. Of the Lancaster seedlings L-2, L-3 and L-6 are fully as late as Franquette and Mayette, blooming well after the first of May. Inasmuch as there were no Persians producing pollen anywhere near that time I can only believe that these nuts were pollenized by the black walnut on which they were top-worked. I intend to plant some of these nuts, and expect to produce hybrids.
This brings up the enticing subject of breeding Persian walnuts adapted to one's own conditions. I have no suggestions to offer scientists, but offer the following for the benefit of amateurs like myself.
If your grounds are cluttered up with varieties, as are mine, ingratiate yourself to some friend who has an isolated young black walnut tree by volunteering to convert it to the production of Persian walnuts. Select two varieties whose characteristics you desire to blend and that will pollenize each other, and grow seedlings from the resulting nuts. You can check results in as little as four years by taking buds from the seedlings at two years and placing then on black walnut.
Creative work, this. You will get the thrill of your life—if you are that kind of a person—and may produce something well worth while.
Persian walnuts are self-pollenizing if pistillate and staminate blossoms occur at the same time, but such usually is not the case. Crath, Breslau, Caesar and King produce their pistillate blossoms some days before their staminate blossoms shed their pollen, while Payne, Lancaster, Broadview, Franquette and Mayette produce their blossoms in reverse order. Of all those I have tested only Bedford can be depended to produce both types of bloom simultaneously and certainly and fully pollenize itself.
It is enlightening to keep a record of the blossoming time of each variety relative to others, but dates should all be recorded for the same year. Warm, early spring induces early blooming; late, cool weather delays blossoming. By my records, Payne pistillates were receptive May 3 in 1935, April 28 in 1937 and March 31, in 1945, a variation of over a month. All varieties vary with the season, but the variation is greatest with the early varieties.
There has been little disease among my Persian walnuts except that in wet seasons leaves and nut shucks are sometimes attacked by a fungous blight. In the city there has been no insect injury worthy of note. In the country, adjacent to wooded areas, insect injury is sometimes serious. Pests include spittle bugs, stink bugs and other insects that attack young leaves and tender growth. These check the leaders and cause late multiple growths that may fail to mature and hence winterkill.
In such locations the butternut curculio also attacks and destroys the young nuts. Avoid wooded areas if choosing a site for a Persian walnut orchard.
The most destructive pest with which I have had to contend has been the large black-bird or purple grackle. Oddly enough they are much worse in the city than in the country. As soon as the young are grown, about the middle of June, they appear in flocks and attack the nuts of the Persian walnut. At first, before the shell has hardened, they penetrate the nut apparently for the nectar which is the substance of the immature kernel. When the shell can no longer be penetrated they continue to eat away the husk, which is equally fatal to the nut. This continues until late in July, when the squirrels take over. Fortunately squirrels are highly allergic to a bullet from a 22 rifle.
In pointing out some of the hazards encountered in growing Persian walnuts in the East the writer has not intended to be discouraging but helpful. Persian walnuts of good quality can be grown in this section; full understanding of the factors involved make it possible, I believe, to grow them successfully on a commercial scale.
Varieties of Persian Walnuts in Eastern Iowa
Ira B. Kyhl, Sabula, Iowa
There are a great many varieties of Persian walnuts, many of which originated in the region of the Carpathian mountains and other parts of Europe and a few varieties in the United States and Canada.
I believe that some varieties now grown in the United States and Canada which originated in Europe may have come from the same tree as they appear to have the same shape, thickness of shell and flavor. I have as many as four varieties that are identical.
The Persian walnut has always been my favorite nut. I started with 2 or 3 varieties and now have 35 or 40 varieties and 200 trees most of which are doing well. Some are superior in hardiness and vigor.
In eastern Iowa at 42 degrees N. latitude minimum winter temperatures vary from 25 to 32 degrees below zero. Usually the minimum is 12 to 15 degrees below zero, but last winter it was 25 degrees below zero for several days. Only the hardier varieties will endure -25 degrees without injury, but -12 to -15 does not injure any variety very much.
Schafer is my favorite variety and it was not injured at -25 degrees. I have several of these trees, some from seeds, some top-worked on black walnut and the others grafted trees from a nursery. It grafts easily, grows rapidly and bears a fine nut.
A top-worked tree of Colby withstood -25 degrees without injury and is one of the most vigorous trees I have.
Fifteen seedlings from Crath Mayette and Crath Franquette seeds from the late G. H. Corsan, of Toronto, Canada, are developing into very fine trees, but are not yet bearing.
One of the first varieties planted, Broadview, grew rapidly and produced nuts after two mild winters, but the several trees of this variety killed to the ground after the -25 degrees of last winter.
Crath No. 1, Crath No. 39, and Breslau grew well until last winter when they were killed. Three Breslau seedlings did not winterkill.
Rumanian Giant, the first tree I grafted, killed back somewhat, but is recovering. This variety produces the largest nut I have seen and it fills well.
Top-worked trees of other varieties that were not injured last winter are Crath No. 5, Crath No. 12, SG No. 5, Crath No. 29, Graham and Crath Special.
Seedlings in the nursery row that stood severe temperature are Carpathian D, NWF Nos. 1 and 3, FB O and FB OO, Fort Custer, Hansen, Jacobs and others.
MR. STOKE: Does the black walnut bloom at the same time that the Persian walnut blooms?
DR. MCKAY: It bloomed near the end of the receptive period.
MR. STOKE: That first experiment of yours was trying to pollinize the black walnut with the Persian, but the reciprocal cross may be quite different, as Jones proved with the filberts.
DR. McKAY: That could be. We have no large amount of data on the reciprocal cross. These cases where it is said that the black walnut pollinates the Persian regularly and is producing good crops of nuts, I would consider doubtful until I see the seedlings, their growth and characteristics. Yesterday Mr. Bolten asked the question whether or not some walnuts that have large nuts could possibly be tetraploid or polyploid. A number of years ago I examined the chromosomes of one of these large fruited varieties, and it had the same chromosome number as the others, namely sixteen pairs or thirty two.
