Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Fourteenth Annual Meeting
Author: Various
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C. A. Reed, U. S. Department of Agriculture

No discussion of the nut industry in the North at this time would be complete without a brief review of the chestnut situation. The destruction wrought by blight in wiping out practically all of the native chestnut trees within its path, with almost equally fatal results to the European species has for the time being all but eliminated the chestnut from the consideration of planters in the eastern part of the country.

The chestnut bark disease has cost the country untold millions of dollars, and no wonder the public pauses for a second thought before investing in eastern-grown chestnut trees. Nevertheless, it is not to be supposed that chestnut growing has disappeared from this country for all time. No plague has ever been known to wipe a race completely out of existence, and it is unthinkable that the blight will do so with the genus Castanea.

The native range of the American sweet chestnut centers largely in the Appalachian region from Portland, Maine, south to Atlanta, Georgia. The species becomes more sparsely represented as the distance increases in any direction from this central area, practically disappearing on the west; in the region of the Mississippi above Memphis. Its northern boundary might roughly be described as extending from lower Illinois through northern Indiana, southwestern Michigan, southern Ontario, central New York and middle New England. As was to have been expected, the blight has wrought its greatest destruction in places of densest representation of the chestnut species. It is in the outlying districts of scant frequency that the danger of infection from chestnut trees from the forest is least to planted trees, and likewise, there it is that combative measures should be most successful. Obviously, the farther from the center of the native range trees can be planted, the less is the likelihood of infection.

Well outside the native range of the chestnut species, there are a number of districts in the United States within which it should be possible to build up a new chestnut-orchard industry. In proof of this, there are many profitable trees and small orchards in the mid-west and on the Pacific Coast, particularly in western Michigan, northern Indiana, southwestern Illinois, in the eastern foot-hill region of northern California and in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Probably the most outstanding instance of successful chestnut orcharding now existing in the entire country is a planting of Mr. E. A. Riehl, of Godfrey, Illinois, situated on the bluff of the Mississippi River eight miles west of Alton. Here Mr. Riehl has produced half a dozen or more hybrid varieties which are paying very satisfactory dividends on fertile hillside land which is mainly too steep for cultivation. A number of these varieties have been taken to northern California where they are proving highly successful.

In the Willamette Valley of Oregon, two species are represented with about equal frequency. These are the native chestnut from the eastern states and that from Japan. Neither has performed in such a way as to be particularly encouraging. The former has not been productive and the latter has produced nuts of quality so inferior as to prejudice the planters against the entire genus. It is a difficult matter, therefore, to induce prospective planters in that section to consider any species of chestnut.

In the East, it is well known that the native species does not come into bearing until 12 or 15 years of age at best, and that to induce pollination and a set of nuts, it is necessary to inter-plant a number of varieties together. Had groups of varieties of American or European origin been planted on the Coast, instead of single trees of the former or varieties from Asia, it is not improbable that the present attitude toward the chestnut in the Pacific Northwest would have been quite different.

The work of the late Dr. Van Fleet, in hybridizing various chestnut species and in testing out Chinese and Japanese species with a view to determining their value as nut producers and their resistance to the bark disease, is familiar to most members of the Northern Nut Growers' Association. Since the death of Dr. Van Fleet, the work has been taken over by other hands in the Bureau of Plant Industry; but apparently, all of the hybrids now growing in the vicinity of Washington, D. C., are destined to succumb to blight. At present, practically every tree of the Chinese chestnut Castanea molissima, planted by Dr. Van Fleet at Bell Station, Maryland, where his work was mainly centered, likewise shows large blight cankers. But despite the gravity of the infections, it does not appear wholly improbable that many of these trees can be preserved. However, the wisdom of continuing propagation of the Japanese species is very doubtful, as the quality of nuts is usually of low order. Chestnut trees from China are generally light producers; but out of the total of several hundred at Bell, several this year have borne good crops. The flavor of the nuts is sometimes sweet, but oftener, otherwise; yet the average is superior to that of the Japanese chestnuts produced in the same orchard. Fortunately, it happens that the nuts from some of the trees of Chinese species which have been most prolific during the past season, have proved to be of high quality, comparing favorably in this respect with the native sweet chestnut. In size, the Chinese chestnuts average much above those of the American species, and while perhaps a shade smaller than those from Europe, they are of a size and quality which should readily appeal to market demands.

