————————————————————————————————————————————————— Variety Source A B C D E F G Remarks ————————————————————————————————————————————————— Adams Becker, Mich. D 14.7 11.3 21.4 44 52.4 Poor; 62 bound quarters '42 Benton Smith, Wassaic, S-5 13.2 26.8 28.2 94 -2.0 88.5 Plump kernels, good flavor, N.Y. 2 empty Sample No. '42 D-8 nuts 1 (23) Sample No. " D 12.9 23.1 23.6 74 -3.0 75.3 3 empty nuts 2 (24) Bontz Snyder, Iowa S-12 18.7 20.3 22.0 85 -10.0 68.8 Nut long like Ohio. Shell '40 D-12 chamber smooth. Nearly all kernels shrunken. Prominent spur; oily; poor to med. extr.; few shrunken Boothe Stoke, Va. S-16 15.3 24.5 29.2 87 -2.5 85.1 Good quality; flavor good, 28 '40 D-10 blind qtrs.; ext. poor Burrows Snyder, Iowa S-12 17.5 13.5 24.4 35 -0.3 59.9 No data '40 D-4 Calhoun Becker, Mich. D 15.4 26.0 28.5 94 90.6 End cracks, 2 empty nuts, '42 3 shr. Cayuga Ithaca, N.Y. S-12 13.8 26.1 26.7 100 -3.5 85.9 kernels, good extr. middle '42 D-24 tree Climax Becker, Mich. D 17.2 25.3 27.3 90 90.8 Some shrunken kernels '42 Cornell Ithaca, N.Y. S-12 16.5 24.9 25.1 80 89.0 (20) '42 D-24 100% No empty nuts, kernels full, Creitz Stoke, Va. S-15 18.8 22.0 23.8 100 -1.3 83.4 very good extr., good color '40 4-4 Excellent cracker. Shell thin; Cresco Ithaca, N.Y. S 16.7 15.9 21.0 80 67.0 thin; good nut; flavor mild (6) '42 Eldridge Geneva, N.Y. S-12 Not promising at Ithaca (15) '42 D-24 21.1 24.0 24.5 96 -10. 80.0 Dried in husk; kernels shrunken Finney Snyder, Iowa S-12 19.5 18.0 22.4 82 -12.5 62.4 Shell thick; kernels shr., '40 D-48 spurs prominent. Tough to crack Freel Ithaca, N.Y. S 12.1 17.9 19.6 80 65.7 Shell thick, kernel thin. Not (6) '42 a good nut Galloway Snyder, Iowa S-12 16.4 22.3 23.2 94 -0.3 81.7 Kernel smooth, flavor good. '40 D-24 Extraction good Harris Snyder, Iowa S-12 18.5 23.8 25.6 100 -12.5 76.4 Dark color. All kernels '40 D-12 withered. Flavor poor. Extraction very good Homeland Stoke, Va. S- 5 19.1 20.4 25.8 89 81.7 Smooth kernels; flavor good; (19) '40 D-16 closed suture Karnes Stoke, Va. S-16 20.3 25.6 29.4 56 91.8 Tight in shell. Kernels oily, '40 D- 7 shatter. Flavor good. Shining pellicle Korn Korn, Mich. D 16.8 19.0 27.9 62 74.9 Kernels fill cavity very full. '39 Shatter McCoy Snyder, Iowa S-12 19.4 20.7 21.2 90 -0.8 79.6 Smooth kernel; some slight '40 D-4 shrinking. Thick shell McGee Becker, Mich. D 13.7 16.2 26.8 83 67.8 Bound qtrs., hard pointed '42 nuts, hard cracking Michigan Korn, Mich. '39 D 20.0 23.0 30.3 90 90.1 Kernels plump, very good nut Mintle Snyder, Iowa S-12 13.6 31.5 32.0 95 -1.0 101.1 Flavor mild, extr. very good. '40 D-12 Very good nut, smooth shell Mintle Ithaca, N.Y. S-12 13.7 23.9 24.3 100 83.8 No empty nuts, kernels plump, '42 D-24 good extraction Ohio Snyder, Iowa S-12 18.5 24.0 27.4 79 -1.3 86.8 Shell chamber smooth. Flavor '40 D-24 sharp. Extraction fair. Rohwer Snyder, Iowa S-12 21.5 24.0 28.2 84 92.0 Kernel smooth, extr. fair. '40 D-48 Kernels plump.
Rohwer Stoke, Va. S-15 18.5 18.0 22.4 79 - .3 73.3 Fair extraction; flavor fair. '40 D- 3 Spur prominent. 11 blind qtrs. Schwartz Snyder, Iowa S- 6 20.3 21.8 25.6 86 -3.0 82.2 End cracked. Spurs prominent. '40 D-14 Some shrinking. Not too good. 11 blind qtr. Sifford Stokes, Va. S-16 23.6 23.7 25.6 100 -11.0 82.8 Large nut. Good extr. Kernels '40 D-7 shrunken Snyder Jacobs, Ohio D 19.6 26.1 28.0 94 95.4 Not entirely cured (4) '42 Snyder Smith, Wassaic, D 21.9 22.0 26.4 91 88.2 11 bound qtrs. Kernels lg. (14) N. Y. '42 rather dark, a good nut Sparrow Ithaca, N.Y. S-12 15.5 20.7 22.4 42 -14.5 63.2 1 empty, all shrunken, end (11) '42 D-24 96% cracks; poor quality Sparrow Smith, Wassaic, D 16.5 21.6 28.2 85 82.3 Well filled, kernels bright, (10) N.Y. '42 good flavor, good nut Sparrow Snyder, Iowa S- 6 16.1 25.1 31.2 84 90.3 Flavor good; smooth nut, spur '40 D-19 medium prominent. 13 blind qtrs. Sper Becker, Mich. '42 D 16.2 20.0 25.6 90 78.0 Kernels somewhat shrunken " D 16.7 27.9 28.7 98 96.6 No. 4, 1942 not completely Sper dried. Not recleaned Stabler Stoke, Va. S- 5 14.5 20.2 22.8 80 -9.0 65.3 Flavor mild. Easy extr. 12 '40 D-20 blind qtrs. Many shrunken Stabler Wilkinson, Ind. S-12 14.9 25.7 27.2 77 -3.0 84.6 End cracks; 6 bound qtrs. 2 '40 D-24 empty nuts, 2 shr. kernels Stambaugh Graham, Ithaca, (7) N.Y. recleaned 19.3 24.0 24.0 28 -12.5 61.3 All kernels shrunken. Poor S-12 D-24 100% quality Sterling Korn, Mich. D 19.8 25.2 25.9 97 92.8 Kernels plump. Very good nut '39 Tasterite Graham, Ithaca, N.Y. (4) N. Y . recleaned 13.5 25.0 25.0 100% 86.0 All kernels plump; quality '42 S-12 D-24 fair Thomas Snyder, Iowa S-12 17.2 22.9 25.6 91 -1.0 83.9 Good extraction. Some '40 D-12 shrunken Thomas Wilkinson, Ind. S-12 18.5 21.5 27.1 26 77.7 End cracks; 21 bound qtrs., '40 D-24 Kernels plump; oily, clinging Thomas No. Ithaca, N.Y. D 20.6 19.1 22.1 96 79.4 Some shrunken 1 '42 Tree 1 Thomas No. Ithaca, N.Y. S-1-1/2 20.6 14.4 18.2 91 -1.0 67.6 1 empty nut; some shrunken 2 No. 2 '42 D-6 Thomas No. Ithaca, N.Y. D 20.4 19.1 22.1 96 79.2 3 No. 3 '42 Thomas No. Ithaca, N.Y. D 20.1 15.5 16.8 82 -16.0 36.2 4 empty nuts; all shrunken 4 '42 No. 4 Thomas No. Ithaca, N.Y. S-12 20.5 23.4 24.0 90 -8.0 80.5 4 empty nuts; 8 shr. kernels; 5 (24) 2 blind qtrs. Thomas Ithaca, N.Y. S-12 19.8 17.6 18.4 94 -10.0 63.7 2 empty nuts; 16 shr. kernels (20) No. 6 '42 D-24 Thomas Wilkinson, Ind. S-12 20.5 21.1 25.4 69 -7.0 75.3 3 empty nuts; 4 shr. kernels, '40 D-24 23 bound qtrs. Troup Graham, Ithaca, S-12 16.0 16.0 18.0 16 -20.0 51.0 All kernels shr., 2 empty (4) N.Y. '42 D-24 100% nuts, quality poor Vail Ithaca, N.Y. S-12 15.3 20.8 21.8 30 4 empty nuts, 6 shr. kern., (8) '42 D-24 94%-17.0 60.2 2 blind qtrs., end cracks Vandersloot " S-12 27.5 13.4 16.6 58 -3.0 64.4 1 empty nut, 4 shr. kern., D-24 11 bound qtrs., ext. poor Wiard Snyder, Iowa S-12 18.8 26.8 29.4 83 95.4 One of best, well filled. '40 D-12 Smooth kernel, good flavor, good extraction
In the light of the data presented some conclusions can be drawn on the various questions raised at the beginning of this paper. It is evident that if approximately the same score is to be obtained by one operator on duplicate or replicate random samples, great care must be used in sampling. There is a tendency in taking samples to pick out the larger nuts or in some other way fail to take a good random sample. Selections submitted for contests are likely to be quite misleading as to the value of the variety and reflect in considerable part the contestant's skill in selection rather than the merit of the clone. The Freel walnut seems to be an example of this. At least as grown at Ithaca it is very disappointing.