The whole question of chromosome number in nut varieties and species is as follows. So far as we know, all of the species have a constant number within the genus except the hickories where we have tetraploid species and diploid species. All of the species of Castanea, as far as we know, have the same chromosome number, and all of the varieties within each species have the same number. In the Oaks, which are related to chestnuts, we have an extremely large genus in which there is a great constancy of number. The pines, and all other cone-bearing trees make up another very large group in which chromosome numbers are constant. Exactly the opposite situation is found in the related family of alders and willows where the chromosome number is very variable.
PRESIDENT MacDANIELS: Unless there is some special question or comment on this subject, we will go on to the next item.
MR. LEMKE: There was a panel discussion about four years ago, and they were talking about what nuts to grow, and one of the men said, "Before you offer a man a good nut, give him a good nut cracker." That's been on my mind for some time.
Commercial Production and Processing of Black and Persian Walnuts
EDWIN W. LEMKE, Washington, Mich.
Sometime ago a group of nut minded men associated with Spencer B. Chase announced their findings on the quality of the wild black walnut growing in the area of Norris, Tenn. Nuts were gathered from 151 wild walnut trees. After judging, the group came to the conclusion that only one tree had a flavor that was considered by their standards as good. It is these good nuts that caused the formation of the N.N.G.A. When we speak of the good nut it gives the word commercial an entirely different meaning. It by necessity excludes most of wild black walnut kernels processed by the large cracking plants of Kentucky and Tennessee. The large crackers are willing to pay better prices for the improved black walnut but were they to rely on this source of supply they could not stay in business very long.
To produce and process, I chose the Thomas and Ohio variety and I have met with some success. The black walnut can be made to bear in the first and second year after grafting but this is but a novelty feature. Jones from whom I purchased my trees, told me that the black walnut could be classed with the Northern Spy Apple for coming into bearing. This has proven true. Commercial production of the improved black walnut is by its very nature small scale production. Because of this fact only small scale machines to process these nuts are feasible.
Since 1916 I have had time to reflect on the problem of the three basic machines needed. These are the huller, cracker and kernel picker. Fortunately for me I learned the machinist trade and had a machine shop at my disposal. I tried every way to hull the black walnut and finally accepted the commercial potato peeler as the best principle. I built several crackers and at last accepted the Wiley cracker as the best commercial cracker. The third machine is the picker which has yet to be assembled. This picker is copied after The Kenneth Dick machine with some variations in the separation process.
Let me briefly explain these three basic machines. As the nuts are gathered in the orchard they are brought to the huller in bushel crates. The huller is located in a separate room. This room has the floor depressed to catch the removed hulls that are flushed outdoors with the aid of running water. The cylinder of this huller is 30 inches in diameter and 14 inches high. It is made of 3/16ths boiler plate. Three inches from the bottom of the cylinder is a revolving disc smaller than the inside of the cylinder. The disc being small enough it allows a 5/8th opening around the inside of the cylinder. It is this opening that permits the hulls to drop to the floor. The nuts are held captive because there is no opening in the cylinder for them to leave until the discharge door is opened on the side of the cylinder. The cover of the cylinder has a 10 inch feed hole into which the nuts are fed. A 10 inch furnace pipe elbow runs from the hole to the serving trough into which the nuts are poured. A 10 inch pusher is used to shove the nuts into the huller and serves to keep the feed hole closed while the nuts tumble around. The disc runs at 250 RPM which is the proper speed to do a good job. While the nuts tumble around a stream of water is used to wash the hulls free from the nuts and force the removed hulls to the floor below. The disc is supported by a 1-3/8 inch diameter shaft that runs through the disc and is held central as it revolves in a flange containing a 3/4 ball bearing that fits into the end of the concave in the shaft. Up four feet from the disc is a link self aligning bearing that allows the shaft and disc to turn like a gyroscopic top. The shaft's pulley has 'V' belts connected to a 3/4 h.p. motor. I have hulled up to 40 bushels of clean nuts in 8 hours. The nuts after hulling are placed on drying trays indoors where temperatures are better controlled. The principal of this huller is that it separates the hull by centrifugal force. The hull drops down through the opening between cylinder and disc while the nuts riding on disc are discharged at right angles to the fall of hull. The machine is a separator.
The next basic machine is the cracker. This cracker is the Wylie cracker in principle and is made in Eugene, Oregon. Simply explained it could be likened to two pages in a book. One page is perpendicular while the other page is off the perpendicular about 7 degrees. The first page which is the anvil is fixed save for adjustments for nuts of varying size. The other page or hammer riding up and down through an inch and one quarter of travel is fixed to a crank below. Both of these pages or plates are heavy cast iron plates that are fluted and cause the nut to be cracked against these saw toothed flutes and while being cracked are revolved down through the plates. The plate moving at an angle forces the nut finally through a 3/8 inch opening where they fall into a rotary sieve. The sieve has three sizes of mesh. 5 mesh, 2 mesh and 3/4 mesh. The larger pieces go on through and are returned to the cracker. This cracker will crack up to 500 pounds per hour, and uses a 3/4 h.p. motor.
The last of the three basic machines is the picker. I have not yet built the picker but a number of the parts have already been machined and before long it will be a reality. The Kenneth Dick, picker, of Peebles, Ohio is the best for small orchards. It is essentially a separator using a conveyor belt which carries the cracked nuts to needles that pick up the kernels and deposit them on trays that at the timed moment accept the black walnut kernels. The discarded shells remain on conveyor and travel to the end and fall into a receptacle. After this process, further inspection becomes necessary but up to the present it is the best we have.
The black walnut is a messy nut to fool with but with the proper machines it soon becomes a pleasure to work with it. I can work all day hulling nuts and finish with clean unstained hands.
Processing the Persian walnut is a simple matter as compared with the black walnut. My Persian nuts are gathered and placed on drying trays. Most of the nuts fall free from hull and the stick tights are discarded as inferior. N.N.G.A. members need but write to the agricultural colleges in California, Oregon and Washington and a list of publications will be sent. One of the latest machines being offered is one that picks the nut from the orchard floor with a speed with which no human can compete. It has not only removed the back ache but the human back as well. The Persian walnut industry in the Pacific Coast states is big business.
