ECSONG
A Nut Growers' Manual

Recommendations by Species

Species Recommendations

The species included in the following sections of this chapter of the manual were chosen by the Eastern Chapter Society of Ontario Nut Growers (ECSONG) from the much longer list of some seventy-seven candidates known or thought to be capable of growing in this region.

Many species, varieties, hybrids and cultivars have been considered for planting in the eastern Ontario and western Quebec region. The list in Appendix Two was drawn up early in the history of the Ottawa Area Chapter of SONG. When the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) asked the fledgling Chapter to help it develop its Baxter Nut Grove near Kemptville, the species list was compiled to help choose those species that would be planted at Baxter. The trees listed are thought to have a reason chance of survival in this region.

The chosen ten are a cross-section of possibilities, touching on the conifers (specifically, the Korean Nut Pine) and deciduous trees (for example, the Black Walnut), shrubs as opposed to trees (for example, the hazel or filbert), truly native trees (for example, the Butternut) versus the truly exotic (for example, the Gingko), those providing excellent timber (for example, the White Oak and Black Walnut), potential commercial nut crop (specially the Heartnut), and wildlife attractant (for example, the Shagbark Hickory, Beech and Bur Oak). In truth, all the species are versatile in all these respects, as is made clear in the following sections of this chapter of the manual.

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra L.) (1) (8) (10)

Black walnut is one of the most valuable hardwood species native to North America. Its nuts are edible and its wood is highly prized.

1. Description

The Black Walnut is confined to the Carolinian forest zone and part of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence zone from Kingston out to Goderich, that is in Zone 6 or warmer. If protected, the tree can be grown considerably north of its natural range.

The Ottawa area Chapter of SONG has compiled a list of significant successes in Eastern Ontario either plantings or natural trees. This information is contained in its Inventree file.

The most notable locations for black walnut are: Richmond Village - planted trees; Manotick Village - planted trees; Woodlawn village - planted trees; Gloucester Township - National Capital Commission (NCC) Greenbelt on the Borthwick Ridge - planted trees; Chesterville - planted in park; Britannia Filtration Plant, Ottawa - planted; Williamstown village - planted near cemetery; Oak Valley on the South Nation River- Irene Woolford, a new Chapter plantation in the South Nation Conservation Authority area; Baxter Conservation Area - Rideau Valley Conservation Authority's (RVCA) "Baxter Nut Grove", supported by the Ottawa Area Chapter of SONG; Wolfe Island - Bob Scally, planted; White Lake area - George Truscott, planted; and the National Arboretum, Ottawa.

Other possible walnut varieties include the Carpathian walnut, Juglans regia L., and the Japanese walnut, Juglans sieboldiana maxim. The former varieties produce prolific crops in the western and southern USA The latter is hardy in southern Ontario. In eastern Ontario it is growth as an ornamental. Horticultural varieties (8), however, have nut production possibilities in Eastern Ontario.

2. Fruit

Walnut varieties have been propagated for their nut meats. Occasionally a tree appears with excellent nut producing qualities. Look for trees with: large size nuts; good nut meat yield, plump, well flavoured; thin, easily cracked shells; the two halves separate easily; consistent whitish nut meat; light coloured skins, not dark skins.

If one of these is found it should be carefully tended by removing undesirable competition, pruning, fertilizing and protecting. Scions should be collected and grafted to a sturdy walnut root stock. Groves using the grafted stock should be established.

(i) Yields (12) (1)

A mature walnut will yield from twenty five to fifty kilograms (fifty to one hundred pounds of nuts. About three quarters of a square meter of trunk cross-section at one and a quarter meters above the ground per hectare (about a half square yard per acre at breast height) of land produces the best nut crops.

(ii) Uses

The fruit has many uses. The hulls yield a permanent yellow dye. The shells can be used as buttons, ornaments, mulch and fine abrasives. The meat has a strong distinctive flavour (18) for specialty baking and toppings, following recipes (17) for walnuts published in the Chapter's nut cookbook.

De-husk nuts immediately, and dry in a cool, well-ventilated area. Black walnuts can be de-husked several ways. One is to cut the husk into four wedges with a paring knife, and peel off the sections by hand. Use kitchen gloves to prevent the copious black stain from tanning your skin. A second method is to roll the nuts underfoot on a hard surface, then wash them down. A third method, suitable for large volumes, is recommended by Fred von Althen. Put a quantity of nuts into a cement mixer along with a few fist sized rounded stones and some water. Let the mixer run about a half hour. Drain, recover the nuts and dry them. Doubtless, there are other methods.

(iii) Crackability

Walnuts are difficult to crack. Use a hammer on the nut's suture line, tapping lightly. Use an inertial-type cracker . Place the nut end-on in the cracker so the striker hits the nut on its pointed end. In any case, the long term objective is to grow varieties that crack easily.

3. Wood

The wood is prized for fine furniture and fittings either as dimension lumber or veneer. About one and three quarter square meters of trunk cross section per hectare (about five square feet per acre) yields the best timber volume. The wood is heavy, hard, strong, straight-grained, diffuse, porous, and dark brown with paler sapwood. Burls and roots are very valuable.

4. The Growing site

The tree prefers a deep (about one and a half meters or five feet), well-drained, non-acidic loam. A slope is preferable to allow cold air to drain away. Protect from north winds with a windbreak. As with any orchard, access must be available for year-round silviculture.

5. Site Preparation (5) (9)

Complete site preparation is preferable for successful establishment and rapid growth. At the Baxter Nut Grove, each individual tree site was treated with Roundup¨ specifically to kill the quack grass prior to planting. Walnuts may be inter-cropped if wide spacing is used. Be sure the tree has room to expand its feeder roots without competition from undesirable weeds.

6. The Planting Stock (8)

Selected stock should be planted. Seedlings of known origin are desirable but do not produce completely true to form. Grafted stock from at least two varieties is the most desirable material. Walnuts generally bear every two years so alternate year cultivars are required. Wind pollination requires male and female flowers to be in synchronization for successful fertilization. Commercial nurseries may be able to supply tested, hardy horticultural varieties.

7. Planting the Stock

Plant at pre-determined spacing. At the Baxter Nut Grove, three specimens were planted in a triangle in each planting. This strategy significantly improves the chances that at least one tree will survive (the others, if necessary, would eventually be removed leaving the best tree growing in that spot). Make a detailed management plan based on your objectives and use it as a guide. Preferably, walnuts should be planted in situ, as seed, rather than transplanted. If transplanting is necessary, seedlings two or three feet in height succeed best. (ii) Cut off large seedlings, leaving a two to three inch stem and a shortened tap root pruned free of defects. (ii)

For an inter-cropping and nut production site, prepare the site fully the year before. Plant the trees at either fifteen meter (about forty foot) spacing or three meter (about ten foot) spacing in the inter-crop rows. Cull out (thin) undesirable trees to attain the fifteen by fifteen meter (about forty by forty foot) spacing.

