Northern Nut Growers Association, Report of the Proceedings at the Seventh Annual Meeting
Author: Various
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The natural range of the chestnut bark disease at the present time—that is, I mean, its range on the native chestnut and the range through which it is now spreading by non-human agencies, is, on the north, practically co-extensive with the range of the native chestnut. The disease is found in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, as far south as Virginia, and as far west as western Pennsylvania and eastern West Virginia. Throughout this area it is spreading by what I may call natural means, and the disease has been shown to be unusually well provided with means of dissemination. I will speak a little later about the spread of the disease outside of this area—that is, west and south, since in the West and in the South it is being spread, as far as we know, exclusively by human agencies.

The question is often asked me, "What is the future of the chestnut—that is, the native chestnut—in this country? What is the course of the disease going to be?" The only way in which we can answer that is to look in the parts of the country where the disease has been present longest—Long Island, for example; Westchester county, New York; Bergen county, New Jersey; Fairfield county, Conn. Upon a recent examination of those areas I found no chestnut trees surviving in a healthy condition. We have, of course, from the beginning, hunted, and hunted hard, to find individual chestnut trees that might be immune to the disease—native American chestnuts. We expected to find such trees, but up to date we have not found them. It is a very extraordinary fact and an almost unparalleled fact, because with the majority of plants affected, by any given disease, we can find some individuals that are not only resistant, but immune.

Now, in these old areas, particularly on Long Island, in 1907, when the disease first came under my observation, I marked certain trees in order to observe how long the stumps of these trees or the dead trees would continue to send up sprouts from the ground. It is an interesting fact that some of those trees which were dead in 1907 are still putting up sprouts. The sprouting capacity of the chestnut tree is indeed marvelous, but I am sorry to say that I haven't been able to find any healthy sprouts over three years old. I haven't been able to find any living sprouts more than four years old. The disease seems to be following up the sprouts as it followed up the original stem.

Right there, in the behavior of the disease toward the sprouts, we have an interesting fact. During the first year of its life the chestnut tree or the chestnut sprout is immune to this disease, or practically so. You can rarely find a seedling or sprout of the first year that is attacked by the disease, and even in the second or third years a comparatively small per cent of them are attacked. It is thus possible to produce chestnut nursery stock that for several years does not show the disease.

So far as I can see, the chestnut blight is not stopping naturally in its course anywhere. I cannot get a particle of reliable evidence that it is. In this part of the country and to the south of here, in Virginia, for example, the parasite has more months in the year during which it can grow, it appears to be utilizing that time in spreading more rapidly, at least killing trees more quickly, than to the north of this area. From the standpoint of the grower of nuts, the important question is, of course, whether the disease can be controlled. I think your Secretary, in a recent article, summed the situation up as clearly and briefly as can be done. He said, in an article entitled "The Progress of Nut Culture in the East:"

"Of the chestnut we have excellent varieties such as the Rochester, Boone and Paragon, but all development in the culture of this nut is being held up by the blight. Everybody is awaiting the results of the government work in breeding immune hybrids. There may be great opportunities, nevertheless, in chestnut growing outside its native area, where the blight can be controlled."

There is no doubt that in an orchard tree, in chestnut orchards, the disease can be controlled within reason by the cutting out method that has long been advocated, but the point is that the margin of profit on the chestnut is not sufficient to make that method pay, and whenever members of this Association or others interested in the propagation of chestnuts have written to me for advice I have simply advised them not to plant chestnuts at present. I cannot see at the present time, that any attempt at control is profitable. That is a very different thing from saying that it can not be done, or that it may not later become profitable.

A few words regarding the method of spread of the disease. In 1908, when the office of which I have charge was first organized, Professor Collins, who has addressed this Association a number of times regarding this disease, visited a number of orchards and nurseries in the Eastern States, going as far as southern Virginia to the south, and west as far as York county, Pennsylvania, Although that was comparatively early in the progress of the disease, wherever he went, without exception, where there was a nursery, he found the disease present and spreading onto the native trees. There were, however, several established orchards which he visited where that was not the case, where the disease was not present. It has been brought out repeatedly that, while the chestnut blight is marvelously adapted to spread by natural means—wind, birds, insects, rain, all the ways in which a plant disease ordinarily spreads—the way in which it spreads over great areas and through great distances is on chestnut nursery stock.

In that connection, then, I may briefly discuss the present range of the disease so far as we know it, outside of the natural range of the chestnut tree. South of Virginia, so far as we know, the disease is present at only one point (Greensboro, N. C.), where it was introduced in a nursery and spread to native trees. In stating this area of distribution, I ought to say that for about a year and a half we have made no special effort to determine the range of this disease. I mean we have not gone out of our way to do it. We have simply collected such evidence as has come to hand casually, and so it may be that there are now other points of infection in North Carolina, or south of there, but, if so, we do not know of them. In Ohio, the disease is present at three points, of which one is a large and serious infection at Painesville. In Iowa, it is present at one point, Shenandoah, in a nursery. In Indiana, it is present at five points; in Nebraska, at two points. In Michigan, one point has been reported. In all of these cases it is in nurseries, or on very recently planted trees. There is, or was, an interesting point of infection in British Columbia. Probably the trees there are all dead by this time, but that point is very interesting as being probably an independent importation from the Orient.

There needs to be little said as to how the disease is spreading in this area. Perhaps the best thing I can do is to read some letters that have come to my attention:


"Dr. Haven Metcalf, "U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, "Washington, D. C.

"Dear Mr. Metcalf:

"Last December, the Forestry Department of this College ordered of Glen Bros., Glenwood Nurseries, Rochester, New York, five 6-foot trees of the Sober Paragon chestnut. These were shipped to them April 4th and were almost immediately planted in the Forestry Nursery here. About six or eight weeks ago, the Forestry Department noticed that these trees were dying and called our attention to this matter about four weeks ago. I examined the trees in company with Mr. J. H. Muncie, one of our assistants, and found all the external appearances of Chestnut Blight with, however, only a very few imperfectly developed pycnidia. We brought pieces of the bark of these trees into the laboratory and made cultures and obtained the typical mycelium of chestnut blight. The trees have been removed and we now have them in our laboratory.

"I am calling this to your attention as the trees were doubtless infected when shipped. I feel that you ought to know that this firm is sending out diseased trees.

"Very truly yours, "(Signed,) ERNEST A. BESSEY, "Professor of Botany."

The following is an extract from a letter from Frank N. Wallace, State Entomologist of Indiana, dated July 13, 1916:

"My Dear Sir:

"Under separate cover I am sending you some samples of chestnut blight which I secured from some trees shipped by Mr. C. K. Sober, Lewisburg, Pa. Mr. Sober doubts that we have even seen a case of chestnut blight and wanted some samples and I sent him the other half of the samples which I am sending you.

"I have been trying to check up on some of Mr. Sober's trees and so far I have found nearly fifty per cent of them have died from chestnut blight disease."

The samples sent with this letter showed typical chestnut blight.

Some months ago Dr. W. H. Long, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, became interested in the possibility of growing chestnuts in that country and communicated with Glen Brothers, of Rochester, N. Y., to secure certain information regarding them. He secured the information he wanted and also some that was slightly gratuitous. I will read extracts from the two letters:

"In regard to the blight, which you call the Eastern Chestnut Canker, would say that this tree is practically immune from this disease, and you would stand no more chance of having your chestnut trees infected with the blight should you plant them, than you would if you planted apple trees, of having them infected with the San Jose Scale or peach trees, of the Peach Blight.

"There are over half a million trees at the famous Sober orchard in Paxinos, Pa., none of which have the blight, and yet the blight rages all around them in the American Sweet Chestnut groves that are all through the mountain. Further evidence of its immunity from this disease we cannot guarantee. We think this speaks for itself.

"We believe that if you would investigate this variety that you would plant an orchard of Sober Paragon Chestnut trees, even if not a very large one. We should like very much, indeed, to serve you and shall give our personal attention to the selection and shipment of such trees as you may require.

"Very truly yours, "GLEN BROS., INC. GM-AB "(s) JOHN G. MAYO."

* * * * *

THE PRESIDENT: Would you mind giving us the date of that last letter?

DR. METCALF: That is October 20, 1915.

The other letter signed by Mr. Mayo is as follows, and is dated Oct. 29, 1915:

"Replying to your October 25th letter we do not think that you or your friend need have the least anxiety on account of the chestnut blight reaching your section. This disease seems to be confined to a very small area in northeastern New Jersey, southeastern New York, and southwestern Connecticut. The disease has been in existence in this country since 1842, it has made very little progress, and the highest authorities now state that it seems to be on the wane." (Laughter.)

* * * * *

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Do the experiments of the Department show any possibility of control of the disease?

DR. METCALF: I don't think that there are any methods of control which can profitably be applied to orchard trees under present commercial conditions. If a man has a few orchard trees which he regards as novelties and to which he is prepared to give very careful attention, I think the disease can be controlled. So far as I can see, the only hope of commercial control lies in none of the present varieties, but in Dr. Van Fleet's hybrids, possibly in the Chinese chestnut, and, aside from the objectionable qualities of the Japanese nut in certain strains of Japanese. With the rapid withdrawal of the wild chestnuts from the market, however, the price of chestnuts may rise, and control methods in orchards become practicable.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Mr. McCoy has been in Pennsylvania and has come back with the very optimistic idea that the chestnut blight was under control up there. I took him out on my farm in Maryland and showed him my trees, and that the only thing that could destroy the trees faster than the blight is a forest fire.