It is evident that if comparable scores are to be obtained the samples receive the same treatment particularly as regards moisture content. Samples should be dried sufficiently to show the shrinkage of poorly developed kernels but in no case be allowed to dry to the point of checking the shells. Uniform soaking practice is a step in the right direction. A green or partially dried nut will test much higher than one properly cured as evidenced by Snyder, sample 6 and Spear, sample 7 in Table 1.
It seems probable that no schedule can be devised that will eliminate the necessity for skill on the part of the operator. To obtain satisfactory uniformity in scores, it is essential that the operator be skilled in the use of the cracking machine and use continuous care in applying the necessary pressure and in holding the nut in the anvils. Undercracking or overcracking, reversing the ends of the nut in the anvil or failure to hold the nut vertical may affect the score.
The presence of empty or poorly filled nuts in a lot of nuts from which samples are taken at random introduces greater variability in the samples than that found in lots with all nuts filled. This is true because the chances of getting an equal number of empty nuts in 25 nut samples are small and the presence of each empty nut decreases the per cent kernel and also the numbers of quarters possible. Variations due to empty nuts could be eliminated by greatly increasing the number of nuts in the sample but this is not practical for the purposes this schedule is intended to serve.
The question of whether or not it is possible for different operators to obtain equal scores on duplicate samples is not satisfactorily answered by the data in table 4. As the data stand the scores are far from equal. There is, however, a consistency in the scoring of each operator and it is quite probable that with more uniform treatment of nuts before cracking and more careful sampling better agreement would be achieved. This is borne out in the data given in table 5 in which the variation in scores between the two operators was no greater than that obtained by the same operator.
From a study of the data secured it appears that the causes of variation in the scores of duplicate or replicate samples are the result of (1) lack of care in making replicate random samples, (2) differences in treatment of samples before cracking, particularly as regards moisture content, (3) differences in the skill or care of the operator making the tests, (4) presence of empty nuts or shrivelled kernels in the sample which introduces variation not compensated for in a 25 nut sample and further complicates the matter because assigning penalties for shrivelled kernels involves personal judgment.
The first three of these can be minimized or eliminated by care and skill. The fourth item is not so easy but procedure can at least be standardized. Increasing the size of the sample is not practical if much testing is to be done.
All things considered it would seem that the scores indicate fairly well but not accurately the relative merit of the samples and thus can be relied upon to determine the relative merit of a variety or clone, the suitability of the variety for growing in a given locality and the variability of a variety grown in the same region but under different conditions. To determine the merit of a variety as compared to another both must be grown under the same conditions. The over-all value of a variety can only be determined from samples of well filled nuts. In any case the more samples tested the better.
The following suggestions are made as to procedure:
1. In taking a random sample no selection as to size, uniformity, or any other quality should be made. Suggested procedure would be to scoop up about 25 nuts in a berry basket or with the hands from the main supply and reduce the sample to 25 without conscious selection. What we in the Northern Nut Growers' Association want is a measure of the merit of the crop of the tree or variety in question and not the value of a highly selected sample.
2. It is not practical to bring samples to a uniform moisture content before cracking is done. The following precautions, however, may be followed: (a) Take care to see that nuts are reasonably well cleaned and free from fragments of husk. Scrubbing or beating the nuts together in a sack will usually remove most of the loose material. Of course the best practice is to wash the nuts immediately after shucking. (b) Cure samples until they are dry enough not to lose more weight preferably in an unheated room. This takes at least a month or 6 weeks. (c) Avoid storing the samples in a heated room where they will become so dry that the shells will check or crack. If this occurs the normal cracking fracture of the shell is destroyed and a satisfactory test cannot be made. (d) Nuts that have become so dry that the kernels shatter may be moistened by soaking about 2 hours in cold or lukewarm water then holding them in a moist condition for 18-24 hours, followed by drying for 10-12 hours before cracking. Nuts that are to be soaked should be weighed before soaking and the dry weight used in figuring percentages. The kernels of soaked nuts should be dried for 24 hours before weighing, preferably under the same conditions in which the samples were stored before weighing.
3. Care and skill on the part of the operator are of the greatest importance, particularly in the thoroughness of cracking. The most important variable in the score is the per cent kernel recovered at first cracking. The score is reduced by undercracking the nut so as to leave the quarters bound or by overcracking to the point of smashing the kernels. If the nuts have a long point so that the rims of the anvils do not contact the shoulders of the nut, poor cracking will result. At the present time a cracker with interchangeable anvils is not available. Using different sized iron pipe couplings in a vise may help solve the problem. Some varieties will crack better with a hammer than with a cracker of the Hershey type with standard anvils. In cracking a sample for test the operator should try to recover the most possible out of the first crack without using a pick or recracking.
4. The empty nut problem is probably the most difficult and is not satisfactorily solved by cracking nuts in excess of 25 until 26 filled nuts are secured. This necessitates weighing the sample after the nuts are cracked which is usually impracticable because of loss of parts of shells in cracking and because additional nuts are not available. Empty or shrivelled nuts in a sample are a serious defect which should count heavily against it. On the basis of experience it seems that a better method is to crack the random sample of 25 nuts and let the empty nuts and shrivelled kernels affect the score as reduced weight per nut, reduced per cent kernel and the penalty as well. Shrivelling that is obvious and which adversely affects the appearance of the kernels should be penalized. Possibly further experience will suggest a better way of handling this problem.
The proposed score of a sample is made up as follows:
1. The weight of a single nut in grams.
2. The per cent kernel of total weight of sample recovered after first crack x 2.
3. The total per cent kernel of total weight of sample divided by 2.
4. One tenth point for each whole quarter recovered.
5. Penalty of one score point for each empty nut in the sample.
6. Penalty of 1/2 point for every nut with shrivelled kernel.
The makeup of this score does not differ from that previously used except in the matter of procedure with empty nuts. It is felt that the items included are weighed in a realistic manner and that difficulties in scoring have been due to methods of handling the samples rather than in the scoring schedule itself. It does not seem likely that this schedule or any schedule will be valuable unless used by experienced operators who are willing to take the precautions indicated. Also it is apparent that wherever possible more than one sample of a lot to be scored should be tested and the average score used.
1. MacDaniels, L. H. Report of committee on varieties and judging standards. No. Nut Growers Assn. Proc. 28: 20-23. 1937.
2. MacDaniels, L. H. Is it possible to devise a satisfactory judging schedule for black walnuts? No. Nut Growers Assn. Proc. 30: 24-27. 1939.
3. Kline, L. V., and S. B. Chase. Compilation of data on nut weight and kernel percentage of black walnut selections. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 38: 166-174. 1941.
4. Kline, L. V. A method of evaluating the nuts of black walnut varieties. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 41: 136-144. 1942.
5. Lounsberry, C. C. Measurements of walnuts of United States. No. Nut Growers Assn. Proc. 31: 162-167. 1940.
6. Drake, N. F. Judging black walnuts. No. Nut Growers Assn. Proc. 22: 130-137. 1931.
7. Drake, N. F. Black walnut varieties. No. Nut Growers' Assn. Proc. 26: 66-71. 1935. Nut Growers Assn. Proc. 30: 81-83. 1939.
Shelling Black Walnuts
By G. J. KORN, Berrien Springs, Michigan
The methods used in the shelling of black walnuts by one of the commercial growers in southeastern Pennsylvania may be of interest to some of our NNGA members. For the last three seasons I have helped this grower with the harvesting and shelling of his crop. The Thomas variety predominated in his 40-acre nut orchard. This variety is truly a very outstanding nut when properly grown. The Thomas is large, cracks well, its kernels may be readily removed in large pieces, mostly quarters, and they are of excellent flavor and color.