Choose an intercrop of hay, oats, etc. and plant it between the rows leaving at least a two meter (about seven foot) strip for the trees. Walnut in mixture with red or white pine, planted as a nurse crop to enable the walnuts to get started, have proved successful in eastern Ontario.(ii) Walnut roots produce a natural substance called juglone which is toxic to some plants, especially pines. Consequently, when the walnuts have reached a robust size, the juglone eliminates the pines from the plantation, releasing the walnuts. Walnuts may also be mixed with other tolerant hardwood species at closer spacing. Plant early in the spring by hand.

8. Tending (5) (9)

Keep the root zone free of weeds. Mulch the trees with sawdust or wood chips. At the Baxter Nut Grove, the trees are mulched with wood chips to a depth of about five centimeters (two inches). The mulch is replenished as it decomposes. Weeds that come through the mulch can be eliminated with Roundup. Site preparation should have eliminated the original actively growing weeds. Simazine applied early in the spring at from four to seven kilograms of active ingredient per hectare should then control most germinating annual weeds. A spot touch-up with Roundup¨ may be necessary for tough plants like quack grass.

Also, do not use a metal pipe as a tree stake because it will conduct frost to the root system. (iii)

9. Pruning

Correctively prune each tree over the years to form a single clean stem at least three meters (about nine feet) high for veneer logs or about six meters (about seventeen feet) high for timber. This will ensure a sound, knot-free log. Regular orchard pruning techniques, producing a full sound crown, also should be used.

10. Fertilization

Walnuts require a high level of fertility. Annual soil tests will indicate deficiencies in nitrogen, phosphates, or potassium and trace elements like zinc, copper, iron or boron. Fertilize early in the spring. Do not encourage excessive shoot growth into the fall frost period by fertilizing after July 15th.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for Black Walnut

Walnut may be propagated successfully vegetatively. Grafting, budding or root layering are all possible. When grafting be sure the scion base can drain off accumulated sap. Leave a small unwaxed hole at the base. To ensure a good veneer log, set scions on the root stock less than one and one half inches above the ground. Use one or two year old seedlings as root stocks. If a tree performs poorly as to form, cut it off at ground level in the fall and it will send up a strong sucker the following spring. Cut off any competing suckers.(ii)

A homemade stratification box was constructed by Bob Scally and works well. Bob describes mixed plantings, transplanting and protection from rodents. (iv) Alec Jones gives useful tips on propagation in the Nuttery newsletter, vol. 7, no. 4. Fil Park describes underplanting a hardwood woodlot on an island in Big Rideau Lake, also in the Nuttery, Vol. 7, no. 4. Irene Woolford has started a black walnut/white pine mixture in Oak Valley on the South Nation River (South Nation Conservation Authority) (vii) as the second Chapter nut plantation project after the "Baxter Nut Grove" near Kemptville.

Heartnut (Juglans sieboldiana var. cordiformis)

The Heartnut is an introduced hybrid of the Japanese walnut. It has value as a timber tree and, above all, has potential as a profitable nut producer in Eastern Ontario.

1. Description.

The Heartnut has been planted from Zones 4 to 6, and has a number (8) of horticultural varieties. There are good performers in the Haliburton area and at the Morgan Arboretum in Montreal. Lorne Harrison (ix), of Metcalfe, Ontario, successfully established a few trees which bore at age five years . Their nuts were viable and of good eating quality. Other Heartnut locations locally are the National Arboretum in Ottawa, and Alec Jones' (v) tree farm near Merrickville.

The Heartnut's compound leaf has eleven to seventeen leaflets, alternate, fine toothed, longer than butternut, similar to Juglans sieboldiana itself. The leaf drops in mid season. The male and female flowers are borne on the same tree, on the current year's growth. The very prolific female flowers produce up to ten nuts per stalk. The bark is light grey, similar to butternut. The tree's form comprises few branches, low headed, good landscape tree.

Heartnut varieties may acquire other desirable qualities when crossed with butternut or black walnut. The species has increased frost hardiness, thus may be moved inland from the Great Lakes and northward. It shows resistance to bunch disease, anthracnose, butternut canker and die-back. .

2. Fruit

A heart-shaped nut, about four centimeters (about one and a half inches) in diameter, smooth, with a thin husk. The husk is not "dirty" like walnut and can be peeled off by hand when dry. The nuts have smooth shells, with kernels that are easy to remove by hand. The flavour is mild. The walnut and butternut hybrids have spiny shells, not smooth.

(i) Yields (12)(1)

The trees are very productive bearers, achieving up to one thousand kilograms per hectare (one thousand pounds per acre) which yields up to about three hundred kilograms of kernels per hectare (three hundred pounds per acre). Some trees in the eastern Ontario and western Quebec region have borne first fruit (ix) as early as age five years.

(ii) Uses

The nut meats are mild tasting and may be eaten out of hand or used in baking, toppings, etc, following recipes (17) for walnuts or butternuts published in the Chapter's nut cookbook. The shells are an attractive heart shape, which may be used as ornaments, for crafts, and for fine abrasives.

(iii) Crackability

The shell cracks easily with a hand nutcracker and the nut meat comes free cleanly.

3. Wood

The wood is light in weight, light brown in colour with still lighter sapwood, weak, diffuse and porous. It is used for interior finishes and furniture. It is not as desirable as walnut.

4. The Growing Site (12)

A protected site is desirable, for example a site with a windbreak, with good air drainage, moist, with high water table, and hardpan, bedrock or cold soil close below. Surface soil must be well aerated, rich and easily fed with leaf mould, manure or broadcast fertilizer. The soil pH should be slightly acid at pH 5.0 to 6.5.

5. Site Preparation (5)(9)

Complete site preparation the fall prior to planting is essential. At the Baxter Nut Grove, each individual tree site was treated with Roundup¨ specifically to kill the quack grass prior to planting.

6. The Planting Stock

Hybrid seedlings may be used, ie a Heartnut x butternut. The progeny produce nuts with the characteristic heart shape. Nuts from these (F2 generation) may produce nuts with the ovoid Japanese walnut shape (ix). Be sure to transplant seedlings with as much surface root intact as possible. Spread these out carefully. Mulch with black plastic to raise soil temperature and stimulate surface roots. Bone meal mixed in the planting soil is beneficial. Heartnuts grafted on walnut root stocks has not been satisfactory. A compatible root stock (12) is essential for even growth.