DR. METCALF: Exactly.

THE PRESIDENT: I believe, Dr. Metcalf, you conducted a series of spraying experiments recently, and I understand that others have done the same thing. Mr. P. A. Dupont, I believe, on his fine estate near Wilmington, tried to spray a few chestnut trees with Bordeaux mixture, and I understand he gave it up as a physical failure, to say nothing of the cost. Am I right about that?

DR. METCALF: That is my understanding, that he was dealing with large trees and failed.

A MEMBER: Well, did you succeed with small ones?

DR. METCALF: In the line of spraying? That is a long story, and I suggest that Mr. Hunt answer that.

MR. HUNT: In the spraying work conducted on Dr. Smith's place at Bluemont, Va., we had 2500 numbered trees under observation; about 1500 of them being sprayed. Equal numbers of trees were sprayed with Bordeaux and with lime-sulphur. The number of sprayings given different lots of trees varied, but even trees sprayed as often as every fifteen days blighted in a number of instances. While I did not get a greatly reduced percentage of blight (approximately 50 per cent) among the sprayed trees taken as a whole, the difference between individual plots seemed to depend rather on location in the orchard, as some blocks of unsprayed trees showed practically no blight and some blocks of sprayed trees showed considerable blight. I might say that the grafted trees did not blight nearly so heavily as the ungrafted trees. So far as any real success is concerned there was none. It would cost over one hundred dollars per acre per year to spray as often as some of the trees were sprayed, and it wouldn't control the blight. So I wouldn't consider it at all practicable.

THE SECRETARY: What is the reason that the grafted trees blighted less than the ungrafted?

MR. HUNT: Well, I wouldn't pretend to say as to that, except that it is so. I had each tree numbered and kept an individual record of all the trees, and I found—I have forgotten the exact figures—but there was about three-fifths as much blight among the grafted trees as among the ungrafted trees. Of course, they are an imported variety, I believe, and it may be that on that account they may have developed some resistance. But Mr. Van Fleet may know more about that.

DR. METCALF: There seems to be some evidence that the imported European varieties have a slight degree of resistance, not enough to count, but enough to show in that fraction that Mr. Hunt gave.

THE SECRETARY: It is only a varietal condition, then, not from the fact of grafting, but simply because of a different variety?

MR. HUNT: Oh, yes, I think so.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Mr. President, in view of this information about the chestnut, is there the slightest use in the world for this Association to encourage anybody to plant chestnuts anywhere in the United States?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kellerman is here, and I wish to refer to him Mr. Littlepage's question with a slight addition. Is there, first, any prospect of any place staying immune? Second, would it not be to the advantage of the country if the sale of chestnut stock were stopped?

DR. KARL F. KELLERMAN: Mr. President, to answer those questions involves a rather large contract on my part. (Laughter). In the first place, the problem of growing and marketing chestnuts, I think, is one that I could hardly be expected fairly to discuss. I am here rather to explain the attitude and action of the Federal Horticultural Board than to try to give any constructive advice to the nut growers.

The Federal Horticultural Board is a board of five men to advise the Secretary of Agriculture in establishing plant quarantines, either on the introduction of plant material into the United States, or on the movement of plant material inside the United States within the quarantined areas. The Horticultural Board, therefore, has to deal more with actual conditions than with outlining such policies as your chairman has asked me to outline.

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, Dr. Kellerman, but we wish to know if there is, in your opinion, any prospect of any region remaining immune?

DR. KELLERMAN: Well, even that is going rather further than I would like to go, and yet the negative answer to that question is practically the basis on which the Federal Horticultural Board decided that it was impracticable to quarantine infected areas at the present time. The evidence at hand appears to indicate conclusively that if the trees that are to be grown are distinctly susceptible to the disease they will almost certainly have an opportunity to become infected, no matter what part of the United States they may be grown in. Now, whether that infection would be a matter of a few months, or a few years, or a few decades, of course, would be altogether a matter of chance, but, with the wide distribution of nursery stock that is infected, with native chestnuts rather generally infected and continuing to be infected, and with practically no chance of preventing the continuation of the disease in the native chestnuts, abundant sources for infection of susceptible material appear to exist. For that reason, it appears to be, from an economic standpoint, inadvisable to attempt to check the disease through the establishment of quarantines.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kellerman, you have answered my first question to perfection, and now I want to ask the second one. If this blight is practically a sure-kill, isn't it wrong to permit people to spend money in the hope that, in some way, they are going to escape it? And if that is the case, why shouldn't the whole traffic in chestnut trees be stopped, with the possible exception of experimental things, which might be allowed with the direct permission of some governmental board?

DR. KELLERMAN: That is a question that is very much harder to answer. There might be favored regions where orchard culture of the chestnut could go on for a considerable term of years before infections became general and before the industry would be stifled because of this disease. That is merely a matter of conjecture, as I see it. We have so little evidence as to the speed with which a paying orchard business can be developed in a new locality, so little evidence as to how the disease may act under widely separated climatic conditions, that I don't feel that we are prepared to say definitely that the industry is bound to fail in every place where it is tried. Personally, I think that it ought to be considered only on an experimental basis, but that represents merely my personal opinion, and I doubt whether there is any effective means for establishing a policy of that sort. It might be possible for the general advice to be given that there was danger in any orchard planting of chestnuts, no matter where it might be undertaken, and of a comparatively rapid loss through the chestnut blight. I doubt whether more than that would be feasible.

THE PRESIDENT: I have been enthusiastic over the chestnut for twenty years this season, and these are matters in which I am greatly interested. As I see it, the problem is one that is really much bigger than the chestnut. The whole field of nut growing, which is now on the edge of great accomplishments, is likely to be seriously injured, because the most conspicuous thing in nut growing is the taking advertisement of the firm whose bad trees have been referred to by Dr. Metcalf. I think we do not appreciate the seriousness of the situation. The firm Dr. Metcalf referred to is selling trees that are diseased in places where they are sure to die quickly. Other men are similarly selling trees, with less skillful advertising, perhaps, but probably no less diseased. Most of these nurserymen may be honest in their belief that they are putting out stock that is not diseased. But in the infant trees it is almost impossible to detect the blight, so that the tree goes out looking like a perfectly good one. It may be two or three seasons before it dies.

Now, the economic aspects are these: Who should stand the loss, the man in the nursery or the man in the orchard? It is a toss-up, it seems to me at present, with the results apparently in favor of the nurseryman rather than in favor of the citizen. The people who have an interest in nut growing are going to have that interest lessened or destroyed by beginning with a bad kind of tree. There are possibilities of a great national injury, as I see it, if we let this thing go on.

DR. KELLERMAN: Well, as a constructive policy for aiding in the establishment of nut culture, I think your policy is sound, but as a question of economics of operation, I doubt whether any plan of that sort can be established, beyond the plan of merely giving the general advice that such planting is attended with very grave risks.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you not authority, or does not authority exist, to prohibit shipment?

DR. KELLERMAN: The plant quarantine act gives the Department authority to quarantine infected areas and to place certain restrictions on shipments. To place any such restriction, however, it must be plainly established that beneficial results are going to result, not to a particular industry necessarily, but to the general public. The difficulty in establishing a quarantine on the shipment of nursery stock is the apparent impossibility of saying that that is going to stop the spread of the disease. That is one question. The other problem is the difficulty of determining what is infected territory and what is not. We have very serious difficulty in making regulations, excepting as between definitely infected territory and definitely clean territory.

THE PRESIDENT: And you don't have the authority to make a sweeping, blanket prohibition of the shipment of a certain thing?

DR. KELLERMAN: No, we haven't that authority.

MR. M. P. REED: We put a clause in the printed matter that goes out with all of our shipments saying that chestnuts are subject to blight, and that we don't recommend their planting. I think if nurserymen all followed that principle everybody would buy with their eyes open.

THE PRESIDENT: I am sorry you are so lonely in the business. (Laughter.)

MR. LITTLEPAGE: As regards the possibility, or the impossibility, of doing any good to the chestnut industry by quarantining it, I fully agree with Dr. Kellerman. I think any attempt of the Board to quarantine, so far as benefit to the prospective chestnut grower is concerned, is perfectly useless.

DR. ROBERT T. MORRIS: It seems to me it may be resolved into a very simple proposition. Now, chestnuts may be raised in orchard form if we spray with Bordeaux mixture, and cut out blight when it appears. I do it. They live. Those that are not sprayed die, unless given tiresome attention. That settles that question for my part. Chestnuts may not be raised in forest form because it does not pay to spray and cut to that extent. But chestnuts may be raised profitably in orchard form by people who are willing to take the trouble to spray them, and to cut out blight early. It seems to me that people should be properly warned that they may plant chestnuts in orchard form provided they are willing to look after them, otherwise we ought to guard against the public buying chestnut trees, unwarned.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Dr. Morris, were you in when Mr. Hunt made his statement?

DR. MORRIS: I got in late.

MR. HUNT: I sprayed fifteen times, every two or three days during the blossoming season.

DR. MORRIS: I used arsenate of lead with my Bordeaux mixture for the reason that it is convenient. That makes it stick ever so much tighter. Now, that may be a feature of my confidence. Three or four heavy storms will not wash off my Bordeaux mixed, applied in that way, with arsenate of lead.

