DISCLAIMER The articles published in the Annual Reports of the Northern Nut Growers Association are the findings and thoughts solely of the authors and are not to be construed as an endorsement by the Northern Nut Growers Association, its board of directors, or its members. No endorsement is intended for products mentioned, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The laws and recommendations for pesticide application may have changed since the articles were written. It is always the pesticide applicator's responsibility, by law, to read and follow all current label directions for the specific pesticide being used. The discussion of specific nut tree cultivars and of specific techniques to grow nut trees that might have been successful in one area and at a particular time is not a guarantee that similar results will occur elsewhere.
NORTHERN NUT GROWERS ASSOCIATION
REPORT OF THE PROCEEDINGS AT THE FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING
WASHINGTON, D. C. NOVEMBER 18 AND 19 1913
NORTHERN NUT GROWERS ASSOCIATION
REPORT OF THE PROCEEDINGS AT THE FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING
WASHINGTON, D. C. NOVEMBER 18 AND 19, 1913
CONCORD, N. H. THE RUMFORD PRESS 1914
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Officers and Committees of the Association 4
Members of the Association 5
Constitution and Rules of the Association 10
Proceedings of the Meeting held at Washington, D. C., November 18 and 19, 1913 11
Experiences and Experiments with the Persian Walnut, A. C. Pomeroy, New York 11
Forage Nuts and the Chestnut and Walnut in Europe, J. Russell Smith, Virginia 20
Present State of the Chestnut Blight, J. Franklin Collins, Washington, D. C. 25
Top-Working Seedling Pecan Trees, W. N. Hutt, North Carolina 32
Unusual Methods of Propagating Nut Trees, Dr. Robert T. Morris, New York City 43
The Possibilities of Nut Culture in Utah, Leon D. Batchelor, Utah 48
The Diseases of Nut Trees, M. B. Waite, Washington, D. C. 50
Insects Injurious to Nut Trees, A. L. Quaintance, Washington, D. C. 62
Demonstrations of Methods of Propagating Nut Trees 64
Report of the Secretary-Treasurer 69
Resolution Concerning Nurserymen Adopted at the Annual Meeting of the Association, November 18 and 19, 1913 71
Present at the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Northern Nut Growers Association 72
George W. Endicott—The Boone Chestnut, E. A. Riehl, Alton, Ill. 74
Letters from Members 75
The Late Henry Hales as a Nut Culturist, H. W. Hales, New Jersey 77
The Filbert Blight. Abstract of Paper by Humphrey 78
The Truth about Tree Planting with Dynamite 79
Correspondents and Others Interested in Nut Culture 81
Authorities and Special Correspondents 89
The Chestnut Blight and Immune Hybrids. Recent Publications 92
OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION
President T. P. LITTLEPAGE Indiana Vice-President W. N. ROPER Virginia Secretary and Treasurer W. C. DEMING Georgetown, Conn.
ROBERT T. MORRIS C. A. REED AND THE OFFICERS
W. C. DEMING G. H. CORSAN W. N. ROPER
T. P. LITTLEPAGE C. A. REED W. C. DEMING
W. C. REED R. T. MORRIS W. C. DEMING
R. T. MORRIS J. R. SMITH C. P. CLOSE
Press and Publication
W. N. ROPER T. P. LITTLEPAGE W. C. DEMING
Canada Dr. D. S. Sager Brantford Colorado Lloyd H. Decker Greeley, R. 5 Box 11 Connecticut Charles H. Plump West Redding Delaware H. P. Layton Georgetown Florida H. Harold Hume Glen Saint Mary Georgia I. B. Wight Cairo Illinois Norman W. Casper New Burnside Indiana R. L. McCoy Lake Iowa Alson Secor Des Moines Ireland Dr. Augustine Henry 5 Sanford Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin Kansas L. L. Powers Dodge City Kentucky A. L. Moseley Calhoun Maryland C. P. Close Pomologist, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. Massachusetts Bernard Hoffman Stockbridge Michigan Miss Maud M. Jessup Grand Rapids Minnesota C. A. Van Duzee Minneapolis Missouri C. C. Cummings 317 Joplin St., Joplin New Hampshire Henry N. Gowing Dublin New Jersey C. S. Ridgway Lumberton New York A. C. Pomeroy Lockport North Carolina W. N. Hutt Raleigh State Horticulturist Ohio J. H. Dayton Painesville Oregon G. M. Magruder Medical Building, Portland Pennsylvania J. G. Rush West Willow Utah Leon D. Batchelor Logan Horticulturist, State Agricultural College Virginia J. Russell Smith Roundhill West Virginia B. F. Hartzell Shepherdstown Wisconsin Alfred E. Johnson Iola
MEMBERS OF THE NORTHERN NUT GROWERS ASSOCIATION
Arnott, Dr. H. G., 26 Emerald St. South, Hamilton Corsan, G. H., University of Toronto Gymnasium, Toronto Dufresne, Dr. A. A., 217 St. Christopher St., Montreal Fisk, Dr. George, 101 Union Ave., Montreal Sager, Dr. D. S., Brantford, Ontario Saunders, W. E., 352 Clarence St., London, Ontario Stuart, Henderson, Victoria, British Columbia, P. O. Box 77
Decker, Loyd H., Greeley, R. 5, Box 11
Barnes, John R., Yalesville Browne, Louis L., Bodsbeck Farm, New Canaan Deming, Dr. W. C, Georgetown Deming, Imogen Hawthorne, Georgetown Fisher, Prof. Irving, 460 Prospect St., New Haven Hale, Mrs. George H., Glastonbury Hungerford, Newman, 45 Prospect St., Hartford Ives, Ernest M., Sterling Orchards, Meriden Miller, Mrs. Charles, 32 Hillside Ave., Waterbury Morris, Dr. Robert T., Stamford Nichols, Mrs. F. Gillette, E. Haddam Plump, Charles H., West Redding
Layton, H. P., Georgetown
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Close, Prof. C. P., Pomologist, Department of Agriculture, Washington Lake, Prof. E. R. Assistant Pomologist, Department of Agriculture, Washington Reed, C. A., In Charge of Nut Culture Investigations, Department of Agriculture, Washington Stabler, Albert, 613 Bond Building, Washington +Van Deman, Prof. H. E., Washington
Hume, H. Harold, Glen Saint Mary Prange, Mrs. N. M. G., Jacksonville
Crocker, Dr. F. S., Albany White, H. C., DeWitt Wight, J. B., Cairo
Casper, Norman W., Fairlawn, New Burnside Heely, Dr. O. J., St. Libory Potter, Hon. W. O., Marion Riehl, E. A., Alton Spencer, Henry D., Room 1, Opera House Block, Decatur
Beardsley, A. H., Elkhart Burton, Joe A., Mitchell [+]Littlepage, T. P., Boonville McCoy, R. L., Lake Niblack, Mason J., Vincennes Reed, W. C., of Vincennes Nurseries, Vincennes Wilkinson, J. F., Rockport
Secor, Alson, Editor Successful Farming, Des Moines
Henry, Dr. Augustine, 5 Sanford Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin
Powers, L. L., Dodge City
Mathews, Prof. C. W., Horticulturist, State Agricultural Experiment Station, Lexington Moseley, A. L., Bank of Calhoun, Calhoun
Harrison, J. G., representing Harrison's Nurseries, Berlin Holmes, F. S., M. S., Agricultural Exp. Sta., College Park
[+]Bowditch, James H., 903 Tremont Building, Boston Hoffmann, Bernhard, Overbrook Orchard, Stockbridge Keely, Royal R., Walpole, Box 485 Markham, Dr. E. W., Lee Rich, William P., Secretary State Horticultural Society, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Ave., Boston Vaughan, Horace A., Peacehaven, Assonet White, Warren, Holliston
Jessup, Miss Maud M., 440 Thomas St., Grand Rapids Murphy, P. J., Wayne and Congress Sts., Detroit
Smith, E. K., 213 Phoenix Building, Minneapolis Van Duzee, Col. C. A., St. Paul Wyman, Willis L., Park Rapids
Cummings, Dr. C. C., 317 Joplin St., Joplin Mosher, H. G., Schell City
Durgin, Alfred C., Newmarket Gowing, Henry N., Dublin
Coleman, H. H., Federal Guarantee Company, Newark Dietrick, Thomas S., 12 West Washington Ave., Washington Foster, Samuel F., Secretary North Jersey Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, 100 Broadway, New York City Jaques, Lee W., 74 Waverly St., Jersey City Heights Marston, Edwin S., Florham Park, Box 72 Mergler, C. W., Hackensack Road and Mount Vernon St., Ridgefield Park Putnam, G. H., Vineland Ridgway, C. S., "Floralia," Lumberton Roberts, Horace, Moorestown Walter, Dr. Harry, Hotel Chalfonte, Atlantic City
