From Part 1
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This post was edited by gardener365 on Wed, Nov 6, 13 at 19:28
Wow this thread is actually topped out. I personally have never had my hands on a Selbhers nut. Being who I am, I'm a gotta see for myself person. If some one has nuts I sure would like to sample them and get some photos posted. I'm also in search of some Lindaur nuts to collect. If there are any leads I would greatly appreciate it. I too am from Iowa.
Here are photos of most of the shags I gathered this fall. I believe the top row are all seedlings, though the "Road N" tree stands alone on an old farmstead right at the entrance to a corn field. I believe the bottom row are all selected varieties, though they may have been selected for reasons other than their nuts. "B Road" gets decimated by the squirrels, and from the looks of it, it's a "nut" selection. There's another grafted tree near the "Quad" tree that was decimated so early and completely by the squirrels, I wasn't able to get a single nut - That's the tree I'm most interested in ;)
...the trunk of the early shagbark the squirrels got to long before I even had a chance! Given that it was grafted in the 1930s - 40s, I would have guessed that the rootstock would be bitternut, but it doesn't look like bitternut bark to me...
PXB.. If there are any kids living in that complex, perhaps you could put them to work guarding that tree from the squirrels or have them pick the nuts up for you at a penny each or something like that?
Kids might stand a chance against the critters as they're around more.
Nice pictures Pete. From a glance at the cross sections of those shags, I would say creek road has the best combo of being a two ribber and having a thin shell along with a thin septum dividing the lobes. It should crack easily. The rootstock on the tree doesn't appear to be bitternut it looks to me like shagbark or shellbark. keep in mind that there can be a degree of varient in the bark of different shagbark and shellbark. I've seen some shags where the bark is completely smooth up until 20 ft in the tree.
Here is the completed display #1 of hickory cultivars. The second display is started but not completed. Some notes to take is that in the "Grainger" in the previos photo of the incomplete display was replaced with "Cook" shag and the "Fayette" has been replaced with what has been confirmed as the true "Fayette". I felt the true size of "Grainger" was not being accurately depicted because the nuts in the previous display photo were grown in Ohio in drought conditions. "Grainger" still holds the record for being the largest shagbark nut weighing from 10-12 grams. Hope this helps you all for accuracy of records. Tyler
Here is the completed "Hican Display Box" for accuracy records. This is a rare piece indeed!! Eight difficult to obtain hicans in a side by side comparison display!
Hican Display Box division #1 for close up viewing.
Hican Display Box division #2 for close up viewing.
Well done. Excellent displays.
Treebird, I sent an email.
This post was edited by gardener365 on Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 11:01
This is why I dub the T-92 hican as the absolute best. Here we have a very large thin shelled nut with NO packing material. The kernel has the finest color that can be obtained and the flavor is sweet and reminiscent of butter and real maple syrup. For hicans being notorious for being shy bearers, T-92 produces a decent crop annually. Here is a photo of the nut. I recommend this cultivar to be widely planted for its tasty high quality nuts and beautiful dark green scab resistant ornamental foliage.
I ate my first hican last night and I was amazed. It was 'Burton'. No maple flavor but I was thrown back in delight. It had a smoky flavor, I thought. Being new to eating anything other than a pecan is without saying a learning curve. I did like it much more than any pecan, however, I'm seeing that fresh pecans vs. those at the grocery store are much, much sweeter.
I tell you what even threw me for an equally delightful loop was eating my first Japanese heartnut. Wow! Sweet.... It was a 'Fodermaier'. And the Persian walnuts.....jeez, I'm gone! or there! Ate my first paw paw...native trees from just miles from me; Really enjoyed 'Early Golden' Persimmon. A whole new world.
Yeah store bought southern pecans really don't have much going for them once you've tried some fresh northern major, kanza or peruque pecans. I'm not a fan of all hicans. I think they are unique hybrids but many do not fill well and are shy bearers. T-92 I would take over any pecan or other hican. Most of the shellbark hybrids are a larger nut with quite a bit of packing material. I was told that T-92's seed parent was the Iowa Weschcke shagbark hickory nut. A breeder by the name of Bill Thielenhaus was creating hybrids to bring pecan like nuts further north. He knew that Weschcke did not produce male flowers so he grafted it among his pecans and if they produced a nut the nut would have hybrid genetics if it was grown out. One of those offspring was apparently T-92.
I'm going to ask for scionwood of that, Treebird. If you don't have easy access, maybe Lucky will.
I actually bought my T-92 tree from Nolin River Nursery. It's very vigorous. The tree is about 7 ft tall and still too small to harvest wood from. Once it gets larger I plan on grafting a few more on the acreage.
I'll see if Lucky has it. 7' tall and not much wood? That's odd (it seems to me) being a grafter. I'd be backing that up the first chance I had if it had 3-4 branches only - I'd remove at least one stick or do some chip buds at least.....
No problem of course. I'm just used to grafting miniature conifers and the like where I only have 4-5 branches on a given plant.
I got your package today Dax. It was a relief to actually get the true Walters shagbark nut. it seems there has been quite a mix up over the past several years. The true Walters is a shagbark. I've gotten a shellbark nut that was professed to be Walters and an unusual bitternut or bitternut /shag cross that is sweet called Walters. The shellbark nut called Walters was a junk nut but I am interested in this bitternut that was sent to me called Walters. We might have to change the name of this sweet bitternut unless someone can come forward with its origins or any knowledge of an edible bitternut or hybrid of a different name.
Yeah, Gary Fernald doesn't disagree about your assessment of 'Walters'. He was only given information when he grafted it as being a shell x shag. I called him and he said he got wood from a friend no longer living, a Mr. Howard McDaniel from Monroe, IA.
Anytime [anyone] wants wood, I can grab some.
Best of regards,
Forgot to add ovata 'Walters' is very productive, Gary said.
Very interesting Dax. It is a large nut but I see no shellbark in it what so ever. I recommend if someone is to propagate Walters that it should be the cultivar you sent me. I will put a picture up of it and its cross section here soon in side by side comparison with other nuts. Can you ask Gary if it has a consistent 5 leaflet pattern? I sawed into the large Etter shellbark nut you sent today and from my understanding Etter was a shagbark but I also heard that Fayette Etter was a big hickory enthusiast with many cultivars. From my observation the Etter shell bark isn't worth grafting. It is an impressively large nut but that's it. The ribs would trap kernel and the shell is very thick. The Burton hican looks like a larger Country Club hican. The ones I cracked were nicely filled, there was no crummy pecan packing material, and the flavor was good. If it is productive, it is certainly worth grafting.
Here is a partially completed display box with Walters (ovata) in the bottom left corner. I need to get a hold of a few Retzer nuts and a few Weschcke nuts. If any one knows of a good source of someone who has these true cultivars I would greatly appreciate it if they could be sent my way.
Ok, so earlier I had mentioned a non bitter bitternut type nut that a friend had sent me who thought it was Walters. I sent some samples to Fred and he suggested that it could perhaps be the Pleas hican. There is a mild astringency to the nut but nothing over bearing and it would probably bake out in cakes or pies. The shell is extremely thin and on a few nuts if I look very closely I can see some faint pecan markings but barely. Here is a photo. I put a small native pecan to the bottom right for comparison.
Looks similar to the grafted bitcan here that Fred has suggested is also Pleas. Ripens early - late Aug/early Sept. - is a weevil magnet, astringency worse some years than others.
I don't even bother picking them up any more - and neither do the squirrels, which might tell a feller something...
Yeah, I was told the weevils get into it pretty bad. I never found a weevil in a pure bitternut. It isn't something I plan on grafting but it's interesting to evaluate.