MR. HUNT: Well, my trees are dying right along.

DR. MORRIS: I am right in the midst of the worst chestnut blight conditions. The only kinds I have that are not blighted are sprayed trees, and chestnuts of kind that resist the blight. I had twenty-six kinds from different parts of the world to test out in the blight question. One kind from Manchuria is very blight-resistant. I find that our American chinquapin, both our eastern form and the western tree form are both blight-resistant. Also the alder-leaf chestnut. That is my experience. Those four chestnuts are practically immune, and on my property American chestnuts dying all around them.

I have one particular variety of American chestnut that I think a great deal of. It was one of the first trees to go down from the blight. Stump sprouts from this tree I have grafted on other stocks, on the common American, and recently on chinquapin. The sprayed ones are all alive; the unsprayed ones are not alive. Now, that is a matter of locality, perhaps.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Morris, I detect a possible explanation for difference of results. Mr. Hunt's trees were sixteen or seventeen years old. Dr. Metcalf tells us, however, that young trees are relatively immune. How old are yours?

DR. MORRIS: Not over twelve years. No grafts on them over four years. That would make a difference.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Well, Mr. Hunt did a good job of spraying. I saw his trees, and they were saturated.

MR. WEBER: Do they ever use a sticker in the Bordeaux?

A MEMBER: What preparation of Bordeaux mixture do you use, Dr. Morris?

DR. MORRIS: I use a commercial preparation called Pyrox.

MR. CARL J. POLL: Will the chestnut blight attack any other trees besides the chestnut?

DR. METCALF: Outside of the chestnut genus, that is, the genus Castanea, the disease goes on to a few other trees. A curious fact is that it will go on to the sweet gum, a tree not related at all, and it will go on to a few oaks, in no case enough to seriously damage them as it does the chestnuts, but enough so that those trees can easily be carriers of the disease.

THE PRESIDENT: I think we might pass from this funeral. We have a paper by Dr. Van Fleet, whose work, I suppose, is known to everybody here. The paper has been prepared by Dr. Van Fleet and will be read by the Secretary.



The sinister spread of chestnut blight, as the bark disease caused by the fungus Endothia parasitica is popularly called, within little more than 10 years, from its place of apparent origin near New York City into 13 states, practically reaching the eastern and northern limits of our native chestnut stands, and sparing in its course no individual trees exposed to infection, has about convinced even the most optimistic observers that without the intervention of natural checks the American chestnut as a forest asset will soon pass away. There is no present indication of diminution in the virulence of the fungus parasite and little reason to hope its progress as a timber destroyer can be stayed by any agency in the control of man. Already the losses, direct and indirect, occasioned by chestnut blight are computed as high as $50,000,000, about half of the estimated value of the entire stand.

With the very reasonable assumption that our native chestnut is doomed to virtual extinction it is well to consider in time if it can be replaced as a timber and nut-producing tree by other chestnut species or combinations of species less subject to injury by this disease-producing organism. The Endothia fungus, as a destructive parasite, is apparently confined to the chestnut, rarely if ever harmfully affecting genera even as closely allied as the oak (Quercus) or Castanopsis. Of the various species of chestnut or Castanea those native to Japan and Central China appear most resistant, probably having been for ages accustomed to the presence of the fungus, while the European chestnut, Castanea sativa, our native C. Americana, and our chinquapin, fall easy victims when exposed to infection. Of the Asiatic forms Castanea crenata of Japan and Eastern China and C. molissima of the interior are most promising in this respect, though the latter is still an almost unknown quantity as regards cultivation in this country.

Castanea crenata, commonly known as Japan chestnut, in its more typical forms is highly resistant, so seldom showing material injury that, for practical purposes, it may be regarded as immune. Japan chestnut seedlings raised from nuts grown in proximity to our native chestnut and exposed to the influence of its pollen are at times more seriously affected, but are rarely destroyed by the bark disease. The Japan chestnut is of comparatively low growth, of small value for timber purposes, but as a nut-producer is very fruitful and precocious, bearing great crops at an early age. The nuts are often very large but usually of poor quality. The species, however, proves quite plastic in the hands of the plant breeder, being readily modified in the directions most desired by the ordinary methods of cross-pollination and selection. It freely hybridizes with all other chestnut species and varieties that have been tried, and forms the basis of the most hopeful work in breeding for disease-resistance that has yet been attempted.

Castanea molissima is of much taller growth and bears nuts of moderate size, but of really good quality in the types that have reached this country. It can be infected by Endothia parasitica but the disease progresses slowly and in some instances results in little harm. The species has been so recently established in America that practically nothing is known of its breeding capabilities, but if its disease-resistance under our climatic conditions is assured it would appear most hopeful material for replacing our vanishing native species. Explorers report there is a still more promising chestnut in China, reaching nearly 100 feet in height under forest conditions, but it has not yet been secured for trial in this country.

Castania sativa, the commercial chestnut of Europe, in many varieties has long been cultivated in America and for nut production is without doubt the best of the well-known exotic species. It has no great timber value, however, and its disease-resistance, though higher than C. Americana, is scarcely great enough to warrant extended use as breeding material.

The native chinquapin, Castanea pumila, in its bush and tree forms remains as the only promising chestnut not found in the Orient. While readily inoculated by artificial means, the chinquapins, especially varieties of the northern bush forms, quite often escape natural infection, doubtless because of their small size, smooth bark, and less liability to insect attacks.

Chestnut breeding for nut improvement, chiefly by selection of native European and Japanese species, has been carried on in several diverse localities in the United States, with distinctly promising results but inter-pollinations have also been effected between most species and varieties, the outcome indicating that rapid improvement along the desired lines may be expected from crossing the really desirable types.

In 1903 and succeeding years the writer made many careful pollinations of the native chestnut and the bush chinquapin with European and Japanese chestnuts in many varieties. Some hundreds of seedlings resulted, mostly showing a high level of promise as judged by their initial thrift and vigor of growth, but the appearance in 1907 of the Endothia disease among the plantings soon put an end to the work with the native and European chestnuts, as, with scarcely an exception, they quickly became infected. The crosses of chinquapin and Japan chestnut, however, showed considerable resistance as a whole, and a number of individuals have resisted infection until the present time, though constantly exposed to the disease, both at their locality of origin in New Jersey and since at Arlington farm, to which they were transferred in the second and third years of growth. Others have been attacked in greater or less degree, but show great powers of recuperation, sending up suckers that often fruit well by the third year. The resistant varieties show great promise as nut producers, coming into bearing when three or four years old from seed and producing abundant crops of handsome nuts, of excellent quality, four to six times as large and heavy as those borne by the chinquapin parent, ripening in early September before chestnuts of any kind have appeared in the market. These nuts have thicker shells than other chestnuts, are much less subject to attacks of the chestnut weevil and preserve their fresh and inviting appearance longer when gathered. The flavor varies somewhat according to the particular pollen parent of the different varieties, but is always agreeable in the fresh state when the nuts are properly cured. When boiled or roasted they are particularly sweet and pleasant to the taste.

The trees are quite vigorous in growth, considering their rather dwarf type, reaching 10 or more feet in height at 6 to 8 years from the germination of the seeds and with scarcely an exception bear regular and increasing crops after the third year. Propagation of the most promising varieties has been effected by grafting and budding on Castanea molissima seedlings as resistant stocks, but it cannot be said that these processes, when performed under greenhouse conditions, give ideal unions. It is hoped to make fairly extensive trials of C. molissima and C. crenata as stocks for field grafting the coming season.

But the most encouraging feature of these chinquapin-crenata crosses is the excellence of their seedlings as grown from chance or self-pollinated nuts. Fifteen direct or second generation seedlings and one of the third generation have fruited to date. All have retained in growth and fruitage the characters of their immediate parent and it almost appears as if the good qualities of these hybrids may be perpetuated from seeds, thus dispensing in a great measure with vegetative propagation—always costly and uncertain with nut trees.

Several hundred of these seedlings are under observation and it scarcely appears too much to hope that they may inherit the disease-resisting character of their parents as well as other desirable qualities.

Selection work with a precocious strain of Japan chestnuts of apparently pure type has been continued through 4 generations of seedlings after an initial cross-pollination of two particularly desirable varieties had been made in 1903. These seedlings show greater range of variation than the hybrids with chinquapin, but all bear nuts of marketable value in 2 to 4 years from germination. None have been attacked by the Endothia fungus, though many have constantly been exposed to infection. Notwithstanding their extreme precocity trees of this Asiatic strain grow steadily and if thickly planted in favorable localities may in time produce timber of local value, but it is to the taller growing species of middle China that we must look for material to replace our vanishing native forest stands. The preservation in this country of the chestnut as a nut-bearing tree appears assured in view of the progress already made and it should not be too much to hope that resistant strains of the timber type may yet be developed by systematic breeding experiments.

* * * * *

THE PRESIDENT: Inasmuch as the author of the paper is not present to answer questions, the only thing that may be done is to ask further contributions of knowledge in the same field. Has anyone any contribution to make?

MISS LOUISE LITTLEPAGE: I would like to ask how long the chestnut tree has been able to live with the blight?

DR. METCALF: Do you refer to the Asiatic ones or to the ones that grow here in America?