7. Planting the Stock (12)

Plant the trees out at three and a half meter by four and a half meter spacing (about ten by fifteen feet). This is six hundred and thirty five trees per hectare (about three hundred trees per acre). Over the years, gradually thin them by quality to sixty trees per hectare (about 30 trees per acre). Heartnuts have a shallow root system and require a competition-free growing space to do well. Winter snow cover is essential to protect roots. Equipment without high-flotation tires can be damaging.

Intercropping may be difficult as the Heartnut root system is very shallow. A leguminous crop like clover may be a beneficial intercrop.

8. Tending (12)(3)(9)

Control weeds and grasses as required to eliminate competition. Natural juglone usually controls some competition. If erosion is a problem, a mowed forage cover beyond the root zone could be maintained.

9. Pruning

Prune the trees for top shape as with conventional orchard practice. Correctively prune each tree over the years to form a single clean stem at least three meters (about nine feet) high for veneer logs or about six meters (about seventeen feet) high for timber. This will ensure a sound, knot-free log. The tree will have a low, full crown so a greater height may not be justified when a nut crop is the primary objective.

10. Fertilization

Heartnuts are prolific feeders and benefit from broadcast manure or fertilizer in the early spring. A soil test will identify any nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium deficiencies. Do not encourage excessive shoot growth in the fall frost period. Leaf fall is not usually early.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for Heartnuts

The nut generally germinates easily. It does not require a cold moist stratification period, as does walnut or butternut, but this is recommended. The Heartnut has a thinner shell, less tightly sealed. Germination of ninety percent in cold moist stratification is common. Place in stratification with hulls on. Plant the nuts two centimeters deep (about one inch) before the radicle appears, early in the Spring. Heartnuts also may be propagated by stooling and branch layering (Gellatly). Root layering as with walnuts has possibilities.

Butternut (Juglans cineria)

In the mid 60's, the butternut canker fungus (Sirococcus clavigigninti) appeared in North America, and rapidly spread throughout the continent. The fungus is known to be spread with nut husks and wood, but its rate of spread indicates that at least one wide-ranging carrier for the spores exists - probably flying insects. It is considered useless to count on isolation of a tree to protect against infection. Instead, fungus resistance must be developed within the butternut genome by selection or hybridization.
 
As a result, planting of butternut trees should only be done to test for fungus resistance, not with the expectation of a successful plantation. In Ontario, you should consult with the Forest Gene Conservation Association.

1. Description

The Butternut is a small to medium tree, seventy feet in height and three feet in diameter. The trunk is divided in open grown trees to give an irregular flat-topped crown. It is native to Eastern Ontario and western Quebec. It is planted in woodlots to supplement natural stands and in urban area as ornamentals. Butternuts are usually found in wooded areas and fence lines throughout the region. The compound leaf has eleven or twelve leaflets. There are horticultural varieties. (8)

2. Fruit

The husk is brownish when ripe. It is thick and sticky. It must be removed if nuts are to be stored for eating. Methods similar to removing black walnut (vis) husks are used. Nuts should be dried in a cool, airy place and when stored should not be allowed to dry out. The nut shell is sharp-ridged and thick.

(i) Yield (7)

Trees bear every second or third year, and yield crops reflecting environmental problems like drought, insects, diseases, etc.

(ii) Uses

The nut meats are nutritious (18), oily, pale, sweet and very palatable. Prepare following the recipes (17) for butternuts published in the Chapter's nut cookbook. The kernel size varies from tree to tree, so select as seed trees those with plump kernels and thinner shells.

(iii) Crackability

The shells are thick, hard and ridged. Butternuts are normally more difficult to crack than Black Walnuts.

3. Wood

The wood is diffuse, porous, light weight, soft, weak, coarse-grained and light chestnut brown colour with a paler sapwood. It is not as important as walnut, but it is used for boat-building, interior finish and furniture.

4. Growing Site

Butternut desires a well-drained loam. It grows in a stunted form on shallow rocky sites and limestone flats. The tree is rarely grown as a cultivated tree except as a shade tree. It is found in the tolerant hardwood forest.

5. Site Preparation (5) (9)

Complete site preparation is preferable for successful establishment and rapid growth. At the Baxter Nut Grove, each individual tree site was treated with Roundup¨ specifically to kill the quack grass prior to planting. Be sure the tree has room to expand its feeder roots without competition from undesirable weeds.

6. The Planting Stock (8)

Only selected stock should be planted. Seedlings from known origin are desirable but may not produce completely true to form. Wind pollination requires male and female flowers to be in synchronization for successful fertilization. Commercial nurseries may be able to supply tested, hardy horticultural varieties.

7. Planting the Stock

Plant at pre-determined spacing. Make a detailed management plan based on your objectives and use it as a guide. Like the walnut, it should be planted in situ rather than transplanted. If transplanting, walnut seedlings two or three feet in height succeed best (ii), and this may apply to butternut. Cut off large seedlings leaving a two to three inch stem and a shortened tap root pruned free of defects (ii), as is done with the walnuts.

For inter-cropping and nut production, fully prepare the site the year before and plant the trees at forty foot spacing or ten foot spacing in the rows. Cull out (thin) undesirable trees to attain a forty by forty foot spacing. Choose an intercrop of hay, oats, etc. and plant it between the rows leaving at least a two meter wide (seven foot) strip for the trees. Possibly, they may also be mixed with other tolerant hardwood species at closer spacing. Plant early in the spring by hand. Mulch the trees with sawdust or wood chips.

8. Tending (5) (9)

Butternut has been planted only rarely so following the procedures for tending other Juglans species, as reported in the sections on the Black Walnut and the Heartnut, is the best course. At the Baxter Nut Grove, the trees are mulched with wood chips to a depth of about five centimeters (two inches). The mulch is replenished as it decomposes. Weeds that come through the mulch can be eliminated with Roundup¨. In the wild, individual trees may be favoured in the woodlot for timber or nuts. These should be selected and carefully released from competition.

9. Pruning

Correctively prune each tree over the years to form a single clean stem at least three meters (about nine feet) high for veneer logs or about six meters (about seventeen feet) high for timber. This will ensure a sound, knot-free log. Regular orchard pruning techniques, producing a full sound crown, also should be used.

10. Fertilization

Annual soil tests will indicate deficiencies in nitrogen, phosphates, or potassium and trace elements like zinc, copper, iron or boron. Fertilize early in the spring. Do not encourage excessive shoot growth into the fall frost period by fertilizing after July 15th.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for Butternuts

Butternut can be used as a rootstock for walnut or Heartnut as it is the hardiest of all native nut trees. Also, a superior butternut nut producer can be grafted to another butternut root stock.