Care in selecting the orchard site, soils, methods of cultivation, fertilizing and spraying appear to be of prime importance in the production of high quality nuts. The matters I shall speak of in this article, however, will have to do mostly with the harvesting, husking, curing and cracking of the walnuts and picking their kernels.
When the walnut husks may be easily dented with the thumb they are ready to gather. This is usually about October 5 in that locality. The harvesting is begun immediately, as the kernels will become somewhat damaged as to flavor and color if the husks are allowed to darken and decompose. When the nuts have ripened they do not remain in prime condition for harvesting for more than about 10 to 15 days. By this time the husks will have begun to decompose and darken the kernels. Just as soon as the nuts are ripe they are shaken from the trees. The nuts are gathered into bushel baskets and hauled in a pick-up truck to the husker. One of the old cannon type corn shellers, once quite common in Pennsylvania, is used to husk the nuts. A farm tractor furnishes the power to run the husker. The nuts are run through the husker a couple of times to assure a clean job of husking. The cleanly husked nuts drop into a basket at the end of the husker. Only 3 minutes or slightly more time is required to turn out a bushel of husked nuts. The freshly husked nuts are washed in a large copper kettle of water by vigorously stirring them a few minutes with a common garden hoe. About 1-1/2 bushels of nuts are washed in each batch. All nuts that float lightly on the water are skimmed off and discarded. The nuts are then spread out about 2 or 3 nuts deep on trays to dry. The frames of the trays are made of 1x3 inch lumber and are 1-1/2 feet wide and 3-1/2 feet long; 3/4 inch mesh galvanized chicken wire netting forms the bottoms of the trays. Walnuts dried indoors in the shade produce lighter colored and finer flavored kernels than do those dried outdoors in the sun and rain. When nuts are being dried indoors, care should be taken to see that they have a good circulation of air or the nuts may start molding in the early stages of their curing. Although the outside of the walnut shells may dry off quite rapidly, it takes considerable more time for the inside of the nut to cure properly for storing. The nuts should be left on the trays for a few weeks to insure thorough curing.
The cracking of the nuts is done with one of the small mechanical crackers that is to be found on the market. The more care exercised in the cracking at the nuts, the less work and time will be required in separating the kernels. After cracking the nuts they are sifted through a series of screens. This helps very materially in preparing them for rapidly picking their kernels. It is quite important that this operation be done properly if the kernel picking is to be made simple and rapid. The cracked nuts are first sifted through a screen made of 1-inch mesh chicken wire netting. Next the nuts are sifted through a screen made of 1/2-inch mesh hardware cloth. All material which will not pass through this screen should be kept separate. Some of these pieces will require recracking and kernel picking with the fingers. The material which has passed through the 1/2-inch mesh screen is now sifted on a hardware cloth screen with 5 meshes to the inch. Only the very fine material will pass through this screen which is not suitable for further kernel recovery. The material which remains on the 1/2-inch mesh screen is now placed on the table especially made for kernel picking. This table is shown in the accompanying sketch. The table is of suitable size to allow two people to use it at the same time. The operators sit on stools about 20 inches in height, and work from the low side of the table. A small amount of the material is brought forward and spread out very thinly before the operator. A piece of 1/2-inch softwood dowel about 5 inches long with 4 No. 9 sewing needles imbedded in one end is used to pick up the kernels. The needles are placed in the form of a square and should be only about 3/32 of an inch apart to do the best work. The picks should not be used to pry kernels from the shell, as the needles would soon become bent and worthless. The picks are meant to be used only to pick up the kernels from among the shells. As soon as the operator has removed all the kernels from the small amount of material he has brought forward from the rear of the table, he shoves the shells into the hole at the edge of the table and they drop into a receptacle. The pick is used with the right hand, and the kernels are removed from the pick with and into the left hand. As soon as a convenient handful of kernels has been obtained, they are dropped into a small pan which sets on the table near the operator's left hand. The rapidity with which kernels may be picked by using these methods is surprising. It is sometimes necessary to moisten the nuts and hold them in this condition for 2 or 3 days before cracking them, to keep the kernels from shattering unduly. After the kernels are picked out they are dried very thoroughly. Trays whose bottoms are lined with screening somewhat finer in mesh than that used for windows, are used to dry the kernels. Care should be taken to not overheat the kernels, or their flavor and color will be impaired. Good clean lard or similar cans with tight fitting covers are used for storing the kernels. The kernels are stored in a cool dry place. Any kernels which are to be kept over the summer months, are placed in cold storage.
Better Butternuts, Please
S. H. GRAHAM, Ithaca, N. Y.
"As to palatability, there are many persons who would be disposed to place the butternut at the very head of edible nuts." This is the opinion of Luther Burbank in Vol. XI, page 32, of "Luther Burbank, His Methods and Discoveries."
The butternut tree is noteworthy as being at home in a greater variety of soils than the blackwalnut as well as being hardier than the black walnut or the hickory. It ripens so early that the nuts always have plenty of time to mature while the richly flavored kernels are rarely shrunken and never astringent. Despite these good qualities, a search through the publications of the Northern Nut Growers' Association for the past thirty years proves that comparatively little interest has been manifested in it. It would seem quite in order to inquire into the reasons for this neglect. Five of them come to mind: 1. Too early blooming. 2. Difficulty of propagation. 3. Curculios. 4. Melanconis disease. 5. Lack of sufficiently good varieties.
The butternut too often blooms so early that its blossoms are caught by frost. The filbert has the same fault and so, to a less extent, has the Persian walnut. Late blooming varieties of each have already been selected. It does not seem too much to hope that late blooming varieties of butternut may also be found. I know of one butternut that has had good crops every year but one for the last ten years but have never visited it at the right time to observe its blooming habit. President Weschcke reports that butternuts on black walnut stocks have their blooming retarded for a few days.
Many experienced nut tree propagators have little success in grafting the butternut. But Mr. Harry Burgart of Michigan, has found that nursery trees may be successfully grafted if the operation is performed at a point three or four feet from the ground, while the late Dr. G. A. Zimmerman of Pennsylvania, found that very early grafting gave him the best results. He reported that his best catch was from grafts set March tenth. Some moderately successful propagators do not pay careful attention to outside temperatures when they cut their scions. In contrast to this let us see what Mr. J. F. Jones thought about it. He was undoubtedly the most successful nut tree propagator in the East and he was always as generous in sharing his hard earned knowledge as he was skillful in its application in his own commercial nursery. Note this from his paper in the 1920 annual report. "In the case of trees that bleed freely when cut, we must guard against taking scions after hard freezing weather and before the tree has fully recuperated. This semi-sappy conditions following low temperatures that freeze the wood seems to be a provision of nature to restore the sap lost by evaporation. We always try to avoid taking scions of any kind soon after hard freezing weather. I have found scions of English and Japanese walnuts, cut from trees in this condition, to be practically worthless for propagation, although they may have been cut in late winter long before the sap gets up in the tree naturally." This warning would undoubtedly apply to the butternut as it bleeds freely when cut. Another pitfall for the inexperienced propagator lies in storing scions in packing material that is too moist. Sphagnum is commonly used. It should be no more than slightly moist to the touch.
If left to run wild, the butternut curculios are a serious menace to the butternut, the Japanese walnut and the Persian walnut. Their life history as described at length in U.S.D.A. bulletin 1066, is briefly as follows: The beetles (called elephant bugs by some because the side view resembles the elephant) spend the winter in the ground. As soon as new growth appears on the host tree they begin feeding on the tender leaves and stems. Soon they begin laying their eggs in crescent shaped punctures which they cut in the new shoots and nutlets. The larvae hatch in a few days and tunnel through the pith of the shoots seriously injuring and stunting their growth while the infested nuts soon fall from the tree. The eggs may be laid from late May to early August. They hatch in a few days. The larvae complete their growth in four or five weeks when they enter the ground to pupate. In about a month they emerge as adult beetles and begin feeding on leaves and leaf stems as their parents did in the spring, but they will do no egg laying until the following spring. Poison spray applied in early spring and again in late August and September should so reduce their numbers that they will not become a serious pest. Our State Experiment Station suggests the use of a cryolite spray as it is more effective against curculios than arsenical sprays and less likely to injure tender walnut foliage. The Mitchell hybrid, (butternut x heartnut) with us, appears to have natural immunity to the curculio. This brings to mind a secondary but very important reason for finding better butternuts,—namely that they may be used as a starting point for the super variety that someone should give the world from his long rows of crosses between the best butternuts and the best heartnuts.