DR. METCALF: It is almost impossible to answer that question because you have to define just what you mean by "living." If the chestnut tree is attacked first or early on the trunk, it is girdled and dies shortly, but if it is attacked first on the top there develop conditions like what is shown in this picture (showing photograph). I am not certain that you can see these bunches of suckers a little way up the tree. Now those trees will sometimes exist four or five years. I can say safely that I have seen trees last five years.

DR. MORRIS: I can add three years to that.

THE PRESIDENT: If there is no further discussion, we may adjourn.

* * * * *


Meeting called to order by the President.

THE PRESIDENT: To my mind nut growing is part of a larger field, a field of conservation, one which is going to develop a whole new series of tree crops, of which the nuts are but a part.



Agriculture is usually symbolized by a picture showing a man, a plow, and a sheaf of wheat. I would make the symbolization double by adding to it some kind of a nut tree in fruit. I have long had a vision of waving, sturdy, fruitful trees yielding nuts and other valuable fruit, and standing on our hilly and rocky land where now the gully and other signs of poverty, destruction and desolation gape at us. This vision of the fruitful tree also extends to the arid lands, there also vastly increasing our productive areas. Beyond a doubt the tree is the greatest engine of production nature has given us, and in its ability to yield harvests without soil injury on rough, rocky, and steep lands, and on arid lands, carries the possibility of the approximate doubling of the area of first-class cropping land in the United States, also probably in many other countries.

Twenty-one years ago this spring I began in a small way to bring into reality this vision of the tree-covered fruitful hills, although my interest in the matter goes back at least four years further to the time when I filled my pockets with the large grafted European chestnuts grown along his lanes by the late Edwin Satterthwaite, of Jenkintown, Pa.

My first essay at nut tree cropping was short but not sweet. I planted an acre and a half of Persian walnuts, seedlings being the only things then to be found. There being no one within my reach to guide me much, if any, I bought such seedlings as were to be had from a New Jersey nurseryman. I mulched them, and saw them each year grow less and less until the third season they disappeared. I have, however, some survival from this attempt in the form of black walnuts, which I had the foresight to plant as nuts immediately beside the Persian walnuts when they were planted as trees. Some of these walnuts are now quite sturdy young trees ready to be top-worked to some good strain.

My second attempt was the Paragon chestnut. In 1897 I started in on a 100-acre tract on the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Bluemont, Va., much of it too rocky for any cultivated crop, but admirably fitted to native chestnuts, and covered with a perfect stand. I had a good many acres well established, when, in 1908, the chestnut blight convinced me that further extension was perilous. My orchard has since been given over to the Department of Agriculture as the scene of their experiments in fighting the chestnut blight, but they have given it up, withdrawn their efforts, and half the orchard is now cut down and planted to Winesap and Grimes Golden Apples, which ten year's experience has shown me can be grown on such land without cultivation if mulched with the weeds and bushes that grow around them, and given some commercial fertilizer. I have a number of such young trees planted in 1907 in land of this character that are now full of fine quality fruit.

My third nut-growing attempt was with more select strains of seedling English walnuts than the miserable chancelings with which I began. One tree from the magnificent specimens at 3115 O street, N. W., Washington, D. C., and several from Pomeroy, promptly perished, apparently from winter-killing, and my nut hopes were at a very low ebb when the Northern Nut Growers' Association came upon my intellectual horizon. From it I have learned how to graft the walnut, the pecan and other hickories, and I have again started in on the English walnut, using the Mayette, Franquette, and several of the eastern seedlings. After the usual disastrous failures at top-working, I was this June in such a large condition of hope that I was in serious need of being hooped to keep myself down to normal size. Such artificial aids to the maintenance of normal size are, however, no longer necessary after this summer's experiences, during which the bud-worm has cut the ends of my Persian walnut shoots and the blight apparently has withered up my young grafts so that an 18 inch shoot of July 1st is now 17 inches black and 1 inch brownish green, and in other cases entirely dead. Alas what a slaughter! This apparently puts my Persian walnut hopes into a state of neutrality. I hope it is benevolent neutrality. So far as actual expecting is concerned, however, I am not doing any just now. I wait.

The grafted black walnuts, however, have met with none of these accidents, and these are a substantial and solid hope, as is the pecan, which is behaving handsomely on its own roots and also on the hickory roots.

Tree Crops Insurance.

As my experience with nut trees well shows, there is little doubt that we are now in a period of great activity of plant enemies. They are indeed a by-product of the splendid work now being done in bringing to us the crop plants of all parts of the world. Along with the Chinese and Japanese products which have already been so valuable and promise us so much more for American horticulture, we have received the San Jose scale, the chestnut blight, and probably others will follow. For the next twenty-five or fifty years while the nut industries are in what may be properly considered the experimental stage, I wish to urge the great necessity of some kind of crop insurance for the man who plants out any kind of nut tree. Say what you please, the nuts are not as well known and as reliable as the other fruits, such as the apple, and even apples are uncertain enough.

Crop Insurance Through Two-Story Farming.

By the term "crop insurance" I mean having something else on the same land that will make a profit year after year, whether the tree pays or not. If this is not feasible, there should be something else which can be quickly converted into a crop if the main hope suddenly disappears. For the man who is growing nuts on level, arable land, I believe I cannot emphasize too strongly the pastured pig. Pigs below trees (and nuts maybe above). This is merely the two-story farming that Europe was practising when Columbus was a boy. Upon all good nut growers I urge the pig for the first story. This unromantic but very practical aid to income for the nut-grower has had the great honor to be accepted by a president of the Northern Nut Growers' Association, Mr. Littlepage, and by a president of the National Nut Growers' Association, Colonel Van Duzee. Colonel Van Duzee, from the financial standpoint, really does not have to have his pecan trees either to live or bear. He is making money out of the oats, cowpeas, crimson clover, vetch, soy beans, velvet beans, and other forage crops which he is growing between the pecan trees, and which the pigs are harvesting for him and converting into salable products. Of course this makes the pecan trees grow like weeds, but I am now talking about the crop insurance aspect of it. This crop insurance aspect of Colonel Van Duzee's last planting cannot be too strongly emphasized. He has planted the trees 100 feet apart, practically four and one-quarter trees to the acre, and has then proceeded to the hog farming business as though the trees were not there. This may sound somewhat fantastic to the man of the North. Perhaps it sounds well-nigh criminal to the man who is trying to sell pecan tree land to schoolmarms, talking fifty pecan trees to the acre. When a tree has the habit of spreading two or three or four feet per year when well fed, and keeping it up an indefinite time, the question of ultimate size is one to be reckoned with. That the pecan tree can attain great size in the North, as well as in the South, is attested by the record of a tree in northern Maryland on Spesutia Island, near the head of Chesapeake Bay. The tree is described by one of our members, Mr. Wilmer P. Hoopes, as being eighty-four years old, hale and hearty.

"This tree is 106 feet tall, with a spread of 110 feet, has two limbs, respectively 57 and 60 feet long and is 13 feet in circumference, 3 feet above ground, and is an annual bearer of thin shell, nuts that, though rather small now, are mighty good to eat."

If nut trees are going to grow into that size, we must plant very wide or make up our minds to a very heroic and very difficult act, one which many men in the South should do this minute, namely, cut down half or three-quarters of the nut trees on a given acre.

I wish to emphasize the health aspect from the standpoint of the tree of this very wide planting. It is generally recognized by horticultural authority that trees develop sickness and disease when crowded in large numbers. The pecan trees 100 feet apart may perhaps escape this danger and have the sun on all parts of their leaf surface, a fact, by the way, which is necessary to crop production on this and other nut trees.

This wide planting is practically the method followed in most of the important French Persian walnut districts. With very few exceptions their trees are isolated, a man having two or twenty, or thirty, scattered about his farm, usually in the midst of his fields where they can develop to perfection, take the tillage of the crops, and bring in some extra money, which one of the owners very significantly told me is "income without effort." This income without effort aspect of the matter takes the form of a man having to pay as much rent for a good walnut tree in the department of Dordogne, as he does for an acre of good wheat land alongside.

Rough Land Tree Crops Insurance.

What kind of tree crops insurance might I have had for my chestnuts grafted nineteen years ago? Had I known then as much as I now know about nut trees, excepting the chestnut blight, I should have planted that place thickly with black walnut nuts and northern pecan nuts, unless the squirrels were too quick for me, in which case I should have used little seedlings. These I would have kept in a submerged but hopeful condition by occasionally cutting them down. This would keep them from crowding the chestnut trees, but would by no means have kept me out of a stand of vigorous pecans and black walnuts ready to graft at very short notice. When the blight blew its signal of national alarm in 1908, I could have gone to grafting those trees and they would by this time probably have been in bearing and ready to replace the chestnuts which are now dying with the blight.

If any one wishes to contradict my statement about these trees living with such treatment, I will admit that I am not speaking from experience with regard to the pecan, but I believe the experience of others admirably verifies the statement I have made. I am, however, speaking literally from my own experience when I refer to the black walnut. For ten summers past I have in July and August scythed off a certain tract of stump land planted to apples. Each year black walnuts and butter nuts have been cut, and now at the end of that time the stubs are still annually throwing up vigorous shoots 2-1/2 to 4 feet in length, and if they are allowed to escape for a season, they dart past a man's head so fast he wonders what has happened.