There is only one organization that can and does disseminate the necessary knowledge and experience that will give the northern grown nut its proper place in the American diet. That is the Northern Nut Grower's Assn. You newer members have become heirs to knowledge based on the experiences of others which represents not only blood, sweat and tears but a lot of good hearty belly laughs. When one becomes nut conscious there is no turning back. It gives life a new approach and a finer meaning.
Black Walnut Processing at Henderson, Kentucky
R. C. MANGELSDORF, St. Louis, Mo.
MR. MANGELSDORF: Mr. Walker and Mr. McDonald are unable to be here today, and I don't know if I can fill their shoes or not, because I am not in the purchasing or processing end of the black walnut business.
We started this black walnut shelling operation a season ago at Henderson, Kentucky, with the idea of processing the nuts there and transporting the kernels to St. Louis for final processing and marketing. At Henderson, Kentucky we are located outside the city limit, and we have no fire protection, and as a result, the insurance rates on our building, storage sheds, and black walnuts in storage have been so high that we are looking around for possible plant location sites where we can reduce that expense of operation.
Another factor in our operation there is the transportation of raw material to our cracking site. If we have to transport black walnuts, which give an approximate 10 per cent yield, any distance, the freight adds materially to the cost per pound of the finished material. That is, if we have to pay 10 cents per hundred additional freight cost in transporting them from outlying districts to the cracking plant, that adds a cent a pound to the cost of the finished kernels. All such factors, have to be given weighty consideration, because our business is primarily concerned with making money for the stockholders. If we don't make money for the stockholders, they are not interested in seeing us continue the operation.
Mr. Walker and Mr. McDonald at the present time are out on a crop inspection trip and also making surveys of locations and availability of buildings or sites that might be more advantageous than the one at Henderson, Kentucky. It may be that we will continue the operation there, making modifications in the building, which will result in lower insurance rates. At the present time, with the new crop coming on, we are in a chaotic state of affairs, because we just don't know exactly what's the best path to follow in our operation at Henderson, Kentucky.
Are there any questions?
DR. MCKAY: Will you tell us something about how you handle the nuts in your plant, how they are hulled and cracked, and so forth?
MR. MANGELSDORF: It's a similar operation to what Mr. Lemke described. The nuts are brought in in burlap bags by the farmers and growers and are put in storage in cribs. The plant at Henderson, Kentucky, was a popcorn processing plant, with a large crib under roof where the nuts are stored. After the moisture content is reduced somewhat, they pass through a tumbling drum to remove any of the extraneous hulls and other dirt that might be adhering.
After the nuts are completely freed of all this extraneous matter, they are passed through a series of cracking rollers with screens. The nuts are cracked, by passing between two rollers like a wringer then passed over a shaker screen, the free nut meats passing through the screen. The large material that comes off of the screen is then passed between more closely spaced cracking rollers and then further sifted and screened. Then the various materials that have passed through the screens are run through a Smalley picker. This is nothing more than metal pins on a series of fingers rotating on a roller that presses against a sponge rubber roller. The nut meats adhere to the prongs or points. The shells, not being penetrated by the points of the pins, are not picked up. Then there is a comb that picks off the adhering kernels from the picker prongs. That's the principle of most of the shelling operations of the black walnuts. I don't believe any major changes have been made in the processing of black walnuts in the last ten years.
DR. COLBY: How do you remove the hulls?
MR. MANGELSDORF: We try to buy only hulled walnuts, the farmer and the grower removing the hulls in a tumbler and selling to us only the dehulled walnuts.
The kernels are packed in cartons and shipped to St. Louis for final picking of remaining shells and off-colored nut meats and graded for color, size and quality. After this grading separation is made, they are either packed in our 4-ounce vacuum-packed tins or 30-pound bulk cartons which are then sold through the trade.
MR. WALLICK: What percentage of kernels do you get?
MR. MANGELSDORF: I think our operation at Henderson, Kentucky this past season for all of the nuts that were grown and gathered in this locality was about 9.48 per cent yield of black walnut kernels by weight.
MR. WHITFORD: Do you get any improved varieties, such as Thomas, Stabler or Ohio?
MR. MANGELSDORF: No. With most of the nuts that we gather in our marketing operation very little attention is paid to variety or source. We don't try to differentiate and store them separately, but everything is processed as it is brought together.
MR. MCDANIEL: Do you have any indication that you get a better quality nut from one county or one area than you do from another?
MR. MANGELSDORF: That is a question that I can't answer, because I am in the research and development end of the business, and have very little to do with the purchasing and marketing of the nuts themselves.
MR. LEMKE: What do you do when you strike a day that is very humid and the nuts start getting moldy?
MR. MANGELSDORF: That is a bugaboo. I always say you don't have to be nuts to be in the nut business, but it sure helps a little bit. All the nuts that I have ever had any dealing with seem to be very susceptible to mold growth. If the moisture content of the nuts is above a critical level, mold growth takes place in the shell at a very fast rate. The only thing we can do in a case like that is to get the kernels in to St. Louis and destroy the mold growth or spores on the surface before it can grow so that the fungous mycelium is visible to the eye. The black walnut and pecan, if you examine them under the microscope, all seem to have mold growth on the surface of the kernels. I am inclined to believe that the nut kernel is not completely sterile in the shell and that through some manner or means the mold spores have been introduced onto the kernel, because immediately after shelling examination of these nuts under a microscope, will show some fungous mycelium on the surface of the kernels.
DR. MCKAY: One comment is that the pellicle of a black walnut or a pecan, is very hygroscopic. It tends to absorb moisture readily, whereas the kernel itself, being high in oil, does not take up water readily. That, apparently, is why there may be evidences of mold growth on the kernel though it may not be actually penetrating. It is only superficial, growing on the pellicle of the kernel, not on the kernel itself.
MR. MANGELSDORF: Right.
DR. MCKAY: Black walnut kernels are outstanding in their resistance to heat and will get rancid very slowly under conditions of high heat—not humidity. For example, we had some nuts in our attic for two summers in a place where it gets very hot, yet dry. Those nuts are in very good eating condition today. I don't know about pecans.