The nut growers of this country are indebted to Dr. Arthur H. Graves of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a complete study of the Melanconis disease of the butternut. This study was begun in New York City but has since been widely extended. He thinks that the disease is probably present throughout the entire range of the butternut and is usually responsible for the dead limbs that are so often seen in butternut trees. The Japanese walnut is also susceptible. The disease usually enters the tree through twigs that have been injured in some way. His conclusions, after thorough scientific laboratory and field work covering a period of over twenty years, is that it is caused by a weak parasitic fungus attacking rapidly only when the host tree is in a weakened condition; that it may lie practically dormant in vigorous trees and that it may be successfully combatted by fertilizing, mulching, providing necessary water in time of drought and avoidance of any condition that might weaken the tree. All dead twigs and all twigs showing fruiting bodies of the fungus should be pruned off some distance below the apparent infection as soon as discovered and the pruning wounds painted. Dr. Graves thinks it possible that butternuts grafted on black walnut stocks may have their vigor increased sufficiently to help in warding off the disease. Mr. Weschcke says that, although the Melanconis disease is prevalent in his locality, there has never been the slightest indication of it on the butternut trees which he has growing on black walnut stocks. If kept free of disease the butternut may reach great size. Dr. Robert T. Morris has stated that when he was a boy there were magnificent butternut trees over the greater part of Connecticut.
There still remains the stumbling block of lack of really outstanding varieties bearing nuts of good size, large percentage of kernel and perfect shelling quality with heavy and regular bearing. This is a large order to fill but it is a fair guess that somewhere there are wild trees better than any thus far brought to light. Trying to locate them should be an exciting assignment for a nut tree enthusiast. Do not think lightly of a butternut tree just because it looks small and unthrifty. It may be that the fault lies in an unfavorable location. Only an appraisal of the nut will establish its value.
The butternut is fairly abundant throughout its range which extends well up into Canada. In central New York there are uncounted thousands of butternut trees along fence rows, in the large and small valleys and along little streams. One person with limited time can hardly hope to examine more than a small proportion of them during the period when the nuts are ripe. The scout for better nuts should lose no opportunity to tell his errand to the people that he meets. I have found the average stranger interested and cooperative. He may direct you to a superior tree that you would never otherwise find. For this work one must be able, like the successful inventor, to hold his enthusiasm after many disappointments. If the coveted variety is not found, one at least has been out in the woods and fields during a wonderful time of year.
The Use of Fertilizer in a Walnut Orchard
By L. K. HOSTETTER, Pennsylvania
Sometime in the fall of 1941 Professor Fagan of Pennsylvania State College, and Mr. Graham of Cornell University, called on me and proposed to make some fertilizer tests in my walnut orchard. The following spring Professor Fagan sent me 16 bags of fertilizer, one bag for each tree.
These tests were divided into three parts and each part had one tree that received nitrogen, superphosphate and potash, one that received nitrogen and superphosphate, one nitrogen and potash, one superphosphate only and one potash only and a sixth tree that received no fertilizer.
In the first group all the trees received a liberal amount of mulch. In the second group they received no mulch but the same fertilizer as the first group and in the third group they received the same fertilizer, no mulch but raw lime was added to the fertilizer. One tree received lime only.
There was a heavy sod in the part of the field where these tests were to be made. This sod was torn up with a springtooth harrow (weed hog) about March 15th and the fertilizer was applied on May 6th.
That year was a very poor one in which to make these tests, for during all of July and August we had continuous rainy and cloudy weather and by the first of September all of the leaves had turned yellow and dropped.
Most of the trees had a big crop of walnuts which were gathered about October 10th, the nuts from each tree being kept separate. After they were cracked the kernels were weighed and graded and believe it or not, the tree that received lime only had the best grade of kernels, and second best were one that received lime and potash and another lime, nitrogen and potash. The tree that received mulch and potash also had a very good grade of kernels.
In 1943 the same tests were repeated. This was again a poor year for we had very little rain during all of August and September just when the trees needed it most. The tree that received nothing had the best quality of kernels and again all the trees that received potash had good kernels.
In 1941 I grew two acres of tobacco and the following spring the stalks were cut in one-inch pieces and put on about twenty-five trees. The first year I could not see that it did any good but this past summer all the kernels from these trees were just perfect. It surely is a pleasure to crack walnuts when at least 98% of the kernels are perfect.
Lime and Fertilizers for Our Black Walnut Trees
By SEWARD BERHOW, Iowa
In 1941-1942-1943 black walnut crops from trees growing in timberland in competition with other trees were nearly a total failure. The nuts were fair in number but not filled, the kernels badly shriveled, tough, lacking greatly in flavor and discolored. Some of these black walnut trees have been bearing for 50 years. Are they through, due to having used up all the soil fertility?
Wild or native black walnut trees, growing on good soil and not crowded have done better. It looks to me as if it is time our experiment stations, particularly those having black walnut trees on or near their grounds should start studying the cultural requirements of nut trees in the way of lime and fertilizer for better nuts. I have experimented by applying lime and fertilizer to a few bearing trees with very good results. But we need to know the proper amounts to be used for all sizes of trees from the transplants to the bearing trees of different sizes. Such investigations can best be conducted by our experiment stations.
There is a very substantial increased demand for grafted nut trees each year. This is evidence that we should make a study of our nut tree culture and care.
The Propagation of Black Walnuts Through Budding
By STERLING SMITH, Ohio
The propagation of black walnuts by budding has proven a highly successful experience. By following this method over a period of several years, under normal weather conditions, the results have been fairly uniform.
Stocks, upon which to bud, may either be secured from private nurseries, state forestry departments, or by planting the seed of vigorous native nut trees. If one desires to produce his own stock, the nut seeds should be planted soon after they are gathered. A garden nursery row makes a desirable place for small plantings. If a large scale increase is contemplated it is best to plant the seeds where the trees may be left to grow to maturity. Plant two or three seeds a few inches apart (within a hill) and space these hills as the land available will warrant, anywhere from twenty-five to fifty feet apart. Should all the nuts sprout there will be a three-to-one chance for a healthy tree, and if more than one good tree is produced in each hill the excess stock may be transplanted. After the stock has grown for one year it should be cut back to within four inches from the ground. Such stock makes good material for experimental grafting. By pruning the stock in the spring it forces new growth upon which to place buds later in the season. In the budding process the Jones patch budder has been very successfully used.
Along the southern shore of Lake Erie the first week in July is a favorable time to begin this procedure. Due to the fact that the northeast side of the tree is the coolest and shadiest the greater part of the day, there the buds should be set. With the budding tool cut through the bark of the stock, several inches above the start of the new growth. Do not remove the bark. This produces a gathering of callus-forming material at this point and aids in the healing in of the bud which is to be later placed there. My experience shows successful results in many instances where I had failed to make this previous cut.
Bud wood should be new and vigorous growth, the first five or six buds nearest the spot from which the growth started being the best. When the bud wood is available cut off the first four or five leaf stalks close to the buds. By the time the buds are ready for use the remainder of the leaf stalk will have ripened or dried and fallen off, and the bark underneath hardened off. If this is not the case the bark is apt to rot at this point, which is directly beneath the bud itself. Bud wood, procured from any source, should be trimmed with the stub of the leaf stalk cut as closely as possible to the bark. If the budding is not done immediately those cuttings may be wrapped and stored in a cool place (about 40 deg. F.) for several days before using. In a hot, dry season the actual budding should be started soon after the middle of July. Due to the excessive amount of rainfall during 1943, buds which were set on July 24th yielded poor results, while those applied later in the summer, about August 12th, healed in one hundred per cent.
Procedure: Cut the patch bud from the bud stick with the bud in the center of the patch. Place this patch bud between the lips, as this is a clean and convenient place to hold it. Next, cut the patch, which has been previously marked out, and quickly place the new patch in the opening, tying in place. As many as three or four buds may be similarly set before they are coated with wax. Parapin wax (a paraffin and pine gum mixture) is an excellent substance for coating the buds, due to its rubber-like, non-cracking qualities. A convenient homemade contrivance for melting the wax may be made by soldering a small can into the top of a railroad lantern. Rubber bands of good quality have been made especially for budding by several large rubber companies. These are ideal for tying the buds in place and may be reused several seasons. Treekote, an asphalt emulsion, has proven a successful substance for coating the new work. After the buds have set for two weeks remove the rubber bands and examine. Where buds have failed to heal in properly, and room remains on the stock, new buds may be applied just below the scar.
When the trees show signs of growth, the following spring, cut them back to the top of the bud patch, cover the cut with Treekote and prevent all growth on the original stock from developing. The placed buds are frequently slower in starting than the natural buds. A stake driven beside the young stock makes a convenient support for the rapid new growth, which should be tied to prevent breaking by strong winds.