A northern pecan previously not shown. Gary Fernald says, 'it's as good as they come.'
Juglans ailantifolia 'Fodermaier'
Carya illinoinensis 'Hark'
Carya ovata 'Walters'
Juglans ailantifolia 'Fodermaier'
Carya illinoinensis 'Hark'
Carya ovata 'Walters'
This post was edited by gardener365 on Fri, Nov 22, 13 at 16:36
I'm familiar with Fodermaier heartnut - is your Frodemaier a different cultivar, or just a misspelling of the name?
You're right, I messed it up.
Man, I have a lot of catching up to do! Treebird, outstanding displays! I'm amazed that you have access to all those varieties, and you did a great job putting them together. Do you have a book that shows examples of each of the nuts in your display? I wish there was a single place I could look for examples of all of the nuts out there - I have a very good book that covers pecans, but not hickory and hicans, and it's frustrating! I'll be referring to your post often (and will probably ask you to send me a full-size photo ;)
I'm really intrigued by your "Pleas" photo and post. Reason being the bitcan I posted a pic of earlier in the thread is the only bitcan I've come across at the two old nursery locations I'm gathering from where Pleas was supposedly grown, and mine doesn't look anything like yours. This bitcan is probably my favorite nut taste-wise of all the pecans/hicans/hickory I've tasted this year, so I'm very interesting in identifying it (and would love to compare it to yours) - I'll send you a few to check out when along with the "Street" hickory I promised.
Gotta go look up how to cut/cook bok choy (I'm being told)... more later.
On the Weschcke - I recall having read recently that it was discovered to actually be a hybrid - I believe it is a shag/bit hybrid. I wish I could remember where I read it, but if I figure it out I'll post it. Sorry - I'm reading an absolute TON of stuff these days on nuts :O
This post was edited by pxbacher on Sun, Nov 24, 13 at 17:58
Still catching up... The bitcan I collected this year that I suspect may be Pleas had zero weevils. I have not found a single weevil in any of them... so we're definitely talking about two different bitcans...
I'd seen the allegation that Weschke was a shagXbitternut hybrid, as well - may have been in Weschke's book.
Here is a link that might be useful: Weschke - Growing Nuts in the North
Thanks for the compliments Pete. I understand your frustration with there not being a good book for hickory and hican. I have a great book by Wes Rice on pecans but hickory and hicans only seem to be a special interest nut group. I could supply the photos and displays and some information if someone truly was interested in doing a nice illustrated book. There are quite a few others out there dedicated the hickory and hican as well. I have the latest Northern Nut Grower book( Nut Tree Culture in North America Vol. 1) and it does a very poor depiction of hickory, only giving you specie references and nothing on known cultivars and their characteristics. To me that just shows where the nut interest is going. You can pretty much notice that the editor, publisher, or who ever put the book together is basically leaving hickory and hicans out of the loop as being viable nuts to grow. On the other hand the older NNGA book ( Nut Tree Culture in North America) by Richard A. Jaynes is a much much much much better book all around. It at least list hickory and hican cultivar information but it doesn't go into extensive detail. Though it doesn't have the most up to date info on diseases and more recent cultivars, it depicts a much better passion and basic understanding of nut growing. It's more for the individual and less for the university. I like it a lot. That is a nice link there Lucky. I just wish I could get a hold of some Weschke and Retzer nuts to sample and complete this next display box so I can get started on the next. I should have some Silvis 303 and Seas shagbark nuts coming here soon, then I will get some photos up of them.
Don't think I have any Weschke nuts - they're pretty small; I was kind of surprised, the first time I saw it. Have some Weschke seedlings out there somewhere in an overgrown nursery bed, but don't know that i could distinguish 'em from PST seednuts planted at the same time - if I can even find 'em.
Wish I could get a hold of some to sample. It must not be one of the most popular because it doesn't seem to be well circulated. For it being small and it being the seed parent of the T-92 hican, It sure made a great big hican but of course Bill Thielenhaus grafted the tree among very large southern pecans. I was told it has a very light kernel like Lake Icaria which I'm sure would contribute to T-92's extremely light kernel.
According to Weschcke in his book "Growing Nuts in the North," he was initially disappointed with the size of the nut when grafted, but over time it grew significantly in size. See page 60 for a size comparison, and a few pages earlier for an interesting shot of the nut itself showing how thin the shell is (link to book in html format below - other formats also available via Project Gutenberg)
Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Nuts in the North
Well I might be actually getting some Weschcke nuts here soon. It appeared that the size increase of the nut noted by Carl Weschcke had everything to do with the more vigorous bitternut rootstock. I know that grafting hickory onto pecan will have the same effect. I've seen several examples of different cultivars on hickory compared to that which was grafted on pecan and the size change is very noticeable, almost an increase of near half the size on pecan. These cultivars were also grafted in the same areas from the same year and exposed to the same conditions. As for vigor in the various carya tree species it seems to go in this order: pecan, bitternut, shellbark, and then shagbark. Pecan being the most vigorous and then shagbark being the least vigorous growing of the carya family with the same number of chromosomes.
Was there a reason you didn't include 'Burton' hican among your collection display? I collected a few more a few days ago... I wouldn't say they're pristine like the Walters ovata I was able to send, but I believe you may consider adding it to your overall collection. 'Burton' is at Kansas (State or University.) Gary Fernald received his scions from Clifford Dabb. That's as much information as Gary has.
Bill Totten of Alexis, IL, introduced Carya illinoinensis 'Hark'. I'm telling you, 'Hark' is a lot larger than you may be thinking. Its' circumference sets it apart right away among other northern pecans. It has good 'northern' overall length to it, as well. Gary has 'Hark' grafted but his trees aren't producing, yet. I inferred from the tone in Gary's voice, however, that it won't be long until his 'Hark' pecans, fruit.
This post was edited by gardener365 on Sun, Dec 8, 13 at 7:33
Hey Dax, I did add Burton to my collection. I had to move the last 3 hicans in the box to fit it on, but it is on the board. Thanks for the Burton samples by the way, they crack out nicely. I will get a finished product photo of the display board up here in the next few days. It looks nice and thanks again for your contributions.
This is the completed hican display box. Hope you can see things through the glare on the plexiglass.
Here's the three I have so far. I will be starting another when the bottom left box is completed. I'm starting to accumulate a few shellbark nuts now for the next box.
Super. Better than any poster or art you could put on a wall.
I agree Dax. Here's a box I made that I call "The Standard" If I could only graft seven trees these would be the seven. I base this on my extensive evaluations, characteristics of flavor, shell structure, and crackability.
Here is a picture of the Mr. Hickory Nut Cracker. Fred Blankenship modified his design by drilling a two hole position at the rear of the cracker to make it wider so you can fit larger shellbark nuts toward the back of the cracker where the majority of the power is. This thing will shatter ANY nut in its jaws. I love this cracker. It has to be the best one out there.
I'm going to have to invest in one for sure.
youtube recommended this video to me. This guy has a clean process for shelling pecans.
Interesting video Dax. Sounds like a good way to get the job done but as far as hickory go, if you gave me a Mr. Hickory Nut Cracker and a bowl of those nuts out of the box I call "The Standard", I could have more kernels in the bowl in a shorter time span then the man cracking out those pecans. Of course its good to have a pair of side cutters at your side but the Mr. Hickory Nut Cracker has a built in chisel called a nibbler for chipping away the center shell pieces so you can pop out halves. The Grainger nut is the only nut I can crack out whole kernels because of its thin shell and near rib-less shell cavity.
