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Butternut Canker

Posted by paleeya Z6 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 13:13

I have a question for nut tree experts, unfortunately I think I know the answer. I'm trying to graft butternuts. I just cut wood from a mature tree but is heavily infected with the butternut canker. This tree is nowhere near where I live. Should I bother trying to graft the infected wood or just get wood from somewhere else? The only reason I wanted this tree is because I know it produces good nuts but even more so my wife grew up eating from this tree as a kid.

Thanks,

Phil


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Butternut Canker

Don't bother grafting the scion wood you have. Butternut canker will kill butternut trees of all ages, younger trees succumbing faster than older trees. The disease causing Oc.j spores are found on all parts of the butternut tree, not just isolated to the canker region. A graft wound is a perfect site for Oc.j manifestation. There are some projects around the country looking for resistant butternut trees. In general these programs take scion wood from "healthy" looking butternut trees, and graft on to black walnut rootstock. Even this process has little success.

Don't set yourself up for failure by grafting with infected wood.

There are still healthy butternut trees to be found depending on where you live. If you want to graft butternut, your best bet is to find a donor tree with few to no cankers. If this is not feasible, your second best bet is to fine seed and grow a butternut tree this way. No guarantee the sapling will be disease free, as Oc.j has been found on seed coats, but it is probably worth a try. Butternut is a fast growing tree, and will mature between 10 and 20 years.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Andre


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RE: Butternut Canker

Genetic testing has revealed that a significant number of 'resistant' butternuts - some of which have been propagated for close to a century - are, in fact, hybrids with the Japanese walnut, J.ailantifolia, and its budsport, the heartnut.
So...the future is here, to some degree, with regard to canker-resistant butternuts...


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RE: Butternut Canker

Thanks for the input. I've decided not to use the diseased wood. I was able to get scion wood from two sources of named cultivars and looks great compared to the diseased wood. I have a bunch of black walnuts and a few butternut seedlings so I'm going t give it a shot.

Hopefully a resistant strain will be produced soon, I did read about a project being done by the New Hampshire Division of Forest that looks very promising.

Thanks again.

Phil


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RE: Butternut Canker

paleeya, some conversationalist for some reason look down on butternut hybrids but I think that if it means preserving a species that seems hopeless to find a cure for, whats the big deal? I'd rather have something that tastes exactly like a pure butternut and looks identical to the untrained eye but is completely resistant towards the butternut canker disease. It is very doubtful a pure strain will be salvageable and resistant. Like lucky said, in a sense the future is already here. I've been doing a lot of research here lately on butternuts because they are absolutely delicious nuts. I have an Ayers and Bountiful tree. Neither are producing because they are too young but my wife's uncle has a 20 year old Bountiful tree and I get a basket full of nuts every year. Bountiful, Ayers, Kenworthy, and Coble # 1 are all butternut hybrids that have been shown to have absolute resistance toward the canker disease. I wish I had them grafted onto heartnut but nobody does that here in the US. The black walnut rootstock has to have the bud shoots plucked off until the butternut gets big enough to take everything the black walnut rootstock can give it. Eventually it doesn't become such a struggle to keep the black walnut rootstock in check. The 20 year old tree's graft union looks great and they are both the same diameter up until this point. I have a few heartnut trees that are grafted onto heartnut rootstock and they grow about 4 ft a year in Iowa soil. I heard that when you graft heartnut onto black walnut over time the union looks hideous and the black walnut rootstock dwarfs the heartnut but It doesn't seem to do this with the butternut hybrids based on what I've seen with the 20 year old Bountiful tree.


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RE: Butternut Canker

tb,
Good info - I was not aware of the butternut-on-heartnut deal. Have grafted a few butternuts on BW, but think they're all gone now...
Easter Big Freeze Disaster of 2007 killed almost all of my grafted heartnuts(and Carpathian walnuts) back to their BW rootstock (Late Rhodes survived), and killed all my seedling heartnut/Japanese walnuts outright - but it killed big mature oaks & hickories in my forest, too. Killed seedling butternuts back to the ground, too, but they've re-grown.
As we've previously discussed, Bountiful and other hybrids have been propagated as 'butternuts' for decades - and no one knew that they were actually hybrids until the advent of DNA analysis technologies.
Have seen a number of 'experts' opine that there are no canker-blight resistant pure butternuts - but who knows for sure? Maybe there are some out there somewhere, but if not, we have hybrids that are virtually indistinguishable from the real deal that have varying degrees of resistance/tolerance.