Abbott, Frederick B., 419 Ninth St., Brooklyn Armstrong, A. H., General Electric Company, Schenectady Brown, Ronald K., 320 Broadway, New York City Clendenin, Rev. F. M., Westchester, New York City Ellison, Elmer T., 1272 Jefferson Ave., Brooklyn Ellwanger, Mrs. W. D., 510 East Ave., Rochester Fullerton, H. B., Director Long Island Railroad Agricultural Experiment Station, Medford Glover, J. Wheeler, Great Kills Hans, Amedee, Superintendent Hodenpyl Estate, Locust Valley, L. I. Haywood, Albert, Flushing Hickox, Ralph, 3832 White Plains Ave., New York City Hicks, Henry, Westbury Station, L. I. Holden, E. B., Hilton Huntington, A. M., 15 W. 81st St., New York City James, Dr. Walter B., 17 W. 54th St., New York City Koch, Alphonse, 510 E. 77th St., New York City Loomis, Charles B., East Greenbush, R. D. 1 Miller, Mrs. Seaman, care of Mr. Seaman Miller, 2 Rector St., New York City McKoon, Morgan L., Long Eddy Pomeroy, A. C, Lockport Pomeroy, E. C, Bayside Reynolds, H. L., 2579 Main St., Buffalo Rice, Mrs. Lilian McKee, Barnes Cottage, Carmel Storrs, A. P., 117 Front St., Oswego Teele, A. W., 30 Broad St., New York City Teter, Walter C, 10 Wall St., New York City Tuckerman, Bayard, 118 E. 37th St., New York City Turner, K. M., 1265 Broadway, New York City Ulman, Dr. Ira., 213 W. 147th St., New York City Wile, Th. E., 1012 Park Ave., Rochester Williams, Dr. Charles Mallory, 48 E. 49th St., New York City Wissmann, Mrs. F. DeR., 707 Fifth Ave., New York City
Barret, Harvey P., 1902 E. 7th St., Charlotte Hutt, Prof. W. N., State Horticulturist, Raleigh Van Lindley, J., J. Van Lindley Nursery Company, Pomona
Dayton, J. H., representing Storrs and Harrison Company, Painesville Fickes, W. R., Wooster, R. 6 Ferd, Horatio, South Euclid, Cuyahoga County Johnson, I. B., Cincinnati, Station K Miller, H. A., Gypsum Rector, Dr. J. M., Columbus Weber, Harry R., 601-4 Gerke Building, 123 E. 6th St., Cincinnati Yunck, E. G., 710 Central Ave., Sandusky
Magruder, G. M., Medical Building, Portland
Butler, Henry L., Gwynedd Valley Chalmers, W. J., Vanport Doan, J. L., School of Horticulture, Ambler Druekemiller, W. C, Sunbury Fagan, Prof. F. N., Department of Horticulture, State College Hall, L. C., Avonia Hildebrand, F. B., Duquesne Hoopes, Wilmer W., of Hoopes Brothers and Thomas Company, Westchester [+]Jones, J. F., Lancaster Kinsell, Miss Ida J., Locust Spring Farm, Rochester Mills, Indiana County, Route 2 Knipe, Irwin P., Norristown Leas, F. C, Bala Lovett, Mrs. Joseph L., Emilie, Bucks County Meehan, S. Mendelson, of Thomas Meehan & Sons, Germantown McSparren, W. F., Furnice Moss, James, Johnsville, Bucks County Preslar, C. F., 524 Grandview Ave., Pittsburgh Rush, J. G., West Willow Shoemaker, Seth W., Agricultural Editor, International Correspondence Schools, Scranton Smitten, H. W., Borough Hall, Avalon Twaddell, E. W., Evergreen Nurseries, Westtown
Batchelor, Leon D., Horticulturist, Utah Agricultural College, Logan Pendleton, M. A., 3 Mozart Apartments, Salt Lake City
Crockett, E. B., Lynchburg Parrish, John S., Eastham, Albemarle County Roper, W. N., of Arrowfield Nurseries, Petersburg Shackford, Theodore B., Lynehburg, care of Adams Brothers Paynes Company Smith, Prof. J. Russell, Roundhill Von Ammon, S., Fontella
Hartzell, B. F., Shepherdstown
Johnson, Alfred E., Iola
[Footnote +: Life member.] [Footnote +: Life member.]
CONSTITUTION AND RULES OF THE NORTHERN NUT GROWERS ASSOCIATION
Name. The society shall be known as the NORTHERN NUT GROWERS ASSOCIATION.
Object. The promotion of interest in nut-producing plants, their products and their culture.
Membership. Membership in the society shall be open to all persons who desire to further nut culture, without reference to place of residence or nationality, subject to the approval of the committee on membership.
Officers. There shall be a president, a vice-president, and a secretary-treasurer; an executive committee of five persons, of which the president, vice-president and secretary shall be members; and a state vice-president from each state represented in the membership of the association.
Election of Officers. A committee of five members shall be elected at the annual meeting for the purpose of nominating officers for the subsequent year.
Meetings. The place and time of the annual meeting shall be selected by the membership in session or, in the event of no selection being made at this time, the executive committee shall choose the place and time for the holding of the annual convention. Such other meetings as may seem desirable may be called by the president and executive committee.
Fees. The fees shall be of two kinds, annual and life. The former shall be two dollars, the latter twenty dollars.
Discipline. The committee on membership may make recommendations to the association as to the discipline or expulsion of any member.
Committees. The association shall appoint standing committees of three members each to consider and report on the following topics at each annual meeting: first, on promising seedlings; second, on nomenclature; third, on hybrids; fourth, on membership; fifth, on press and publication.
Northern Nut Growers Association
FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING
NOVEMBER 18 AND 19, 1913
AT WASHINGTON, D. C.
The fourth annual meeting of the Northern Nut Growers Association was held, in conjunction with the meetings of the American Pomological Society, the Society for Horticultural Science, and the Eastern Fruit Growers Association, in the new National Museum building at Washington, D. C, during "Fruit Week," November 17 to 22, 1913, the meeting of the Association being on the 18th and 19th.
The first session was called to order at 11 A. M. in Room 3. In the absence of the President the chair was occupied by Professor W. N. Hutt of North Carolina.
THE CHAIRMAN: Ladies and Gentlemen: If you will come to order, we will begin the meeting of the Northern Nut Growers Association. It is unfortunate that our president is called away on important business. He has asked me to take his place and we will do the best we can. I will ask the secretary to read a communication.
THE SECRETARY: I have this telegram from Mr. Littlepage, our president:
"Please express to the Northern Nut Growers Association my profound regrets that I cannot be with them. No organization has ever been formed that contained finer and more sincere men than ours. I invite the Association to come to Indiana next year. I will take you along the banks of the Wabash, the Ohio and Green River, where the pecan trees grow so big that the sun has to go around. I send best wishes for a successful meeting."
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Pomeroy has kindly consented to give us a talk on walnuts.
EXPERIENCES AND EXPERIMENTS WITH THE PERSIAN WALNUT
A. C. POMEROY, NEW YORK
When our secretary asked me to prepare a paper on this subject, I thought it would be very simple, but after making a beginning I found that about all I knew on nut culture was my own experiences—successes and failures—covering a period of about twenty-five years.
During the past year better data have been kept of the behavior of the Persian walnut trees under my observation, than in former years.
Hereafter it is my intention to keep a more detailed record of the time of the appearance of the nutlet blossoms of each tree, which is of the utmost importance to those interested in the growing of the Persian walnut in the North and East.
In order to keep a better record of each tree I have numbered the old original trees, planted by my father, from 1 to 7.
Nuts from each tree are here in jars numbered to correspond with the trees from which they were gathered and may be compared for variation in size, shape, thinness of shell and flavor.
It would be impossible to keep an exact record in pounds of the yield of any one tree per year. One thing against any such record, is that many visitors come to our farm every year to see the walnut trees and the pockets of some of them look suspiciously bulky on leaving. (An ordinary coat pocket will hold a quart, an overcoat pocket more than that and there are only thirty-two quarts in a bushel.)
The new orchard is just coming into bearing. At one end of it there is an old black walnut tree, and the young Persians that were planted near this tree began to bear first. Near the center of this eight-acre orchard we planted a butternut tree. This will, I think, help to fertilize the pistillate or nutlet blossoms on many of the trees.
Of the original trees five stand where they can have care and good cultivation. The other two were put in the lawn very close to some old shade trees where they can not be cultivated and are kept pretty well in the shade. The five cultivated trees produced this fall over twenty-three bushels. The nuts were measured on November 10 when there were twenty and a half bushels. The snow was so deep the other few bushels could not be gathered.
Besides the walnut trees mentioned there are perhaps twenty-five more planted in small plots about the farm. Nuts from some of these young trees are here and comparisons may be made with the nuts from the old trees.
To get an idea of how the English walnut has done in some parts of western New York the following replies to enquiries are quoted.