Well here is the completion of the previous box. I got a hold of some Weschcke nuts. Its mounted in the bottom right corner. I have to say it is still quite a small nut. It does have a thin shell and a two rib cavity though. They were all blanks or the kernels were shriveled so I couldn't examine the flavor but we now have reference so I hope you all enjoy. Sorry the gloss clear coat causes a glare but the final product looks great in person.
Treebird - shipped a box your way this morning - expect it the end of the week.
As soon as I have the money I'm getting a Fred smacker cracker.
I made some name spelling errors above and edited them.
Carya illinoinensis 'Hark' is introduced from Bill Totten of Alexis, IL. And 'Burton' hican is not one of his. See:
Post: Sat, Nov 30, 13 at 18:41
I'll be looking forward to that box Pete. Dax, the Mr. Hickory Hickory Nut Cracker is a must have for any hickory enthusiast. I've heard of a Totten shellbark nut and have seen one of the nuts, very thick shell and nut much of a kernel. It's a big nut but its attributes could be be better. Was that a Hark pecan you sent me?
No, Gary handed me (4) 'Hark' pecans the second time I met with him. He had driven over to Bill Totten's between visits, which was after I sent that box. I'm going to send one to you. Be extra careful when you saw it... cause I'd like to grow the others. I just bought 50 Rootmaker flats.
What I sent was Carya illinoiensis 'OC-9'. I'll have to ask Gary if it has another name. A visit to my greenhouse confirms that's what I sent.
I'm going to try to get more than 1 example for you. That was just plain outright dumb on my part when you need at least 2 for herbarium specimens.
Just in case anyone here doesn't have a copy of Carl Weschcke's Growing Nuts in the North, an eBay seller seems to have discovered a cache of them (NEW old stock) and is selling them on eBay for $12 shipped. I had a copy in my library but jumped at the opportunity to upgrade to one in new condition at that price!
Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Nuts in the North - eBay
Very cool Pete, I just bought one. The seller has listed that he has more than 10 available. You're right, that is an excellent price for something that old in new condition!
This post was edited by treebird on Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 12:15
10 left now, so I guess he had 12 ;)
What if anything can I glean from it?
On another note, there are no video demonstrations of The Mr. HIckory Nut Cracker on the internet. Anyone care to add one?
Saw this video of Gary Fernald on youtube today.
The Iowa Nut Growers Association has their own page if you'd like to see more videos.
Thanks for posting the video links, Dax!
Growing Nuts in the North is available as an e-book via Project Guterberg at the link below. Take a look and decide for yourself if it's worth $12 to you. I'm a book collector (aka hoarder) so there really wasn't a question re me buying a copy.
While you're on the Project Gutenberg site, search for other nut books - there are a bunch available there, via Google, and California Digital Library, as well as other places.
Here is a link that might be useful: Gutenberg: Growing Nuts in the North
Nuts for Profit (now we're REALLY getting old) by John Parry. Really just want to point you to some of the better ebook archives.
Here is a link that might be useful: Nuts for Profit
Cool video Dax. I would add a nice demonstration video of the Mr. Hickory Nut Cracker if I had the means to film it but unfortunately I have only a dumb phone, not a smart phone and I'm technologically behind when it comes to camcorders. I live in Iowa like Gary but I haven't yet become a member of the Iowa Nut Growers, but I am considering it. I was a member of the Northern Nut Growers but the member fees are way above the affordable level just so I can get a thin packet of information four times a year. Pete I would have to say that a lot of those older books are way better then the newest NNGA book. So much has been lost and pushed aside over the years, especially when it comes to hickory. I can dig through the older nut growing books and I am fascinated at what's been left behind. A must have book and one of the best reads I own on nut growing is the NNGA book ( Nut Tree Culture in North America) by Richard A. Jaynes, its a green hard cover book. They don't print it anymore but you might be able to find it still on Amazon. That's where I got a copy at a fairly reasonable price.
I see they made several prints of the book: Nuts for Profit by John Parry. There is one of the originals listed on ebay. A very old book but maybe the reprint would be the way to go if the original is not very legible.
Here is a link that might be useful: Ebay Book Listing
I already read that link Lucky provided about Weschke. Yesterday I gleaned tidbits of information calling and speaking with William Reid at Kansas State U. He has a really good blog if you haven't read it, but I'll bet most of you have. Reid has been evaluating pecans for 35 years. For anyone interested, he will be bringing samples for viewing of all KSU's pecans to the next Illinois Nut Tree Association's gathering.
Yeah, I go to his blog frequently even though my real passion is hickory. It's a very good resource to check out if your passion is pecans. I just have 6 grafted pecan trees which I planted because of Bill's advise on his blog and Wes's advise over the phone. In my opinion pecans are a lot of work and I won't ever do any spraying for any reason so what I planted has to be tough and be able to do without spraying. I run a bunch of poultry out here on the farm that go all over the place and eat bugs and do their job to fertilize but I know that's not going to take care of scab or anything of the sort.
Thanks for the ebay link Treebird, though I think I'll pass. I'd like a cleaner copy, and don't really care if it's a first edition.
Dax, I follow Bill Reid's pecan blog closely and subscribe on my phone's RSS app so I can usually read his posts the day they're posted. Very interesting and informative if you're into pecans.
Funny you should mention Bill Reid - I sent him an email a while ago asking a couple of questions about pecans, but never heard back from him...
Treebird - I cannot agree with you more about NNGA's high annual membership fee! I was a member around ten years ago but quit because of the high cost. I just re-joined last year and have re-upped this year, but am not happy with the cost. There's much discussion these days about the diminishing ranks of members, and lack of newer, younger members, both of which I believe are a direct result of cost. You guys are EXACTLY the kind of new member NNGA needs. Addressing this with NNGA is on my (million item) list of things to do.
Just out of curiosity, what would you consider a fair price for NNGA membership - one that you would be willing (happy?) to pay?
I am a member of several national/state/local fruit and nut organizations including:
NNGA (Nuts - national)
NAFEX (Fruit - national)
BYFG (Fruit - local PA)
ONGA (Nuts - OH)
KNGA (Nuts - KY)
INGA (Nuts & Fruit - IN)
PANGA (Nuts - PA)
I joined many of the state organizations just last year to see if their newsletters were any good and because they were inexpensive (most around $8/year).
So far, IMHO:
NNGA - Very valuable but also very overpriced ($40/yr)
NAFEX - Excellent, and much more reasonable ($19/yr). Their Pomona newsletter is very well done and I really like their listserve group (email group). I'd like to see them at $15/yr, but probably not happening as their newsletter is more like a book.
BYFG (local - PA) - Outstanding, especially because I can attend their excellent local events. An outstanding value as well at: ($15/2 yrs)
ONGA (OH) - Decent newsletter and cheap ($5/yr)
KNGA (KY) - Also a good newsletter and cheap ($5/yr). Their fall newsletter had an excellent pictorial article on top working pecan using bark grafting.
INGA (IN) - Best newsletter IMHO. ($7/yr)
PNGA (PA) - Overpriced ($20/yr). Web site stagnant and sparse, fewer than 200 members. I've not been able to make any of the meetings, so I will give them another chance this year and see what I can do to reform them... (cost down, value up).
Are you guys members of your state nut/fruit organizations, and if so, how are their newsletters w/r to providing solid, useful information, and do you consider them worthwhile? Cost?
This post was edited by pxbacher on Wed, Dec 11, 13 at 14:30
Searching around for some other info for a request posted over on the Fruit & Orchards forum, I checked and saw that John Gordon's nursery website is still up - though John passed away sometime in the last couple of years.
There's a digital copy of 'Nut Growing Ontario Style' linked there, that might be of interest to some folks following this discussion.
Here is a link that might be useful: Nut Growing Ontario Style.