Hazelnut (corylus americana x avellana)

Most hazels (also called filberts) are shrub-like. The three species of hazel are Corylus avellana, the large imported variety; Corylus americana, a small shrub of the Carolinian and south part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest regions; and Corylus cornuta, the beaked hazel found from the Carolinian to the Boreal zones. There are many horticultural (8) varieties, as can be seen in Appendix IV.

1. Description (1)(12)

Some large-nutted varieties are found in Montreal and Morden, Manitoba, so there is potential for growing in Eastern Ontario. Frost kill of the catkins in winter and spring limits many varieties. Both male and female flowers are on the same plant. The leaf is simple, double serrate margin, and ovoid. The flowers vary slightly from species to species. The catkins of the beaked hazel are about four centimeters long; of the American about four to nine centimeters long. They appear in early spring. The twig of the American is hairy, whereas the beaked twig is smooth.

2. Fruit

The fruit of native hazels is usually small, ovoid, one centimeter in diameter. Some individuals produce larger, consequently more desirable seed. Cross breeding has produced acceptable frost-hardy, full-fruiting varieties.

(i) Yield

Since wind pollination and the hardiness of the catkins have a large bearing on fruit yield, the yield varies with the cultural practices used.

(ii) Uses

The hazel nut is highly desirable as food (18). Prepare following recipes (17) for hazelnuts published in the Chapter's nut cookbook. The spent shells presently has no commercial use.

(iii) Crackability

The shell is thin and brittle when dry. It is easily cracked.

3. Wood

The hazel wood is very flexible, and has been used for arrow shafts, divining rods, etc. over the ages. The bush or small tree form does not produce lumber.

4. Growing Site

The growing site must be sheltered to permit close spacing and provide full sun. The soil must be a humus, rich, deep, loam, pH 6 to 7, well-drained, about one meter in depth. The plant is never really dormant and winter catkins need protection from cold winter temperatures and desiccating winds. The plant can withstand minus eighteen degrees Celsius minimum. A windbreak on the northwest side is desirable.

5. Site Preparation (1)(12)(9)

Strips at three meter spacing and two meters wide oriented north and south should be treated with Roundup¨ the fall before planting. At the Baxter Nut Grove, the site was treated with Roundup¨ prior to planting specifically to kill the quack grass. The vegetation between the strip should be mowed and converted to grass. Possibly it could be killed completely to remove cover as mice and voles will certainly invade the shrub-like hazel plantation if they can reach it.

6. The Planting Stock

Seedlings, rooted cuttings, stools and layerings are used. Ten percent of seedings are true to form. Layering is the most popular method of propagation as the hazel branch can be bent easily to ground level and pegged down without breaking. At least three varieties should be planted to ensure good pollination. These should have desirable characteristics, e.g., nut size and quality and ability to be trained in a tree-like form. The Turkish Hazel, Corylus colurna, is tree-like and has been established in the Baxter Nut Grove.

7. Planting the Stock

Plant at two meter spacing in the strips so the greatest number of plants orient north and south for westerly wind pollination. Prepare a good deep hole to accept the root system. Mix in one half kilogram of bone meal per plant. Clean up damaged roots by pruning. Spread roots. Plant with crown about four centimeters below soil level. Tamp soil back carefully. Mulch with sawdust or wood chips.

8. Tending (5) (9) (12)

Maintain a weed-free growing space at least two meters wide. Protect the stems with plastic tree guards. Repellants containing Thiram are useful if applied in the fall, painted on the stems to the height required. Keep grass strips mowed short. First spacing should be about twelve meters between rows and eight meters between trees oriented north-south.

9. Pruning

Hazels are basically a shrub form. Nuts are borne on the outer branches exposed to the sun. Remove dead or damaged stems. Train outer branch to droop into the light. There are hazels that grow in tree form, namely the "Tazel" varieties. They should be trained to a central stem and kept conical in shape. Nut bearing is light until branches droop, then it increases.

10. Fertilization

Soil testing will reveal nutrient deficiencies. Do not fertilize in the first year. Thereafter, try 10-10-10 at one half kilogram per three centimeters of tree diameter. Spread the fertilizer on the surface under the crowns away from the stems to avoid burning. About one thousand kilograms of 10-10-10 fertilizer per hectare (one thousand pounds per acre) may be required when nut-bearing begins. Apply in the spring.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for Hazels (12)

The fruit is slightly impervious to water, so dried nuts must be wrapped in damp peat moss and placed in a refrigerator at thirty five degrees Fahrenheit for at least eight weeks, or crack the kernels and do the same.

Filbert blight is a threat, so plant resistant varieties, prune dead branches, remove defective shrubs, spray with Bordeaux mixture and fertilize heavily. Branch layering of local hardy varieties ensures uniformity. The "mother" branches will be "drooped" and bear better. It takes two years to produce a well-rooted layered plant. Replace old plants with successful varieties to maintain production.

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata Mill.) K. Koch

The Shagbark Hickory has an edible nut and possesses top quality wood. There are many horticultural varieties. (8)

1. Description (10)

The Shagbark Hickory is a medium to large sized tree up to twenty five meters (eighty feet) high and just under one meter (two feet) in diameter, taking up to two hundred years to mature. Its relative, the Bitternut Hickory, Carya cordiformis, is more common and also grows locally but reaches further north. Though the Bitternut is a "pecan Hickory", its nut is unpalatable, but its wood is of good quality. The remaining five "true hickories" that grow in Ontario, including the Shagbark, are generally not grown for commercial nut crops, but selected "wild" individuals are tended for nuts and wood. The Shagbark Hickory is a native tree in eastern Ontario.

2. Fruit (1)

The fruit is a small, ovoid, white thin-shelled nut up to four centimeters (one and one half inches) in diameter. The husk is fairly thick, from three to ten millimeters (one eighth to one half inch), and splits to the base. The fruit falls from the husk in September or October.

(i) Yields

It can fail to fruit properly because of poor pollination, short seasons, or lack of summer heat. There is no local data yet on yields.

(ii) Uses

The kernels (18) are whitish, in two pieces, firm, sweet and full bodied. For eating, prepare by following the recipes (17) for hickory nuts published in the Chapter's nut cookbook.

(iii) Crackability

The shell is moderately thick and hard, and not easy to crack.

3. Wood

The wood is ring-porous, tough, heavy, strong, fine-grained: reddish brown with whitish sapwood. It is used for tool handles, sporting goods, machinery parts and vehicle stock.

4. The Growing Site

Shagbark Hickory requires a deep, upland, well-drained, moist, fertile soil. It has the largest taproot of all nut trees, and must develop this before top growth accelerates. In Eastern Ontario, a sheltered site is essential for wind pollination and protection from dessication. Shagbark Hickory is not grown commercially in Ontario yet. It has great potential, but considerable research must be done.