Wilson, one tree thirteen years old, one and one half bushels. Sybrandt, has twenty-five or more trees thirteen years old, some trees a bushel, others over a bushel and a half. Eighme, one tree fifteen or sixteen years old, one bushel. Trippency, one tree fifteen or sixteen years old, two bushels.
Nuts from some of the old and young trees were weighed. The results were somewhat surprising to me.
Tree No. 1 S. R. Long, well-filled nut, 48 to the pound.
Tree No. 1 N. R. Nut slightly pointed, well filled, 40 to the pound.
Tree No. 2 N. R. Nut nearly round, well filled, 37 to the pound.
Tree No. 5. Annual bearer, 64 to the pound.
The weighing was done on a druggist's scales about two weeks after gathering.
Those of you who have not seen a Persian walnut tree in full foliage, have something to live for. Imagine a tree, that was a nut in the spring of 1877, its branches now spreading full fifty feet, its topmost bough fully that far from the ground, its trunk measuring seventy-six inches around, well above the earth.
Imagine such a tree in its foliage of dense, dark glossy green, its branches loaded with fruit, sometimes actually touching the ground.
The question is sometimes asked what is such a tree worth for cabinet use? I don't know, and I don't care. What I do know is that those five trees produced well upward of forty dollars each this year.
Our markets in western New York are good. The folks that use nuts as a daily food have increased greatly in the past few years. Niagara County has three cities, Erie County, adjoining, also has three cities. The population of Buffalo is about 450,000; improved highways and gasolene trucks have put us within an hour and a half of all these six cities.
While there are hundreds of young Persian walnut trees, just coming into bearing, in some of the counties of western New York, the supply of home-grown nuts will probably never fill the demand.
Professor Lake paid the farm a short visit this past summer and told of his grafting. I think he said he had a loss of 90 per cent. We beat that a little as our loss was 100 per cent.
The failure in grafting was due, I think, to the scions not being cut early enough.
Budding in August was done by budders expert with fruit trees. A Jones budding tool was used. Nearly all the buds took.
We do not have much trouble with disease or insects.
We have had no trouble to speak of with worms. About ten years ago a few nests of the tent caterpillar were cut off and burned.
Some 18 or 20 years ago all, or nearly all, of the nuts dropped in June. I do not know what was the matter.
In 1906 the ends of some of the branches on the older trees turned brown and died back a few inches.
These were cut off and burned. We had but few nuts that year.
In fertilizing have used barnyard manure. When it was used it was at times applied too freely, perhaps, as some of the young trees put forth a growth of six feet in one season. I do not think it well to force them too much. The fertilizing should be done in the winter or early spring.
Trimming may be done at any time a branch appears that needs removing.
There is one pretty good sized tree on the farm with black walnut stem and Persian walnut top. Some horticulturists seem to think that this kind of a tree is hardier. My observations are that there is not a bit of difference. This tree and another on a near-by farm are the only two I know of with a black walnut stem and a Persian top, in my section.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture has issued a bulletin "Soil Survey of Niagara County, N. Y." By referring to this, I find that the soils that have produced thrifty, and prolific Persian walnut trees are, Dunkirk loam, Dunkirk sandy loam, Dunkirk silt loam, Clyde sandy loam and clay loam.
The winters of western New York are frequently quite severe. The winter of 1911-12 was a very severe one, zero weather prevailing most of the time and frequently it was way below zero for days. No injury was done to the Persian walnut trees and a good crop of nuts was harvested in the fall of 1912.
In May, 1913, on the nights of the 11th and 12th it was so cold that ice formed an eighth of an inch, or more, in thickness. The staminate catkins on the Persian walnut trees were fairly well developed and it was thought the nuts were gone for this year surely, but the last of May the pistillate blossoms came out, the staminates matured and the results have already been told you.
I think that Persian walnut trees pay better than apples, and that there is no danger of an oversupply.
The cost for labor in caring for the trees and in harvesting the crop is very much less than for any other fruit crop. No spraying and no picking are necessary.
The cost of production is slight, yet the demand and prices for this nut have been steadily increasing for several years.
* * * * *
THE CHAIRMAN: I would like to have a good discussion of this paper, because it seems to me that in all the activities of the Northern Nut Growers Association the Persian walnut offers the highest possibilities. The Pacific coast people and southern people have always thought that only the hickory or black walnut could be raised in the northern parts of the country, and now we find that the Persian walnut also does well there. The Secretary has sent out a letter recently asking for information about the Persian walnut trees in the vicinity of each person addressed. This letter was gotten out for the reason that in the culture of the Persian walnut the Pacific coast people have distanced us, and it is probable that we have not learned the possibilities of these splendid nuts in the East. We have a few very fine varieties of these eastern nuts, and it looks as if, by use of these varieties, the eastern part of this country can produce these nuts in as large quantities as the western. Mr. Pomeroy originated the walnut bearing his name, and we have another nut that offers very good promise, and I believe the originator is here this morning. Mr. Rush we would like to hear from you.
MR. RUSH: I am satisfied that Persian walnut culture can be made just as profitable on the Atlantic coast as on the Pacific and in France. We have varieties that have stood a temperature of twenty-three degrees below zero.
I have discovered another variety in Lancaster. This tree was brought in from Germany about thirty-five years ago and it has turned out to be an extremely valuable variety. I have seen these nuts selling in the open market at fifty cents a pound. As regards propagation of the Persian walnut, of course the black walnut is the most common variety on which to propagate. Another stock is the Japan walnut, in a sense better than the black for grafting. It has a better lateral root system and is not so fierce in going down to the center of the earth. Its root system is magnificent. Several trees budded on this stock a year ago last August and transplanted in November the same year, had a growth this summer of over six feet from the bud, showing that there must certainly be remarkable vitality in the Japanese roots. I have a young tree thirteen years old budded on black walnut that produced twenty-one nuts this summer. I have a seedling about ten years old which didn't have one catkin bloom. But a tree of the Rush variety, so named for me by Mr. Jones, the first propagator, stood about forty feet away from the first, and at the end of the season this seedling tree produced sixty finely developed nuts. This seedling tree, however, had a great many pistillate blossoms, which received pollen from the neighboring variety that was prolific in staminate bloom. It would seem to be an advantage for a seedling Persian walnut to have a good pollenizer in its company.
PROFESSOR SMITH: I was struck by Mr. Pomeroy's statement that after apparent killing of the staminate bloom by frost the pistillate blossoms appeared and he had a crop. Evidently he got fertilization from some outside source. The Persian walnut in the eastern part of the United States is like many other trees in that its trouble does not arise from susceptibility to winter cold, for when it is dormant it appears to stand great cold. The trouble with the Persian walnut is its tendency to start growing at the first approach of warm weather and if the cold comes later it may kill the tree. Mr. Pomeroy's farm there near the shores of the lake has an immunity from sudden changes of temperature and therefore his trees are not likely to make growth which will be caught by late fall or early spring frosts. Unquestionably he can grow Persian walnuts better there than can be done five hundred to a thousand miles further south. It is also a well-known fact that one of the best of peach and apple regions is along this lake shore. There are many other Persian walnut trees growing in different localities east of the Mississippi, but nobody seems to think them worth propagating because they winter kill at times. Yet seedlings of the hardiest trees often do it. A new variety of the tree has been discovered which is wonderful in that, whereas the ordinary Persian walnut tree comes into leaf rather early, this tree comes into leaf in June when cherries are ripe. I have seen similar trees in France. I have no doubt there are ten or fifteen different varieties of this tree growing unappreciated in this part of the country. These particular trees we do know about happen to belong to gentlemen who are propagating them for our benefit and we owe them our thanks; but I have no doubt there are many other trees equally as valuable growing in the Eastern States. I have no doubt that the experience of Mr. Rush could be duplicated, in discovering right near him in his own town something better than he had ever known before. We need reports on all these trees.
MR. RUSH: In connection with Mr. Smith's remarks as to late vegetating varieties, it may be that this feature is not altogether desirable. I have been in correspondence with a gentleman in Colfax, Washington, who has some late vegetating varieties and he tells me that he lost his whole crop. They were caught by a frost at the end of the season before they had fully matured.
MR. DAVIS: Mr. C. A. Sober has, on his farm in central Pennsylvania, about five hundred Persian walnut trees and has had them for ten years. He has not been able to get a nut. Every year they freeze back. The trees live but they freeze back. I don't know whether this is because they start too early or not.
PROFESSOR SMITH: I do not know that there is any better nut than these which we are now propagating, but I think the chances are ninety-nine to one against our having found the best walnut trees for this region.
THE CHAIRMAN: I think Professor Smith's point is well taken. We are just starting in this business. I want to get the experiences of men from different parts of the country. Is Mr. Stabler here?