I'd like to see the NNGA membership down near $10-$15. I'm a member of the Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association which I know doesn't pertain to nuts but the membership is $10 a year and I receive several color printed packets of information, much more information than what the NNGA sent me. People now a days don't have the money to set a side for a $40.00 a year membership. It seems like the organization is sort of an outfit for profit. If you search their website for some knowledge on a topic from a certain article and want to view it, you have to pay for it. If you want more people to become interested in nut growing, that knowledge should be free. Personally I think some sort of reformation would be a good thing. It should be back to the basics of bringing people together of different types who have a common interest in nut growing from the poorest man with a little land to the man laying out groves of trees on several acres. Why cant you be a member if you have no money? If the NNGA is worried about diminishing membership and lack of young members why not consider the above instead of campaigning through nurseries at a high cost membership. I really like how you laid things out there Pete as far as the cost of memberships to the different organizations go.
Here is a link that might be useful: NNGA Membership Rates
This post was edited by treebird on Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 3:15
Well back on the topic of hickory and hican, I received your box the other day Pete. The hican you sent is the Hershey hican. That Bitcan you sent is very interesting, a nice cracker but I do pick up a slight astringency along with some sweetness. It is a good size bitcan and I bet it would make a killer rootstock for grafting onto.. The street shellbark is a great cracker but with a thick shell, A+ kernel color. The parent tree is less of a good cracker but the flavor is slightly better. I will send a few to Fred Blankenship for his opinion. The "road" shagbark is definitely collectable. The flavor is sort of bland but the kernels fall free from the shell. I try to look for that sweet maple flavor when I'm evaluating shagbark nuts. I believe this nut would give good halves but strangely the exterior shape of the shell when pressure is applied causes the nut to fold forcing the halves into quarters. They are nice quarters and I would gather from this tree every year. Both pecans you sent have good flavor. Thanks for the samples.
Great! Glad you got them - I figured you'd get them yesterday or today.
I LOVE the flavor of that bitcan - it's not like any other nut I know. But yes, it is astringent, and some are more astringent than others. Every once in a while you get a "zinger" and have to have another nut ready to pop in your mouth or you'll look like a dog eating peanut butter for a minute. It seems like the nuts dessicate fairly quickly - I'm probably going to have to store the rest in my freezer to keep them through the winter. I wish I could find something like it but without the astringency and with better storing characteristics.
Do you know the history of the Hershey hican? Those nuts were gathered from John W. Hershey's "Number 1 Tree Crops Farm" near me in southeastern PA (see "Tree Crops," 1953 ed., by J. Russell Smith, p 319. I'd love to know what the story on them is.
I have a bunch more shags but only a few of each. I really need to sit down one night and just taste them all by themselves and try to put them in rank order just to figure out what that nice maple flavor is that everyone describes. Yes, I've sort of tasted it, but when I sit down to crack out a few nuts I like variety, and the much stronger flavor of black walnuts and even pecans make it difficult to really taste the nuances of the different shags.
Yes, I've noticed differences in the flavor of the shellbarks. Boy are they mild, which I actually like as they work well in baking (I use the parent tree nuts for this - I have a 5 gallon pail of them) because my GF can't stand black walnuts which is the nut I would prefer to put in my baked stuff.
When you say that the "Road" shag is collectible, do you mean scion wood? It's an old roadside farm tree a little shy of 2' DBH IIRC; I don't *think* it's grafted but I've not really looked at it closely. It has SIGNIFICANT alternate bearing - this year was a good one.
All of the shellbarks are related; the mother tree is quite old and had to have been either raised from a nut or planted by the original farmer (nearby house is quite old - I'll have to ask the owner when it was originally built - I'd guess the mid 1800s). The mother tree is quite large - over 2' DBH though probably closer to 2' than 3'. I don't think it's grafted. I am not aware of any other shellbarks in the area (anywhere - these are the only shellbarks I know of!), and all the other nearby shellbark trees are significantly younger than the mother tree. One note - there used to be a nursery here in Kennett adjacent to the shellbark farm property that I believe was at least minimally involved in the nut tree trade. There's a very large pecan tree in town, as well as a very large persimmon tree, both in the front yards of older homes, that I'm guessing came from this nursery, so there may be other shellbarks around that I'm not aware of. If there are any others, I bet the property owner knows of them (not sure why I've never asked...
If & when they finish updating the USDA-ARS Pecan Breeding Program website, they have a pretty extensive pecan cultivar photo index - including some, if not all, of the varieties you listed. But, there are some discrepancies - the photos they show of Greenriver are NOT...look more like a Major nut; that's the only mistake I've noticed, but there could be others...
Here is a link that might be useful: USDA-ARS Pecan Breeding
This post was edited by lucky_p on Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 12:00
Thanks for that info Lucky, and for the heads-up on Green River. My copy of Pecan Cultivars (The Orchards Foundation) has good photos of Green River and Posey, so I'll go by these photos for those two varieties. I just need the others to make the best possible ID. One of the two pecans looks quite a bit like the Green River photo in the Pecan Cultivars book.
Green River Pecan?
This post was edited by pxbacher on Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 14:07
Hmm... Looking at both photos next to each other like that... Yeah, they SORT of look similar, but there are some subtle differences, enough so I'm now not so sure they're the same variety...
Bill Reid's blog has Green River shown. Link just above. See:
Friday, November 29, 2013
Looks like Greenriver, as grown here - nut shape is compatible, kernel appearance is consistent - it's got a nice, light kernel, and the nutmeat has a distinctly more yellow color than many pecans.
There can be pretty considerable variation in nuts from the same tree - I'm still gathering Major, Greenriver, and one that may be Giles. Pretty wide range of sizes - and to a lesser degree, shape - in nuts from the Greenriver tree. Major nuts are pretty consistent in shape, but vary considerably in size.
Posey's kernels darken pretty quickly;
Thanks Lucky and Dax.
Lucky - most of the nuts don't fall on shuck split?
Does anyone know if hickory will sprout from the stump when cut to the ground?
This post was edited by pxbacher on Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 17:08
Pete, pecan will sprout when cut to the ground. I have some stumps still producing sprouts that were cut flush five years ago. They are in a fence line that I mow regularly. I would think that Hickories would do the same.
Thanks Devon. Yep, that's also what the USDA Silvics Manual says for Shellbark (the variety I'm concerned about).
Hey Pete, when I say collectable I mean it's worthy of gathering nuts from each year. A lot of the shags I come across are really not collectable. You want good cracking and good flavor. I would definitely taste all the shags you gathered and you can see if you notice a difference. A good shag like I said will be sweet and have a very pleasant maple butterscotch aftertaste. Shellbarks like you stated are milder in flavor but still pleasant.
Very nice thread for reading up on hickory. I'd like to get scionwood of the Lake Icaria tree in a month or so if possible. The photos are nice to see. The only grafted hickory I currently have is Mitch Russell which I got from Fred Blankenship about 10 years ago. I also have James Hican which is on a pecan rootstock and is bearing sporadically.
Hey Fusion, You'll have to shoot me an email in Feburary/ early March. I have a lot of request for scion wood. Mitch Russel is a good nut. Personally I think it's a bittternut/shellbark nut, but Fred thinks its a shag/shell with bitternut somewhere in its genetics. I honestly cant detect any shagbark in the flavor. But Fred is a great friend and very knowledgeable on hickory. His opinion on hickory is one that can be trusted.
Without a tree shaker, one is dependent upon time, wind, etc. to cause the nuts to drop. Smaller young trees, you can beat 'em out with long poles(PVC pipe works well) or toss a rope with a weight on it up into the canopy, retrieve the end and shake 'em out. But, on a BIG tree, you need a tractor-mounted shaker, or you're relegated to daily pick-up for a period of several weeks.