5. Site Preparation (9)

Shagbark Hickory is found in mixture in wooded uplands or as solitary trees in old fields. In the woods, they should be selected and released from competition. Corrective pruning may be in order. If a grove is to be grown, complete cultivation of the planting spot is required. Use Roundup¨ to clear quack grass on spots two meters by two meters (six by six feet), as was done in the Baxter Nut Grove, at six meter (20 foot) spacing in the fall before the year of planting. Mow all grass and weeds between the spots.

6. The Planting Stock

Shagbark can be grown from seed or grafted onto shagbark rootstock. Obtain seed from selected trees.

7. Planting the Stock

Protect from rodents with wire screening. Plant two or three seeds per spot about six centimeters (two to three inches) deep in the permanent location in the fall. This multiple planting will ensure at least one good tree will finally develop. For transplanting seedlings, mix one half kilogram of bone meal with the planting soil and dig in deeply, one meter (three feet) deep if possible.

8. Tending (5) (9)

Maintain a weed-free spot at least two meters (six feet) square. Mulch seed spots with sawdust or wood chips. At the Baxter Nut Grove, the trees are mulched with wood chips to a depth of about five centimeters (two inches). The mulch is replenished as it decomposes. Weeds that come through the mulch can be eliminated with Roundup¨. Protect trees with spiral plastic tree guards. Repellants containing Thiram¨ are useful if painted on stems and lower branches. Irrigate the first year to establish a deep root.

9. Pruning

Correctively prune each tree over the years to form a single clean stem at least three meters (about nine feet) high for veneer logs or about six meters (about seventeen feet) high for timber. This will ensure a sound, knot-free log. Regular orchard pruning techniques, producing a full sound crown, also should be used.

10. Fertilization

Fertilize with 10-10-10 at one half kilogram (one pound) per two and one half centimeters (one inch) of stem diameter in the second or third year. Soil tests in subsequent years will identify fertility requirements. To maintain a good organic content in the upper soil horizons, well-rotted manure may be applied as a nutrient supplement.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for Shagbark Hickories (1)

Hickories have extremely long tap roots. The main reason for failure in transplanting seedlings is that the tap root is severely damaged in digging. A seedling over one year old, if growing properly, will have a root in excess of fifty centimeters (a foot and a half) and a top about fifteen centimeters (six inches) high. In the second year the root may be one meter (three feet) while the top is twenty centimeters (eight inches). Height growth accelerates in about the fifth year.

Seedlings do not necessarily grow true to parentage. Results are more predictable if the desirable material is grafted onto an established root stock.

Beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.)

The Beech is one of our most distinctive nut trees.

1. Description (1)(10)

With its blue-grey bark, large crown and persistent fall leaves, the beech stands out among its associates, namely the sugar maple, basswood, red oak, hemlock and white pine. It inhabits the Great Lake-St. Lawrence Forest Region in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Beech is tolerant of shade, so is referred to as a climax species.

2. Fruit

The fruit is encased in an ovoid prickly bur. When the ripe husk splits in October, it reveals two or three triangular, brown, shiny, thin shelled nuts, about one centimeter (half inch) long, though size varies.

(i) Yields

In the wild, Beech produces sporadic crops of edible nuts of varying sizes. Most of them are consumed by birds and animals before we ever see them. Consequently, collecting beech nuts often appears to be a waste of time.

(ii) Uses

The kernels are high in fat (18) and vary in taste. They are better tasting when dry. The nut meats can be stored in a cool place and eaten whole or crushed to form an oily butter. They are used in baking or roasted and salted as a snack. Prepare following recipes (17) for Beech nuts published in the Chapter's nut cookbook.

(iii) Crackability

The seed coat is thin and easily removed.

3. Wood

The wood is diffuse, porous, heavy, strong, hard, reddish brown with almost white sapwood. Beech is used for flooring, furniture, wooden ware, cooperage and as railway ties (when treated with preservative.) Beech is the only wood used in the filtering process of vinegar manufacture, largely because it has almost no extractable components to adulterate the aging vinegar.

4. The Growing Site

Beech grows in the northern tolerant hardwood area of Ontario and Quebec. It is found naturally on deeper lower slopes, on well-drained, slightly acid soils. On poorer, shallower sites it becomes stunted, branchy and defective. It is rarely found in the open as a solitary tree. A plantation site should be protected, deep, well-drained, and weed-free. Beech can also be used as an ornamental or in hedging and shelter belts.

5. Site Preparation (5) (9)

Beech may be grown mixed with other species in its natural habitat. Prepare, as with other nut trees, spots at least four square meters (forty square feet) and mow all grass and weeds between these. At the Baxter Nut Grove, each individual tree site was treated with Roundup¨ specifically to kill the quack grass prior to planting.

6. The Planting Stock

Little is known about growing Beech and seedlings are not commercially available. Select superior trees from the wild. Look for form vigour, stem quality, disease resistance, nut size and periodicity of yields. When collecting seed, seek trees with large nuts and consistent crops. Nuts are not always full, nor do the trees bear every year or second year. Germinate the seed by fall planting or by stratification and spring planting. Seedlings from a good stand in the wild may be dug up and transplanted. Rooted suckers on a source tree may be cut from shallow surface roots and transplanted.

7. Planting the Stock

Planting may be done using seedlings as the root system is not generally tap-rooted. Plant at three meter (ten foot) intervals in well-prepared holes with one half kilogram of bone meal per hole, and thin trees out as they develop. A beech hedge may also be developed, with its best orientation in a north-south direction. Plant at two meter (six foot) spacing. At the Baxter Nut Grove, three specimens were planted in a triangle in each planting spot. This strategy significantly improves the chances that at least one tree will survive (the others, if necessary, would eventually be removed leaving the best tree growing in that spot).

8. Tending (9)

Maintain a weed-free area under the drip line of the tree. At the Baxter Nut Grove, the trees are mulched with wood chips to a depth of about five centimeters (two inches). The mulch is replenished as it decomposes. Weeds that come through the mulch can be eliminated with Roundup¨.

9. Pruning

When growing Beech to full size trees, correctively prune each tree over the years to form a single clean stem at least three meters (about nine feet) high for veneer logs or about six meters (about seventeen feet) high for timber. This will ensure a sound, knot-free log. Regular orchard pruning techniques, producing a full sound crown, also should be used. If the Beech are to form a hedge, use hedge pruning techniques.

10. Fertilization

Although this is a forest tree, high fertility may induce good nut production.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for Beech (13)

If an exceptional tree is found, try to propagate by taking scions and grafting onto established root stocks. Little is known about this, but standard grafting methods should work. Seed may be stored in sealed containers at about five degrees Celsius (forty degrees Fahrenheit). Viability is about two years. Seed stratification for ninety days is sufficient to break dormancy. Fall sowing in protected beds is recommended.