MR. MANGELSDORF: That's very true of black walnuts. Pecans have to be carried throughout the season in our cracking operations under refrigeration, but the black walnuts we can store out in any shed with tin roof. The temperature gets very hot, and it seems to have no effect whatever on the edibility or rancidity of the nut kernel.
MR. STOKE: You spoke of storing the whole nuts in large bins. There you may have an extreme amount of mold, too, if the nuts are damp.
MR. MANGELSDORF: We try to have storage conditions such that air has free passage through the bulk of nuts. The mold and the yeast are there and when they start to grow, their metabolism throws off quite a large amount of heat. As a result the molding process is speeded up like a chain reaction, and before long the nuts will be worthless for shelling.
MR. MANGELSDORF: We had nuts until just a few weeks ago from our last season's gatherings. That's almost a whole year.
MR. SALZER: Can you tell me if the farmer is paid by the weight of the nuts, or does he receive his pay after the kernels are shelled out? Does he receive more money if it contains a higher percent of kernels?
MR. MANGELSDORF: He receives his pay on the basis of the whole nut that he delivers to the plant, and we try to exercise some control over the quality of the delivery. Samples are taken and cracked, and if most of the nuts are rotten or the quality is very low, we may reject buying that entire lot, or we may discount the lot of nuts a certain amount, depending upon the percentage of the nut meats that are salvaged.
MR. MURPHY: Do you pay a premium for cultivated nuts?
MR. MANGELSDORF: That I can't answer, but I don't believe that they have this past season. I wouldn't want to go on record as to that. There is a tremendous difference in the flavor of what we call the "eastern" black walnut in comparison with the California or western black walnut. We think that the flavor of the California walnut is not at all comparable to the eastern black walnut.
MR. MCDANIEL: You don't notice any difference, do you, between the Missouri and the Kentucky nuts?
MR. MANGELSDORF: No, not in my experience, but there is a tremendous difference in flavor between the eastern and western.
MR. ROHRBACHER: On what basis do you buy black walnuts?
MR. MANGELSDORF: I understand that each individual sale is an individual "horse-trading" deal, the price paid, depending upon the quality of nuts, moisture content, color and other factors. Of course, our aim is to buy the nuts as cheaply as possible and the object of the fellow selling the nuts is to get the greatest return that he can from what he has to offer. So we try to reach a happy medium in our dealings, and a lot of concessions might be made one way or the other with special lots that are offered for sale.
MR. WHITFORD: What sizes and grades of kernels do you have?
MR. MANGELSDORF: We have the large, medium, small and granules. Granules are very small pieces. Usually the prices paid for the nuts are not determined, actually, until the crop starts to move. Everybody has an idea what the market price will be for the nuts, but nothing is crystallized or brought to a focus until the first nuts are actually on the market. Then the nuts sold are examined as to quality, giving some idea of the future quality of deliveries that might be made in that section, and then prices can be established. As I say, it's a nutty business. I haven't grown very many gray hairs yet, but I expect to have many before I am through. And each new problem that arises in this nut business, when you reach a solution for it, invariably there are two other problems that are created, and if you are not wide awake, one of these problems can be much greater than the one that you just had a solution for.
MR. DAVIDSON: Do you know anything as to the bearing of black walnuts this year as compared to previous years?
MR. MANGELSDORF: Mr. Walker and Mr. McDonald are out at the present time making a crop inspection tour of the various localities, and I have had no report as to what the condition of the crop will be this year.
MR. WHITFORD: Which grades bring the highest prices?
MR. MANGELSDORF: The large particles of kernel demand a premium over the smaller sizes. That is one of the discrepancies in the shelling operation, that the material that costs us the least money to produce gives the largest returns. When you have small pieces, the operation of removing the last remaining shells and off-colored particles is much greater than with the large kernels. One large kernel amounts to considerable weight and you may have to pick up many small particles to represent the same weight.
PRESIDENT MacDANIELS: We appreciate very much your talk, Mr. Mangelsdorf.
One thing that interested me was your statement that having large pieces was an advantage. That question has been argued on the floor of these conventions a number of times and there have been those who claimed that the larger pieces were all ground up anyway and that the varieties from which you can recover large pieces were of no particular merit commercially.
The next paper is, "Nut Shells—Asset or Liability?", T. S. Clark of the United States Department of Agriculture, Regional Laboratory, Peoria, Illinois.
Nut Shells—Assets or Liabilities
T. S. CLARK, Northern Regional Research Laboratory, Peoria, Illinois
ABSTRACT. The value of nut shells as materials for agricultural and industrial use is discussed. Problems of plant location, shell collection, processing, and hazards are considered. Applications and specifications are illustrated.
We are particularly pleased that the Northern Nut Growers Association is presenting this opportunity for a discussion of nut shell utilization. The Northern Regional Research Laboratory feels that it has played an important role in what is now becoming a new industry of increasing magnitude. For the benefit of those who are not already acquainted with the Laboratory, permit me to digress momentarily to explain briefly its organization and functions.
The Northern Regional Laboratory at Peoria, Illinois, is one of four large research laboratories established by an act of Congress in 1938 and placed under the administration of the Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry. The function of these laboratories is to conduct research and to develop new chemical and technical uses as well as new and expanded markets for the farm commodities and byproducts of the regions in which the laboratories are located. The commodities studied at the Northern Regional Research Laboratory are the oilseeds, cereal grains and agricultural residues which include corncobs, stalks, straws, sugar cane bagasse, hulls and shells of nuts and fruit pits. Because of the great similarity in chemical and physical characteristics of the residues all research on these materials is conducted at the Northern Laboratory.
During the time that the Northern Laboratory has been actively investigating shell materials and other agricultural residues we have been in direct communication with operators of shell grinding plants; some of these have been visited. We have received numerous letters and calls for information and assistance in solving grinding problems, or in using the ground products. Through these contacts and our experiences we have learned much about the factors that lead to success or failure in this utilization. Ten plants are now producing a variety of ground shell products useful in both agriculture and industry.