While I hope to experiment for forty more years on my mountain side in the attempt to cover it with waving fruitful trees that are so immune to pests as not to need spraying, I shall never again be caught with only one possibility upon a given piece of land. If I should top-work my native hickories to shagbark, which I know involves considerable waiting and considerable uncertainty, I can, with very little expense, put upon the same ground a full stand of grafted black walnuts and a full stand of budded pecans, or if I do not care to go to that much trouble, I can graft my hickories and plant my native black walnuts and merely keep them there in submerged condition as reserve trees ready to be grafted at any time. For a pecan orchard I can do exactly the same thing, using black walnuts as fillers, possible successors, or as ungrafted reserves. For the Persian walnut, the black walnut can again come in as a filler or as a reserve, and for grafted blacks of any variety, other blacks can be kept waiting for the arrival of possible better varieties which could easily become the head of the corner.

My experience with transplanting seedling pecans shows that they, too, can, without serious difficulty, be planted out in such rough land and kept waiting there for years until the day of possible utilization.

Lastly, I wish to emphasize one more possible crop insurance tree for the man who is planting nuts on land difficult of cultivation, or entirely untillable, and that is the persimmon. I have paid my respects above to the tilled crops and the pastured pig for the arable land, and for the unarable land I would still emphasize the pig and give him other sources of food to supplement pasture. Among these possible foods is the persimmon which as yet has been little appreciated in an extensive way, although hundreds of thousands of men know it is highly prized forage and of considerable fattening value. It has a crop insurance virtue, however, other than its acceptability as pig feed. That is the hardiness of the tree and the ease of establishing it. In my pasture lot the Angora goat, even when pushed with hunger, has not touched persimmon wood or leaves. The same is practically true of the black walnut and of the butternut. This fact is one of great importance, because it means that we can keep rough land in pastures, even goat pasture, during the period when we are planting out tall-headed nut trees of almost any variety, and at the same time have a perfect stand of two kinds of crop insurance trees coming along, namely, walnuts and persimmons.

In this connection it is desirable to point out the relation of this recommendation to the actual practice in nut growing regions of Europe. They do not plant a little two or three foot tree. They plant an eight or nine-foot tree often so slight it can not hold itself up, and is kept in place by one or two stiff poles. This tall-headed fellow stands out in the middle of the wheat field, the vineyard, the hay field, the goat pasture, the cow pasture, with its head entirely out of reach of the pasturing animal, its trunk protected by one or two stout sticks, and in due time it takes hold. With the trees properly developed in the nursery, I know of no reason why the same practice cannot prevail here, and I have at least one Busseron pecan tree that has gone safely through the first summer of it.

The practice of one pecan grower in Texas, reported in the Nut Journal, is suggestive of a crop insurance practice capable of wide use in the North, namely, planting of filler trees of quick-yielding varieties. There is no reason why the northern nut trees might not be planted 40, 60, or 80 feet apart in peach or even apple orchards, as did the Texas man with his nut trees 72 feet apart, occupying every fourth place in an 18-foot spaced fig orchard. I would call attention of Northerners, however, to the desirability of the mulberry, the most rapid growing and cheapest of all our fruit trees, doing well in Carolina at a space of 30 feet, which would enable the Northerner, by a little variation of the interval between his mulberry trees, to plant nut trees anywhere from 60 to 100 feet apart.

Sod Mulch Nut Orchards.

I know that any suggestions of the production of trees without plowing is unorthodox, and therefore not likely to be heard straight, and particularly perilous in the presence of professional horticulturists in state or national employ. To such I wish to call attention to the fact that I have emphasized in this matter, first, the tillage methods, and that I am making no knock against cultivation. We all know that it works under some conditions, and we all also know that there are some conditions in which it will not work. If I lived on level, sandy loam, I'd be a furious tiller of tree crops fifteen times a year. But I was born upon a rocky hill, and now I live upon another that is higher and rockier, and I don't believe in tilling it fifteen times a year. Must I abandon it, or adopt uses to its conditions? Out of these conditions mulch orcharding has come. Despite the orthodox, I know that the growing of some kinds of fruit trees without cultivation has passed the experimental stage. At this moment millions of barrels of apples are approaching perfection in orchards in Virginia and other eastern states that have not been plowed for more than one, and sometimes for more than five seasons. The application of this method to nut trees is still in the embryonic stage, with theoretic factors favoring it.

I do not know how far the mulch-fertilizer method can go, but I am sure it may go much farther than most professional horticulturists will admit. I find that the pecan tree starts off nicely under the mulch fertilizer conditions of the apple. The walnut tree has certainly done it for ages with less aid, and I believe it is up to us to find methods of handling land and trees and moisture which will enable us to avoid the danger, costs, and difficulties of plowing rough land and still get good trees. For example, the absence of cultivation does not necessarily imply the absence of fertilizer. The way a few black walnut trees in my apple orchard have snapped their buds and grown in response to the nitrate of soda that has been put upon the apple trees beside has been little short of astounding. The way a poor little starveling persimmon wakes up when the same treatment comes along, is equally interesting. I cannot speak definitely yet about the influence of fertilizer on the Persian walnut or the pecan.

In connection with the fertilization matter, it is well known that a crop of clover or other legumes is very important as a part of the rotation of crops in plow agriculture. Similarly I expect great value can be obtained in our pastured and fertilized nut orchards if we so treat the soil with lime, phosphorous, and whatever else is needed, to give a good mat of white clover and other legumes which are undoubtedly a good nitrogen supply for trees whose roots interlace with theirs.

Similarly I see great possibilities in the interplanting of some leguminous crop tree such as the honey locust or the Kentucky coffee bean in our nut orchards. It is true neither of these trees has yet been selected and developed to the crop point, but they are much more promising than Sargent says the wild Persian walnut was at its beginning. It is an established fact that a non-leguminous plant can take nourishment from the nitrate-bearing nodules on the roots of adjacent living legumes, to say nothing of its well-known ability to feed upon the nitrate collections of legumes that have lived in past seasons within reach of its roots. Thus the interplanting of a legume and a nut tree seems to promise a continuous supply of the all-important nitrates for the nut tree.

The Question of Moisture.

It is not necessarily true that a tree gets a low percentage of the local rainfall because it is not plowed. The last palliation, or is it provocation, that I would throw into the camp of the orthodox and the worshippers of the plow, is the water-pocket, or small field reservoir, draining a few square rods and holding hard by the roots of a tree a few gallons or a few barrels of water which would otherwise run away. I showed this association a number of photographs of these water-pockets last year. Their most extensive American user, Dr. Mayer, considers them successful from the tree's standpoint and profitable from the economic standpoint. Since the great virtue of cultivation is the conservation of moisture, I will submit that this device, worked out and used for three centuries by the olive growers of Tunis, for twenty years by Dr. Mayer, of Pennsylvania, and about the same length of time by Colonel Freeman Thorpe, Minnesota, can from the point of theory and perhaps also from the point of practice, equal tillage on some soils, and with less labor and much greater economy in farm management, for the making of water pots is a job for odd times, the bane of agriculture, and tillage all comes in a pile—another bane of agriculture.

Upon the whole, I think my 21 years of nut loving have run me directly and indirectly into ten thousand hard earned, and as yet, partly not earned dollars. Rather a deep sting for a pedagogue. When the last of my grafted chestnut trees come down next year, I will have little to show for that ten thousand, but an experimental nursery and some experimental trees scattered about the hillside. But the experiments are still interesting. I still have hope, and I still love trees. I am still ahead.

* * * * *

THE PRESIDENT: I believe every other man here today has defended his thesis. I will not claim any exemption.

DR. STABLER: The President has mentioned the combination of apple and walnut trees. I would like to ask him if he has seen any deleterious effects upon the apple from the proximity of walnut roots. Now, some of my friends in Montgomery county have the idea that an apple tree will not live within fifty feet of a walnut tree. I have, myself, seen a number of apple trees die, apparently because they were neighbors of walnut trees. I wasn't sure that that was the cause of death, but they died, and walnut trees situated in an apple orchard will have a ring of dead apple trees around them. Now that is one case that I know of where the walnut tree acts injuriously upon the vegetation to which it is neighbor. All of the farm crops, wheat, corn, grass, and oats, and rye, etc., seem to thrive just as well under the limbs of a black walnut as they do away from it. In fact, frequently you see the grass greener and more luxuriant right up to the trunk of the tree than anywhere else, but it doesn't seem to be true of the apple. Now, I would like to hear from the President.

THE PRESIDENT: I simply made that as a suggestion and referred to this instance as an illustration of the effect of fertilization on the walnut.

DR. AUGUSTUS STABLER: Well, how are those apple trees doing?

THE PRESIDENT: I had enough trouble without looking for more by mixing walnut and apple trees. The walnut trees are small, merely the growth from stubs repeatedly cut.

The next on our program is a paper by Mr. McMurran, of the Department of Agriculture, upon the question of diseases of the English walnut. Mr. McMurran.

MR. S. M. MCMURRAN: I am sorry that in this, my first appearance before this Association I haven't a more optimistic and encouraging subject to talk on than diseases. You men and women who are burdened with establishing this industry have enough on you without contending with diseases, and it was not my intention to talk upon diseases at this meeting, but Mr. Littlepage, Mr. C. A. Reed, and Mr. Jones, and several others, have been urging the matter strongly, which explains my appearance at this time.