An early planting of Chinese chestnut trees at Lancaster, Pa., put out by Mr. J. F. Jones, Vice-President of the Northern Nut Growers' Association, proved so susceptible to blight that all were subsequently destroyed. On the other hand, not infrequent reports are reaching the Federal Department of Agriculture of instances in which the species is shown to be highly resistant, even when grown within blight-affected districts. Secretary Deming is one of those from whom reports of this kind have been received. His planting, consisting of 12 trees put out in 1915 near Georgetown, Conn., has recently borne some nuts. Other cases, some reporting one way and others the other, might be cited; but let it suffice to say that the chestnut industry, although temporarily set back seriously, is not necessarily doomed.


C. A. Reed, Chairman

While no new names of varieties appear to need consideration at this time, it may be well for the Association to refresh its memory regarding a few of the outstanding rules of the standard code of nomenclature by which the Society is guided in the recognition of names. In common with practically all other leading horticultural organizations of the country, including the National Pecan Growers' Association of the South, the Northern Nut Growers' Association follows the code of nomenclature of the American Pomological Society. Some of the provisions of this code are substantially as follows:

1. A name shall consist, preferably, of but one word, although under specified circumstances, two words may be permitted.

2. In selecting a name, "The paramount right of the originator, discoverer or introducer of a new variety within the limitations of this code, is recognized and established."

3. A name shall be recognized as fixed and shall have the right of priority over any others subsequently applied, after having appeared in print in such a way as to be definitely tied to a variety, or established.

These references call attention to the fact that the code does not define the meaning of the term "variety," and as it does not appear that a clear cut definition has appeared elsewhere in recent literature, in modern application, it may be well to state how it is being interpreted by this committee.

In horticultural practice a plant is not regarded as acquiring varietal status until it becomes distinctive among seedlings, because of superiority of product, unusual history, or other similar reason. Few tree varieties are recognized as such until after having been propagated by at least one asexual method, such as budding, grafting, layering or dividing.

The Committee calls special attention to a recent report on nomenclature, appearing in a bound volume of 546 pages, under the title "Standardized Plant Names." This report was prepared and published by the American Joint Committee on Nomenclature, which was duly appointed by the leading horticultural societies of the country. It represents the latest authority on matters of horticultural nomenclature, and is indorsed by the leading horticultural authorities of the present time. Of immediate interest to this Association is the fact that Hicoria replaces Carya as being the proper generic name of the hickory group.


Willard G. Bixby, Baldwin, N. Y.

For several years the association has been advocating the planting of experimental nut orchards, and ever since I heard of this suggestion I have been desirous of having one and being able to contribute information to our knowledge of nut growing. Therefore since 1917 I have been assembling at Baldwin material which I hoped would aid in this. At the Rochester meeting some of the results were noted, and this year, I trust, something presented will prove of interest.

CHESTNUTS—Last year I expressed the belief that by carefully watching chestnut trees and cutting out the blight as soon as it appeared it should be possible to grow and fruit almost any variety in the blight area. This I have done with every variety that I have, but that is about all, apparently, that it is possible to do, for nearly all of my trees have been badly attacked by the blight at the crown; that is at the junction of the root and trunk, and to cut out the blight means to cut down the tree. The most resistant variety noticed so far is the Boone, which has some Japanese chestnut parentage, but probably the Boone trees will not last over a year longer.