When the Northern Laboratory was organized, only one plant, established originally by the California Walnut Growers Association, was grinding nut shells. This plant, following a number of operational difficulties and administrative changes, now processes 40 tons or more of shells per day and produces a wide variety of ground products including exceedingly fine flours for use in plastics and plywood adhesives. It has been said that this plant processes all of the English walnut and apricot pit shells and 80 percent of the peach pit shells available in California.
The Laboratory has attempted to determine the amount of shells and pits available commercially in different areas. Data of this nature has been obtained for the larger cracking plants but there are many small operations for which we lack this information. "Agricultural Statistics" compiled and published annually by the U. S. Department of Agriculture provide an excellent source of information regarding production and, in many cases, the disposition of farm commodities. For example, the production of pecans in 1951, presented by states, totaled more than 73,000 tons for the 10 states reported. However, no data were available regarding marketings in-shell, or the quantities remaining on the farms or in the orchards. Thus, the quantity of pecan shells actually available for processing can be determined only through surveys of cracking plants. Only limited information is available concerning black walnut shells and this has been obtained through the cooperation of shellers or crackers.
In some areas fruit pits, such as apricot and peach pits, accumulate at canneries or freezing plants. Similarity in character of the pit shells to those of the nuts permits their use in plants grinding nut shells. Thus, the supply of raw material in any area may be augmented by inclusion of fruit pit shells.
Collection of nut shells for grinding operations is a relatively simple procedure, particularly where grinding is done at a cracking plant. Where shells must be collected over large areas both rail and truck transportation are used. If fruit pits are considered, provisions should be made for removal of residual flesh or pulp before the pits leave the canneries. In the cases where the pits have been cut during processing of the fruits, the released kernels should be removed before shipping the shells. Pit kernels are valuable for their oil content.
Shell Use During World War II
The production and maintenance schedules set up during World War II resulted in the development and expansion of uses for ground shell materials. Fine flours from walnut shells were needed as extenders in plywood adhesives. Soft grits from various shells were used by the Army Air Forces in the air-blast method for cleaning airplane engines and parts. Grits were required for deburring metal stampings and flash-removal from molded plastics. These uses have expanded considerably to meet civilian needs since the war.
Grinding Nut Shells and Fruit Pits
As uses for ground shell products were developed the Laboratory sought advice of grinding equipment manufacturers for information on the design and construction of suitable grinding plants. Only limited tests had been made and data were not readily available in any published form. Consequently the Laboratory undertook an extensive study on grinding nut shells and fruit pits as part of its research on agricultural residues.
These studies were not limited to grinding only, but included methods of separation and classification based on physical characteristics of the raw materials; the relation of associated mechanical operations; a consideration of the hazards; the problems of labor, management, and merchandising.
A number of fires have occurred in plants grinding nut shells, corncobs, stock feeds, and similar materials. In most cases the causes of fire have been other than the grinding operation. From a consideration of the causes of fires a number of safety precautions have been developed. Good plant housekeeping is paramount. This is essential, not only because of influence of dust and dirt on the maintenance of motors and equipment, but because of the highly explosive nature of shell dusts. The U. S. Bureau of Mines has cooperated closely with the Northern Laboratory in evaluating the explosive hazards of the shell dusts.
Many of the present operators of shelling-grinding plants have benefited from the information and assistance available from this Laboratory. The cooperation of equipment manufacturers has aided considerably in extending the scope of the Laboratory's studies.
The Northern Laboratory has published bulletin AIC-336, "Dry Grinding Agricultural Residues, A New Industrial Enterprise" that summarizes the research conducted to date. This is the first time that such data on engineering and design has been assembled and published to cover this field. Copies of the bulletin may be obtained by addressing requests to the Northern Regional Research Laboratory, Peoria, Illinois.
Plants designed to produce at least 1-1/2 tons per hour of ground shell products will cost upwards of $60,000. A well-engineered plant of such size will require three to five men per shift. Among other factors, the working capacity of a grinding plant depends upon the quantity of shells available and the ability of the organization to merchandize its products. The plant should be located in an area in which at least 5,000 tons of nut shells or fruit pits are annually available at low transportation costs.
Uses of Shell Products
The more important uses for nut shell products, together with their specifications for particle size, are shown in Table 1.
Table 1.—Uses for ground nut shells and fruit pits
+ Applications Size Deburring, cleaning, burnishing and polishing in metal stamping, electroplating and No. 10 to No. 50 plastics industries Soft-grit blasting No. 10 to No. 30 Fillers for plastics and plywood adhesives Finer than No. 100 Insecticide diluents and carriers Finer than No. 140 Explosives No. 10 to No. 100 Fur cleaning No. 10 to No. 100 Poultry litter and mulch (almond and peanut) 1/4 to 3/4 inch Fillers for fertilizers (almond and peanut) Finer than No. 20 +
Experience shows that no matter how nut shells or fruit pit shells are ground both under- and oversize particles will be produced. The hard, friable character of most of the nut shells makes their reduction to fine size particles less difficult than for tough materials, such as corncobs, or fibrous materials such as woods. Shells from almonds because of their bulk and very fibrous nature are somewhat less convenient to handle than other shells. Good business practice shows that sales outlets should be found for each fraction so that grinding expenses can be kept at a minimum.
Because there are some differences in physical characteristics of nut shells and fruit pits all shell products do not necessarily meet the same specifications, nor have the same uses.
Industrial Cleaning and Finishing
Oil, dirt, corrosion products, stain, paint, grease and the like can be removed from metal surfaces by air-blasting with soft grits prepared from shells of walnuts, pecans, peach pits, and similar residues. This method was developed originally for the Navy to use grits from corn-cobs for cleaning aircraft engines and parts. The method is inexpensive and foolproof because surfaces are cleaned without change of dimensions. No pitting or abrasion, such as produced by sand blasting, occurs. The method is particularly useful with mild steel, nonferrous metals, alloys, and parts that must be maintained at close tolerances. Modifications of the blast method are used in finishing molded plastics, metal die-castings, and machined parts. One manufacturer of precision instruments states that his company saves $100,000 a year in finishing parts with shell grits.
Many stamped metal articles and molded plastics are deburred, cleaned, burnished, and polished by tumbling in drums containing shell grits. Various grades of grits are required depending upon the nature of the pieces being finished.