Walnut blight is a very common and serious disease on the Pacific Coast. It may be a native disease, though it has never been reported on native black walnuts, and it has proved a very serious menace to the seedling English walnut groves on the Pacific Coast.

This little piece of work I want to tell you about tonight was done through the co-operation of Mr. Jones and Mr. Rush, at Lancaster, Pa., and has just been completed within the last few days. I made a trip through New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, about the first of August, and found a number of nuts that had all the appearance of being infected with the walnut blight germ. They had the same appearance as those nuts that you saw this afternoon in Georgetown. I brought them back here and made cultures from them in the laboratory, and after that the problem was absurdly easy. The germ was obtained without difficulty, I obtained a pure culture, and then I went up to Mr. Rush's place, at Lancaster, and made a number of inoculations, of which these few I have here are typical. This nut that you see here was inoculated from a pure culture along with a number of others, and the condition is as you see it, after about a month. Inoculations were also made into twigs, and I will pass these around for your examination.

The one marked, inoculated, has a little canker on it, and on the other you will have difficulty in finding the needle punctures, but you will see them if you look closely.

Now, I hardly know what to say about this disease at this time. As I have stated before, my work has been in the South for the past several years, and no work has been done on this disease in the East prior to this summer. That it must have been here for a long time seems almost a foregone conclusion, because of its wide distribution. Mr. Jones was a little bit conscience-stricken for fear he brought it here with him. Still it is in Delaware and Maryland as well as Pennsylvania, and you can't blame Mr. Jones for that. I think, too, it is less actively pathogenic than on the Pacific Coast, or we would have heard of it before. That it should prove a serious menace to the development of the walnut industry in the East, is too much to assume at this time. It will undoubtedly eliminate a number of the varieties that are considered promising now, but the course that will have to be taken will be to propagate only varieties which are highly resistant or totally immune to the disease. Just what these varieties are going to be in the East we do not know as yet, of course. We should avoid the mistakes that the growers on the Pacific Coast have made of planting seedling trees, and taking the chance of their being resistant to the disease. A great many varieties will be automatically eliminated when the nurserymen bear in mind that this disease is one to be considered, and I want to say, that, in addition to this, the Department will take pleasure in making artificial inoculations and tests on all those concerning which there is any question. We have the germ in culture now and will maintain it, and anyone who discovers a new variety, or has an old one they would like to propagate, can communicate with us, and we will take pleasure in testing its susceptibility.

I think that is about all that can be said on the subject at this time.

This disease has been studied very carefully on the Pacific Coast and a number of publications issued from the California Experiment Station concerning it.

For those who are interested in looking the literature up, I have here the following references: Cal. Station Bulletins, 184, 203, 218, 231, and Circulars 107 and 131.

A MEMBER: Is spraying of any avail?

MR. MCMURRAN: It has helped somewhat, but it has not proved economical on the coast.

A MEMBER: In order to have that test made, would it be necessary to send the things to the Department?

MR. MCMURRAN: No; it would be necessary for me to come to you and test them on the trees.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Did those walnuts in Mr. Brown's yard look to you as though they had the blight?

MR. MCMURRAN: Yes, they looked like this (showing specimen).

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Did you notice that tree just across the fence? The reason I ask the question is that if that is blight out there, then that tree right across the fence is very likely resistant, because I have noticed that those walnuts have had this on and off for six or seven years. The limbs of the two trees are within twenty feet of each other.

MR. MCMURRAN: Well, that is a very encouraging point.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: I didn't think that was blight. All those trees at Georgetown that I have observed have that condition on them, more or less, except that one tree.

MR. MCMURRAN: Yet, isn't it true that they bore pretty good crops of nuts, nevertheless?


MR. MCMURRAN: Well, that was the point I had in mind. Of the two trees one bears every other year, and the other bears heavy crops every year.

DR. MORRIS: You see the same thing at the Experiment Station in southern California. One tree will be absolutely resistant to blight; the other will be all killed. And down at Whittier, perhaps, seven-tenths of all the trees will be badly affected with the bacteriosis, and the others not very much affected, so that, apparently, it is largely a matter of this cynips, which introduces the bacteria, selecting certain trees. Certain walnuts are very much affected, and the involucre looks very much like that of these nuts (showing specimens), but, on examining them, I found a very large number of small larvae beneath the involucre. I sent some of them to the Connecticut Experiment Station and some to Washington, but they didn't tell me what they were. Those same larvae I found in one black walnut on my place, which is very heavily infested with them. Most of the nuts drop because of the injury to the involucre. I haven't determined the species yet. I don't know whether the larvae come first and the bacteriosis second, or whether it's the other way around.

THE PRESIDENT: Are there other persons who wish to give themselves a chance of asking Mr. McMurran a question? I have a question that is troubling me. Perhaps the house can throw light upon it. I had a number of Persian walnuts, Vrooman Franquette and Mayette, grafted on black, and by the Fourth of July they were growing nicely, with tops all the way from four to twenty-four inches long, and then the tip got black and the blackness went down. I sent a sample to Mr. McMurran. The leaves first died and then the twigs.

MR. MCMURRAN: I received that, but it was so dried when I got it it was impossible to make anything out of it. I have seen the same thing on pecans, only in those cases the leaves just got black and fell off, and we never have been able to assign a reason for it.

THE PRESIDENT: Am I the only man that has had that experience?

A MEMBER: I had this year the same thing on the Vrooman Franquette, but it recovered and has made excellent growth since.

MR. MCMURRAN: Have yours subsequently lived?

THE PRESIDENT: No, they subsequently died. (Laughter.)

MR. J. F. JONES: I had that experience this summer. The new growth was very tender and took blight very readily.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, this doesn't appear to be blight.

MR. JONES: If the English walnut starts late and the tender growth comes in the hot weather, the sun will kill it.

THE PRESIDENT: You have described my conditions. These are late grafts. Have you had that same experience with late grafts and not with early ones?

MR. JONES: Yes, sir. The blight will show itself in the specks on the twig.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, do you mean on this sunburn?

MR. JONES. No, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: There were no specks in this case. Has any other member any question on the blight? I want to call attention to the fact that we have here in this room tonight nearly every one who is studying the question in the eastern United States.

MR. MCMURRAN: Mr. President, I would like to say that we would like to get all the information we can on it.

A MEMBER: According to my observation, the blight is not going to do much to the tree, because the tree here makes its growth and hardens up before the blight comes. The blight, you see, must have moisture and heat to work, but it comes in just right to catch the nuts.

MR. R. L. MCCOY: Mr. President, some mighty strange things happen with grafted and budded English walnuts, and I believe I could ask questions that would puzzle a school of wise men. Now, none of the answers here will stand up very well. For instance, Mr. Jones says this dieing back is due to late grafting. Well, I had some Holdens that we budded this last June a year ago, that suddenly, all at once, along in July this year, proceeded to quit business, and quit clear down, and the root died, too, the black walnut root. It is a serious question in my mind whether the black is the best stock to be used or not. Mr. Jones and Mr. Reed have good success grafting the English on the black. We don't down our way. Both of those men are in regions where the land is inclined to be alkali. The land where my orchard is, and where Mr. Littlepage's and Mr. Wilkinson's orchards are, is inclined to be acid. I am of the opinion that, to make a success of the English walnut, we are going to have to use lime, and use it extensively, not only in the nursery, but until the time when the trees begin to bear.

THE PRESIDENT: It is one of the common pieces of knowledge of all the agriculturists of France that the walnut does well on lime soils, and they don't expect it to do well on acid soils.

MR. JONES: Mr. President, I think, if Mr. McCoy will examine his trees, he will find that the root dies first.

MR. MCCOY: Well, why should they rot?

MR. JONES: That is like a good many other things, Mr. McCoy. We don't know why.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: A pecan top-worked on a water hickory will sometimes kill the whole tree, top and all. It is the top that does it.

MR. M. P. REED: This year we made some observations of different varieties, as to time of leafing out, and we found the Eastern varieties leafed out about the first of April, and the Franquette and Mayette about the fifth of May, and one variety we got from the Department, No. 39,884, didn't leaf out until the twenty-fifth of May. That seemed to indicate that the French varieties were going to prove better than the Eastern varieties, because late frosts cannot hurt the blossoms.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: That is correct. I watched them this spring at Mr. McCoy's. Franquette and Mayette, over there and with us, were anywhere from ten days to two weeks later leafing out. Some of the buds were entirely dormant and some just bursting when many of our Eastern varieties were in full leaf. But my experience here in Maryland on walnut trees from all sections was that every one winter-killed except one Nebo tree and a top-worked Potomac. I have a Potomac which has made ten to twelve feet of growth, and it didn't winter-kill the slightest, and my Nebo tree hasn't winter-killed any, but the Franquette, the Meylan, the Rush, the Holden, and several others winter-killed very badly. At least, Mr. McMurran said that was what it was, and I thought it was, too.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Mr. Littlepage, isn't "winter-killing" rather a relative term, dependent partly upon the climate and partly upon the condition of the tree at the end of the growing season? Was there anything back of your statement, any late growing, or something of that sort?

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Well, they didn't grow any later than the Potomac grew, but that tree was top-worked about five or six feet above the ground and I think that makes them hardier.

A MEMBER: Were the winter-killed trees cultivated late?

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Yes; and fertilized heavily.

THE PRESIDENT: Haven't you answered your own question?

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Well, I won't grow trees if they do not grow better than that.