Apparently it is going to be necessary to get some resistant stock and do the grafting high enough to prevent fatal attack of the blight at the crown. Mr. P. W. Wang sent some Chinese chestnuts in the fall of 1921, and I have now several hundred seedlings of what I suppose are Castanea mollissima, of which I plan to grow a number to rather large size, set them out where the next planting of chestnut trees is to stand, and graft the branches to fine varieties. It will take at least two or three years, however, before this can be done.

HAZELS—For some four years I have been assembling, for hybridizing purposes, selected American hazels from various sections of the United States as well as the various European cultivated varieties that gave promise of being hardy. This year both blossomed rather freely, but the only variety of which I had enough pollen to work with was the Italian Red. The staminate flowers were picked from some six or eight American hazels which were blooming well and the pistillate flowers were pollinated with Italian Red pollen, in the hope that some hybrid nuts would result. Although the pollination was repeated twice I was much disappointed to find only an occasional nut as a result.

It is to be said in this connection, however, that there were practically no nuts on these American hazels which had not been pollinated with strange pollen; so the lack of nuts could not be laid to the artificial treatment given the flowers of those plants where it had been planned to make hybrids. Apparently it was due to climatic conditions that nuts were almost lacking on all hazels here this year; but I do not recall any severe cold spells when the hazels were in flower. Still, on one or two branches which I had tagged, as being particularly full of pistillate flowers, there were noticed an almost equal number of dead pistillate flowers a little later. It is seemingly going to be well to carefully study the development of the hazel flowers into nuts. They grow differently from the walnuts and the hickories. The hazel flowers apparently, after being fertilized, develop into stems on which the existence of nuts escapes the attention, at least of the casual observer, until about August, while the nuts on the walnuts and the hickories even though small at first, are plainly visible from the time they are formed by fertilized flowers until they are matured.

HICKORIES—The bearing age of the transplanted hickory so far has been almost an unknown quantity, and what we did know has been such that the association has hesitated to say much about planting hickories, its recommendations on the hickory being confined to that of topworking existing hickories. These are known to begin bearing soon after topworking, records of bearing in two or three years not being unusual.

On transplanted hickories, however, about all the information of which I know is as follows: The late Mr. J. W. Kerr, of Denton, Md., many years ago bought a number of shagbark hickories from a nursery, set them out and noted that the time that elapsed before they bore was about 25 years. Mr. Rush's Weiker tree, which bore in 11 years after being set out, cut down this time materially.

A Kentucky hickory on my place set out in the fall of 1917, flowered this year, but I had no pollen with which to fertilize the blossoms, and the nutlets dropped off. A young shagbark seedling set in its present location in the fall of 1919 and grafted to Barnes this spring, also set a nut, but this dropped off like those on the Kentucky and apparently for the same reason. It would certainly seem as if under favorable conditions, the transplanted hickory is not going to be anywhere near as slow as feared in coming into bearing.

WALNUTS—A Royal and a Paradox walnut each supposed to be grafted trees with scions from Burbank's original trees, bloomed this year, and the Royal has a number of nuts on it. The Paradox has been here a very much shorter time, not over two or three years; so perhaps it is too soon to be expecting nuts. The Paradox is said to be a very shy bearer, setting nuts only occasionally, and then but few; still, one of my Paradox trees which is not over three feet high, blossomed full. It would seem as if it might pay to study this tree and see if the sterility or fancied sterility of this tree could not be overcome by seeing that proper pollen is at hand at the right time. A Cording walnut, a hybrid between the English walnut and the Japan walnut not quite 3 feet high, is bearing a nut this year.

