As we prepare the Spring newsletter there are many concerns about the spread of the Corona virus. President Mike Lucas, in consultation with board members, has decided to cancel our May meeting. We are fortunate in having two medical professionals associated with the board and they concur that, given what we know at this moment and respecting current directives from local governments, that this action is appropriate.
You are urged to follow any updated CDC guidelines (visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html#anchor_1580064337377) and common sense. Wash your hands!
In light of the spring grafting meeting being canceled, I'd still like to facilitate a scion exchange. I have the following scion available. Pecan - Kanza, Pawnee, Gardner, Shepherd, Yates 68, Lakota and Major. I'm aware that there is some Chetopa and Manson 1 available.
Black Walnut - Kwik Krop, Football, Hay, Emma Kay and Neel
Please feel free to contact me (Mike Lucas) for scion requests or scion you have available.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org you can call me, 816-293-5819. Leave a message and I'll get back with you. Also there will be some information on our Facebook page. Please feel free to post there as well.
April showers bring May flowers…it’s a well known phrase but those who have an eye for detail, or a reason to look, know that trees have been blooming for several months. Bee keepers watch for willow, maple, and elm blossoms that may appear as early as February and serve as an early nectar and pollen source for their hives when the bees venture out on warm days.
For nut growers, dangling hazelnut catkins in early March are sometimes the best way to locate these shrubby plants along roadsides: their small nuts are usually claimed by mice and squirrels long before they can be gathered by humans. Swelling oak buds will soon have hanging catkins, and catkins of hickories, including pecans, and black walnut will become evident as spring progresses.
Catkins, however, are only part of the nut story. They are the male flowers which shed their pollen, carried by the wind to tiny female flowers that often go unnoticed until the nuts they produce begin to develop. You’ll have to look closely at other buds to find the tiny maroon filaments that are the female flowers. Pollination isn’t guaranteed, even given the volumes of pollen that are generated. The wet 2019 spring is blamed for poor black walnut production that year as many believe that the frequent rains basically washed the walnut pollen out of the air so that it never reached the female flowers. There can be other complications. There are numerous examples of trees that require a second specimen in order to achieve successful pollination and produce fruit. For example, in pecans the male catkins on some trees will mature and shed pollen before the female flowers on the same tree are ready to receive the pollen. Fortunately, there are other pecan trees where the female flowers mature before the males begin to shed their pollen. As long as there is a mix of those trees in the landscape, there will be pecans produced on all of the bearing age trees.
Chinese chestnuts, an increasingly popular crop in Missouri, rely on insect pollination and their showy pale yellow male catkin flowers are alive with activity. Ironically, the female flower, tucked at their base, doesn’t attract insects so perhaps it is the motion of those tiny feet that loosens enough pollen grains to cause fertilization. Hmmmm…I’m going to explore this question further in my chestnut orchard this spring!