MR. MCCOY: Mr. Littlepage may think he has answered this question, and these other gentlemen may think they have answered it in a different way, but there are some rather peculiar phenomena there. I don't question the sincerity of these gentlemen, but I don't think they have answered the question. Whenever you transplant these trees and whenever you get to growing them in big quantities, you will have certain peculiar phenomena that you are not certain at first as to just what is the cause. Mr. White is just as near right when he says they kill in July as Mr. Littlepage when he says they winter-kill in December. And I will just say to people who buy walnut trees from our firm that when they transplant them under the same conditions as Mr. Littlepage, they may expect similar results.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: I have never seen a northern pecan winter-kill.

MR. MCCOY: Oh, I have.

MR. MCMURRAN: Mr. President, this term "winter-killing" is a little bit misleading, and it has been a matter of discussion in the National Nut Growers' Association for several years and a great loss to many Southern pecan growers. A very common statement that one hears down there is "Why, our trees don't winter-kill. We don't have cold severe enough to kill them." But they do. It isn't a question of severity of cold, but suddenness of change. For instance, in southern Georgia one year, we had a rainy period in October; about November 20th there was a hard freeze. A number of orchards which had been fertilized late in the fall were almost wiped out. If it were not due to the fact that the term is too long, and we could say "damage due to sudden temperature change," it would convey the idea exactly. I saw trees injured in the fall of 1914 that didn't die until September of the following year, and I have a number of photographs in my office.

DR. STABLER: I believe, Mr. President, that the stimulation of growth late in the season has a great deal to do with the winter-killing of trees and other plants. I have noticed it in clover and alfalfa, and I have noticed it in peach trees.

THE PRESIDENT: I think Dr. Stabler has stated a very well-known principle, not only of horticulture, but also of agriculture. Last year we questioned Mr. W. C. Reed as to the condition of a certain top-worked, heavily forced, black-walnut we had seen the year before at Vincennes. We were confirmed in our belief that the tree was dead, but that another tree budded at the same time with the same bud-wood and not forced, lived. We had a dry summer that year, a wet fall, twenty degrees below zero at Christmas, dead apple trees. I suspect that Mr. Littlepage has a problem in the balance of tillage and top-working.

DR. STABLER: I think if he visits his neighbor, Professor Waite, he will find out how to manage trees so they won't winter-kill, because he knows how to fix it. (Laughter.)

MR. LITTLEPAGE: I treated the trees just like the pecan. I have never seen it possible yet to over-stimulate a pecan and winter-kill it. I don't say it isn't possible, but I have never seen it.

THE PRESIDENT: I can show you a few.

MR. M. P. REED: Mr. President, we have that condition in the nursery row.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Well, those are grafted, are they not?

MR. M. P. REED: Grafts and buds, both.

DR. MORRIS: In regard to the grafting of the Persian walnut upon black walnut stock. In Connecticut, we have three species of mice—the common field mouse, the pine mouse, and the white-footed mouse. These mice all follow in the holes of the moles, and they are very fond of the bark of the Persian walnut, and will destroy a good many of them. Now, with the black walnut, on the other hand, when one of these mice comes along and takes a bite of that, he shuts one eye, cleans his teeth, and then goes on to something else. (Laughter.)

Now, in our country the soil is practically all acid. The black walnut will grow in pretty acid soil. The Persian walnut almost demands a neutral or alkaline soil. So, for Connecticut there is no doubt that we really need the black walnut stock for the Persian walnut.

THE PRESIDENT: Any further problems that are vexing the orchardist with regard to the Persian walnut? If not, I think this is a suitable time to bury it until next year. Col. Van Duzee, a man who has had more experience with the pecan than almost any one else in the room, has kindly consented to make his contribution at this time. Col. Van Duzee.

COL. VAN DUZEE: There is a longing on the part of a large percentage of men and women that I meet to escape from conditions which do not seem to be especially favorable in the large cities, and to get away into the safety of the country. I believe that nut tree growing offers one of the safest of those outlets. I believe that a nut orchard should be a part of a general farming operation. I want to give you my ideas about inter-crops. Fifteen years ago the doctors gave me three months to live, drove me out of my business, and away from my home to prolong the agony for a few weeks or months, and I found, among my orchard trees, a reasonable amount of health which, to me, repays a greater value than I could reckon in dollars and cents. It has given me the privilege and the opportunity of removing myself from the turmoil of the city and the conflict of the business world to a peaceful, quiet existence, that, to me, is very much more satisfactory. Now, that is an inter-crop.

Down in Florida, when we used to get together in our citrus seminars and in our horticultural and agricultural meetings we used to try and make a man say on what class of soil his home or orchard was located, so that we might get his viewpoint. For the successful nut orchardist, in a small way, must, of necessity, be a successful agriculturist. He must understand soils. You can't have successful inter-cropping without understanding soils, and, therefore, I can't tell you definitely what would be good for your northern soils. But I can tell you this, that the first thing to do when you have an orchard problem to consider is to make an exhaustive survey of the character of the soil. If it is a fresh, recently cleared piece of fertile soil, under favorable conditions, I am satisfied you don't need very much in the way of inter-cropping. On the other hand, if you select for your orchard site a piece of land that has been worked to death, I believe it would be well to inaugurate a system of inter-cropping that would have for its object the building up of that soil and the improvement of the environment for the roots of those trees. In the South, we are favored with twelve months of growing weather. We plant our crops throughout the year. I am just about beginning now to plow for my oat planting. I am going to pasture those oats all winter with hogs and cattle. We will harvest our oats in May. We then follow them with a legume which will restore the fertility to that soil. In the present condition of the market for commercial fertilizers, I believe we have gone beyond the point where any man can afford to use commercial fertilizers to any great extent on ordinary crops. I believe it is possible to go too far in the stimulation of a growing orchard. My opinion is that a series of inter-crops that results eventually in a large deposit of nitrogen, such as we get from several leguminous crops plowed under, will have a tendency to bring that orchard into a condition—I am speaking now, you understand, of the pecan—-where it will be susceptible to disease and winter-killing.

If you have followed me as far as I have gone in this, you will begin to see at once that the men who are going to be successful in solving these problems are the men who are going to learn the game. Among the human family, you know, we have a stock phrase that we use sometimes when a man dies and we don't understand the cause of his death. We say "He died of heart failure." That is a convenient thing to hide behind. "Winter-killing," to my mind, is another such term. It is used, for instance, in a case where an individual tree, for some reason or other not quite understood, "passed away." (Laughter.)

I have been fifteen years in the growing of pecan trees in the South, and I am free to confess that the most disturbing element in my life at the present time is the fact that we "have known so many things that weren't true." We have gone ahead fully believing that our course was justified, that it was well digested, desirable in every way, and suddenly waked up to find that we were radically wrong, or, at least, that there was a very open question as to whether we were not absolutely wrong.

To the person of limited means the idea of being able to produce a nut orchard at very little expense is very attractive, and my heart goes out to people in that condition because I have been in that condition myself and passed through it. Ten years ago I bought a piece of land for forty dollars an acre, and planted seventeen pecan trees on each acre. It cost me twenty-five dollars an acre to lay off the land, dig the holes, and plant the trees nicely, with about a half pound of bone meal mixed in the soil in each hole. I carried that nut orchard on, using some inter-crops, up to one year ago, when it finished its eighth year of growth, and, without burdening you with the minute figures, I am going to say we have sixty-five dollars charged up to it, and it will take $185 more. Now, there is $250, if I haven't made any mistake. I planted among those trees nursery stock, and I sold off, during the time that those trees were growing, nursery stock to the value of, we will say, $250, making my inter-crops pay the expense of cultivation and interest on the investment up to that time. So don't forget that. Now, this is a case where we are going to balance our books, as every business man does, and every farmer ought to. I have, up to the time those trees were eight years of age, invested approximately $250, and have received back not only that, but the interest on the investment. So, at eight years of age the orchard cost me nothing. Now, that would be the way a great many people would figure that proposition. I can't do it that way. I am going to charge that orchard with $250 an acre for supervision. Now, above that line (indicating on black-board) it looks as though that orchard had been built up for nothing, and below the line you see a debit of $250 charged against that orchard. There is not one man in a hundred that contemplates a proposition of this kind that is willing to charge his orchard up with the gray matter that he puts into it. But there was an inter-crop in that orchard, of health and satisfaction, which is worth more to me than my services, so I will put that in here as $250. (Laughter and applause.) Now, I walked across this morning—I like to walk, and I came across the park. I saw a monument right over here in a little iron circular enclosure, erected in honor of Andrew Jackson Donald, a man who died several years ago, the man who was partly responsible for the magnificent landscape gardening effect of which this building is a part. It said on the monument this: "His life was devoted to the improvement of the national taste in rural art." Down below it said: "His mind was singularly just, penetrating and original." Any man ought to be proud to have that sort of thing engraved upon his monument, and, gentlemen, any man who will go out and plant nut trees like those you saw this afternoon, ought to have a monument under those trees expressing sentiments similar to these, because he has done something which remains after him, and it is one of the most worth-while things that any human being can do. That is one of the other valuable things about a nut orchard.

Now, this nut orchard—this is no myth—this is a practical proposition. I was practically bankrupt when I went there. It is paying now in a small way, and will pay more later on, and I am going to leave it to my children as one of the safest and sanest investments that I could leave them, and I want to say, ladies and gentlemen, that the consciousness of possessing something of that sort, which can't be stolen, can't run away, is another inter-crop that is grown among those trees.