I've been gathering pecans from Major, Posey, Greenriver in a local grove of 40+ yr old trees since mid-October. As of last Friday, I was still picking up a couple of gallon ice cream pails each day - but today, only a handful; It may be the end of the season now.
Most years, my only competition for the nuts from these dozen or so trees - on a public property - has been the local squirrels, crows, and bluejays, but the last couple of years, other humans have discovered them, and I've had to 'contend' with at least 4 other folks gathering nuts - but they quit off a month or so ago, and I've continued to get quite a few every day.
I'm not a forestry authority, but yes, hickory will resprout, as will pecan - and unless I'm mistaken, a significant part of timber regeneration after harvest of hardwoods is due to resprouting from stumps/root collars; in some settings this may be more important than 'release' of seedlings suppressed under mature canopy.
Lucky, I planted about 100 pecan trees 11 years ago. They are starting to bear. Yesterday, I went through them and found one tree with outstandingly good nuts. There were only 3 nuts on the tree out on one limb. Most of the other trees should begin to bear in the next 2 or 3 years. Of the trees that are bearing, this one is the best so far.
Just curious if you are doing any seedling selection on your pecans.
My kids and I planted 400+ 2-yr old bareroot seedlings of Major & Posey(plus some black walnuts, butternuts, Japanese walnuts, and oaks) into a 100-ft wide CRP bufferstrip planting along the creek on the farm here - about 7 acres total - back in 2000.
I 'lost' them all in the tall weeds that grew that summer - my tractor was out of commission all summer, and ragweed, etc., was 10 ft tall before I could get in to mow.
I just bush-hogged 'em down that fall - knowing that if they were alive, they'd resprout the next spring. Had better than 80% survival rate, and many of those 15 year-old trees are over 20 ft tall now - and have received no care other than once-or twice yearly mowing. Noticed this fall that ONE tree had produced some nuts, but have not been back to evaluate quality - and I'm sure the critters have gotten them all by now.
I'd intended to topwork every other tree to named varieties, but just didn't get it done. Most are now too big to topwork, but there are a few smaller ones that I could still graft, if I could get to it at the proper time.
Homemade hickory nut pie! This is a hit! I toast my hickory nuts first. I love this even more than homemade pecan pie. A warm piece of this and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, YUM!
Shag or shell? How are the nuts toasted?
Mighty fine pie.
I used both shag and shell. To toast them, after the kernels were cracked I roasted them in the oven on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for 25mins. The big kernels that settled on top were from Keystone nuts. That is one fine cracking shellbark nut! My wife's grandfather said it was the best pecan pie he ever had but I had to explain to him that pecans had no influence on the pie, this was a hickory nut pie. It was the first dessert I ever brought to a family function and I literally had nothing left to bring home. I will post the recipe.
PIONEER WOMAN'S HICKORY NUT PIE RECIPE:
1 whole unbaked pie crust(deep dish)
1 cup of white sugar
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of corn syrup
1/2 cup of REAL maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla
1/3 cup of melted butter(salted)
3 whole eggs
1 1/2 cups of hickory nut kernels and pieces
Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, maple syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl. Do not heavily beat as to whip contents. Pour hickory nut kernels and pieces into the bottom of unbaked pie shell. Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover the top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 325 degrees for 30 minuets. Remove foil then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or hickory nuts.
Note: Pie should not be overly jiggly when you remove it from the oven. If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake an additional 20 minutes or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes sometimes it takes 75!
Allow to cool for several hours over night.
This post was edited by treebird on Mon, Dec 23, 13 at 12:37
I've been a fly on the wall long enough appreciating all you have to say, and thought it time to share with you a few of my recent hickory breakthroughs.
I was doing my local farmers market this Fall and I've taken to laying out some hickory nuts on my table from the very small nuts, from my farm, to rather large shellbarks I have received from various generous NNGA'ers like Bud Luers**, whom I invited to this forum. Anyway, a young gal who frequents my booth saw the nuts and said she had found a shag hickory nut that she could crack with her teeth. "Wooha" Im said, "you go around trying to crack hickories with your teeth?!". She told me that she was hiking up on Keeney's Knob nearby and saw an unusually shaped shag and just felt like biting it. The next week she brought a to the next market and low and behold she cracked it with her teeth as easy as any pecan. I tasted it and it had a very good maple nut flavor. I sent a couple to Mr B. (Mr Hickory cracker) but havent heard back about it.
The next step will be to go to Keeneys with my friend and shoot down some scion wood. Any body have a preference of caliber for this task?
Thanx to Mr B. I have most of the better cultivars your exhibit in your boxes treebird, but they are only a year or two old topworked on my trees. Meanwhile I have to settle for my local misfit hickories of thick shell and tangled meats. I have devized a fairly efficient way of rendering usefulness from them. I start with eating any grubs that are at the bottom of the bucket. I particularly enjoy the crunchy little heads with those jaws that can eat through hickory shells. This is high protein mast finished product that shouldnt be overlooked.
After that harvest, I pull out one of my Mr Hickory crackers (I have 2 of them) and crack away at my cruddy little hickory nuts. When I have a small mess, I float the debris, skim the loose nut meats, and dry them. The lazy man nut meats are eaten out of hand while I eat pecan pie and the pie really has flavor then.
Taking from the tradition of the Pre-Nutcracker-peoples of the Americas and their making of hickory stew by boiling, I take the rest of the nuts shells, their trapped meats, and water and put them on the woodstove to contribute to my humidification system. I time this with cold fronts like we are having currently. (Optional: At this point I throw in some roasted dandelion roots from our Fall garden weeding and let 'er boil.) I strain the liquid and add a little cream and maple syrup or honey and I have a pretty amazing, healthy, winter bone warming, soul comforting beverage. Next time I believe I'll try and roast the nut shells and meats first.
I wonder about skimming the oils and using them for something else, and then boiling down the liquid to make the hickory syrup. I have used the hickory stew to use for cooking rice, and buddy lemme tell ya it's good!
Now that I think of it, I remember a friend of mine in Tennessee...
" I have a pretty amazing, healthy, winter bone warming, soul comforting beverage."
I don't know from personal experience, but I've been told that if you put that "beverage" in a jar with a bit of yeast and a slightly loose lid, in about 6 weeks, it will become inestimably better.
Welcome to the hickory and hican forum barkslip! There's a bunch of things you can do with hickory nuts. Earlier this week I roasted some Lake Icaria nut kernels in the oven to bring out a little more flavor and then I had my wife mix those babies in with some homemade caramel popcorn. It was like eating gourmet fiddle faddle or cracker jacks! Hickory nuts covered in hardened caramel! Whoooo! I'm going to send some to Fred here soon. The entire last batch didn't last very long at all. Need to stop at the grocery store tomorrow to pick up some more butter. Ol Bud Luers is a hickory dinosaur. He would know of just about every hickory nut cultivar out there. He's a pretty informative guy to speak to if you can get him on the line. Fred Blankenship is like a relative to me now, lol. We go back and forth quite a bit. As for growing hickory seed out, that's going to be a long patient process. I started that a few years ago and Fred is way a head of the game. It's going to be interesting to see what new hickory cultivars he will introduce in the future. I have several Grainger seedlings growing now. Most will be going on 3 years for the year 2014. They are all only about 12 inches tall, so I will definitely be waiting a while. I encourage all hickory enthusiast to plant superior seed. We have no idea the genetic potential there is, though some cultivars will be hard to top their seed parents nut qualities.
Good to see you here.
