Walnut Growing

What To Plant

Horticulturists of equal fame and experience take different views on the subject of planting, some contending that the nut should be planted where the tree is to grow; others that seedlings are the thing, and still others that trees should be grafted. And

as all three plans have produced good results in Oregon, the individual planter may take his choice, according to the circumstances in which he is situated. The truth is that the walnut is one of the hardiest of trees, and with good attention will not disappoint if the right kinds are properly started. In planting walnuts to raise seedling trees the best available seed nuts should be used. Select the best and most prolific variety and the one most suited to the climate. It is claimed that the nuts from a grafted tree will produce the best seedling trees. This may be true as a rule, as the nut from such a tree will have some of the characteristics of the stock upon which the parent tree was grafted. It may inherit some of the resistant qualities of the black walnut or the rapid growth of the California hybrids. It may have early ripening qualities. It is well to consider all these points as well as the quality of the nut when selecting seed. By careful selection and cross pollination many and better varieties will be produced. No doubt a nut superior to any that has yet appeared in any country will yet be originated in the Willamette Valley, as in the case of the Bing and Lambert cherry and some other fruits. The improvement of the walnut in this section is one of the most fertile fields of investigation to be found anywhere and one that promises big reward to the successful culturist. And the walnut grower need not wait long to find whether he has a prize or not, for just as soon as the little sprout comes from the ground and has hardened sufficient to handle, a skillful grafter can place it in a bearing tree and the second or third year know the result of his experiment by the production of fruit, and this not more than three or four years from the planting of the seed. The advantage of planting walnuts, providing you secure first generation nuts of the right variety for your soil and atmospheric conditions, is in simplicity and inexpensiveness. You merely purchase your nuts of a reliable concern, or from an isolated grove of one variety (many send direct to France, where pure strains can be more readily gotten), and in February plant them on their sides in a shallow box of moist sand; keep in a cool place. In April, or as soon as they sprout, dig a hole 2-1/2 or 3 feet deep, put in surface loam, and plant three or four nuts to a hole about 2 or 3 inches deep. They will come up by June and make a growth of a foot or so the first season. It is contended by many that nothing is gained by planting seedlings in the nursery, as the set-back from transplanting prevents their bearing any earlier than trees of the same age grown from nuts. Grafted trees, on the other hand, are difficult to obtain in large numbers, are expensive, but produce nuts of uniform size and beauty, and the pollination is said to be more sure. The industry is still too young in Oregon for the final word to have been spoken on this point. The future will undoubtedly add much valuable information as larger experience supplants theory with facts. The vital point is to plant good nuts or reliable seedlings from a pure strain. In choosing varieties be governed by your location. If frosts are to be feared get late-blooming varieties, the leading ones established in Oregon being the Mayette and the Franquette. Other varieties will undoubtedly be introduced in the next few years that will withstand frost in regions where walnut planting now seems impractical. Mr. Henry Hewitt's one tree that blooms the fourth of July, at an elevation of 1,000 feet, is evidence of the possibilities in this direction. Air drainage is necessary. The tested varieties in Oregon to date, and the results, are as follows: Mayettes (the famous Grenoble of commerce) and Franquettes are first choice for hardiness and for reliable commercial crops, the nuts being of good size, fine flavor and in every way meeting the highest market demands. Praeparturiens bear earlier than other varieties, are very productive and as fine flavored as a hickory nut, but the nuts are small for best commercial prices. The Chaberte is a hardy tree, good for the uplands, and prolific; a delicious nut, small but excellent for confectioners use. The Ford Mammoth, Glady and Bijou are too large to find favor for commercial purposes. The Parisienne, Meylan and Lanfray are newer varieties that give much promise, but have not been thoroughly tested. H. M. Williamson, Secretary Oregon State Board of Horticulture, in an article says: The extremely unfavorable weather of the past winter (1908-9) has been one of the best things which could have happened to many heedless persons who planted walnut trees without first taking pains to learn anything about the business. The destruction of many young trees of the Santa Barbara type was a blessing to those who planted them, and the planters deserve no sympathy, for the warnings not to plant trees of that type have been ample for many years past. The fine condition of suitably located groves of walnut trees of Franquette, Mayette and other French varieties, after a winter which proved the most trying to fruit trees of all kinds which we have known during a long period of years, has given firm confidence to those who are leading in the development of the walnut industry in Oregon. The varieties which are best adapted to culture in this state are those which produce the finest nuts known to the world.

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