MR. STABLER: Thirty years ago three trees, probably seedlings were planted in our neighborhood. One is on my father's farm, one is on my uncle's farm, and one is on our farm. The one on our farm, I think, has never borne a nut. My uncle's has borne many times, although an apple tree and a cedar tree are very near it. This walnut tree comes out so very late in the spring that no spring frost catches it. It is in Montgomery County and we often have late spring frosts there. The nuts are all ripe in the fall too before the frost comes.
PROFESSOR SMITH: Mr. Stabler told me that this is the fifteenth successive crop from this tree.
THE CHAIRMAN: This is certainly a very important point—the maturity of these trees. It is the general impression that the Persian walnut will not mature in certain sections of the country, but as a fact there are certain varieties that will mature anywhere in the country. We have similar evidence in the experience of the pecan growers. The Indiana pecan is dormant later than the southern varieties. This is true of the hardy peach also which comes out later in the spring and is ripe sooner in the fall than the southern varieties. These seem to have accommodated themselves to the climate.
PROFESSOR MCHATTON: In Georgia we are prone to be hurt by the late spring frosts—that is our great trouble. The other day there was sent into the office a number of specimens of the Persian walnut, said to be from a seedling grown at Sharp, Georgia, in the apple country just below Chattanooga, at an elevation of eight hundred to a thousand feet, and it gets cold up there—they have heavy freezing every winter. This tree began bearing at seven or eight years, the owner said, and has borne a crop every year for the past seven or eight years, and he had several losses of fruit crops from late spring frosts during that period. The nut was very well filled and of fair size. If any one is interested sufficiently and will write to me as soon as I get back to the college I will send the name of the grower. I do not recommend it as I have never seen more than a dozen of the nuts. This was of interest to me, because I have not been recommending the Persian walnut there on account of the late spring frosts, but now it looks as if there was a chance of our getting into the walnut game ourselves.
MR. POMEROY: A prominent expert who came to the farm once said to me that the Persian or English walnut came to this country through two routes: one through Greece, Italy and Spain, and taken by the Spaniards to Mexico and southern California, and the other route through Germany and England into the United States from the north. He said he would rather have his walnut trees come from the northern route trees than the southern.
PROFESSOR SMITH: Any one who has a good tree ought to write to our secretary. I hope everybody will report these trees. The information will be published in bulletin form and sent out to every member of the Association. I fully believe that this information gathered and disseminated will greatly assist in developing the walnut industry in the eastern part of the United States.
MR. FROST: Mr. Pomeroy said that the pruning might be done at any time of the year. I pruned a walnut tree one spring and it very nearly bled to death.
MR. POMEROY: It seems to me that I have always pruned at any time. It might be that when the sap is just nicely started—just before the tree starts and the buds swell—it might not be wise to do that. I suppose that the nut trees might bleed then the same as grape vines and certain other plants and trees. I thought it never did any harm.
MR. FROST: It very nearly killed mine. They were big trees, too.
THE CHAIRMAN: I had just such an experience as that with grape vines. We found that if grapes are pruned at a certain time in the spring they will bleed profusely, and sometimes actually bleed to death. I never had any experience with walnuts, but with vines we prune in the fall just as soon as they are dormant. At that time the energies of the plant are at a minimum and you can prune more safely than at any other time. As we go on toward spring the moisture becomes greater and the sap starts, so if you prune late in the spring there is great danger of injury to all plants. If you prune in the fall you have no trouble.
MR. WILE: I would like to know if any one has had experience with California varieties here in the East.
PROFESSOR VAN DEMAN: Professor Close has had more than any one else. I have also heard of some in Florida.
PROFESSOR LAKE: We have had three years' experience; we have had also the experience of others who have had them a longer time than that. Some three years ago we grafted a number of California varieties on the eastern black. In view of the eastern conditions, these are all making splendid growth—some of them made a three-foot growth last year, some a five and one-half foot growth this year. They went through last winter splendidly; they are holding back finely in the spring and we had no trouble with spring frosts on the grafted portions, even though many of the seedlings were injured.
THE CHAIRMAN: Will the Persian walnut fertilize itself under eastern conditions?
PROFESSOR SMITH: I think we will have to trust to outside fertilization by the black walnut or butternut. They all bloom at the same time. One fertilizing tree will do, but it is better to have more than one because sometimes it might turn out that the staminate catkins came a few days too early or too late to fertilize the nut. The more trees you have, the better the chances; the more trees in a group the better. The reason a five or six-year-old Persian walnut tree does not bear many walnuts is that there are no staminate catkins. It takes old wood to produce them. There is not enough old wood.
MR. STABLER: The Stabler walnut which I have just mentioned, bloomed from the tenth to the twenty-fifth of June. The black walnuts of that neighborhood all came out from a month to six weeks earlier than that, and not a single black walnut tree had blossoms on in that neighborhood, nor a single Persian walnut at the time the Stabler tree blossomed. I believe I am fairly well acquainted there and there was not a single other tree had catkins on at that time, and yet that tree bore a good crop of catkins and a large number of pistillate blossoms and later a good crop of nuts which is fairly good evidence that it must have fertilized itself.
THE CHAIRMAN: We would like to continue this discussion, but we have another paper that bears on the subject, and I think it will bring out some points in connection with it.
FORAGE NUTS AND THE CHESTNUT AND WALNUT IN EUROPE
J. RUSSELL SMITH, VIRGINIA
The great task of American agriculture is to feed our beasts. Approximately nine tenths of the proceeds of American agriculture goes to nourish the quadruped, and man eats the remaining one tenth; therefore, if we want to get clear of the possibility of a crop being overproduced, let us grow something the beast can eat. To say that we will never overproduce food crops for man is ridiculous. It is quite possible, for instance, that we may produce too many Persian walnuts for man's food, but the tree that will produce nuts to feed the beasts is on a firm basis. Pigs are going up and they are going to stay up. If we can get something that will suit Brother Pig we are on a perfectly safe basis, and that is the basis of the chestnut industry in Europe. In large sections of France, from Switzerland to the Atlantic, there are thousands of acres of chestnut trees—a great forage crop. In a few districts is[**typo ] looks like a forested country, on account of the heavy chestnut tree groves. The tenant who takes a farm has certain restrictions placed upon him in the removal and use of the crop. He is not allowed to remove the chestnuts in France. The tenant who takes the farm, signs a contract that he will not sell the chestnuts but will feed them to the pigs so the soil may not be exhausted. They gather them carefully and use them in a number of ways. They make the main bread supply of the people. I have eaten chestnut cake. It is not bad. They treat it exactly as we do corn cake. When they can afford something better, they do so.
At harvest time the chestnuts are put in drying houses, a fire is built under them and after they are thoroughly dried they will keep indefinitely. We find them on the market as dried chestnuts; and I have seen people eating them raw in June of the year after. Chestnut meal is a standard article of consumption and the price is regulated by the price of cornmeal.
I have seen considerable areas planted out regularly in rows of young trees, and alongside of that older ones. They plant on perfectly fine, level ground hundreds of acres of chestnut groves and we find these groves anywhere from twenty-five to one hundred years old. They are very valuable property for the reason that when old there are many cords of wood to the acre, and chestnut wood is valuable.
They have a disease over there called inky root consequently new plantings have largely ceased, though there are some going on. A great reason for planting is that timber means an increase in the value of land. A man who has an old chestnut orchard has land that is worth two hundred dollars an acre for wood alone and the temptation is very strong to sell off the timber and get the money, which process is going on faster than the setting of new orchards. These orchards are on high class agricultural land.
It is quite different in Corsica; the country there is very broken and rough. Some of the hills range up to 6,000 feet, and for a belt of 2,000 feet the chestnut forests are continuous and villages numerous. This island supports a dense population. The principal industry consists of gathering the chestnuts, and for a few weeks the people are very busy putting them away for the year's supply and sending them to market. I stopped at the home of the mayor of a little town and he went back in the barn where he had a bin full of dried chestnuts. He fed some of them to my horse. It is their one crop. Many people have nothing but twenty or thirty or forty acres of chestnuts and a little garden—a little garden made by retaining walls making a terrace that must be tilled by hand. That is the whole sustenance of the people. The value of the land is usually estimated on a tree basis, and very seldom put on a land basis. The value of land covered with trees is from two hundred to three hundred dollars an acre, and land along side of this without trees may be worth but ten dollars. The value of the chestnut trees for wood forms a large part of the sale value. There is some good pasture under these trees.
The renewing of these groves is perfectly systematic. The old trees, having attained their full size, meet overhead and right alongside of them are planted new trees, which under such circumstances make a very poor growth. The young tree may get as high as this room in ten or fifteen years, and the old tree being worth ten or fifteen dollars, is then cut down (in that country if you want money cut down a chestnut tree). The young tree takes the place very soon, and once established a chestnut orchard lasts indefinitely. Sometimes they plant the young tree beside the old one, ten or fifteen years before the old tree is to be cut down.