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RE: Butternut Canker

This is actually my first year growing heartnuts and I really like what I am seeing. I got my trees from Grimo Nut Nursery in Canada because they have the best varieties out there and they are grafted onto heartnut rootstock. They grow so fast that I am astonished. I started off with trees that were 1 1/2 ft tall ,planted them this year, and now they are creeping up to 6ft tall. I have Simco 8-2, Imshu and Stealth. Simco 8-2 is the fastest growing. That sounds like you had quite a freeze. I know there is a risk in growing heartnuts because of freeze suseptability but I am facinated by these trees! I read too that there will never be pure butternut strains that are fully resistant to the canker. I say why waste the time, energy and space then. Plant hybrids.


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RE: Butternut Canker

2007 was a 'perfect storm' - unusually warm March, with a long stretch of daytime temps into the 80s - most stuff broke dormancy early, and had 6-10 inches of tender new growth going, when we got 4 consecutive nights of temps into the mid-teens. Devastating!
For most stuff I grow here, it's not how cold it gets, but rather, WHEN it gets cold.

Some stuff was killed outright in the Easter 2007 freeze, but others succumbed to the one-two punch of the freeze and a summer with a single 1" rain event between May 10 and Nov 30.
Big mature oaks and hickories in my woods were killed back to main trunk, and are continuing to die slowly even now, as a result of that disastrous year.


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RE: Butternut Canker

Wow, that sounds awful. Cliff England grows a lot of heatnuts and he said he's only had severe damage once in 20 years and when it hit, it hit hard killing all his heartnuts and many other things. I would rather have a long cold spring that keeps everything dormant till the proper time than an early spring.


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RE: Butternut Canker

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 27, 13 at 8:22

For whatever reason, haven't had any luck with heartnuts. Planted a westfield one and that died and now is just what I assume is black walnut. There was 5 planted from seeds longer ago, must not be a hardy seed source, because have had a lot of dieback and even when last winter was mild, 3 of the 4 remaining ones showed severe dieback, probably effects from the drought. I do like the tropical look they got going, but only one nut in 20 some years.


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RE: Butternut Canker

That sounds odd lkz5ia, My wife's uncle has a westfeild he got from stark bros some 15 years ago. He lives in zone 5 and it seems like it is succumbing to bunch disease now but it has lived all this time hardy in zone 5. Maybe you should try some hybrid butternuts like Bountiful, Ayers, Kenworthy, or Coble #1. They have beautiful tropical like foiliage but it isn't quite as large and tropical like the heartnut. By the way, I've tried the Westfeild heartnut and it has horrible cracking qualities for a heartnut. I'm very suprized Stark Bros offers it. Every thing else they have is excellent. I order from them every year. You might want to contact Grimo Nut Nursery. You pay a bit for shipping to the US, but I am extremely impressed with the quality of their trees and they did an excellent 4 flap on heartnut rootstock, not on black walnut. They are in a Canada micro climate but they would still have to grow the furthest northern varieties of heartnut out there. I think they offer the Kenworthy Butternut grafted onto heartnut rootstock but their other varieties of butternut I don't believe to be hybrids. The mitchell hybrid, I read that Dr. Spurgeon said was mildly suseptable to butternut canker. If any one is curious who Dr. Spurgeon is, he is one who had every cultivar of butternut growing at his place along with several heartnuts. Hope this helps and here is a link to Grimo Nut Nursery.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.grimonut.com/


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RE: Butternut Canker

Thanks for the great info. I did end up trying to graft the scions from the cankered tree because I ran out of scion wood ant still had good rootstock. I chose a piece that didn't show any signs and soaked the scion wood in a bleach solution before grafting. It looked good for a few weeks and then suddenly one day was all black.

I currently have a 5 gallon bucket of butternuts from that same tree. These are the only butternuts I've ever had but I think they are amazing. Not sure what the average size is but from I can tell from online research, these nuts seem to be of decent size. Again from online research, I'm pretty positive they are pure butternuts. I wish I had other butternuts to compare them to.


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RE: Butternut Canker

Thanks for the great info. I did end up trying to graft the scions from the cankered tree because I ran out of scion wood ant still had good rootstock. I chose a piece that didn't show any signs and soaked the scion wood in a bleach solution before grafting. It looked good for a few weeks and then suddenly one day was all black.

I currently have a 5 gallon bucket of butternuts from that same tree. These are the only butternuts I've ever had but I think they are amazing. Not sure what the average size is but from I can tell from online research, these nuts seem to be of decent size. Again from online research, I'm pretty positive they are pure butternuts. I wish I had other butternuts to compare them to.


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