Grafting—Perhaps the most interesting thing to be related is the result of attempts to determine the species of hickories best suited as stock for the fine varieties of hickories that we have. In preparation for this and through the kindness of Mr. Henry Hicks of Westbury, L. I., over 100 each of hickory trees of several species were obtained and set out in the fall of 1919. They were in fine condition for grafting this spring. There are some fifteen species of hickories native in the United States. The fine varieties of hickories that we have which are generally supposed to be largely shagbarks may prove to be much better adapted for grafting on some stocks than on others. A knowledge of this will prove to be of great value in top working. The grafting was done by Dr. Deming, on May 29, 30,31 and June 1 of this year, 31 grafts being set on shagbark stock, 52 on mockernut, 53 on pignut, 47 on pecan and 91 on bitternut, a total of 274. There were also 343 walnut grafts set on walnuts of four species. The results of this work are summarized in the tables following:


Stocks, Number of Grafts and Per Cent of Catches

Bitternut Mockernut[1] Pecan Pignut Shagbark Total Variety No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % Barnes, scions Dr. Deming's trees 3 100.0 3 100.0 3 100.0 3 100.0 6 100.0 18 100.0 Gobble, scions Dr. Deming's trees 1 100.0 1 100.0 1 100.0 1 100.0 1 0.0 5 80.0 Griffin, scions Dr. Deming's trees 1 100.0 1 0.0 1 0.0 1 100.0 1 100.0 5 60.0 Hales, scions W. G. Bixby's trees 5 100.0 5 60.0 5 80.0 4 25.0 19 68.4 Kirtland, scions Dr. Deming's trees 3 66.7 3 33.3 3 66.7 3 66.7 12 58.3 Laney, scions Dr. Deming's trees 6 66.7 6 66.7 Long Beach, scions Parent Tree 3 33.3 3 66.7 4 50.0 4 25.0 3 100.0 17 53.0 Siers, scions Dr. Deming's trees 5 100.0 5 100.0 Stanley, scions Dr. Deming's trees 3 66.7 3 66.7 3 66.7 9 66.7 Taylor, scions Dr. Deming's trees 4 75.0 5 60.0 5 80.0 3 100.0 17 86.5

Total 34 80.8 24 60.8 22 68.1 22 72.9 11 75.0 113 74.0

[Footnote 1: The mockernuts were larger than any other hickories grafted excepting some bitternuts referred to in the next footnote. They were grafted mostly on branches.]


Stocks, Number of Grafts and Per Cent of Catches

Bitternut Mockernut[2] Pecan Pignut Shagbark Total Variety No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % Brooks, scions from parent tree, poor condition 5 40.0 5 0.0 5 20.0 5 40.0 20 20.0 Clark, scions from parent tree, poor condition 5 40.0 5 0.0 5 20.0 5 40.0 5 20.0 25 20.0 [3]Fairbanks, scions from parent tree (?), dry but otherwise good 27 57.8 27 57.8 Kentucky, from parent tree, poor condition 5 20.0 3 33.3 5 80.0 5 80.0 5 80.0 23 60.8 Manahan, scions from parent tree, poor condition 5 20.0 5 0.0 5 20.0 6 33.3 5 20.0 26 24.6 Vest, scions from parent tree, poor condition 5 20.0 5 0.0 5 40.0 5 60.0 5 20.0 25 20.8 Weiker, scions from parent tree 5 20.0 5 0.0 5 60.0 15 26.8 — —— — —- — —— — —— — —— —- —— Total 57 45.0 28 5.5 25 36.0 31 45.6 20 35.0 161 32.9

[Footnote 2: The mockernuts were larger than any other hickories grafted excepting some bitternuts referred to in the next footnote. They were grafted mostly on branches.]

[Footnote 3: Of these scions 5 were set in branches on two trees 1-1/4 or so in diameter and showed 100% catches; balance were set in the top on small trees 1/2 diameter or less, and showed 54.5% catches.]