The contrast between the populous villages of Corsica and like portions of the Appalachian hillsides is striking. The inhabitants of the latter cut down everything, plant corn and in two or three seasons the rain simply carries the earth away and the farm has to be abandoned. In contrast to that the orchards of Corsica have been there for many centuries. I asked one man how long this thing had been going on. He said "two hundred, three hundred, five hundred, one thousand years, always." Nobody knows when they began to grow chestnuts. How the land continues to grow them is more than I can understand. As an example of permanent agriculture, that has everything I have ever heard of beaten out. Those people had not fertilized the trees, as it would be a physical impossibility to carry anything up those slopes; everything comes down. They have been taking off wood and nuts always, nothing has gone back. I have not been present at harvest time but I have consulted with the representatives of the Department of Agriculture in France and they tell me this land produces a ton to three thousand pounds to the acre, with the big years doubling that and the little years halving it. This without taking anything away from the land apparently. The land is as good as when they began, and is supporting a dense population and has for centuries.
Another forage nut which struck me as even more important than the chestnut, because of its much wider possibility in America, is the acorn. I have been through considerable areas in Portugal where they didn't care whether they had a cork tree or an oak. Land with such trees is worth from one hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars per acre. They assured me that the acorn oak forest was as valuable as the cork forest. Some of this land is wheat land. They will let an oak tree stand right in the middle of a field where the cultivation of the ground improves the tree. After the wheat harvest the hogs fatten on the acorns.
The evergreen oak of southern Europe is highly prized for its acorns. I have seen large areas of bearing trees. I have been told time and again that they bear at a comparatively early age. The oak is capable of grafting, about as easily as the chestnut. I have seen them grafted, all the way from those of this spring up to three hundred years old. The number of trees grafted is small, but that in no way affects the possibilities. Certain varieties are prized as much as chestnuts, or even more, and the price of acorns is set by the price of chestnuts, just as the price of cornmeal sets the price for chestnut meal. I never got crop records for a solid acre of oak trees, but the performance of individual trees gives rise to the belief that the acorn crop in Europe and America is worthy of careful study. I saw a tree—a single tree—that I was assured bore more than twelve hundred quarts in a single year, thirty-seven bushels. It is hard to get the yield in a large forest, but this tree was alone. Its sweep was seventeen yards, its yearly production seemed to average over twenty bushels, which was worth as much as an acre of corn in any of our states. Wherever I found an isolated tree, I found its production to be surprisingly large, and I got my information from a variety of sources. It seemed to be one of the most important forage trees.
As to the Persian walnut, it is reported to be a small nut of almost no value in its wild state. It grows around the world between the belt of the orange and the belt of the white pine. It is unknown as a crop in large areas in Europe, where it might be grown successfully. In Italy there is only an occasional tree, and it is not grown much in Portugal or Spain.
It has centers in Europe as crops have in the United States and for the same reason—someone started the industry. The activities of Mr. Pomeroy have stimulated its growth in his immediate locality. When any one succeeds in a certain line, we find people about him taking up the same line and they conclude that this product can only be produced in that particular locality. This is usually not so at all. The thing that happened was that some one showed them that this soil would produce this thing. Near Naples there is a walnut boom. The value of the walnut as a crop is shown by the fact that market gardens producing three crops a year under irrigation are being planted to English walnuts. I have been told time and again that this is a very profitable crop. In this walnut district they have planted whole hillsides to olives and walnuts alternately, sometimes mixed up, sometimes twenty acres solid. In some places they can only be cultivated with the hoe, a very distinctly un-American job, and yet the English walnut seems to pay the people under those conditions of labor. It is spreading over that peninsula and you find it spreading in the lowlands. They trim the tree up to twenty-five feet, so that teams can drive below.
There are two important walnut areas in France; at one place an old crank named Mayette about two hundred years ago found a good walnut and he grafted some and planted out an acre or two, and his neighbors planted some, especially when his acre or two began to grow, with the result that the territory around that old man's planting is the center of the production of the Grenoble walnut. A little strip, on the foothills of the Alps and along the Isere river is sprinkled with walnut trees. They are now planting these trees in the midst of the best vineyards. In a field of wheat often-times you will find rows of little walnut trees. There are some orchards of Persian walnuts in this locality but I think no orchard has over five acres. They have come to grief along a line that is common to most people, that of overcrowding. It takes a great deal of nerve to plant a nut tree sixty or seventy feet from the next—it looks as if it were wasting the land—and they have planted them so close that the tops of the trees and the foliage form a flat level green surface, and the sun shines on a very small part of each tree instead of all round and over it as it should.
The other walnut district is one more suggestive to me. I doubt if even those who have trees to sell are justified in advising the farmers to plant solid fields of walnuts, but we can recommend a row of them around fence rows and round the barn. I traveled a good many miles through the western part of France, from Lyons to Bordeaux, and I have seen thousands of trees, but I have not seen any orchards. They put one tree by itself and they raise wheat close up to it. The fertilization and cultivation help the walnut and make it produce a better crop. Those well-fed trees with plenty of sun, air and plant food are distinctly superior to the other trees. A good walnut tree rents for as much as an acre of ground. It is the product that is received without labor that appeals to me, and as the trees produce well, there is sometimes seven or eight dollars worth of profit to each tree, and the landlord is in the position to command most of the seven or eight dollars because he furnishes the trees. If a 50-acre farm with fifty nut trees stood on one side of the road and one of equal area without any trees on the other side, the one with the trees would rent for twice as much. A good tree will occasionally produce three or four hundred pounds of nuts, especially a fine tree out by itself. Once in a while we find a grove of them but more often there are six, seven, eight or more trees scattered round the house. The combined result of that industry produces millions of dollars worth of nuts.
If there are any questions, I shall be glad to answer.
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MR. EVANS: Can the pecan be used as a forage crop for pigs?
PROFESSOR SMITH: I don't think we are willing to let him have them.
MR. EVANS: Would a pig eat them?
PROFESSOR SMITH: Observations show that the pig will eat them if you give him a chance; he will eat with great gusto the hickory nuts and a grown hog will also crack black walnuts; the pecan he simply grinds up. I suggested the pig as a way out of the problem of overproduction; the pig wants the products when we don't.
MR. STORRS: I come from a country where we grow the pig on corn, and it is hard for me to believe that he will get fat on acorns and chestnuts.
MR. LEE: I also would like to ask whether a hog will get fat on acorns. I had an experience this fall; a man on my farm had some pigs and he kept them in a pen and fed them corn. I was going to begin to feed my hogs, but I had a woods and I said let them eat the acorns. At the end of a month they had eaten the acorns but they were not as fat as they had been at the beginning. They had worked so hard to get the acorns that they had worked off all the fat.
PROFESSOR SMITH: There are two hundred thousand hogs on the job in the federal forests today. The Portugese pig in the spring is a lamentable looking object. The method is to keep him alive until acorns get ripe and they count on a pig multiplying himself one hundred to two hundred per cent in the short season from the beginning of September to the first of the year. They keep him ordinarily eighteen months; they carry the spring or fall pigs through one winter, and at the beginning of the fattening season a pig that weighs fifty or sixty pounds is counted on, in the short time when acorns can be picked up, to jump up to one hundred and fifty or two hundred pounds. There is much evidence on both sides of the Atlantic to the effect that acorns fatten hogs if the supply is good.
PRESENT STATE OF THE CHESTNUT BLIGHT
J. FRANKLIN COLLINS, WASHINGTON, D. C.
I presume that all of you who have any interest at all in the chestnut know considerable about the blight which has been killing these trees in the northeastern part of the country, so I will say nothing whatever about the general features of the disease but confine my talk to those points which have assumed, within a year, some special importance from the point of view of fighting the blight, or related topics.
Perhaps the first thing that I can allude to is the discovery of a certain disease in China which, at the time, was supposed to be identical with the chestnut disease in the northeastern part of this country. I say "supposed" because we had no positive knowledge at the time that it was the disease. Specimens were sent to this country by the agricultural expert, Mr. Meyer of the Department of Agriculture, for examination. Cultures and inoculations were made by the pathologists in the Bureau of Plant Industry and all of the tests that could be applied showed it to be identical with our American disease.
Mr. Meyer's report upon this disease, as he found it in China, has some points which may be of interest to you. He said the disease apparently had been there for many years, as the lesions of the disease showed if they were examined carefully. The fact that it has been there for many years is, I think, questioned by no one at the present time. Its growth in China seems to be somewhat different, in fact in many cases quite different, from the growth on the American and the European chestnut trees. It is rather of the type that we are familiar with on the resistant Japanese trees. More-over, it appears on some of the trees as shown in the photographs which I will pass around. The appearance of the disease more closely resembles, in some ways, what we are familiar with in the European apple canker as it appears on the apple trees. I think those who are familiar with the apple canker will notice the resemblance, in at least one or two of these photographs. Now, I don't mean by that that it is the same as the apple canker, but I do want to call your attention to its appearance in these photographs, and at the same time, to tell you something that Mr. Meyer wrote about this disease as it appeared in China. He said he found no trees that were absolutely killed by the disease. This may mean, and probably does, that the Chinese tree is resistant, to a certain extent, to this disease; that is, it shows a certain amount of resistance, much in the same way that the Japanese chestnut tree does to the disease in this country.