Fillers for Plastics and Plywood Glues
The Laboratory has studied the use of shell flours for use in plastics and plywood glues. Many of these flours are now in regular commercial use. Flours for these applications are prepared in various grades, all finer than 100-mesh. Use of these flours not only improves the properties of the final products but also reduces the cost of the products. Molded plastics prepared with fine flour from English walnut shells have exceptionally fine surface finish.
The insecticide field provides a good outlet for shell flours. Flour from walnut shells was the first of this type of material to be used for this purpose. Often the active ingredient in a finished insecticide is present in quantities of less than 1 percent. Custom grinders should plan to recover the flour as a co-product of their operations rather than attempting to grind to flour alone.
Large amounts of shell grits and meal are used as diluents in the manufacture of dynamite. Material for this use ranges in size from No. 10 to No. 100, the requirements of the individual manufacturers falling within much narrower limits as to size.
Furriers have found that various ground shell products are very effective agents for cleaning furs. Size requirements for this purpose are broad, the limits being dependent upon the cleaning equipment maintained by the furrier. The natural oils present in some shell products are considered advantageous for this application.
Stock bedding, poultry litters, fillers in feeds and fertilizers, mulches, charcoal, tannin and abrasives in hand soaps are some of the other products that are prepared from nut shells. The shell products cannot be used interchangeably but must be selected in accordance with their chemical and physical properties.
I hope that the foregoing brief discussion has conveyed to you the potential value that lies in the piles of shells accumulating at the cracking plants, and that these accumulations can be converted from expensive wastes to profitable products.
[Footnote 1: One of the laboratories of the Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry, Agricultural Research Administration, United States Department of Agriculture.]
The Propagation of the Hickories
(Panel Discussion led by F. L. O'Rourke, East Lansing, Mich.)
MR. O'ROURKE: I hope that we can have a rather stimulating session on hickory propagation this morning. Last year we had a session which was supposed to take in propagation of all nut tree species. However, we never got away from Chinese chestnuts. It was Chinese chestnuts from the start to the finish. The Program Committee this time thought that we should limit it to one group, and they chose the hickories.
I have compiled a review of all the literature pertaining to the hickories and passed it out yesterday afternoon. I hope that some of you have had a chance to read it and will have some questions to ask us this morning.
In order to really have some help, I am going to call upon Mr. Louis Gerardi of Illinois, Mr. Ferguson of Iowa, Mr. Max Hardy of Georgia, Mr. Ward of Indiana, and Mr. Wilkinson also of Indiana and Mr. Bernath of Poughkeepsie, New York.
The subject matter of the panel will be limited to the propagation of hickories, which includes the pecan.
Who has some questions that they'd like to bring up?
MR. SALZER: Which varieties will grow on fairly wet soil?
MR. O'ROURKE: That is a question pertaining to culture, rather than propagation, but we can still allow it. Which varieties—I presume you mean species, is that correct?—will grow on fairly wet soil? I think Mr. Ward has a little bit of black soil in that good, old state of Indiana.
MR. SALZER: I mean soil that doesn't dry well in the spring. I have one spot that's too wet for chestnuts.
MR. WARD: I wouldn't put any hickory nuts on it. You are going to find it is going to be very difficult for if the soil is the least bit heavy or wet, the hickory nut does not do well at all. In the Wabash bottoms there is a lot of this black soil that is overflowed every year, and some of the finest hickory nuts and some of the finest pecans that you can find in the country are there. Sometimes I have seen water marks on those hickory trees several feet from the ground in the spring of the year and sometimes in the summer, yet they come through with a good crop of nuts. Underneath it is a strata of gravel so that the soil drains out in a hurry.
MR. SALZER: This has subsoil drainage.
MR. WARD: The soil around Rochester is very heavy like what we call slashland type of soil here in Indiana, and where this occurs we find that the hickory nut does very, very poorly. I wouldn't advise putting them on such soils. The black walnut will grow a lot better in places like that.
MR. GERARDI: In Illinois we have that deep, black soil and we just call it plain gumbo. It's all filled-in soil, and I never have reached the bottom. It's at least 20 feet thick. And these swamp hickories—I think Reed was the one that called them swamp hickories—thrive there. They can be two months under water six foot deep, and still bear wonderful crops. You can get a wagon load of them in that mucky soil.
MR. CALDWELL: The hickory in New York State which will stand the most moist conditions is the bitternut hickory, and with that root stock you may be able to get some of the others through. The shagbark will withstand considerable moisture if it has deep soil. The bitternut does well on shallow soil or the soil that is made shallow by high water.
MR. O'ROURKE: The bitternut, then, will survive wet conditions. This is of interest as far as root stocks are concerned. I am wondering if anyone would like to report on the ability of the pecan to take wet soil conditions.
MR. WILKINSON: They will turn out all right if they have dry feet during the summer months, but they will not stand wet feet all summer.
MR. O'ROURKE: Will the bitternut do better, or would the mockernut?
MR. WILKINSON: I am not well enough versed on that to say. But the pecan, I have seen them stand under water for weeks at a time two or three times during the winter, water 20 feet deep and not affect them at all. But if they are around in a place where the water stands in July and August, they won't take it.
MR. O'ROURKE: Any other discussion on stocks that will take wet soil conditions? If not, let us take up Mr. Beckert's question: When do you take scion wood of the shagbark hickory? Who would like to answer that? Mr. Gerardi?
MR. GERARDI: The time I like best, the time it can be done in our particular area is the latter part of February. Leave it on the tree as long as you can before any sap rises.
MR. O'ROURKE: You would say probably 10 days to 2 weeks before the bud scales would break?
MR. GERARDI: That's right, before any growth begins.
MR. O'ROURKE: Any other comment on that? Dr. McKay?
DR. MCKAY: I want to ask the question about which there is difference of opinion. Do pecan seed have a rest period, and is there any difference between pecans and hickory in that respect?
MR. HARDY: I am not sure that I can answer the question exactly. Most pecans planted for seed have been allowed to dry before they are harvested, and it is general practice to stratify them either in sand for planting in the spring or planting them immediately in the fall. I am inclined to think that there is very little rest period in pecans and that if they were planted immediately from the tree that perhaps they would begin to grow almost immediately.