Trees started in the nursery may be transplanted to permanent locations the following spring, inasmuch as the spring of the year has proven a more satisfactory time for transplanting than the fall. To attain success in transplanting the newly dug tree, roots should be exposed as little as possible to the air. Prepare the holes before digging the trees, moving one tree at a time for best results. Move as much of the root stock as possible, usually about 18 to 24 inches. Trim roots with a sharp knife, making a clean cut facing downward. Remove at least half of the top growth of the tree and plant at once, tamping the loose dirt firmly about the roots. Water generously and slowly around the loose soil to aid in washing the dirt thoroughly around the newly disturbed roots. With severe pruning, trees may be transplanted after new growth has started. During periods of drought the soil around the trees should be thoroughly soaked from time to time.
In conclusion, it may be said that due to varying conditions of soil, climate and locality, for best results the proper time to bud may be either earlier or later in localities other than northern Ohio. Various factors may alter the procedure in those localities due to the individual operator's experimentation, from which he has devised methods giving him the best results.
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Note: The trade-name items mentioned in this article may be obtained from any reliable nursery supply house.
Northern Nut Growing
By JOSEPH GERARDI, Illinois
Judging from the demand for nut trees the public is fast becoming aware of the possibilities of growing its own nuts. Heretofore nut growing has been confined to two favorable sections of the United States, the west coast and the southern pecan groves. But, now we can safely plant the pecan as far north as Springfield, Illinois, and from all indications some trees found in Cass County will extend the northern limit another one hundred miles.
The pecan is the favorite nut of nearly everyone, in fact it is preferred to any other nut for its pleasing flavor and easy cracking. Wild nuts used to be gathered from native trees without consulting the owner, but since they are selling at good prices the owners of trees gather them themselves. Fortunately, through efforts of far-seeing individuals some very good pecans have been found that can be grown successfully much farther north than the southern pecan belt. Our nut enthusiast, Dr. A. S. Colby, has drawn the attention of the writer to three promising pecans that he located in Cass County, Illinois. This extends the northern pecan limit much farther north than we formally considered them adaptable.
For this locality we can now boast of quite a list of pecans that have been doing well. Of the older introductions Greenriver and Busseron can safely be recommended, and of course, the local finds are all good here, at least the parent trees are doing so well that the public is planting them in preference to the older introductions. West of the Mississippi River Giles, Clarkville and Norton can be recommended.
Prospective pecan planters should bear the following remarks in mind. Environment has a decided influence on the behavior of plants and the nut tree is no exception. As they are taken farther north of their original habitat the nuts become smaller and do not fill as well. The black walnut may be considered an exception to this statement. Many local finds and some southern pecans are perfectly hardy as far north as Chicago and Ontario, but can not be expected to ripen any of their nuts. Many southern pecan trees in this locality are wonderful lawn trees but as bearers they are worthless.
The Black Walnut
The list of black walnuts is altogether too long. Of the numerous introductions only a few are retaining their popularity. In this section I would still plant Stambaugh for its cracking and bearing qualities and its thin shell, but its flavor does not equal that of Thomas and Mintle. The Mintle is smaller but a much better cracker than Thomas. It is also a young and heavy bearer, grows fast and straight as a candle and grafts easily. The Elmer Myers will become the most popular black walnut in sections where it does well, provided its thin shell will withstand machinery hulling without injury to the nuts. We have not fruited the Myers as yet. The black walnut is fast rivaling the pecan, and for confection surpasses it because it retains its flavor after being cooked or baked.
The Persian walnut in spite of its popularity does not appeal to me. Its flavor can not compare with that of the pecan, hickory, or black walnut. Besides, it is too exacting as to climate and soil. We have tried all the supposedly hardy ones but so far only one will withstand our changeable climate. This one came from a New York nursery and the name was lost. We list it as the Schmidt for the man who owns the tree. This tree is now some twenty years old and bearing well. So far it is remaining healthy as also are the trees grafted from it. Our trouble with all other varieties of this species is that they make a second growth in fall and then succumb to frost. Of all the Broadviews, Shafers, Pekins and Crath seedlings we have grafted in the last ten years not one is now alive in this locality. Something puzzling to me is that two Broadview seedlings we now have growing from seed I obtained from Mr. Corsan of Islington, Ontario, are growing slowly but are still healthy after the '40 and '41 seasons. All the rest of the trees from this same seed succumbed.
Filberts, Hazels and Their Hybrids
The Winkler hazel failed to bear the past season the first time in 15 years. All pure filberts we have tried in this locality are a failure. Of the hybrids, Bixby and Buchanan are promising.
The Mollissima chestnut is very promising in southern Illinois. The tree requires protection in this locality as it sun scalds badly if not protected. No doubt many orchards will be planted in the future.
Propagating Nut Trees
This is a fascinating subject full of disappointments. We have our ups and downs as does everyone else who attempts it. I get numerous letters telling of their experience and troubles asking for details just how to go about it. What makes it so fascinating is that in certain seasons we have fabulous success and them again in others almost complete failure. Fall of '41 and spring of '42 we averaged 75% catches in budding chestnuts. Fall of '42 and spring of '43 our chestnut budding was just about nil, only 3 or 4% catches, and I am at a loss how to account for this variance.
A budded chestnut tree is much superior to a grafted one as far as the union is concerned. Grafted trees usually do not knit well the first season while at two years the union is good. So we also must learn our chestnut propagation all over again.
I have a letter before me from Brother Borst asking why his walnut buds took so well and not one of them vegetated in spring. This happened to us a number of times on both walnuts and hickories. Also, in the same season, we have had one or two varieties, of which we did not set many buds or grafts, to show 100% catches, while other varieties set the same day would be 100% failure. Apparently all scions used were in prime condition. Why then this great variance? While we used the double-bladed knife for budding and the side graft for grafting, other methods are just as successful under skilled hands. The skill of the operator has much to do with it.
Fall budding of persimmons. The persimmon has only about ten days in which it will fall bud. Before or after this period budding will not succeed. It also is important that the scions be taken from thrifty trees a number of years old. The ordinary "T" shield budding gives good success on the persimmon either spring or fall. The spring bud sticks should be perfectly dormant.
Butternut and Japanese Walnuts and Their Hybrids
None of these are worth the space they occupy in this locality. 1-18 on which I reported last year didn't set a nut this season. Of all the heartnuts I am acquainted with none are satisfactory. There is a siebold tree in St. Louis that so far we have been unable to graft that promises to be adapted to this vicinity. It is good bearer, good cracker and pleasant flavor. This class of nuts is adopted to the north where the pecan is unsatisfactory.
The Hicans and Hickories
The hicans are numerous in this and adjacent counties. While a number of them are good, I have located none that can compare favorably with Bixby, Gerardi, and Pleas for this locality. The Pleas is a bitternut hybrid and has some bitterness in the kernel, but no more than the English walnut and people like it. Of the twenty hicans we have tried the above three only are satisfactory.
In this latitude the hicans are unquestionably the most satisfactory nut trees to plant. They grow fast, bear young, have a high flavor, crack well and are unsurpassed as shade or lawn trees. Here the Gerardi and Bixby are the best so far fruited. The Pleas is very ornamental but lacks flavor. The Burlington and Fairbanks are adapted to the north but here are not satisfactory bearers.
I have reports on about 25 Gerardi hican seedlings. They are all worthless, smaller in nut than either pecans or hickories. The peculiar thing is that some of the pecans are decidedly bitter in flavor as also are some of the hickories. Two of the seedlings show shellbark blood.
Handling the nut weevil and plum curculio. Two years ago the few nuts the Gerardi hican had were all wormy. Last spring I cultivated the ground with a one-horse cultivator and gave our chickens free access to the feast. They made so good a job of it that not a single nut was stung this season. Where the ground can be flooded for several days this will also exterminate the weevil. The same treatment applies to plum curculio. Cultivation should be done before growth starts in spring, or quite late in fall.
If anyone ever got a Pleas hybrid nut to grow I would appreciate ever so much to hear from him. So far all my trials to germinate the nuts have failed.
I may add that in my estimation no land on this globe is blessed with a nut flora that equals that of the United States.
Nut Puttering in an Off Year
By W. C. DEMING, Connecticut
I did manage to get over to Avon Old Farms, the boys' school, and topwork a few hickory trees. All grew, about a dozen, except three scions of one kind that I put in one tree. This is the third year that I have grafted hickories on the grounds of this school, some three thousand acres. The school was planned and built by Mrs. Theodate Pope Riddle, and I was told there that it cost seven million dollars. It is a beautiful and original group of buildings in the lovely Farmington River Valley, well worth visiting.