Gingko (Gingko biloba)

The Gingko is the oldest cultivated nut tree and is the sole species in the family Gingkoacae. It is a gymnosperm whose seed is not enclosed in a cone. It is called a living fossil and can be identified over one hundred and fifty million years of our earth's history. It has survived because continental glaciation did not reach the Orient.

1. Description (1)

The Gingko is stately in shape, reaching up to one hundred feet in height. The trunk is cylindrical, tapering, and has scaly bark. It could reach three feet in diameter. In the juvenile form, it is straight-stemmed and sparsely branched, conical in shape. It is used mainly as a curious ornamental and is quite hardy in eastern Ontario. It has few insect or disease problems.

Planted individuals are seen all over southern Ontario, Eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Good examples exist in Ottawa, the National Arboretum at Ottawa and Montreal's Morgan Arboretum.

The leaf is characteristically fan-shaped with no main mid-rib. Veins emanate from the bottom into the fan. Colour is light green with slender, short petioles. The leaves turn yellow and defoliate rapidly in the fall.

The species produces male and female flowers on separate trees. True seed is borne on female trees only and a male tree is required for pollination. Male pollen bearing flowers are arching catkins similar to oak but stouter and less pendulant. Female flowers occur in pairs and are borne under small expanded knobs on the ends of long stems.

2. Fruit.

Fertilized flowers develop plum-like orange-yellow fruits about one inch in diameter and consist of a thick, fleshy outer layer covering a pointed oval seed one half to three quarters inches long with a smooth, hard outer shell containing a soft kernel.

(i) Yields

The trees found growing in this region are known to bear heavily, though there are no figures on the quantities.

(ii) Uses

In Asia, people prize these nuts as a delicacy, hence their nut-growing possibilities here. Follow the recipes (17) for gingkoes published in the Chapter's nut cookbook.

(iii) Crackability

When ripe, in the autumn, the fruit falls and the fleshy pulp (which may irritate the skin if handled without gloves) bursts and emits a foul odour. After cleaning, the seeds are white or silvery and crack easily.

3. Wood

The wood is white or yellowish-white, diffuse, porous, with no distinction between sapwood and heartwood. it is soft and easy to work. If it were available in large quantities it may have commercial possibilities.

4. The Growing Site

The Gingko requires deep, well-drained soils. It does well in protected urban areas. However, wind-break protection is advisable in the open countryside.

5. Site Preparation (9)

If grown as a possible commercial venture, complete site preparation would be necessary the fall before. Strips about four meters (fifteen feet) apart could be prepared about two meters (six feet) wide oriented north and south. The vegetated area should be mowed. Dual cropping could be tried, spacing the trees at three meter (ten foot) intervals on six meter (twenty foot) wide strips.

6. The Planting Stock

Grafted seedlings or rooted cuttings may be obtained at commercial nurseries. You may try to cultivate your own by collecting your own seed or buying it from certified seed houses (a). Store it in sealed containers in the refrigerator. Since male and female trees are required, purchasing certified male or female stock is more reliable for attaining proper male/female distribution in the plantation.

7. Planting the Stock

Unlike other nut trees, there is little genetic variability in the Gingko species. All specimens are more or less alike. Therefore, there would be no benefit in planting thickly with an eye to thinning for superior trees in the future. The best method for Gingko is to plant the trees at the final plantation spacing, which normally is on six by six meter (twenty by twenty foot) squares. Then simply replace any dead or damaged trees. Soak the seed for two days in warm water to break dormancy, then plant out in the fall. Germination will usually occur the next year.

The seedling root system is fibrous so the tree transplants easily. The planting hole should be as deep as the root system. The roots should be spread out and the soil tamped back gently. Mix a half kilogram of bone meal with the soil.

8. Tending

The seedlings should be protected from frost for the first two years. Protect by covering with mulch and wrap with burlap. Maintain a weed free growing area by shallow cultivation or use of chemicals. Simazine¨ applied at low rates in the spring may provide adequate weed control. Little is known of Gingko tolerance to chemicals. If it survived for one hundred and fifty million years, it must be tough. It tolerates pollution well. Protect from rodents with tree guards.

9. Pruning

Prune away lower branches sufficiently high over time to assure easy access under the tree for maintenance work.

10. Fertilization

Fertilize with 10-10-10 in the early spring. Tree performance and soil tests are both good indications of requirements.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for the Gingko

To ensure a good male/female ratio, using grafted stock or rooted cuttings may be the only solution. Select good male and female trees and collect scions from the current season's wood in March. Refrigerate in damp sphagnum moss or sand. Graft these onto established seedlings in the ratio of about three females to one male when growth begins in the spring. Arrange these grafted trees in the plantation so that the male trees are evenly distributed amongst the females for good pollination. These trees are wind pollinated, so take note of the prevailing winds in the plantation area and place the females generally down wind of the males.

Korean Nut Pine (Pinus koraiensis)

The Korean nut pine is an Asiatic species which grows in an eastern Ontario like climate. The Korean Nut Pine is a food staple in northern Asia. It is cultivated for both excellent timber and abundant edible seeds. The Siberian nut pine (Pinus siberica) is also a likely candidate.

1. Description (12) (14)

The Korean nut pine can reach a height of thirty five meters (about one hundred and twenty feet) and a diameter of nearly two meters (five feet). It is a long-lived tree. It is found in Asia between latitudes thirty five and fifty two degrees north and longitudes one hundred and thirty and one hundred and forty degrees west. Local botanical races exist.

The leaf is five needled, grey-green, and six to eight inches long. The needle bundles are erect on the twig, and persist on the tree for two to three years. Both male and female flowers are on the same tree. They flower in June. It takes two years to produce a mature cone. Cones are ovoid, gummy, and ten to twelve centimeters (four to five inches) long. The twigs and buds are densely pubescent. Lamas growth is common. The bark is similar to the white pine (Pinus strobus).

The growing range in Ontario and Quebec would be as north as North Bay in Ontario to Quebec City in the east. Good bearing specimens are found in Montreal. Some excellent data on growth in the Ottawa area has been compiled by Mark Schaefer (viii).

2. Fruit (12)

The nut is a wingless pine seed about one half inch in length enclosed in an ovoid cone about fifteen centimeters (six inches) long. Cones are borne starting at about age twenty and take two years to develop. The cone drops during the winter months. Unopened cones seal the seed in with pitch. The seed remains viable for many years in their unopened cones.

(i) Yields

A single cone can contain a half kilogram of seed (about one pound). There are from eighteen to two thousand nutlets per pound and a good stand can produce up to five hundred kilograms per hectare (five hundred pounds per acre).

