The testimony in favor of the grafted tree is not yet very abundant in
Oregon, as the grafting business is new; but with the evidence at hand
it will surely have a standing in court.
Prof. Lewis speaks plainly on this subject. He
One of the main points of discussion is, Which are preferable--grafted
or seedling trees? Let us consider the seedling tree first. There are
men who claim that these are superior to grafted trees, especially in
size, prolificness, etc.; that there is something about our wonderful
Oregon climate that causes the so-called second generation trees to bear
larger and better fruits than the parent plant. And these writers love
to dwell on the subject of generation. There is at times a sort of
mystery, an uncanny vagueness connected with this subject that is
baffling and bewildering to the layman, and causes him to listen with
mouth agape. It is the same sweet silly story that we have had to learn
by bitter experience with other nuts and fruits, and some of us will
evidently pay dearly for it in the case of the walnut. The term 'first
generation' is generally applied to the parent tree--some say the
original tree, while others put the clause on the original grafted tree.
Nuts taken from such trees and planted produce the second generation
trees. These may be equal, may be superior, or may be inferior to the
original stock. It is this very variation and instability that makes the
seedling to a more or less degree a gambling proposition.
The following is taken from a paper on walnut culture by Luther Burbank,
read before the annual meeting of the California Fruit Growers
In all cases the best results will be obtained by grafting on our
native California black walnut or some of its hybrids. No one who grows
English walnuts on their own roots need expect to be able to compete
with those who grow them on the native black walnut roots, for when
grown on these roots the trees will uniformly be larger and longer
lived, will hardly be affected by blight and other diseases, and will
bear from two to four times as many nuts, which will be of larger size
and of much better quality. These are facts, not theories, and walnuts
growers should take heed.
Although not popular among nurserymen, yet the best way to produce a
paying orchard of walnuts is to plant the nuts from some vigorous black
walnut tree, three or four in each place where a tree is to stand. At
the end of the first summer remove all but the strongest among them. Let
the trees grow as they will, for from three to six years, until they
have formed their own natural, vigorous system of roots, then graft to
the best variety extant which thrives in your locality, and if on deep,
well-drained land you will at once have a grove of walnuts which will
pay, at present, or even with very much lower prices, a most princely
interest on your investment. By grafting in the nursery, or before the
native tree has had time to produce its own system of roots by its own
rapid-growing leafy top, you have gained little or nothing over
planting trees on their own roots, for the foliage of any tree governs
the size, extent and form of the root system. Take heed, as these are
facts, not fancies, and are not to be neglected if you would have a
walnut grove on a safe foundation.
I hold in my hands a record, and also a photograph, of one of the Santa
Rosa walnut trees, grafted, as I recommended, on the black walnut, 1891;
this was handed to me by the owner, George C. Payne, of Campbell. The
record may be of interest to you: Dimensions (1905)--Spread of top, 66
feet; circumference one foot above ground, 8 feet 9 inches. No record of
nuts was kept until 1897, which amounted to 250 pounds; 1898, 302
pounds; 1899, 229 pounds; 1900, 600 pounds; 1901, 237 pounds; 1902, 478
pounds; 1903, 380 pounds; 1904, 481 pounds; 1905, 269 pounds; 1908, 712
The walnut has generally been considered a very difficult tree to graft
successfully. Mr. Payne has perfected a mode of grafting which in his
hands is without doubt the most successful known; by it he is uniformly
successful, often making one hundred per cent of the grafts to grow. Who
can do better by any method?
When you plant another tree, why not plant a walnut? Then, besides
sentiment, shade and leaves, you may have a perennial supply of nuts,
the improved kinds of which furnish the most delicious, nutritious and
healthful food which has ever been known. The old-fashioned hit-or-miss
nuts, which we used to purchase at the grocery store, were generally of
a rich, irregular mixture in form, size and color, with meats of varying
degrees of unsoundness, bitter, musty, rancid, or with no meat at all.
From these early memories, and the usual accompanying after-effects,
nuts have not been a very popular food for regular use until lately,
when good ones at a moderate price can generally, but not always, be
purchased at all first-class stores.
The consumption of nuts is probably increasing among all civilized
nations today faster than that of any other food, and we should keep up
with this increasing demand and make the increase still more rapid by
producing nuts of uniformly good quality. This can be done without extra
effort, and with an increase in the health and rapid and permanent
increase in the wealth of ourselves and neighbors.
An American black walnut growing on a lot on the east side of Grant
street, residence of J. C. Cooper, McMinnville, grafted by Mr. Payne May
14, 1908, grew 7-1/2 feet in 95 days and was still growing when the
terminal buds were nipped by the early September frost of that year. The
sprouts were pruned back to 12 inches. The tree made a vigorous growth
in 1909, making a spread of 13 feet. Some think the American black a
better tree for grafting stock that the California black. One of the
noblest and grandest trees in any American forest is the American black
walnut, and while a little slow at the beginning of its career it is
only a question of time when it will overtake all others. It knows no
disease or pests, and he who plants it lays a foundation for 20 to 50
generations to come as well as for himself and those of his own
A four-year-old hybrid, 4 inches in diameter, grafted in by Mr. Payne,
grew a sprout as shown, 7 feet 9 inches high in four months from the
setting of the graft. It is growing on the east side of D street near
the Presbyterian church in front of the residence of Mrs. Sarah
Updegraf, McMinnville, Oregon. Three trees there all show the same
vigor, with little or no cultivation.
John H. Hartog, formerly of Eugene, wrote of the experience of Mr. E.
Terpening, one of the most successful walnut growers near that city.
Mr. Terpening is a devotee of the grafted tree. And why? A burnt child
spurns the fire, says the proverb. Mr. Terpening set out second
generation Mayettes and Franquettes, expecting that these seedlings
would produce true, but when they commenced to bear, behold his
amazement at finding that he had a variety of almost every kind. This
was enough to convince him that in the future he would use grafted
trees, and know what he was doing and what kind of nut he was raising.
Counting out trees of other kinds, he has four acres in walnuts, and
In 1905 700 pounds
In 1906 1200 pounds
In 1907 2000 pounds
In 1908 3000 pounds
This spring he set out 450 more trees and wisely he put them 50 feet
apart and will grow peaches in between for a few years. While it is
generally said that walnuts come into bearing after 8 years, Mr.
Terpening states that the grafted tree will bear commercially in 6
years, which tallies exactly with my experience.
The Terpening walnut trees are grafted on American black and his
favorite variety is the Mayette and lately the so-called Improved
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