Mr. Sperry the science teacher, is deeply interested in the nut trees. Dr. Arthur Harmount Graves and I have both given him a number of chestnut trees, and I have added a variety of others, walnuts, persimmons, papaws, pecans, filberts and others as well as the topworked seedling hickories. The trees have been given reasonably good and intelligent care. Many trees were badly winter killed or injured last winter when the temperature dropped to twenty-four below zero in Hartford, official, and is said to have reached forty below in Litchfield county. Japanese chestnuts were especially badly injured. But hybrids having an American strain seemed generally to be little injured. Filberts also showed bad injury. Pecans, persimmons and a papaw seemed to have weathered the winter, though they should be further observed before deciding. The nut trees have been set out in orchard form over tracts of a number of acres and well fertilized. The land is good.
Incidentally Mr. Sperry expressed the thanks of the school with more than one bottle—of fine maple syrup which he and the boys make every spring.
The mollissima chestnut tree in my yard at Litchfield, which Dr. Graves considers remarkable because it bears a moderate crop of fertile nuts every year without apparent benefit of outside pollination, was stripped almost bare of branches by an ice storm. It had reached thirty five feet in height, mainly, perhaps because pretty well surrounded by taller trees. Now it has to start over again from a much lower height. It bore a few nuts on the remaining branches this year.
On account of the restrictions on driving I did not visit Mr. Beeman at New Preston, but he wrote me that he had a few quarts of hickory nuts, chiefly Glover from one of his large topworked trees. He has a couple of acres set out to grafted hickories, some of which have been bearing for several years. Pretty good for a man now 86 who began nut growing less than ten years ago and who has serious physical handicaps. He is the man, as many of you do not know, who, when he began with nut trees, built scaffolds 40 feet high about each of two hickory trees in his yard, and topworked them almost to the last branch by a method of his own One reason for his success is that he is a violin maker with a record of perhaps fifty violins, violas and 'cellos, and he makes his own tools. He is a modest man whom it is a privilege to know.
I have had some interesting experiences with papaws this year. For the first time I have succeeded in growing the seed intentionally. The only other time when I have had seedlings was when a bunch of them came up by themselves in the yard as thick as hair on a dog. Last year (1942) in the fall, I scattered a lot oL seed in a perennial bed and poked them in with a cane and also in a reentrant angle of a house looking to the northeast, behind some rather luxuriant Christmas roses (helleborus niger) where there wore also lilies-of-the-valley and jack-in-the-pulpits and the soil had been rather heavily enriched. In both places the papaws came up quite freely, especially in the angle of the house where the sun struck only a short time each day. The chief reason, however, was probably the rich, deep soil. These seedlings with taproots 6 to 8 inches long were easily transplanted with their leaves on. I brought four of them to St. Petersburg, Florida. They are said to be native in upper Florida.
Dr. Zimmerman, who was our authority on papaws, said that he thought hand pollination was necessary for good crops. I have been making observations on this for several years and in 1942 obtained confirmatory results. Last spring (1943) I hand-pollinated a tree about 18 feet high using pollen from a number of other trees. This was the same tree on which I had had good results in 1942 over the limited part of the tree that I had been able to reach from the ground. This year I used a stepladder. Also, because the tree was close to a tool house, on the grounds of the park superintendent, I was able to reach the top of the tree from the roof of the tool house. From this tree I gathered about 100 fruits, all but two perfect, weighing together 23 pounds. There were several bunches of three and four and one of six. The quality I did not think as good as some. But it seemed a pretty good demonstration of the value of hand pollinating.
In the yard of a house in Hartford, belonging to the widow of a high school classmate of mine, I found a number of papaw trees, some of them as big as they often grow, perhaps forty feet high and up to a foot in diameter. The lady told me that they used to bear abundantly when her neighbor just over the fence kept bees. Since these are gone she has had very few or no fruit at all and the squirrels got them, if there were any. I pollinated a lot of blossoms that I could reach from the ground and in the fall they were quite loaded with clusters of fruit, but much smaller than those on the first tree described. They were, however, of better quality. There was also a small number of fruit in the high branches of the trees and some of these the squirrels cut off, but apparently just for fun as I did not see any sign of their eating them.
I am writing this in St. Petersburg, Florida. I boarded first with a man who describes himself on his card as a tree surgeon doing grafting and budding, spraying, fertilizing and pruning. This year he took the agency for the Mahan pecan and has sold quite a number at $5 each, with one order for twenty trees. These are put out by the Monticello, Florida nursery. The history of their buying the Mahan pecan tree, and a picture of the parent tree in its original home, is given in the files of the American Nut Journal, an index of the seventeen volumes of which I completed this year. Mr. Stewart sets out all the trees he sells and is meticulous in doing so. Nearby is a good sized Mahan tree with still quite a crop of nuts (in November) after a good many have been gathered. Mr. Stewart speaks well of this pecan tree as a good bearer, with nuts well-filled and of good quality. I haven't cracked enough of them to verify these statements but they are offered by the Monticello Nursery in fifty-pound lots. They sell at Webb's in this city for 65 cents a pound. Schleys I believe sell for 45 cents at the same place. The Mahan is, I think, the largest pure pecan, about a third larger than the Schley and those I have seen were equally thin-shelled. I mention this because I had supposed that pecans did not do well as far south as this. Yet I see many trees about the city, some with fair crops on them and some in good foliage, though many, or all of them I have observed, are partially defoliated by the fall web worm. I saw one fine tree that I was told was a Stuart. The Moneymaker also is said to do well here. I speak particularly of the Mahan because it has not, so far as I know, had the unqualified approval of the experts. But what has? And I don't know that it deserves it.
It is a joy to be among the many citrus fruit trees, the guavas, papayas, avocadoes, loquats, surinam cherries, new and strange fruits and flowers of many kinds in Florida. The Australian or Queensland nut, Macadamia ternifolia, grow and bear well here, I am told—but the squirrels got all the nuts! But the greatest joy of all is the freedom from ice and snow.
Nut Nursery Notes
By H. F. STOKE, Roanoke, Va.
The present season has seen an increase of interest in nut tree planting that is new in my experience. This interest is apparent not only in retail orders, but is reflected in inquiries received from large general nurseries, many of which have not been listing nut trees. I do not believe that this interest in food-producing trees is a passing phase of the war, but that it will continue if honestly catered to and wisely directed.
With apologies for personal reference, the demands of my small commercial nursery on my time and attention have become so heavy that I am faced with the necessity of either building a permanent organization of skilled workers or dropping out altogether. Due to advancing years and other considerations I am choosing the latter course. Because of this I feel free to make certain remarks as to the future of nut tree production that I would hesitate to make if I were still in the business.
Without doubt many of the large commercial general nurseries will take up the growing and selling of nut trees. We who have pioneered in this work, should welcome the increased public interest that will result from the more extensive advertising and cataloging of nut trees. The specialist who has worked out propagation, pollination and variety problems should be more than able to hold his own against the competition of newcomers in his field, however large.
As all old-timers know, there are certain factors in the growing of nut nursery stock that do not lend themselves to the mass-production methods of the large general nurseries. Stocks, generally, take longer to produce. It may take as much as six years to produce a saleable hickory tree from the time the seed is planted. Failures in grafting and budding walnuts run high, especially with beginners. A catch of twenty-five per cent means either selective hand digging must be resorted to or seventy-five per cent of the seedling stock must be sacrificed if power digging is used.
Suitable grafting stock for chestnuts is still a matter of controversy. Good authorities claim that Chinese chestnut is unreliable as a root stock while others, including myself, as stoutly maintain that the main need is for proper technique in grafting and budding. These and other considerations, including the training of workers in improved technique, offer certain obstacles to the newcomer which, in turn, offer certain temptations that may result in harm to the whole movement toward nut tree planting.
To be specific, the difficulty of producing good grafted or budded trees of named varieties may readily tempt the less scrupulous to sell any kind of nondescript seedling, while at the same time giving the public the impression that superior stock is being offered. This is, in fact, already being done. I have before me the catalogues of three large general nurseries. One of them offers what are obviously seedling Chinese chestnuts in these words: "Only two years from now, right on your own grounds, you can pick up big, fat, tasty chestnuts from the trees you plant this year."
Of English walnuts—no variety name given and quite obviously seedlings—the following description is given: "Thin-shelled, large, delicious nuts, producing heavy crops and demanding good prices". In both these cases the prices asked are as high or higher than good, grafted, named varieties can be bought for elsewhere.