(ii) Uses

The seed is used as an abundant food. (17)

(iii) Crackability

The seed coat is relatively hard but can be broken with household equipment. To break cones apart, chill to zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus twenty degrees Celsius) and break apart with a hammer. Alcohol or turpentine will clean up the pitch.

3. Wood

The wood is soft, rose-coloured, easily worked and is used for furniture and construction. Although slow growing in early years, it accelerates in height growth after about the eighth year.

4. The Growing Site

Korean nut pine requires a deep, acid, sandy, well-drained soil similar to blueberries. It should also be sheltered from desiccating winds.

Old white or red pine land is desirable for mycorrhizal activity. The nut pine requires a special mycorrhizal fungus, found in native white or red pine stands, to develop properly. Larsson(14) points out that three year seedlings were chlorotic and in shock until the native pine litter, humus and mineral soil from the "A" horizon under a native white pine stand was applied. Failures of 1981 plantings at Cornwall, where there are no white pine, bear this out. The 1981 plantings on the NCC Greenbelt in Gloucester City are successful because of the proximity (viii) of white pine. Plantings at the Baxter Nut Grove have not yet developed well largely because of vandalism, though lack of sufficient inoculum may be a contributing factor.

5. Site Preparation (9)

Conifers require less intensive site preparation than hardwoods. The plantings could be at about two and a half meter (eight foot) spacing on four meter square (fifteen by fifteen foot) spots prepared with Roundup¨ the fall before. The dead vegetation could be left as a mulch for the seedlings. After planting, Simazine¨ could be applied at four kilograms of active ingredient per hectare (about four pounds per acre) to retard new weed invasion.

6. The Planting Stock

Seed may be obtained from commercial seed houses (a) or seedlings from specialist tree nurseries. Every effort should be made to record the exact origin of the seed: the latitude, longitude, altitude and every aspect of the local site. If a greenhouse is available, they may be grown in containers for one season, then planted in transplant beds in the fall. Use large, deep containers. Grafting may also be considered with scions from exceptional trees on white pine root stock.

7. Planting the Stock

Plant as you would with regular conifers. Start at two and a half meter spacing (eight feet by eight feet) and thin as required. Keep in mind that a full, productive crown is the objective, so selective thinning to about twenty five trees per hectare (fifty trees per acre) may be in order for nut production. Timber may be cut from the thinnings and sold for pulpwood or sawlogs.

8. Tending

Mow grass and weeds short between trees and rows. Keep the ground under the tree to drip line clear of vegetation. Simazine¨ at four kilograms active ingredient per hectare (about four pounds per acre) may be adequate. Note that over application on sandy soils may be detrimental.

Place rodent guards on all trees for protection. The trees planted in the National Capital Commission's Greenbelt received only spot Amitrole and Simazine treatment for four years and performance has been good.

10. Fertilization

Conifers generally do not require fertilization, however, monitor soil nutrients annually. One feed application of 20-20-20 in the early spring every second year at one half kilogram per two centimetres of trunk diameter would maintain growth and vigour.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for Nut Pine

Stratify the seed in damp peat moss for three months at forty degrees Fahrenheit (three degrees Celsius). Expose the seed to at least fifteen hundred hours of chill interval (fall, winter, spring) at three degrees Celsius. This stratification can be done in a refrigerator a stratification pit outdoors. Seeds that germinate before the time is up are unlikely to be frost hardy locally. (12)

Seed may be planted directly into the nursery bed in the fall. The nursery bed should be acid sand, with at least five percent organic matter and must contain inoculum from native white pine leaf litter. Plant seed at four centimeter (two inch) centers and one centimeter (half inch) deep. Mulch with white pine needles. Protect from rodents. Use a shade screen the first year.

The seedling may be transplanted in special beds after one or two years to produce a suitable tree for planting out.

In the nursery (14), the main problem in the first year will be frost heaving. Mulch with hardwood sawdust, shredded leaves or straw each fall. Do not smother the seedlings. In the spring replant all heaved seedlings before they dry out.

In the second year, rodents are likely to be the main problem. The nutlets are very attractive to rodents. Mice, chipmunks, red squirrels, feed on the nuts and cotyledons of newly germinated seeds. Thiram¨ coating deterred mice but not red squirrels which attacked the germinating seed (14). Treat all seed with rodent repellant, cover the beds with two centimeter (one inch) chicken wire after sowing, place bait stations in the bed area, and consider setting rodent traps.

Larsson (14) feels it's better to transplant greenhouse grown containers. A good alternative (viii) is to construct a box one meter (three feet) wide, two meters (six feet) long and one half meter (foot and a half) high covered with one centimeter (half inch) mesh. The top should be hinged for easy access.

In the third year, nutrient deficiency is likely to become the main problem. As noted, mycorrhizal fungi from the white pine is required for root development.

White Oak (Quercus alba)

The White Oak is highly prized today mainly for its wood. In the past, however, the native peoples (18) of this region ate its acorns as a substantial part of their diet.

1. Description (10) (1)

White Oak is only one species of many oaks found world-wide. It is in the white-oak group characterized by rounded leaf lobes. Its northern range is eastern Ontario, but few are left because of their value as a timber tree. The challenge is to find a good, indigenous white oak and propagate it. The acorns are edible but competition from birds and animals leaves us with few, which are usually of poor quality.

2. Fruit

The ovoid acorns are two centimeters (three quarters of an inch) in length, thin skinned and are borne in clusters of two or singly. Seeds are borne at about twenty years of age. Periodicity is four to ten years with light crops between. They ripen in September or October.

(i) Yields

A good tree can yield up to two bushels of acorns.

(ii) Uses

To process for food (18), remove the cup and brownish skin and follow the recipes (17) for acorns published in the Chapter's nut cookbook. The whitish meat contains a small amount of tannin which makes them somewhat unpalatable for direct consumption. The meat is usually chopped and ground into meal and cooked in hot water alone, or hot water and wood ashes to remove the tannins. A number of cookings may be required until the liquid is clear. The acorn meal may be mixed with cornmeal or wheat flour for better taste. The oil which can be extracted is reputed (18) to soothe pain in the joints.

(iii) Crackability

Acorns as a rule are quite easy to open, and yield a kernel almost as large as the acorn itself.

3. Wood

The wood is ring porous, heavy, hard, strong, close-grained, pale brown with lighter sapwood. It is used for furniture, flooring, interior finish, boats, vehicles, and tight cooperage for whisky barrels.

4. The Growing Site (1)(10)

White oak prefers a deep well-drained, sandy or clay loam. It is associated with upland hardwoods of the mid tolerance range, ie the cherry, basswood and white ash. It is occasionally found with white elm and soft maple in better drained bottom land. It is semi-tolerant so does well in the open or in openings in a woodlot. Like most hardwoods, if it is to be planted in a plantation situation, protection with a conifer windbreak is advisable.