Stocks, Number of Grafts and Per Cent of Catches

Black Walnut Butternut Japan Walnut Persian Walnut Variety No. % No. % No. % No. %

Adams Black Walnut, scions parent tree 13 15.4 Alley Black Walnut, scions parent tree 9 0.0 O'Connor Hybrid Walnut, Persian Walnut and Black Walnut (?) scions parent tree 9 22.2 —- —— 31 12.9

Ohio Black Walnut, scions W. G. Bixby's trees 17 64.7 McCoy Black Walnut, scions W. G. Bixby's trees 9 77.0 Stabler Black Walnut, scions some W. G. Bixby's trees, and some Dr. Deming's trees 85 51.2 [4]Ten Eyck Black Walnut, scions W. G. Bixby's trees 32 97.0 Thomas Black Walnut, scions W. G. Bixby's trees 23 100.0 Wasson Black Walnut, scions W. G. Bixby's trees 8 75.0 —- —— 174 69.5

Persian Walnuts 4 varieties, scions about 2-3 from parent trees, all of which were quite vigorous growers 46 0.0 Aiken Butternut, scions W. G. Bixby's trees 39 38.5 Lancaster Heartnut, scions W. G. Bixby's trees 53 3.8

[Footnote 4: One scion was overlooked in tying and waxing, otherwise apparently we would have had 100% catches.]

* * * * *

In the above two groups of hickories the one where scions were cut from young, rapidly growing trees, contrasts unmistakably with those where scions were cut from old bearing trees. The same is shown in the table of black walnut grafts, where the Alley, Adams, and O'Connor scions were cut from old bearing trees, and the others from young, rapidly growing trees.

The poor success with the heartnuts is quite in line with previous attempts at propagating this species by grafting. Results shown here with the butternut are deemed reasonably satisfactory, in view of the well known difficulty of grafting this species. It should be noted here that, in the case of every graft that took and grew, it was the small buds that were successful, not the large ones. The total lack of success with the Persian walnut is inexplicable to the writer, but he knows of no previous attempts to graft Persian walnut on Persian walnut root.

Black walnuts show a very high percentage of catches, in the case of the Thomas and Ten Eyck varieties 100%, but in the case of the Stabler this is reduced to 51.2%. I would say in this connection that neither of my two Stabler trees are vigorous growers, and so the trees grafted with scions from these are really cases where we have not been using scions from vigorous growing trees, and we know that this does not give a high percentage of catches.

The proper species to be used as a stock for the various varieties of hickories has not been shown conclusively for the number of grafts of each kind set was too few to be conclusive, and these experiments should be repeated. In the case of most of these varieties where results are poor, it was particularly noted when the grafts were set that the scions were in poor condition, a number of scions being thrown away because the cambium layer was dead. It is to be hoped that a species will be found to which will be well adapted the Vest hickory, which the writer regards, everything considered, as the best hickory that we have. Seemingly the pecan is the stock that gets the greatest number of catches; but the difficulty the writer has had in making Vest hickories on pecan root live, leads him to question as to whether another stock might not prove better. Another thing disappointing so far is in the seeming poorness of the mockernut as a stock. Over quite a large section of the United States the mockernut is the prevailing hickory, and in that section the mockernut will be most generally available for top working; moreover it will grow well in sandy soils where the shagbark is not found. In Petersburg, Va., the writer has seen it seemingly outgrow the black walnut.

The adaptability of the Barnes hickory on all stocks is notable, for it is the only one of the 10 fine hickories tested in the 1919 contest, of which this is true. If these grafts continue to flourish, and especially if future experiments check the results this year, the Barnes will have a peculiar value for top working. It is one of our best hickories, and, apparently is our surest variety for top working.

MR. CLOSE: I would suggest that we extend our thanks to the Smithsonian Institute for the use of this room for the meeting.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you vote for that? (Motion voted upon favorably). I believe then, that brings to a close the Fourteenth Annual Convention, to meet in New York for the Fifteenth Convention in 1924, on September 3,4 and 5.

This meeting is now adjourned.

Time—2:30 p. m.

* * * * *

Notes of this convention by Mrs. B. W. Gahn, U. S. Dept. of Agr., Washington, D. C.