For some years (as some of you will remember, I think) there have been two different views as to the origin of this disease. One is that it is a native fungus which, for some reason, has assumed a parasitic form; the other that it is an imported disease. The principal reasons for the latter view are that it spreads in this country on the American chestnut in much the same manner that other imported diseases have spread on other plants. The fact is that this disease (so far as we can find absolutely identical with the American form) has been found in China; about this point there is no doubt at all, and I think we can safely say, although we cannot absolutely prove it at this time, that the disease in this country was imported from the Orient. What bearing this will have on the question of control of the disease in this country remains to be seen.
Have we any chestnuts which show immunity to this disease? The American chestnut is subject to it in its most virulent form. There are of course a number of varieties of the American chestnut which have been cultivated. Of these the two which I have seen most of are the Hathaway and the Spineless. Both of these are subject to the disease in the ordinary form. The American varieties which have been originated within a few years, the Boone and the Rochester, I am not prepared to say anything about at the present time. The resistance or immunity of these varieties has not been determined so far as my own work is concerned. Of the European varieties we have a great many and they produce, as a rule, the large chestnuts of the market and are known under various names. Some are scions of named varieties and I will mention some of the more prominent. The first and best known, perhaps, is the Paragon chestnut. This is susceptible to the disease and takes it in almost as violent a form as does the American, and so it is with the Ridgely, a nut which originated near Dover, Delaware. The Dager and the Scott also take the disease, and so do many of the so-called French varieties—the Marron, the Marron Combale, the Early Marron and others—so far as I have been able to ascertain. I have not seen very many Numbo trees, but of those which I have seen, some have been diseased. Two varieties, which I have seen have not had any disease upon them. One of these I saw only once or twice and was unable to make a thorough examination. This is the Darlington chestnut which grows near West Chester, Pa. I have no reason to think this is immune in any way to the disease; all I can say is that I have not yet seen the disease on this variety. Another variety which I have heard a great deal about from the point of view of resisting the disease is the Hannum. I don't know anything about this. I have been unable to locate any trees which I could examine. Now these are all the varieties of the European or American sorts that I care to speak about, and we can say that they are all, so far as we know, with the possible exception of the one or two last mentioned, subject to the disease.
Now let me turn for a moment to two other types of chestnut. First the chinquapin, a small dwarf chestnut which grows in the southern Atlantic states but reaches as far north as New Jersey and perhaps farther for all I know. The chinquapin in the past has been regarded as a rather resistant species and my own observations seem to bear out this supposition. I have seen very few chinquapins which had the disease. It may be due partly to the fact that they are not so subject to the attacks of insects and injuries through which the blight might gain entrance, or it may be due to the resistance in the species—I cannot say about that. I had an opportunity this fall to see the Rush chinquapin. I examined these trees—there are two of them—and I think there is no question but that they are hybrids between the chinquapin and the American chestnut. One of these trees was diseased, the other had no disease upon it.
The Japanese chestnuts have been known for a long time to be highly resistant to the inroads of this disease. Some may be immune, if we use the word immune in a very loose sense. It has been regarded as of rather coarse quality and some varieties as entirely unfit for human food. This is true of many of the Japanese chestnuts, but I have recently seen some which, so far as I could tell, were nearly as sweet as the American chestnut and Paragon chestnut which I tested at the same time and which were growing side by side. I could detect very little difference between them. The Japanese nuts were very large, considerably larger than the Paragon. Whether these will retain their sweetness in drying I cannot say. These Japanese chestnuts are seedlings, and are known as the Delaware, the Felton, the Kent and the Henlopen. Like all of the Japanese chestnuts they are highly resistant to the blight.
I wish to call your attention to a few of the standard Japanese varieties upon which I have made observations. These were all grafted trees, that is the Japanese variety was grafted on American stock. The McFarland is a rather well-known variety. Of five trees which I have had under observation, all of them became diseased below the graft but none above the graft, showing the resistance of the Japanese scion on American stock. I think this is given out as a Burbank variety. The Hale is another one which has the same record exactly. On the Coe I have seen two cases of the disease on the Japanese part and several cases where the trees are diseased below the graft. The Alpha, one of the Parry varieties holds about the same record as the Coe—two cases of disease on the Japanese part and several below the graft. The Parry Giant has been considered one of the largest nuts; in four trees observed there was one case of the disease on the Japanese part and two below the graft. The Superb had the disease below the graft but not above; the Reliance just the same way. Then along with these plots were one variety of European, the Scott, which was quite as susceptible to the disease as any other European, and another variety, the origin of which I do not know. This last appears to be something of a hybrid with some chinquapin blood in it—whether this is so or not I cannot definitely say—I can say this, however, that it takes the disease not as readily as the European but more readily than the Japanese.
Just a few words now in regard to the present distribution of the chestnut disease, or at least its extended distribution. The disease is now known to occur in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York east of the Catskills and as far north as Lake George, and generally as far south as northern Virginia. Farther south there are some scattered infections, one nursery having been found in North Carolina which had the disease. The western distribution of the disease, if you take isolated cases, is now carried to the Pacific coast. We know of an orchard in Agassiz, British Columbia, in which the disease has been found. Nobody knows how this was transmitted, but the chestnut trees upon which the disease occurs were supposed to have been sent to the owner from the Orient. They apparently are not of the usual Japanese type, however; that is all I can say about them now.
The chestnut blight has been found on all parts of the branches, twigs, trunk and the exposed roots. Last year we found the disease on the nuts themselves and on their burs and we were able to isolate the disease from the shell of the nut and we were also able to produce the disease on the bark of a chestnut tree through inoculation from the nut itself. So that the disease can occur on almost any part of the chestnut tree.
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A MEMBER: I saw quite recently that there were two cases of fatal poisoning in Connecticut from the result of using nuts said to have been blighted. I would like to know if that has been verified.
MR. COLLINS: There have been, so far as I know, about fifteen cases of supposed chestnut poisoning in the vicinity of Hartford with five deaths. We have reports of disease and possible death in other portions of the country, particularly in the northeast. These reports come in such a way that it is impossible to say definitely that chestnuts caused the trouble, but this much can be said: our office here in Washington has a physician working upon this very point. At the present time all that I can say is that there is no doubt about the cases of illness and it is impossible to dissociate the eating of chestnuts from the possibilities. At the same time it is not possible to show that chestnuts were the cause of the trouble rather than something else which was taken at the same time.
THE SECRETARY: I wrote to the physician near Hartford whose wife is reported to have died, but I have had no answer.
DR. METCALF: After following those cases up and finding that chestnuts could not be excluded as a possible cause, we have started experiments with various animals, also some chemical, to determine if there is any possibility of any definite toxic substance in the nuts; so far results are negligible. We are not prepared to say whether there is anything in chestnut poisoning or whether there is not.
THE SECRETARY: I think there are three points in relation to the chestnut blight of very great importance to the practical nut grower, and I would like Professor Collins to answer these questions. In the first place, how far are we justified in recommending planting of non-immune varieties within the blighted area, in limited quantities, with the understanding that there is a fair show of keeping them tolerably free from the blight by watchful care and cutting out? Mr. Roberts of New Jersey has a large chestnut orchard and he says he is not afraid of the blight. He has had a large crop of chestnuts this year, and he says that, while he has cut out, I believe, one orchard of small trees his large bearing trees are not seriously affected by the blight. This is the same testimony that we had from Colonel Sober last year.
The second question is, how far are we justified in recommending the planting of chestnuts outside of the present blighted area? It seems to me this is a very important point. Can we go so far outside the present blight area, perhaps beyond the present range of the chestnut tree, that we can hope to plant them without their being exposed to danger, or much danger, of contagion from the blight? Can we recommend their being planted in places where the chestnut does not grow now perhaps within several hundred miles?
And the third question is in regard to immune varieties. How far has the immune quality of any varieties been demonstrated?