Depending on how high up the tree the branches are, you'll have to determine if you need shotgun or rifle. I've shot some out with a .22 - probably 50+ ft up, and it took a lot of shots to cut through that 1.5-2" branch - and, shooting pretty straight up, you've also gotta consider where those bullets are gonna come down (they do come down, somewhere). Low branches, just out of reach of my pole pruner, I'd probably opt for the shotgun.
Mr. B may have some recommendations for putting together some 'extensions' for a pole pruner - but I'd think there's a limit to how far you can effectively manipulate one from the ground.
I save all nutshells from cracking/picking out my hickories for syrup production. I used to boil 'em, but now, following a co-worker's suggestion, I dump 'em in the crockpot, cover with water, and let 'em cook for 24 hrs or so, stirring occasionally, then strain the liquor, add 1.5 cups sugar per cup of liquor, and cook it down to the desired thickness before decanting into canning jars (with a nut in each jar, for effect).
Great handle: barkslip
I like it.
If you aren't an interesting character, there aren't any! : )
So you eat the grubs?! Wow, that's hardcore. : )
I think an entire book has been written with this conversation. Yesterday I messed around with sticks taped to cans to learn how to saddle graft and I had never done a whip and tongue. All veneer for the past eight or ten years. I wish I had a ton of rootstock but I do not. I have sowed some 1000 seeds already though.
Don't eat too many grubs, your tummy may ache!
I called Nolin River Nursery this morning. They have T-92 in 6-8' and 8-9' sizes for 2014. I asked about 'Underwood' and they don't have any. Gary Fernald has 'Burton' I said to him and that I'd be grafting it. He recommended 'Burlington' after I mentioned about 'Burton'.
The guy asked me if I knew what pollinated T-92. I said I'd ask. Maybe Fred or Bud knows if you don't ?
T-92 is an extremely vigorous grower. Burton is a good hican but from what I've sampled of the Burlington I wasn't too impressed. I was told it's a very productive tree and self pollinating but the flavor of the nut was very bland. It's also a large nut with quite a bit of packing material. Not to say some might not be good but the ones I sampled weren't. I live in Iowa but I'm still unbiased toward nuts showing no favoritism based on where the nuts are from. I've sampled great nuts from all over. A friend of mine believes that his pecans pollinate his hicans. His T-92 is pretty productive,but then again he has the largest hican collection of anyone I know besides Nolin River. John Brittain from nolin river can hook you up with almost anything. He sends NICE trees too. If you couldn't get an Underwood tree this year hes more than happy to graft you one this year for next year. John has the real stuff too, no scion mix ups in his grafting.
I wonder(ed) if his 'Walters' was the right one. I'm happy though that I ordered a tree. This is the only one I'm going to buy.
Got a real nice box from Lucky, today. Seeds I'm going to grow. That'll finish up the flats and space remaining in my greenhouse. I also had my first tastes of Pecans: Peruque, Greenriver, Major, & Posey. Then, shags: Morris #1 and Sinking Fork. Lastly, laciniosa Grainger.
I have to say I'm more of a pecan guy. I easily understand why Lucky likes to eat pecans and bake with hickories. It appears to me that I'll plant T-92 and a whole bunch of pecans and just a few shags and shells.
Side by side, 'Greenriver' and 'Hark' are no different in size: length & width. If you are attempting to recall, 'Hark' is the far northern pecan I showed pictures of, above.
barkslip if you are able to get sticks of that thin-shelled ovata and could spare a few, will you send an email to me, please? I'd sure like to graft that! I used to graft conifer witches brooms and my friends use deer slugs to blast pieces off.
Re pollination, IME, Shag X Pecan hicans tend to be pollinated more often by pecan than Shellbark X Pecan hicans. This seems to be associated with time of budbreak in spring. It is not a solid rule, there are plenty of exceptions.
I have a James hican on a pecan rootstock that is also grafted with a large protogynous pecan. The two seem to hit just about right for the James to get pollinated. As I said, there are exceptions.
That's a real good answer. I'll forward it to John @ Nolin.
Nebraska Nut Growers has released their 2014 Scion Order Form. It has Shag, Shell & a few Hican selections.
That's one of the neatest things I've ever seen. Thank you.
Several other 'commercial' sources for nut tree scionwood to scope out:
England's Orchard & Nursery - my buddy Cliff has a huge selection of multiple species. List is online at the website.
KSU - Dr. Bill Reid & crew at the KSU pecan center offer scionwood a number of pecan selections
Wes Rice - good selection of pecan & some walnut cultivars.
Believe you'll have to email Dr. Reid and Mr. Rice for scion list/availability/price.
Finally, the world makes sense.
I'm new to this forum, but I've read the entire thread more than twice. Thanks to all for the fine details!
I have some upland acres in central Illinois (an hour North of St Louis) that's not ideal for row crops (not flat), and I'm considering planting a nut grove with uncommon varieties including northern pecans, hickories, and hicans. I'd like to expand into commercial production of hicans some day, if such a thing can be done.
The T-92 and Burton Hicans seem very interesting, but I can't find much detail about them outside this forum. (One of those rare cases when Google leads you in circles.). Can any of you suggest some books or websites, or people, with detailed knowledge on growing hicans? I just bought one the Weschcke books on eBay discussed above. (Only three left now.)
I'll be calling the folks at Nolin River Nursery soon, but I'd like to get all of my starter-level questions out of the way before I waste hours of his time.
Treebird, I'd love to hear everything you know about the T-92, how it came to be, any downsides to the variety, how to pollinate, etc. If it was a southern pecan cross, perhaps it won't do well in the northern reaches of pecan territory?
Regarding pollinating hicans, there's a PDF out there from Purdue university that suggests that hicans can be pollinated by pecans, specifically the "Major" cultivar, plus one or two others. It seems to me that the different hickory crosses in hicans may lead to different pecan cultivars that would best pollinate. Only speculating though.
DMGR, due diligence is suggested. Some pecan varieties that will work in your location are Major and Kanza. Shagbark hickories are a good potential option. You could also grow several varieties of black walnut. Suggested varieties of walnut would be Sparks 127, Mintle, and Sparrow. You can pretty much grow any of the Hicans though I would suggest avoiding McAllister which usually makes unfilled nuts. Burton and Dooley Burton are fairly productive.
Well dmgr, a friend of mine says he's basically cutting down all his hican trees except for his T-92 and Underwood. I did find Burton and Country Club appealing as well. The giant hicans like Mcallister, T79-3-4 and Bixby are just a waste of space. For pollination I recommend planting a little of everything (pecans, hicans, shagbark, and shellbark). T-92 and Underwood are both very large hicans as well, but they fill great. James would be a good one to plant also because of its productivity, the flavor is ok too but the kernel is darker. Now some might not agree with me but I would be careful not to plant anything that has too undesirable of nut characteristics. Fred Blankenship and I both believe that there is present first generation influence in nuts based on what they are pollinated by. I understand the frustration of not being able to find much information on hicans and hickory. That's why this thread was started. Info on pecan and walnut is all over the place but hickory and hican info is hard to come by. Luckily growers and grafters do exist and they are loaded with knowledge. I explained what I know about T-92 earlier in the thread but that's really all the info I have.
Lots of interesting info here. You may want to check out the Nebraska Nut Growers web page---you can order scion wood for a number of nut trees including shag and shell bark hickory, hican, pecan, black walnut. You can also see the results of several years of comprehensive evaluations of nuts from cultivars and seedlings of the nut tree listed above. Nuts evaluated are from Nebraska and several other states.
A couple of other comments:
I like the Hunt nut cracker; it works well on all nuts.
I have a number of bearing age nut tree cultivars, including several of those discussed in this forum and would be OK with providing my results/observations of them. However, I do not have an educated palate, so can't comment on taste, after all, I like black walnuts !