I sometimes tell a story of a little two-horse farm down in the South. I drove fourteen miles out into the wilderness to find some seed nuts to plant this nursery with years ago. I found there an old home which was the central home of a large plantation in days gone by, and there were half a dozen—perhaps seven or eight—magnificent, great pecan trees about the lot, and a vegetable garden at the back of the home. Those trees were loaded with nuts. There was a young man there—one of the most pitiful things that I ever saw in my life—a fine young man—magnificent character, and recently married, making his home in this old tumble-down house, making his start in the world there. He didn't own this land—rented this fifty or sixty acres of open land, and these trees went with the two-horse farm. I said, "My friend, you must receive quite a little income from those nuts." "Yes," he said, "I sell the nuts from those trees every year, for more money than I make from the two-horse farm."

I heard of another case down in north Florida where two girls were left absolutely dependent upon their own exertions, and they were girls who had been reared, as some of the Southern ladies have been reared, to be dependent on others. They didn't know how to go and fight the world for a place. They were a little too far along, perhaps, to take up that sort of battle. There were two pecan trees in front of that old homestead, and the old homestead was all that was left of the family fortune. It was furnished, had a cow in the back yard, and a garden, and a few Scuppernong grape vines. These two pecan trees in the front yard gave those two women approximately three hundred dollars worth of nuts per annum. They were magnificent, great, big pecan trees, and they lived from them the balance of their lives practically, with the help of the other things I have mentioned.

Inter-crops are nothing more nor less than the evidences of the master mind directing the problem of handling the soil in which the orchard is growing. Now, just simply go right down deep under everything, pay absolutely no attention to the wonderful stories that the promoters tell you (laughter), keep your money, save it, use it, and spend it—yes, but recognize this one thing, that the most important element in success in the small orchard, as part of the rural or suburban home, is a knowledge of agriculture and horticulture. It is one of the most fascinating studies in the world, and I have no doubt but what you will find that you can go right along inter-cropping with vegetables and other crops, bush fruits, strawberries, and all those things for the first few years after you plant your nut trees, and even if they all die you will have been able to break even on the commercial side of the proposition, and then you will have the additional years of experience, which no nut orchardist can dispense with. You can't buy it with money or get it out of books. You have got to dig it out of the ground yourself. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I am going to take the liberty of emphasizing one point the Colonel made. He told you about the great number of things they knew down South that were not so. I wish to give some geographical spread to his generalities. We are in the same condition in the North. If you will stop and look clear through an agricultural idea, you will be astonished, ladies and gentlemen, absolutely astonished, to see how, mostly, we don't know it. The other day I happened to be walking through an apple orchard with the official horticulturist, and in response to some remark he made I asked: "Do you know that, or do you think it?" "Has that been experimentally proven?" He answered: "No, it has not." Most of the things we read in the books and hear in this place and other places we don't know. We think we know, but when we come to a show-down we really haven't got experimental data. I know of no people to whom that thing needs to be emphasized more than to the Northern Nut Growers' Association.


Meeting called to order by the President.

THE PRESIDENT: The first order of business, I believe, will be the report of the Nominating Committee.

THE SECRETARY: The report of the Nominating Committee is the following: For President, W. C. Reed, Vincennes, Indiana; Vice-President, W. N. Hutt, Raleigh, North Carolina; Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. W. C. Deming, Georgetown, Connecticut.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Mr. President, I move that the report of this Nominating Committee be accepted and adopted, and these officers declared elected.

THE PRESIDENT: Do I hear a second?

A MEMBER: Second the motion.

THE PRESIDENT: The nomination of this list is moved and seconded. Is there any discussion? If not, all those in favor will say "aye;" opposed, like sign, it is carried, and they are elected.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: While I am on the floor, I want to read a resolution which I have drafted, and I will read the clauses separately:

"Owing to the fatal character, the unchecked and rapid spread of the chestnut blight," is there any question about that? If that is not true, let somebody hold up his hand.

"Owing to the fact that it has been widely disseminated through the shipment of nursery stock;" is that correct?

"Owing to the fact that in the first stages the disease cannot be easily detected;" is that true?

"Owing to the fact that the young trees apparently have a temporary immunity from the disease;"

"Therefore, the Northern Nut Growers' Association believes that the continued free shipment of chestnut nursery stock will be productive of endless destruction of property in those places where the chestnut trees haven't yet the disease." If that is unsound, why, somebody say so.

"Therefore, be it resolved, that we, the Northern Nut Growers' Association, suggest that the Secretary of Agriculture prohibit the shipment of chestnut nursery stock, except in the localities known to have the blight, and that with each permit for shipment shall go a bulletin or circular giving the important facts about the chestnut blight. The only exception to this regulation shall be the shipments for experimental purposes, and such shipments must have the above mentioned permit, and the name of the nursery from which such trees have come, and must be inspected by Federal inspectors." I assume, of course, that inspection is a general inspection. I don't mean each particular shipment. If there are any questions about that, why, I will let the chair answer them.

DR. ULMAN: Mr. Littlepage, I would like to ask a question, or, rather, offer a criticism. If I understand you rightly, you say, "except in the districts where blight is prevalent." As a matter of fact, sir, the particular nursery that advertises the chestnut tree works within a radius of possibly 250 miles of Rochester, in a district where there are many prospective horticulturists. One of the things that impressed me more than anything else in the report of the Secretary was the fact that we have lost a large number of members, and that we haven't attracted to ourselves many new members. So far as my personal experience goes, if I were to choose the one method of being most thoroughly disliked, it would be to ask my neighbors, particularly those who do not know me, to become members of any kind of a nut association. There is a glamour about planting, and it is a sort of a disease with some people, year after year, to seek for novelties. These nut tree advertisements that read so well attract many purchasers. Right here in this section people are buying nut trees that they are going to plant in a blighted district, and these people, when they see what utter failures they have, will be so disgusted with nut growing that when you approach them you cannot talk nuts to them, and you will never have them join the Association. More and more are leaving the Association, and very few new ones are coming in to take their places. So I think the resolution ought to be changed.

THE PRESIDENT: In what respect would you have it changed?

DR. ULMAN: To apply generally.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: Yes. Well, I agree very largely with what the doctor says. I have always felt that the success of this organization—the success of the nut industry as a whole—depended upon its being upon an entirely truthful, fair and honest basis. I would rather see a crooked cashier in a bank than a crooked nurseryman or tree man. The cashier you can check up at 4:30 every afternoon; you can't check up the crooked tree man for about ten years. I think the worst of all discouraging things to people who want to go to the country to build up farms and homes is to run into alluring, but misleading, advertisements. I have an abounding faith in tree culture. I think that the pecan tree, the black walnut, varieties of the English walnut and of a number of other nut trees, are going to make it most possible and more desirable for men to go to the country, but I think the success of those things depends upon giving those people, as far as possible, facts, and not misleading them. Wherever a man sets a tree that is a failure you have a man as a failure generally as a tree man, and wherever you get a man to set a tree that succeeds, you have a living, walking advocate of the tree business. This Association has been fortunate all along in its policies. It has always stood against the fraudulent promotions; it has always stood against fraudulent nursery stock; it has always stood against fraudulent representations, and I think, for that reason, that its future is reasonably safe, assuming that is its continued policy.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you accept Dr. Ulman's amendment?

MR. LITTLEPAGE: I accept it.

MR. JONES: As I understand the resolution, it applies to nurseries in the infected areas.


MR. JONES: I believe it is practically impossible to grow trees in an infected area without sending out the blight, but if a man is isolated, like Mr. Riehl, at Alton, Illinois, he can grow trees without danger of sending out the blight.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the resolution permits him to do that.

MR. M. P. REED: Did I understand Mr. Kellerman to say the Department hasn't authority to quarantine against such things?

THE PRESIDENT: No. The point brought up was the theory that lay back of the quarantine. The speaker made the point that shipment of infected trees was killing the tree aspirations of the people who ought to be developing the nut industry. Every time a man buys a chestnut tree and it dies with blight that man is chilled out of business. Now this resolution doesn't cover that man. It is based on the ground of injury to the industry. You can't very well define the limits of where the blight is not, but it can be fairly well defined as to where it is, and that is up to the Department.

MR. LITTLEPAGE: The resolutions are offered in a suggestive way, Mr. President. If the Secretary wants to turn the suggestion down, we will meet again next year any way.

PROF. CLOSE: I would like some information as to how you propose to take this matter up with the Department. I was present a year or so ago at a hearing before the Federal Horticultural Board—I don't know whether any one else present was there at the time—but the whole thing hinged largely on Colonel Sober's attitude in propagating and sending out the Paragon chestnut, and I think the Department—the Federal Horticultural Board—originated the question that you are discussing now, and Colonel Sober came there with a whole lot of pretty good information, and people to back up what he said, and the Department put up a mighty poor show, I tell you. I was ashamed of what the Department men had to say, and Colonel Sober won out hands down. Now, if this question comes up again, it will be referred, no doubt, to the Federal Horticultural Board, and you will need a good, strong representation, with plenty of facts back of you, and if you can put up a strong enough case there is no doubt but what you can establish this quarantine. But I would hate to see the question taken up again and floored as easily as it was at that time.

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