The second catalogue offers seedling black walnuts, not so designated, and also "Thomas Improved" black walnuts at a higher price. Seedling English walnuts, not stated as such, are offered as having commercial possibilities and being as good in quality as those grown elsewhere. The third catalogue is entirely ethical and legitimate. It lists a limited assortment of well-selected varieties under their true names.
When misguided buyers purchase a seedling chestnut tree with the expectation of "picking up big, fat, tasty chestnuts in two years from planting" and realize a handful of nuts after ten years of waiting, or nothing but empty burrs because of lack of pollination, nut tree planting gets a black eye. The same is true when the buyer tenderly nurses a weak-rooted English walnut seedling for fifteen years before he gets a few small, thick-shelled, astringent nuts.
When nurseries that show honesty in their advertising write me for information I give them the best I have. When their advertising is otherwise I do not trouble to answer. One party, after asking many questions, wound up by saying he wanted "to get in on this nut game." My impression was that if he had said "shell game" he would have more accurately stated his case.
Buyers should be on their guard not to be deceived by flowery, but vague descriptions. If catalogues list nut trees by recognized variety names it is pretty safe to assume that the trees are as represented. If recognized variety names are omitted the trees may safely be considered to be seedlings and that they will produce a wholly unknown quantity, no matter how alluring the advertising. Of course, this is not intended to discourage the planting of new varieties offered by nurseries of known reputation for integrity, nor of such strains as the Crath Carpathian walnut importations, from which new varieties are emerging.
As a practical note I wish to state that the black walnut is by far the most satisfactory stock on which to graft walnuts of any species. Not infrequently seedling English walnut trees take from ten to fifteen or more years to come into bearing. I have fruited fifteen or more varieties by grafting on black stocks, and in no case has it required more than five years for the trees to bear. Frequently they have borne in two or three years. The English walnut is also a more vigorous grower on black walnut roots than on its own.
The Sherwood butternut grafted five or six years ago on butternut stocks has not borne yet; grafted on a small black walnut in the nursery row in 1942 it bore one nut in 1943 and has many staminate buds for 1944 visible at the present time. Walters heartnut bears the second or third year on black walnut; it has not borne for me on butternut after seven years. The same holds good for the other heartnuts.
In the grafting of chestnuts, defective (incompatible?) unions can generally be spotted the first year. They develop with a transverse fissure into which the bark ingrows. Good unions show new tissue entirely around the closing wound; the final scar as healing approaches completion being vertical, i. e. longitudinal with the stock. This result can be obtained by proper technique.
The members of the Association can do much to further the cause of nut tree planting by discrimination in recognizing the ear-marks of honest advertising and encouraging their friends to make their purchases from conscientious, responsible nurserymen. Our Association nursery list is a valuable help in this direction.
Report from the Tennessee Valley
By THOMAS G. ZARGER, TVA, Norris, Tennessee
Black Walnut Industry—in the early fall of 1943, a survey was made of the black walnut industry in the Tennessee Valley and Nashville Basin. Four commercial cracking plants had shelled 10 million pounds of nuts purchased in 1942. This year, cracking plants have offered to buy unlimited quantities of nuts in the shell at the relatively good price of $4.50 per 100 pounds. Because of the manpower shortage, especially on the farm, the collection of nuts has not exceeded the preceding year. Pasteurizing plants had processed a quarter of a million pounds of kernels purchased in 1942. This year only three pasteurizing plants will operate, and a smaller quantity of kernels will be processed. The kernel supply from the home-cracking industry has decreased because the sanitation requirements of the Federal Food and Drug Administration are difficult to meet in the homes.
Bearing Habits of Wild Black Walnut—Looking forward to a fuller utilization of the wild black walnut crop, the bearing habits of the black walnut tree is being investigated. Four-year records are now available on tree growth, nut yield, and nut quality of sample trees located throughout the Tennessee Valley. For 121 trees, with a range in diameter from 4 to 28 inches total dry nut yield, in pounds, averaged as follows: 1940, 31; 1941, 24; 1942, 38; 1943, 29. There is some evidence of alternate bearing, with a heavy crop followed by a very light crop. How much larger nut crop a larger tree is expected to bear was found to increase on an average trend from 0 pounds of filled nuts for a tree of 4-inch diameter to 65 pounds for a 24-inch tree. Judged on the basis of nut quality, only one of the sample trees compared favorably with standard propagated varieties of black walnut. Filled nuts on the average, amounted to 83 percent of total nut crop weight, and had a total kernel percentage of 21. Recovery of marketable kernels averaged 17 percent of total nut weight. In order to learn still more about the bearing habits of the black walnut, records on all sample trees will be carried on for two more years.
Macedonia Black Walnut—A sample of black walnuts from a tree growing on the home place of Mr. N. U. Turpen at the Macedonia Community at Clarksville, Georgia, were sent to us for evaluation in 1939. The nuts were thought to be two years old—from the 1937 crop. When tested, the kernel content averaged about 40 percent—the highest on record for a black walnut. The tree, supposed to be the one which bore the nuts we tested, had not borne any appreciable amount since 1937. Since the tree yielded good crops in 1942 and 1943, we are now in a position to report further on the Macedonia walnut. Based on cracking tests of nut samples, the average nut weight and kernel percentage were 16.8 grams and 28 percent in 1942; and 16.4 grams and 29 percent in 1943. It is apparent that the Macedonia black walnut has not exhibited those exceptional characteristics of thinness of shell and high kernel percent which were found in the original sample tested.
Report from Minnesota—Letter from Carl Weschcke to Miss Mildred Jones
The winter of 1942-43 was the most damaging on fruit and nut trees within my experience of 25 years in River Falls, Wisconsin. The main reason was that we had a long wet fall and all vegetation was in a succulent green condition when our first snow storm of September 25th hit us. For other details of this winter and the Armistice Day storm of 1941, the second in its deleterious effect on horticultural varieties, please write Mr. C. G. Stratton, Coop. Observer, of River Falls, Wisconsin, who is in charge of the U. S. Government weather bureau there. Mr. Stratton furnished me with an affidavit showing one of our very coldest winters in which the temperature went down, in February, to 47 deg. below zero. This was in 1936. This winter of extreme cold did very little damage to trees, and an apricot on which I had taken out a plant patent, subsequently called the Harriet apricot, went through this winter without any damage and bore fruit the next year. This gave me such confidence in its hardiness that I began to propagate it for sale. The winter of 1942-43 wiped out practically all of the apricot trees of this variety and all of the early Richmond cherries that had been growing on my farm for nearly twenty years. It killed more than half of the catalpa trees which were nearly as old. It also killed outright a large Stabler black walnut which had been grafted on a Minnesota seedling nearly twenty years previous. This was a fine large flourishing tree that bore each year and I had thought because of this behavior that Stabler was to be considered one of the hardiest of the black walnuts. It had stood up better than Thomas many winters. I could go on enumerating failures of many other varieties and species but it is a long story and a sad one.
To make this report more concise I will now give you my opinion as to what is hardy under these severe tests. To begin with, one of your father's hazel hybrids, of which I have two bushes, stood all of this very well. These bushes, which are perhaps fifteen years old, are still flourishing, although the main trunks are decaying rapidly. Several of the sprouts are blossoming freely. These two bushes have borne only one crop of nuts, although they blossom freely, and the catkins are about as hardy as anything in the filbert line that I have seen. The reason for their not bearing is lack of pollination. I never did find out what was satisfactory, even at the time that I hand-pollinated them to get a crop of nuts. The nuts are much more satisfactory than Winkler or Rush hazels. The Rush is absolutely worthless here; is subject to blight and is very tender to our winters. The Winkler is a very hardy variety, bears something every year. The trouble with the Winkler is that it matures its nuts so late, much later than the Jones' hybrid. I never have propagated your father's hybrid for sale as I did not know a hardy pollinizer for it. I have sold a few Winklers, recommending them for proper locations. I have one Winkler planted by a small lake cottage up at Delta, Wisconsin. This is about thirty miles west of Ashland, Wisconsin. This territory is very uncertain for successful corn raising so the Winkler is quite a hardy bush.
Four hybrid plants that bear worthwhile nuts, which grew from seed planted in 1933 and 1934, are perfectly hardy, almost as hardy as the native wild hazel and hardier than any other worthwhile filbert or hybrid that we have. This hardiness is no doubt due to the fact that the mother plant was an ordinary wild Wisconsin hazel. These hybrids, from the native hazels, we call "Hazilberts," and have obtained a United States trademark on all plants produced after this manner. Here again I have not recommended nor sold any of these because of my lack of knowledge as to the correct pollinizer; this has yet to be developed. They do not pollinize themselves nor do they pollinize each other satisfactorily. They have all the finest characteristics that you could ask for except prolificacy which may be due to the lack of a proper pollinizer. They are the most resistant to the hazel blight of anything that I have worked with so far in 25 years. Hard winters, such as we have had recently, have no deleterious effect on them. They blossom and do not lose any of their wood and apparently there is no injury. They are very vigorous plants and can be trained to a single tree standard or they make very tall-growing vigorous bushes. I have placed these filberts and their hybrids first on my list of recommended trees because they are going to be the backbone of nut tree production.