DR. MCKAY: I think that's true. The seed will germinate quickly. But can you plant dry seed any time during the winter?
MR. HARDY: Once they are dried I think they must go through after-ripening conditions.
MR. O'ROURKE: Do I understand you correctly that you do feel that the pecan must be after-ripened?
MR. HARDY: Yes, if permitted to dry.
MR. O'ROURKE: The work of Burdette in Texas a great many years ago has indicated that the pecan seed does not have a rest period. Mr. Wilkinson, what has been your experience in germinating pecan seeds?
MR. WILKINSON: I usually like to either plant or stratify soon after gathering, although one time I had some off the shelf of a grocery store in March and got excellent results. One thing more about time of cutting graft wood. I never like to cut it for at least 48 hours after a freezing temperature, regardless of time. I would rather cut it in April with the buds green than to cut it in the first of March right after a freeze. I have had excellent results just this spring cutting extra graft wood with green buds on. But if you cut it within 48 hours after a freezing temperature, you might just as well throw it away.
MR. O'ROURKE: I am very glad you brought that out. Irrespective of whether it be pecan or hickory, I believe it would work the same, that the scion wood should be cut when it is moist, and that is not the condition after a freeze, when it is in very dry condition.
Let's get back to this seed propagation now. I am asking anyone here, can you throw any light at all on the need for stratification of pecan or hickory seed of any species.
MR. CALDWELL: I have read in several publications that hickories should be stratified over the winter period before planting for spring germination. I always find things a little bit different, so a year ago at the greenhouse I took seven different sources of seed of shagbark hickory, Carya ovata and one source of Carya ovalis. Some of those seeds germinated within three weeks from the time I put them in, and after a month and a half I had a full stand in all cases. I don't think that more than 2 per cent of the seeds failed to germinate. They were planted in warm greenhouse, with a minimum of, about 68 degrees at night and about 90 during the day. They were planted in a combination of peat and garden soil; no special care other than water. I have had no trouble since the seedlings have continued to grow, even though the seeds were planted only two and a half inches deep. So it may be that there is no need for stratifying hickories.
MR. O'ROURKE: Your experience is the exact duplication of Dr. Lelia Barton's of the Boyce-Thompson Institute. She found that hickory seeds germinated from three weeks, as you did, to a number of months, when put in a warm greenhouse. Apparently the difference in time is related to the thickness of the seed coat or possibly to an inhibitor in the pellicle rather than to any need for after-ripening. I think that Burdette in Texas also pointed out that thick-shelled pecans took longer to germinate than thin-shelled pecans.
MR. PATAKY: If you take a nut of any kind and let it dry and plant it, you will get quicker germination than if you plant it soon after harvest. I don't see any difference in taking a nut and planting it and stratifying it. If planted the rodents will get it, but if you put it in something all winter, it will be there in the spring. I don't see any reason for planting a nut in the fall, taking a chance of rodents getting at them. If you plant them in the spring, they come up so much quicker that the rodents don't have a chance to get at them. They got nearly all of mine that I planted in the fall.
MR. HARDY: A good many nuts don't have any rest period requirements. I think it probably is a matter of convenience as to the manner in which they are handled. I have talked with nurserymen in the South. If they get the nuts in the fall they may either plant them in the fall or stratify them over winter and then plant them in the rows in the spring. If they get them in the spring, they soak them for a day or two days in water before planting. Perhaps the dry nut is slow in taking up moisture direct from the soil, and they are primarily interested in getting a uniform stand of trees so that they handle it in such a manner that all the nuts will grow at the same time. And I believe many will agree that a dry nut planted in the spring will show considerable variation as to the time in which they appear above ground.
MR. O'ROURKE: The suggestion of soaking them in water a few days is well taken, because a great many have recommended it. Most folks recommend changing the water daily. By changing the water you replace the oxygen which would be in the water, and you also eliminate any toxic substances which may have leached out of the shells during the preceding 24 hours.
DR. MCKAY: I'd like to mention the reason for raising this question. Dr. Crane has the idea that there is no definite rest period in the pecan nut; if they are soaked in water they will sprout at any time.
I decided I would test that hypothesis, so I stratified one group of nuts of about four pounds. Another lot of four pounds I kept in the laboratory dry all winter long. Then I planted the two lots of nuts this spring together, side by side, in the cold frame. Today there is not a single seedling growing out of the dry lot, and there is a perfect stand in the group that was stratified.
To me that means that there is a definite rest period in the pecan seed. I don't see how you can get away from it.
MR. O'ROURKE: I am going to stick my neck out a little bit. I have absolutely no basis to make this statement, but it does give us something to think about. That is the greater the distance towards the north that certain species of plants may have migrated or disseminated, the greater the rest period requirement. That is a protective device for a species to persist in northern climates, because if it were not for this rest period, those seed would germinate in the fall of the year, and the young seedlings would be frozen out immediately. But by having the rest period requirement over winter, the seedlings do not germinate until the following spring, and the plant can persist. I am speaking now in general of northern plants. I am wondering if the pecan species in itself may not be variable in that the southern pecan does not need a rest period, and the northern pecan is beginning to develop the rest period requirement.
MR. HARDY: Mr. Chairman, I am inclined to think there may be some other factor entering into the picture there. A pecan carried through winter in a dry condition at normal room temperatures would be liable to develop quite a bit of rancidity by spring. Furthermore, nuts that have been held over so long in a dry condition may still be good and may germinate the second year. I'd hesitate to destroy that planting until next spring, and to my notion that does not indicate dormancy so much as it would possibly indicate the inhibition of growth by some other products developed during that storage period.
MR. O'ROURKE: You have brought up a very important point and something we should not neglect. It may be that drying to a certain degree will induce dormancy, a grievously overworked word, but you know what I mean. It may take two years for the seed to germinate, as Mr. Hardy has suggested. If you can leave them in that cold frame over this winter, maybe you can tell us next year just what happened.
MR. PATAKY: If we take nature's way, watch a squirrel plant a hickory or black walnut. He will bury it about an inch deep, and it will stay moist all winter long, the same as if it were stratified. But if you take a nut and store in a hot place you are going to slow up or kill that germ.