Silvis 303 and Cedar Rapids --and a couple others do well here. I'm pretty sure that a hican I have is James--I got it from Bill Totten. The tree is big, planted in the late 1980's. Probably 2' in diameter. Two years ago it had more than 100 pounds of nuts. I don't know if this is a lot; I have nothing to compare it with.
Don't ask for pictures since I have virtually no computer skills.
Hey RPinSENe, welcome to the hickory/hican thread! I heard that the James hican is one honk'n grower and produces abundantly. Cedar Rapids, that is a nut I haven't been able to get my hands on. Do you have access to a tree? I sure would like to evaluate it and add it to the new Display box library for everyone.Silvis 303 is a nice nut but I heard the tree doesn't like to drop its nuts very well.
The Mr. Squirrel Nutcracker:
Tail Raised, Mouth in Position:
I have both Cedar Rapids and Silvis 303, and would be glad to give you samples EXCEPT this year was the worst for pecans and hickories I've experienced. Silvis 303 had very few nuts, and Cedar Rapids, as well as most other hickories were heavily infested with weevils. This is the FIRST year that I've had weevils throughout my plantings. In prior years there were weevils in a pecan called Martzan aka Witte as well as a hican named Henke, but never in the other trees. I hope this is not a sign of things to come---if so I will probably have to address the problem--maybe get a sprayer. Can you tell me if I can expect heavy infestations every year ??
Silvis 303 had a very small crop this year---and you are correct about them being reluctant to drop. However, If the tree is close to the house and you can keep the squirrels at bay----no problem.
I tossed all the nuts together when harvesting, so even though I could say with reasonable certainty which is which I'd want to be absolutely certain that the samples I give you are true to name. I've got some 'Mystery" trees that aren't what they were supposed to be. Speaking of Mystery trees, have you heard of Vernon hican. I've heard it looks a lot like James---anyway, the big hican I have is probably James, but I don't know for sure---maybe I should send you some of the nuts.
In addition to weevils, this was a year with poor pollination, maybe due to alternate bearing tendencies, or unfavorable weather conditions or maybe a little of both. We had a series of rainy days that may have had an effect on pollination. Several trees had nuts that did not fill well---this may have been due to the fact that we had a really late cool spring and a relatively cool summer which resulted in a low number of heat units; at least that's my guess. And then the rest if the year didn't rain. So to make a long story short, I can't help you out this year.
Hickories I have that I like:. Longnecker ,Totten and Fayette are good shell barks and Seas and Porter are good shagbarks, plus Silvis 303 and Cedar Rapids. I have J Yoder and it's OK. Weschke is good but small, but you knew that.
I have Stephens, and Ross shellbarks---big nuts, but they don't fill well here---probably too short a growing season.
I can't tell you anything about how they taste--they seem OK to me but, people tell me that the James hican has a bit of a strong flavor.
Wow RPinSENe, Put me down for a request of Longnecker, Totten, Seas, Ross, and Cedar Rapids. These nuts I havent evaluated yet except for Longnecker. I've seen what I believe to be Longnecker and have it on display in my library, but I would like some guaranteed confirmation. I haven't seen Henke either. I've never heard of the Vernon hican either. You will certainly be valuable to this thread RPinSENe! I think we all look forward to the wisdom you have from your experience in growing those various cultivars. As far as a problem with heavy insect infestation, I have every kind of poultry running around here and that seems to do the trick. The Peafowl keep the garden and yard cleaned and the turkeys roam the orchards, and the chicken and guineas cover all territory. We have three farm ponds on our acreage and you can go the whole summer without getting bit by a single mosquito. We have some night owl chickens that come out near the safety light at night and spend the whole night crunching down June bugs. But with having all this poultry running around cleaning up insects in the country my birds need protection so we have four Great Pyrenees who also run the deer off and love eating squirrels and rabbits. The cats clean up the voles, shrews, mice and rats. Ok, lots of animals to keep everything under control. Well hope to get some samples next year or this year if you have any.
RPinSENe, I need you to write me private message like you previously did and give me your email so I can respond back to you.
What a great thread! This is my first post here, and first of all I want to say thank you all for sharing so much of your great research on the hickory tree. I live right on the northeastern most edge of shagbark hickory's natural range (midcoast Maine), and am interested in finding varieties that I can plant on my farm as a long-term commercial crop. I've been inspired by treebird and others to go have a look at the few isolated stands of shagbark in my area, to see what I might find in terms of quality nuts.
However, until late summer comes along and I can go look for myself, I am curious: does anyone know of any shagbark varieties that would ripen well in my cool coastal climate? We average 1800-2000 growing degree days over 50F annually, depending on microclimate. We have usually 150 days or so between 28 degree frosts. As far as I know, this is just enough to ripen the average shagbark nut (as there are some just a few miles from here), but I'd like to find a variety that consistently ripens nuts, even in cool years, AND cracks out into nice halves.
I am planning on following Carl Weschcke's example of grafting onto bitternut, as it seems to be the most adaptable rootstock on my upland, somewhat poor soil.
I have Vernon and Jim Wilson hicans growing next to one another. I can't distinguish any discernible difference between the nuts; they look identical to me. A little bit different from the James hican nuts I've seen.
Lucky, the last time I talked to you about James hican, you indicated that hicans were poor producers.
Are Vernon and Jim Wilson also poor producers for you at your location?
Does any one know of the ideal pollinator for James hican?
Almost everything I've ever seen in print about hicans suggests that they are 'shy bearers'.
Is that an innate problem, or an issue associated with pollenation issues... I don't know. None have been exceptional here:
Vernon & Jim Wilson have produced a few nuts over the past 2 or 3 years.
James hican, grafted back around 2000 has yet to make a nut. Burton, Palmer, Bixby hicans, purchased as grafted trees, planted in 1996 have yet to make a nut.
That said, Pleas bitcan, in the local grove, bears heavily every year - but the weevils get most of them.
Many of the hican growers I know believe that it's their pecans that pollinate their hicans. I guess you can't go wrong with planting plenty of hican among pecans, shellbark, and shagbark. This seems to be a tricky subject to pin down though. I would certainly go with grafting cultivars that seem to be very productive among people who have trees in production. For me I don't care if the tree is so loaded that the limbs are breaking. I would just like to have a few buckets of good quality hicans. Hicans are obviously not pecans nor are they hickory so to get even a few handfuls of an unusual hybridization is always a treat any way you slice it. I can't say that all that I've tasted were enjoyable but we all have our favorites.
Lucky - thanks for that info on your experience with those varieties. It made me think...
If information could be collected from 20 or more (preferably a lot more!) growers with multiple varieties... including location (climate), specific varieties present in close proximity (within pollination range) to each other, and generally categorized performance of each variety, I bet at least some information about variety pollination compatibility could be teased out...
As a very simplified example, if the data showed that Grower #1 with Green River and Pawnee had a very productive James, and Grower #2 had a Kanza, Major and Green River along with a very productive James, it would be reasonable to hypothesize (and further investigate via experiment) that Green River could be an effective James pollinator.
Yes, there are issues with this approach (e.g. nearby seedling/wild hickories/hicans/pecans) but at the very least it might be an interesting set of data to use as a starting point for further investigation.
I wonder if anyone in any of the nut groups or in academia has done anything like this...
I've got close to (maybe more than) 30 different pecan cultivars grafted & growing here, close to that many hickory selections, and dozen or so hicans. Pollenation shouldn't be a problem, but I'll never know what's pollenating what...
As they're wind/air pollenized, even some of the native shag/shellbark hickories or seedling pecans in the CRP planting - and there are big mature bearing pecans in the neighborhood - could be potential pollenizers.