I have nearly one hundred experimental European filberts, mostly of wild varieties, of which about a dozen are hardy both in pistillate and staminate bloom, even in our most severe winters, although of this dozen only about two or three have nuts which could possibly be considered commercial. Practically all of these are being injured in one way or another by the blight. Many have passed out of existence and only two or three have been able to resist the blight so that it doesn't seem to make any headway. I do not do anything for a blighted filbert—it must take care of itself. I have experimented along these lines, however, using chemicals and other means of protection. I do not know of anything adequate except to build resistance in the plant itself through cross-breeding.
The next really successful plant is the Weschcke butternut. This is a native butternut which I discovered on my own farm. Every local woods has butternut trees in it. We must have at least five hundred butternut trees in our woods; they are subject to some kind of a bark disease but this seems to encroach on the life of the tree very slowly since trees that I remember showing signs of this disease nearly twenty years ago are still living. They are awful looking sights, however, by this time. Such large trees that have developed this blight are possibly in the neighborhood of fifty years old. The Weschcke butternut is a medium size to small butternut. Its great value lies in the fact that it splits exactly in half and the shell structure is so shallow that by merely turning the nut upside down the kernel falls out—nothing to hold it in the shell. Very frequently the kernel stays absolutely intact, its wings being held together by the little tender neck joining them at the point of the nut. The nut kernel is tender and light colored. The difficulty here is grafting them on black walnut roots; after they are grafted they grow very rapidly and bear at once. I have had them bear the first year grafted.
Next in line of hardiness and reliability is the Weschcke hickory. This is now an old-timer; since its successful grafting in 1934 it has borne an ever-increasing crop every year. This is not to be measured in bushels, however, but in pounds. No other hickory nut has begun to touch it, in its regularity, reliability and its quality: that is, no hickory so far north. It is the thinnest shelled hickory of any that I have ever tested out, and releases its kernels about the best of any. It has one fault, however; the staminate blossom is abortive, never produces any pollen. It needs a pollinizer and we have been recommending the Bridgewater and the Kirtland which we know by actual experiments have produced pollen in large amounts, sufficient for pollinization of this tree. Even before Kirtland and Bridgewater pollens were available those trees, grafted to the Weschcke, bore hickory nuts every year, but in very small quantities. I am now quite sure that they borrowed pollen from the wild bitternut trees which are in abundance nearby. There is also the other possibility, which has not been conclusively proved, that this variety is a parthenogen. Innumerable hard frosts in early springs have destroyed butternut crops and walnut crops, but these hickory nuts invariably come through such seasons and escape the early fall frosts, which come in September, for the reason that the nuts are matured usually the second week in September. We therefore can recommend the Weschcke hickory freely. We have not determined how far north it can live, but I believe the 45th parallel is very safe, and as far west as the Dakota line. It originated at Fayette, Iowa, and probably would thrive far into the south. It grafts extremely well on the wild bitternut hickory root which is about the hardiest known. Your father was very partial toward it as a stock. This root system does not handle all hickories by any means. In all my trials using pecan scions the only pecan which grafts well on it and survives indefinitely, is the Hope. This is also a very hardy tree but we cannot recommend it as a nut tree because we have never seen the parent tree bear any nuts. The parent tree is now twenty years old. Quite a large tree but no nuts. It is growing in an unfavorable location for bearing since it is shaded by much larger trees. It is growing right here in St. Paul.
The Bridgewater and the Beeman are two more hickories which are very hardy and which come into bearing quickly, also are successfully grafted on bitternut root. They do not mature their nuts so reliably nor so early by any means as the Weschcke. For a little further south they might be very reliable. They are fully as hardy and satisfactory in every other respect. The hickories that have proved to be fairly hardy but have produced very few nuts are the Cedarapids and the Kirtland. The Beaver hybrid hickory is probably next for nut production satisfaction, grafts well on bitternut root but does not seem to have a long life. The trees that I bought from your father nearly twenty years ago are now dead although they lived to become large fine trees and bore in some seasons very nice crops of nuts. The Fairbanks hickories, grafted some seventeen or eighteen years ago, are still surviving, but bear very few nuts, some seasons practically nothing at all. They very seldom ripen as they mature very much later than the natives or the other varieties mentioned above. I do not consider the Fairbanks a very edible nut anyway as they become very rancid after a couple of months. The Beaver is not a good keeper either. This is rather an important characteristic in a nut and one in which the Weschcke excels, as in ordinary office temperature it usually keeps two or three years. I believe that this is partly due to the thin shell. My theory is that the thin shell expands and contracts with heat and moisture conditions without cracking. This prevents air from getting at the kernel, and since it is the oxygen which is mostly responsible for rancidity, this exclusion of air probably accounts for the fresh state that these nuts maintain for a long time. I have noticed that thick-shelled shellbarks and, to a lesser degree the shagbarks, crack open, in minute hairline cracks, and these nuts which split like this invariably soon become rancid.
Now the black walnuts are next in order. For many years I considered the Ohio a worthless variety. They would seldom mature any of the nuts, and although they were regular bearers the thick hull was a nuisance. I have had twenty years' experience with this variety and they are the hardiest of all the old ones. They stand up very well and each year the nuts become a little more satisfactory. Evidently the trees have the ability to acclimatize themselves and they stand up better than Thomas, Stabler or Ten Eyck of the old varieties that I have tested.
More recent varieties which I have tested and have proved satisfactory, are the Paterson and the Rohwer; I recommend these two above all other black walnuts. I have two seedlings which I am watching with a great deal of interest. One is from Minnesota and the other is a failed grafted tree which sprang up from the root and so far is beginning to bear prolifically a medium sized nut with a rather thick shell which does not crack out very well but the quality is superb. It has a thin hull which you can pop off by merely pressing your thumb against it after it is thoroughly dry, coming off very clean leaving a good looking nut. The kernel is very light straw-colored and you can generally get them out in good pieces, about one-quarter of the whole kernel. Above all it matures very early, about the middle of September or sooner, and this is the deciding factor for any nut, because, no matter how well It cracks, how prolific it may be, or hardy, if you do not get a ripe nut you have nothing for here in the north. I feel quite certain that this is going to be the standard black walnut for the north. For want of a better name I have been calling it the "Ruffy" because the hull, when green, has a pimply surface and a rough appearance.
The other black walnut that I am watching is a seedling resulting from ten bushels planted nearly twenty years ago, the only tree to bear because of the crowded condition of all these walnuts planted so close together. I have been watching it for six or seven years and was never able to get a mature nut until this year. Reason was that in most of the seasons the nuts were empty; other times I did not wait until they were fully ripe, being too anxious to find out what was inside. This tree I have named the "Walbut" because it seemed to me it might be a cross between a butternut and a walnut. The kernel is very light colored. It cracks out the best of any walnut I have ever tested. It is difficult to graft, so far in my experience. I have no living grafts from it although I have tried again and again to graft it on other large isolated stocks in the orchard. It has a square shape, with deep indentations near the point. It is something to watch, and work with although it does not seem to be extra hardy in spite of the fact that it is a native tree. At present it is merely an interesting variety to experiment with and it may possibly be of some use later on. The branches have shown curious little birdseye markings—it has a habit of developing buds which die and form little brown structures in the wood and it is possible that the tree may be a fancy timber tree. The shell has only one structure down the center, thereby insuring that the halves come out whole.
An ornamental known as the lace-leaf walnut is very hardy here, doesn't winter kill at all but so far has not borne any nuts. The Deming Purple is not hardy; the Stabler is very unreliable considering the last few years; the Thomas is still one of the best except it suffers from winter injury occasionally; the Ten Eyck very seldom bears any nuts although we have several very large trees now. The Elmer Myers possibly has a chance; it is still living. The Snyder has survived the last few winters and in my opinion it is one of the best nuts I have ever seen. The grafts have borne a few nuts already in the second year of grafting. They set a couple of nuts even after a severe winter last year, but they fell off during the summer, much the same as the Thomas and many of the Ohio did. The same thing happened to practically all of my hybrid hazels, also the Winkler and even the wild hazel kept continually dropping the nuts until there was practically nothing left. No doubt this effect was produced by a peculiar season. We should not hold it against the nut trees since it was a universal condition.