PROFESSOR COLLINS: With regard to the first question,—planting of non-immune varieties within the chestnut disease area,—I don't feel like recommending it except on an experimental basis. Perhaps I am recommending something that I might feel like changing my mind about a little later, but, in the present state of our knowledge I would hesitate to recommend planting within the disease infested area. So far as the second question is concerned, the planting of non-immune varieties outside the chestnut growing area, I think there are some pretty good prospects in sight, provided the stock which is obtained is carefully inspected to see that it is free from the blight to begin with, and is watched carefully for at least the first year. The third question, in regard to immune varieties,—if there are any the immunity of which has been demonstrated sufficiently to warrant their being planted,—the Japanese, which are highly resistant, and what some people might consider immune, are the only possibilities so far in sight. The great trouble with the Japanese trees which have been grown in the orchards in parts of the country that have come under my observation, is that they have been grafted on stock which is very susceptible to the disease, and I think it is safe to say that 80 per cent at least, possibly 90 per cent, of the trees that have been killed under these conditions have been killed by the disease girdling below the graft on the susceptible American stock. If we can grow Japanese seedlings under the same conditions, perhaps, that Colonel Sober is raising his Paragons—two years from the seed and then grafting—I don't see why we can't have a tree that is going to be reasonably resistant to the disease; now if we can find some Japanese nuts which are really palatable, really good and sweet, as these three or four that I have mentioned appear to be, I don't see why we cannot have a tree which will be reasonably immune to the disease and at the same time producing an edible nut. The Japanese stock seems to be able to fight off the disease to a certain extent in much the same way that the apple tree can fight off the apple canker, each year the lesion increases a little but each year the growth of the tree overcomes it to a certain extent, and there is a fight between the disease and the tree all the time. Very likely the disease once on the tree will remain on the tree, as far as we can tell at present, for quite a time, but perhaps not kill the tree outright.
PROFESSOR VAN DEMAN: Dr. Van Fleet of the Department of Agriculture is working on what seems to be a very fine prospect for raising chestnuts that will be immune and that will have good quality. Japanese chestnuts are the poorest of all in quality but he has taken the chinquapin, which is of high quality but the very smallest of the whole chestnut family, quite common in many of the central and southern states and as far west as Arkansas, has crossed the Japanese chestnut and the chinquapin, and has obtained seedlings that bear very young—when they are not more than four or five feet high sometimes. They are loaded with nuts, and nuts of large size, larger than our ordinary wild chestnut, usually one in a bur just as the chinquapin is and having the high quality of the chinquapin, and he has grown many of those in New Jersey right in the very worst of the disease area and has found some that are exempt. Perhaps some of you have noticed what was published in regard to this in the Rural New-Yorker sometime in the past few months. I have seen the nuts from some of these trees, and while I have never eaten any, I have Dr. Van Fleet's word for it that they are of excellent quality. Now that is something that we might feel quite hopeful about.
PROFESSOR COLLINS: Dr. Van Fleet is doing a fine work. I have seen some of it and gone over the work with him.
PROFESSOR VAN DEMAN: He is one of the government people and he is carrying on his experiments here at the Arlington plantation, right across the river.
DR. METCALF: Speaking of breeding material, we have six sorts for breeding purposes in the shape of seeds of this very species of Chinese chestnut on which the disease occurs in China. The nut of that tree is of very high quality and good size, and, so far as I can tell, quite as sweet as the American chestnut. If there is no more disease on the trees in this climate than there is in China it would be a very practical tree to grow, as far as we know.
TOP-WORKING SEEDLING PECAN TREES
W. N. HUTT, NORTH CAROLINA
According to a census we have just completed there are in North Carolina upwards of 50,000 seedling pecan trees. These trees range in age from one to thirty years. Seventy-five per cent of them are of bearing age, but there is probably not one per cent of that number that are profitable bearing trees. In all parts of the pecan country experience has shown that seedling pecans are notably slow in coming into bearing and some trees never bear at all. Those that do bear have nuts that are almost invariably, small, thick-shelled and of indifferent quality. In this respect, however, the pecan tree differs in no way from any of our other classes of fruits. No one would today be so foolish as to try to get a good peach or apple orchard by planting the seeds of these fruits; but this is just what a great many people have been trying to do with pecans.
This attempt to produce pecan orchards from seed has been the origin of the 50,000 trees noted in the census above. Now that we have these seedling pecan trees, are they of any value at all? Can we make anything out of them whatever or must we cut them down and charge up the expenses to the account of experience, and start over again with standard varieties of budded and grafted trees? Years of time and quantities of money have been spent in producing these beautiful but comparatively valueless seedling trees. However, they are far from being a total loss, for in those deep roots and stalwart trunks and spreading branches, there are latent possibilities in abundance. If by some magic power like that of Aladdin's wonderful lamp told of in the "Tales of the Arabian Nights," we could transform these seedling trees in a single night to standard varieties, we would enrich every owner of pecan trees by hundreds of dollars and the aggregate wealth of the state would be increased by millions.
For several years I have been in search of Aladdin's wonderful lamp to enlighten me how to effect this felicitous transformation. Like Aladdin's quest of old the search has been long and wearisome and has led me a tedious road through many vexatious disappointments, but at last I have found the lamp! I have in my power the magic by which a worthless seedling pecan tree can be transformed into a productive standard variety. This magic talisman is simply
Every kind of budding is magical. Is it not wonderful to make a crab apple tree produce Stayman or Grimes Golden apples or a quince bush produce luscious Duchess pears? Is it not strange that the sap from the same root can produce red apples on one branch, yellow ones on another, and russets on a third? How does it come that one twig can be made to produce sour apples and the next Paradise Sweets? Strange! Wonderful!! but True!!! It is all owing to the fact that the sap of a tree is a homogeneous substance and that it is the bud through which it passes that stamps the individuality upon it whether it shall be a crab or a Grimes Golden. If we make all the buds of the tree of the Grimes character, the apples will all be Grimes Goldens. In the same way if we make all the buds on a pecan tree Stuarts or Schleys there will be nuts to be gathered from that tree and they will not be the worthless scrub seedlings.
When I began my experiments in the top-working of seedling pecan trees I soon found that there were many things one could not do with pecan trees. I counted myself a successful propagator of apples, peaches, plums, grapes and various other kinds of plants, but apple, peach and general propagation methods failed to give success in the budding and grafting of pecans. I concluded the method must be all right but that I should be more exact about my mechanical manipulations. I started out with the ordinary cleft graft commonly used for top-working most sorts of trees. I experimented in several different orchards and put in hundreds of cleft grafts. I took great pains to make my work as mechanically perfect as possible. All conditions of stock, scions, weather, etc., seemed to promise the highest degree of success. The result of that season's work was a world of disappointment, a lot of experience, and two living grafts. One of these latter, the result of my skill, was so effectively pruned that fall by the pecan girdler that my work for the season was a minus quantity in all but experience. The other living graft, which was put in by an assistant, is now a bearing Curtis tree, our only monument to the success of cleft grafting the pecan. Other propagators are said to be able to secure fair results with cleft grafting of pecans in certain localities, but from my experience, I am willing to aver that it cannot be done in this latitude.
Next followed a series of trials with shield budding which is so uniformly successful with peach, but peach methods failed entirely with pecans. Then followed a succession of trials with whip grafting, veneer grafting, bark grafting, and chip budding, all with a varyingly large percentage of failure and a uniformly small percentage of success. Some propagators in the South report fairly successful results in the chip budding of pecans, but my results with this method were largely of a negative character.
After persistent trials of all the known methods of budding and grafting, through the varying conditions of four successive seasons, I have narrowed the propagation of the pecan in North Carolina to one single method, namely, patch-budding. This method has year after year given us the highest percentage of successful unions. The operation illustrated by figures 1 to 12, is as follows:
1. Heading Back.
During the dormant period which is, roughly speaking, from November 1st to March 1st, the seedling trees are cut back to stubs, the ends of which may be from one to three inches in diameter. Wounds larger than this size take years to heal and endanger the life of the tree. Large trees can be operated on as well as small seedlings, only one has to go higher up so as not to cut too large limbs. Figure 1 shows a seedling pecan tree 18 inches in diameter, which was stubbed back in the winter of 1911-1912 and successfully budded the following summer. The result of this drastic heading-back is a numerous growth of vigorous, rapidly growing shoots near the ends of the stubs, by which Nature endeavors to heal over the wounds. The cambium in these vigorous, sappy shoots is in the most active condition possible; just the condition most suitable for the union of stock and scion. This optimum condition cannot be secured except by the forced growth as the result of the heading back. Our experiments, year after year, have shown that on the ordinary new shoots, even on active young seedling trees, the percentage of living buds was much less than on the forced shoots of the headed-back trees.
The different steps in the operation of patch budding are briefly as follows:
1st operation. Making parallel cuts on stock. See Figure 2.
2d operation. Making vertical cut to remove bark from stock. See Figure 3.
3d operation. Loosening patch on stock. See Figure 4.
4th operation. Making parallel cuts on bud stick. See Figure 5.
5th operation. Making vertical cut to remove bud patch from bud stick. See Figure 6.
6th operation. Taking bud off bud stick. See Figure 7.
7th operation. Inserting bud on stock. See Figure 8.
8th operation. Beginning the tie. See Figure 9.
9th operation. Wrapping the bud. See Figure 10.
10th operation. The completed operation. See Figure 11.
Figure 12. Bud united.
These illustrations should make the method self-explanatory.