You can do that very easily in a chestnut. Take a little advice from nature itself in the locality where you are. If you are in the South, that nut can start growing in the fall, and it probably won't hurt it, but if you are in the North, you don't want to start a nut growing in the winter, because it's going to get winter killed.
MR. O'ROURKE: In all probability the amount of oxygen about the germinating seedling might be quite a factor. The shallow planted seed will have more oxygen available than deep planted seed, everything else being equal.
If we are finished with the discussion or germination of seeds, we can go on to the next question, that of a suitable root stock for hickory—and that could keep us here for two or three days. Have you had some experience, Mr. Ferguson?
MR. FERGUSON: We use the pecan and the shagbark as root stock for the hickory group. Formerly we have used some of the bitternut, but we do not use it any more. Some of the hickories will grow well on pecan, and some are not satisfactory at all. What they will do in old age is hard to tell. We have a few in the orchard down in Mr. Snyder's farm. I think we have Stratford on pecan, which is not satisfactory. Pecan grows too fast for the Stratford, and some way or other it just doesn't work.
MR. O'ROURKE: Are you familiar with Mr. Lassiter's stock work?
MR. FERGUSON: He has used the Rockville as an intermediate stock on pecan. The Rockville is a hybrid of the pecan and the shellbark.
MR. O'ROURKE: Mr. Lassiter sent us a letter in which he stated that he had a good variety of shagbark that when grafted on the Rockville intermediate stock produced much better nuts than on pecans alone. Is that due to the exceptional vigor of Rockville which apparently is a hybrid and may have hybrid vigor? Again, we can only guess. This interstock problem is a big problem. We now have some evidence that pecan is not always satisfactory for all varieties of hickory, although Mr. Dunstan at Greensboro, North Carolina, states it's been satisfactory for every variety he has worked upon it.
MR. HARDY: I am inclined to believe that root stocks and scion varieties worked in the north and grown in the north or worked in the south and grown in the south may not react the same.
MR. WILSON: I think you are right on that.
MR. O'ROURKE: Mr. Gilbert Smith's report of yesterday indicated a pecan was not satisfactory with him in New York State, and that may bear out the comment that Mr. Hardy has made.
MR. GERARDI: Well, I think that is true enough, myself. In southern Illinois I find that the bitternut hickory root for shellbark or shagbark don't seem to be satisfactory at all. With the shagbark on pecan, the variety of shagbark makes a difference. Some varieties of shagbark, and shellbark hickories seem to do all right, and then again others don't. It's going to need further study to determine what varieties will stand on pecans, what will stand on bitter hickories, or what will stand on regular ovata stock. I think that the nurseryman's wisest way is to use stocks of the same species as the scion and then he is on the safe side. Because the bitter hickory grows faster, the nurseryman may find it advantageous to grow the bitter hickory stock in preference to the other two.
MR. O'ROURKE: The bitter stock makes a hickory big enough to graft in two or three years.
MR. GERARDI: In two or three, and four or five for the shagbark. Shagbark or shellbark varieties on bitternut may grow for three or four years and then die.
The pecan does well on the bitter hickory and the bitter hickory on the pecan, but I have no reason to grow any bitter hickory because I don't like the nut. I think it's a waste of time to fool with it that way.
As far as the hybrid pecans are concerned, the pecan root is certainly the right stock to use on all hybrids. They grow very satisfactorily and bear well.
MR. WHITFORD: I have Gerardi and McAllister hybrids growing on pecan, and the Downing overgrows the pecan.
MR. O'ROURKE: To summarize some of this information that we have gathered this morning on root stocks, it seems that different clones behave differently on the same stock. That is true, we know, with other plants, such as apple. Instead of saying that shagbark is not compatible with pecan, perhaps we should say that the Davis or the Wilcox variety of shagbark is not compatible with a certain type of pecan. It's going to take years of effort to find out the truth of the matter.
MR. WARD: Sometimes you will find that a two-year-old scion, if you can get a dormant bud coming, is better than the matured wood from last year. I'd just like to get an opinion from some of the growers what they use for topworking stocks for grafting.
MR. FERGUSON: I think one thing quite important is to get scion wood that has a good layer of wood around the pith, whether one-year wood or two-year wood. At the base of the year's growth it will have a lot more wood in it. At the tip the wood around the pith is thin.
MR. O'ROURKE: Some years ago Dr. MacDaniels stated that a good scion may be made with the tip of the scion in the one-year wood and the base of the scion in the two-year wood.
Mr. Bernath at Poughkeepsie, New York, has done some bench grafting of hickory. Why other people have not done so, I do not know, and I'd like Mr. Bernath to tell us briefly just why he likes to bench graft hickory.
MR. BERNATH: I like it because I do my work in the wintertime under glass. I have no time in the spring to fuss with outside grafting. So if you gentlemen would like to hear it, I will tell you all about it.
Many years ago when I learned my profession, we had difficulty in finding a method to graft oaks. We finally did find a method that would take and which I have found successful with hickories.
The stocks are dug in the fall and stored heeled in earth. When I am ready to graft I put them on a table, along with the scion wood and start grafting. I use the side graft at the crown leaving a short spur above the graft. Leave them unwaxed and layer them in moss peat in a glass covered frame in the greenhouse with some ventilation. In three or four weeks' time, when the union has formed and just before the leaves come out, take them out and plant them in a cold frame outside. Of course you have to put glass on it to protect them from frost, as well as intense sun. Here you can use part peat and part soil. Leave them there for one year in those frames, with partial shade, until they get fairly high so they shade each other. They can then be set in the nursery row.
MR. O'ROURKE: Mr. Bernath, I know there are some folks here who are nurserymen and who are interested in the cost of production of a finished tree. Do you feel that you can produce a tree to transplant any height you want to select, five, six feet, so on, as cheaply according to this method of bench grafting in the greenhouse as if you bud it or graft it in a nursery row?
MR. BERNATH: That's a question. I have never kept a record of that. It is all right for a young man who is able to get down on his hands and knees and graft, but for me that wouldn't do.