Among those present were the following:

Senator Penney—Saginaw, Michigan. B. K. Ogden—3306 19th St., N. W., Washington, D. C. W. G. Slappey—12 Boyd Avenue, Takoma Park, D. C. S. von Ammon—Bureau of Standards, Washington, D. C. A. M. Greene—Ridge Road, N. W., Washington, D. C. Alfred Heine—Bowie, Md. H. Harold Hume—Glen St. Mary, Fla. R. H. Hartshorn,—Washington, D. C. Wm. S. Linton—Saginaw, Mich. W. E. Safford—Botanist, Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington, D. C. Dr. M. B. Waite—Federal Insecticide and Fungicide Board, Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington, D. C. Dr. Oswald Schreiner—Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington, D. C. Karl Wallace Greene—Washington, D. C C. A. Reed—Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington, D. C. Mrs. C. A. Reed—Washington, D. C. C. P. Close—Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington, D. C. Mrs. C. P. Close—Washington, D. C. W. R. Mattoon—Forest Service, Washington, D. C. Thomas P. Littlepage—Washington, D. C. John M. Littlepage—Washington, D. C. Eunice M. Obenschain—Hotel Monmouth, Washington, D. C. J. M. Richardson—Stormville, N. Y. Robert T. Morris—114 E. 54th St., N. Y. Dr. Llewellyn Jordan—100 Baltimore Ave., Takoma Park, Md. Alfred V. Wall—2305 W. Lanvale St., Baltimore, Md. Jacob E. Brown—-Elmer, N. J. Albert R. Williams—Washington, D. C. Mrs. B. W. Gahn—Dept. of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. James S. McGlennon—Rochester, N. Y. Ralph T. Olcott—Rochester, N. Y. Zenas H. Ellis—Fair Haven, Vt. G. A. Zimmerman, M. D.—Piketown, Pa. G. F. Gravatt—Forest Pathology, Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington, D. C. Willard B. Bixby—Baldwin, N. Y. John W. Hershey—Banks, Pa. P. H. O'Connor—Bowie, Md. John E. Carmoday—Charlottesville, Va. Mrs. John Carmoday—Charlottesville, Va. Mrs. W. N. Hutt—"The Progressive Farmer," Southern Pines, N. C. Ammon P. Fritz—55 E. Franklin St., Ephrata, Pa. W. A. Orton—Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington, D. C. J. C. Corbett—Dept. of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. W. G. Pollaret—The Star, Washington, D. C. Prof. Lumsden—Federal Horticultural Board, Washington, D. C.


Crops of 1923

Exhibit of Robt. T. Morris 1. Hybrid chinkapin (burrs and nuts). 2. Graft of pear tree (paraffin method).

Exhibit of C. A. Reed "Rush" American Hazel.

Exhibit of C. P. Close 1. Seedling filbert. 2. "Van Fleet" hybrid chinkapin. 3. "Glady" walnut.

Exhibit of J. F. Jones Persian Walnuts. 1. Wiltz Mayette. 2. Meylan. 3. Lancaster. 4. Lancaster (Same). 5. Eureka. 6. Hall. Pecans. 1. Posey. 2. Busseron. 3. Niblack. Hazels. 1. Rush (Three exhibits). Cobnut. 1. (No name). Filberts. 1. Fichtendersche. 2. Daviana. 3. Blumenberger. 4. Italian red. 5. Lambert nut. 6. Friehe Longe. 7. Gunzelebenner. 8. White Aveline. 9. Grosse Ronde. 10. Barcellona. 11. Spanik Gr. 12. Prolific. 13. Noce Lunghe. 14. Du Chilly. 15. Grant de Halle. 16. Buttners. Exhibit of W. G. Bixby 1. Lancaster Heartnuts. 2. Royal Walnuts. 3. Hall Persian Walnuts. 4. Rush Persian Walnuts. Exhibit of T. P. Littlepage (Grown on his farm). 1. Chinkapins. 2. "O'Connor" walnuts. 3. Mixture of varieties of European filberts. 4. Cluster of pecans (Indiana). 5. Littlepage hazels (which Mr. Littlepage called "American"). 6. Spanish chestnut.


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