Knives for Patch-budding.
Two sorts of knives are used for patch-budding, the double one for making the parallel cuts and the ordinary budding knife for removing the patch.
Professor Bailey, in his "Encyclopedia of Horticulture," says, "The ways and fashions of grafting are legion. There are as many ways as there are ways of whittling. The operator may fashion the union of stock and scion to suit himself if only he apply cambium to cambium, make a close joint and properly protect the work."
The fundamental basis of the whole science of grafting is cambium. What then is this important substance by means of which one plant may be made to live and grow and produce on the roots of another? If we strip off the bark of any actively growing, woody plant we will find just beneath a soft, colorless substance; this substance is cambium. It feels slimy to the touch and if scraped with the finger nail a little doughy mass can be raised. As we examine it it will be seen to quickly darken to cream color, then to yellow and finally to dark brown. A change has taken place in it in a few seconds, right under our eyes. When we first exposed it, it was living, active and capable of building the most complicated of plant structures; now it is dead, inert and impotent. If we examine the smallest portion of this doughy mass under a compound microscope we will find it not merely slime but a highly organized tissue made up of countless minute cells, each with a delicate wall about it and containing a thickish liquid (protoplasm). The cambium cells are brick-shaped, and are placed end to end, with layer overlapping layer, like bricks in the wall of a building. The microscopic structure of cambium tissue gives us a clearer conception of its extreme delicacy. It is one of the most sensitive and delicate substances in all nature. Exposure to the air will kill it and completely destroy its functions in a few seconds. It is easily crushed by slight pressure and quickly killed by exposure to drying, frost, moisture and sunlight. Nature shows her extreme care of it for in making bark she has formed for the delicate cambium a perfect protective covering. Like the cambium the bark is composed of cells, as in fact are all animal and vegetable structures. But the cells of the bark have thick walls of a tough, corky substance, and each cell contains air instead of protoplasm. The corkiness of the bark makes it an impervious, waterproof covering that does not allow the cambium to be dried out or to be washed by external moisture. The air in the bark cells being in a still condition is a non-conductor of heat, and layer of bark overlapping layer, the cambium is completely covered with a dead-air blanket. This keeps it from being frozen in winter and from being overheated in summer, just as a dead-air space in the walls of a building protects from extremes of heat and cold. From this it is plain that nature takes great pains to cover and protect the delicate cambium from all external influences. This stands in striking contrast to the careless manner in which many propagators and planters handle the delicate parts of trees. It also explains why some budders get such a small percentage of living buds and some planters so few living trees.
Cambium is the building material of plants and without it growth is impossible. It covers every portion of the tree from the topmost terminal bud to the deepest root tip like a living blanket. During the growing season the cambium cells divide lengthwise forming new cells. These divide again and grow, and new cells are formed, until by fall a complete mantle of bark covers the outer surface of the cambium, while within it has built up a solid layer of the woody structure of the tree. A few rows of cambium cells are left in an embryonic condition to carry on growth the following year. The cambium is thus the only tissue of the tree that retains from year to year the power of active growth. The layers of wood and bark, after performing their functions for a few seasons, gradually die and are overlapped by new layers, but the cambium remains living throughout the entire life of the tree even if it be, as in the giant Redwoods, thousands of years.
Besides forming the regular wood of the tree the cambium also grows out over cut places and builds in woody tissues that heal over the wounds. It is owing to this fact alone that budding and grafting are possible. The callus on cuttings and root grafts is another evidence of the same phenomenon, for the cambium of the roots of a tree is continuous and identical with that of the branches.
The whole practice of successful grafting and budding is the proper handling of active cambium. The cambium is the cementing material that unites stock and scion and unless there is active cambium there will be no union. It must be said here that no matter how great the future growth of the union, the scion never becomes truly united or fused with the stock. The cambium grows all over and around the cut parts and cements them together, but if the graft union be split open fifty years later, the dead wood of the original scion may be found of the original size and in the original position. Since, then, successful grafting depends on the union of the cambium of the stock with that of the scion, theoretically the best time for grafting and budding would be when the cambium is most active. Actual nursery practice shows that this is practically correct, at least as regards the stock.
The ideal stock for propagation purposes is the young seedling of one or two years growth. In such a stock all the tissues are new and fresh and working to their maximum capacity and the cambium is in its most active condition. In top-working old trees it will be found that though the branches may appear vigorous, they are a long way from having anything like the active circulation found in small seedlings. Buds put in these branches would give a very small "live," while the same care on nursery seedlings could be counted on giving a high percentage of living buds. In top-working, therefore, it is found necessary in order to get the cambium sufficiently active, to stub back the branches to mere pollards. This cutting back should be done in the winter or dormant season. The following growing season will see a dense growth of very vigorous shoots trying to repair the injury. See Figure 1. These shoots are ideal stocks for, on account of their having all the sap from the greater root of the mature tree, the cambium will be even more active than in the nursery seedling. Often when nursery seedlings are in partially dormant condition, owing to unfavorable weather or other conditions, they may be forced into budding condition by slashing off part of the growth above where the buds are to be inserted. In our top-working experiments this fact was further emphasized by a windstorm which broke off many of the sappy shoots just above where the bud was put on. Every single one of these buds "took," though some others, just as carefully put on, failed. The success of all the buds on the wind-broken shoots was undoubtedly due to the forcing of the cambium growth just at the point where the bud was inserted.
Although it is desirable to have the cambium of the stock in an active growing condition, it is quite the reverse with the scion. The reason of this is evident, for if the scion were active, it would soon exhaust its small supply of food and die before the union could be formed and it could get its permanent supply of nourishment from the root. It is desirable to have scions fresh and firm but in a quiescent condition until pushed into activity by the growth of the stock. If, on the other hand, the scions or buds become too dry the sap will not be able to revive them and no union will be made.
For patch-budding, the buds may be cut from scions or bud sticks of the present or the past season's growth. Figure 13 shows a bud stick of the present season's growth from which the leaves have been cut. Such a bud stick cannot be obtained until July, for before that time the bark is so tender that it is impossible to get the bud patch off the stick without crushing it or peeling off the cuticle of the bark. The basal buds of the present season's growth, Figure 13, make the best buds because they are more mature and dormant than the buds above them and as they have shed the leaf stalk they can be tied in more easily and snugly than those with the thick, fleshy base of the leaf stalk attached. Some budders make a practice of cutting off the leaves ten days or two weeks before they commence budding and leaving the scions on the trees to ripen the buds and shed off the bases of the petioles. There is in this way no danger of the thick fleshy leaf base decaying under the wrap and souring and killing the buds.
Figure 14 shows budwood of the previous season's growth. This budwood can be cut during the winter and kept over in fresh dormant condition by being packed in damp sawdust and carried over in ordinary cold storage or in a refrigerator. It will be ready for use in the spring as soon as the bark will slip on the stocks. By this method the budding season may be greatly extended and propagation started at least two months before any of the present season's buds will be sufficiently mature for use.
The Kinds of Buds to Select.
As to the buds themselves the most desirable are those at the base of the season's growth. See Figure 13. These, though not large, are plump and fully mature. The bark is smoother and firmer about them than higher up the stem and there is no leaf stalk to interfere with cutting them accurately and making a close fit and tie. These buds are dormant and there is little danger of their pushing into growth in the fall and being cold hurt the following winter. For best success in patch budding it is not desirable to select very large, overdeveloped buds, or those that have grown so rapidly as to stand out on a little pedicel or basal stalk. In removing such a bud from the stick, the central column of the pedicel will often pull out and remain on the stick. Such a bud will almost invariably die. An observation of pecan buds in general will show that they are normally triple in form, the largest above and two smaller ones beneath it. The largest bud will grow first but if anything happens to it, the next one will take its place.
Tying in the Buds.
A good deal of the success in patch-budding depends on the tying in of the buds. The cambium must be thoroughly protected if a union is to result. It is necessary to have some kind of tie that will retain the sap as well as exclude external moisture. After experimenting with different materials and methods I have finally abandoned all except the waxed strip tie. This is made by dipping sheet cotton in pure, liquid beeswax and pressing out all extra wax. The cloth after dipping is formed into convenient sized rolls. From these rolls the cloth is torn at budding time into strips a quarter of an inch wide and from six to eight inches long.
In tying in a bud hold it firmly so that it will not slip and begin at the top and bind it in very tightly with the waxed strip. Reverse the tie at the rear of the bud like a surgeon's bandage and cover the patch completely, leaving only the tip of the bud sticking out. The wax in the cloth will cause the tie to adhere sufficiently to the wood so that no other ligature is required. In budding in the spring, when the flow of sap is very copious, it is well to tie in a small splinter about the size of a match just below the bud to drain off the excess sap. This will save many buds from being killed by souring of the sap. In two to three weeks time the tie should be loosened so that the rapid growth of the stock will not cause the tie to cut into the bark.