Yep, that'll likely be a problem with most growers I guess. Anyone who has multiple varieties is likely to have MANY multiple varieties...
Thanks for the quick reply!
Hello. I live in Bucks County, PA along the Delaware River. I have 30 acre wooded lot where I have spent some time enjoying the natural nut trees, mushrooms, etc. I have often collected black walnuts and hicory's but this year I found a nut not seen before. Searching for its identity led me to your Hicans post. It looks exactly like the photo posts you have provided. This tree is only about 30 feet tall so must not be too old. I have no idea how it came to be here but wondered if you can tell me if it may be a native descendant from another tree in the local area. And is a Hican tree in PA common or uncommon. The nut was very good and I could actually recognize that "maple" hint mentioned in one of the posts. Thanks for any comments to a nut novice.
Hi John - welcome to the thread!
30 feet tall could actually be older than you might suspect if the tree is growing in shade or among mature trees. If it is in fact a pecan or hican, the tree or nut was either planted there by someone, or the nut from which the tree grew came from a nearby tree, since any pecans or pecan hybrids here in eastern PA are outside of their native range.
Is there any sign that the tree is grafted? If visible, this would appear as a sudden change in the appearance of the bark on the tree usually within the first 3 or 4 feet of the ground, sometimes corresponding with a sudden/noticeable change in trunk diameter.
Any chance the property was once a farm?
Post a photo of the nut/tree if you can!
This post was edited by pxbacher on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 22:39
treebird, sent you an email asking about scionwood but have not heard back. I could probably send you something interesting in return.
Hey Fusion, I never seemed to get an email from you. I just got one from Dax. Shoot me an email again and I'll get back to you.
pxbacher, thanks for the information. I suspected it was out of its natural range. The tree is growing along the side of a driveway that runs about 1/4 mile back into the woods to my home. I only know the history of the property for the last 60-70 years, 25 personally. I have never noticed the nuts before, but there are several nearby hickories and 3-4 varieties of oak/acorns and a bitternut tree. It has never been a farm in that time, but was used as a summer campsite for a music group. The biggest problem I have is that there are 2-3 trees overhanging the drive at the point that I found the nuts and I'm not educated enough to know which one may me a hican. I do have samples of tne nuts and hulls with a nut still in it. I'll see if I can post photos of those. Thanks.
In case anyone missed it, there's a very nice article by Jerry Lehman on McAllister hican in this month's INGA newsletter. If you're not an INGA member, perhaps Jerry would be willing to email copies?
Hey Pete, you can send a copy to me through email. I'd like to check it out. I got my McAllister hican nut samples from Jerry. They are very large but VERY poorly filled. Based on people I know who have sprouted some of the McAllister nuts, I don't think the poorly filled factor has to do with growing climate or duration of growing season. I think it's just a genetic characteristic of the nut. I know people from the south who have the cultivar growing and people as far north as Ohio and both nut samples are poorly filled but can still sprout when even half filled. So apparently the tree must feel the nut development is complete to be able to produce half filled viable growing seed.
Well yesterday I got my pecan rootstocks in. They're all in the ground. Today I am experimenting with some very early whip grafting, yes we still have some cold 30 degree lows in the forecast for this week but last year I did some whips in early April and had great success. The grafts were snowed on about three times and I had about a 70% success rate. So I'm going to really push it this year and I will keep you all posted.
My first 'Hark' broke yesterday in my greenhouse.
Gary Fernald called and is bringing pecan rootstock over for bench grafting. He digs them and heels them in sawdust in a bucket prior/after they're grafted and provides bottom heat. I'll follow that recipe.
(right click then 'view image' for larger)
Looking good Dax. I graft on bare root rootstock right after it goes in the ground. I can see you are liberal with the wax which I feel is an important aspect of grafting only I use parafilm over top of vinyl. keep us posted on the progress of the trees.
That's actually a deceiving photo regarding wax. I use a bud strip and then all that build-up that appears to be wax is parafilm tape.
My wax goes on very light. I dip at 160 F.
Hope you get great results. Don't let your cuts dry out 'in da wind' ;-)
Here is was my today. It was very windy and about 75 degrees. Sort of a veneer/whip graft first tied with vinyl tie tape about 2-3 inches from the ground. This is a Selbhers Shellbark hickory on Missouri native pecan rootstock.
Now we put rubber-band elasticity to work in pulling together any gaps between the scion and rootstock. One rubber-band below the bud and one rubber-band above the bud.
Now we create our moisture containment barrier with para-film so when this baby is calloused it should burst right through the parafilm on some nice sunny day.
Tonight's low is going to be in the 20's and in the 40's for highs all week. 20-30's for lows all week. Lets just see what happens in the future with these grafts.
Awesome, looking forward.
Hi Treebird, you are indeed correct regarding kernel fill of
'McAllister' hican on your Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 14:30, post when you say, "I think it's just a genetic characteristic of the nut."
Bill Reid writes about 'Kanza' pecan:
"Kanza has, what I term, excellent nut plasticity-the tree responds to the weather by adjusting nut size to growing conditions."
I would grow McAllister strictly for novelty value. It does have incredible size. An interesting thing regarding pecans, My Kanza trees and Peruque trees are the only survivors of this winter that stood in prolonged lows in the minus 20's and highs below zero. This has been the coldest winter ever since I've lived in Iowa. Every one of my Mandan trees is dead as can be from the graft union up. All my hicans weren't phased a bit nor were any of the hickory grafts.
Well I guess some rules are worth breaking in the world of grafting. I have so far about 80% of my whips that are starting to push buds now that the weather is finally starting to get warmer. It's a simple grafting method that gains you the advantage of earlier callousing and a longer season of growth. I counted 14 days of lows below freezing and had snow covered grafts twice in a one month time frame since I've grafted my hickories. Now the para film is poping just like the dandelions in my front yard.
I received a nut from a friend on here that was labeled Totten and I wanted to know if any others can confirm this nut as being Totten. It is an absolutely superior nut but looks sort of like a larger Selbhers. My job is to get the facts strait and make sure the public has this information. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. I have a photo of Totten from Bud Luers collection but it doesn't jive with this photo. Thanks
This is a photo of Totten from Bud Luers orchard.
Yesterday Gary Fernald grafted pecans.
Congratulations on your success, treebird. Great results.
Thanks Dax. Now it's time to do some flap grafting. Great videos. I really need to get on with the Iowa Nut Growers, seeing I live in Iowa.
ahh, you have your own associations. live and be free.
Hey Dax, Can you get a hold of Mr. Totten to see which photo above is the true Totten? I thought you might have connection with him. I'm interested in this cultivar. Thanks
Many don't realize the beauty of hickories as they begin to bud out. Here is a "bullnut" hickory cultivar yesterday during a 95 degree day in the morning.
24 hours later. Today we have an extension of that beauty on the same tree. Some cultivars have red bud scales that from far off look like a blooming magnolia tree.
I just spoke with Bill Totten. His Dad discovered/named Totten, anyhow... Bill said he believes the photo with the thicker shell is a nut off the parent tree and that the thinner shell is off of a grafted tree. He said he can't swear to it but that's nearly as good a conclusion as he could draw... furthermore Bill said his son has molds of a Totten and would be bringing them over to his home, sometime, soon. Bill also went on to say that vigor of rootstock can change the nut to certain points of degree... but he believes both are Totten.
Thanks a bunch for searching that out for me Dax. Mr. Blankenship thought that was very interesting. We just need RPinSENe to chime in and let us know what he has his "Totten" grafted to because the nuts being produced on his tree are outstanding. I was also impressed with the "Longnecker" nuts he sent.
Late spring beauty here in Iowa.