5. Site Preparation (5)(9)

Prepare seed beds which are deep, moist and well aerated. At the Baxter Nut Grove, each individual tree site was treated with Roundup¨ specifically to kill the quack grass prior to planting. Prepare the site the fall before planting.

6. The Planting Stock

Seedling stock may be purchased from specialist nurseries (13) or you can collect your own from the wild. If a true white oak (hybrids are known with bur oak and swamp white oak) is found in eastern Ontario, mark it well as a seed source. Release it from competition and prune it to remove damaged branches. Give its crown room to expand. White oak seed matures in one year. When they fall they are already breaking dormancy.

7. Planting the Stock

Sow seed about three centimeters (one inch) deep, mulch and protect from rodents. A taproot is produced followed by a fibrous root system. One year seedlings may be planted out. Direct seeding in spots in the woodlot may also be tried but remember the squirrels are watching.

Plant seedlings in a specially prepared hole with about a half kilogram (one pound) of bone meal mixed in the soil. A spacing of one and a half meters (five feet) between seedlings may be tried, but heavy thinning must then follow. A deep hole is required and the tree roots must be well spread and tamped in firmly.

Open field cultivation may be attempted in mixture with black cherry and white ash or in a pine stand. The entire removal of competition on a spot two meters square is required. Space the seedlings at three meter intervals. A rodent guard or repellant is required.

8. Tending (9)

Complete vegetation control around the tree to drip-line is essential. Keep vegetation mowed between trees.

Thin the trees as required to maintain a full crown. For veneer and timber production, develop a full canopy as well. Wider spacing is required for nut production, so that a closed canopy does not develop.

9. Pruning

Pruning to maintain a straight, single stem is essential. Correctively prune each tree over the years to form a single clean stem at least three meters (about nine feet) high for veneer logs or about six meters (about seventeen feet) high for timber. This will ensure a sound, knot-free log. White oak veneer is very valuable. A healthy, full crown is essential for both timber and nut production. Regular orchard pruning techniques, producing a full sound crown, can be used.

10. Fertilization

All hardwoods, especially in a non-forest situation, require nutrient supplements. A foliage or soil test should be done annually. Do not fertilize the first year. A 10-10-10 fertilizer broadcast under the crown and slightly beyond in early spring at one half kilogram per three centimeters (one pound per inch) of tree diameter is recommended.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for White Oak

White oak seed does not require stratification to break dormancy. It is already germinating as it falls from the tree. Plant it out at once.

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Bur Oak is the most wide ranging species of oak in Canada. Its wood is valuable and it is little affected by air pollution from automobiles.

1. Description (10)

Bur Oak is in the white oak group. It is found farther north than white oak - Sault Ste. Marie to North Bay and into western Quebec north of Montreal. It is smaller than white oak and, in appearance, is much more ragged. It is common on shallow, limestone soils or fence lines or in open fields. In the woodlot it is found in well drained uplands along with ash and basswood. The silvicultural properties of the bur oak are essentially the same as for the white oak.

2. Fruit

The acorns ripen in August and September.

(i) Yields

The tree produces heavy acorn crops every two or three years with light crops in intervening years.

(ii) Uses

The sweet, edible acorn (18), like white oak, must be leached free of tannins. Its meat is used the same way as white oak. Prepare (17) following the recipes for acorns published in the Chapter's nut cookbook.

(iii) Crackability

Acorns as a rule are quite easy to open, and yield a kernel almost as large as the acorn itself.

3. Wood

The wood is ring porous, heavy, hard, strong, brownish with paler sapwood. It is used, as with white oak, for flooring, furniture, interior finish, boat manufacture and tight cooperage.

4. The Growing Site (1)(10)

Bur oak prefers a deep well-drained, sandy or clay loam in rich bottomland. It is associated with upland hardwoods in the mid tolerance range, namely black cherry, basswood, and white ash. It is occasionally found with white elm and soft maple in better drained bottom land. It is semi-tolerant so does well in the open or in openings in a woodlot. Like most hardwoods, if it is to be planted in a plantation situation, protection is with a conifer windbreak is advisable.

5. Site Preparation (5)(9)

Open field cultivation may be attempted in mixture with black cherry and white ash or in a pine stand. The entire removal of competition on a spot two meters (six feet) square is required. Space the seedlings at three meter (ten foot) intervals. At the Baxter Nut Grove, each individual tree site was treated with Roundup¨ specifically to kill the quack grass prior to planting. Prepare the site the fall before planting.

6. The Planting Stock

Seedling stock may be purchased from specialist nurseries (13) or you can collect your own. Bur oak seed matures in one year. When they fall they are already breaking dormancy.

7. Planting the Stock

It is advisable to prepare a deep, moist and well-aerated seedbed. Sow the acorns about three centimeters (one inch) deep, mulch and protect from rodents. A tap-root is produced followed by a fibrous root system. One year seedlings may be planted out. Direct seeding in spots in the woodlot may also be tried but remember the squirrels are watching.

Plant seedlings in a specially prepared hole with about a half kilogram of bone meal mixed in the soil. A spacing of one and a half meters may be tried, but heavy thinning must then follow. A deep hole is required and the tree roots must be well spread and tamped in firmly. A rodent guard or repellant is required.

8. Tending (9)

Complete vegetation control around the tree to drip-line is essential. At the Baxter Nut Grove, the trees are mulched with wood chips to a depth of about five centimeters (two inches). The mulch is replenished as it decomposes. Weeds that come through the mulch can be eliminated with Roundup¨. Keep the surrounding vegetation mowed. Simazine¨ may be used as directed. Maintain rodent guards. Thin trees as required to maintain a full crown. A somewhat wider spacing is required for nut production than for timber production.

9. Pruning

Correctively prune each tree over the years to form a single clean stem at least three meters (about nine feet) high for veneer logs or about six meters (about seventeen feet) high for timber. This will ensure a sound, knot-free log. Regular orchard pruning techniques should be used to produce a full, round crown. Bur oak veneer is very valuable, seldom distinguished from the white oak. A healthy, full crown is essential for both timber and nut production.

10. Fertilization

All hardwoods, especially in a non-forest situation, require nutrient supplements. A foliage or soil test should be done annually. Do not fertilize the first year. A 10-10-10 fertilizer broadcast under the crown and slightly beyond in early spring at one half kilogram per three centimeters (one pound per inch ) of tree diameter is recommended.

11. Special Propagation Techniques for the Bur Oak (13)

There is no special pre-germination treatment required. Like the white oak, the seed embryo is not dormant and the seed should be planted in the fall.

Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.