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"Preserve the old, but Know the new" -- Ancient Chinese Proverb

A Network for Trees and their Friends

Newsletter No. 14, Spring 1990

NOON to 5 pm

Hello Again,

1989 was a relatively inactive year for the Alliance. We held a Scionwood Exchange and that was about it! There were no newsletters produced and we skipped our usual booth at the Common Ground Fair. Much correspondence has remained at my desk side.

With this issue, we are extending all subscriptions ahead a calendar year. Those of you who need to renew, please do so. We're aiming for a fall newsletter and a return of the Fruit Swap. And yes, I'll make another promise to attend to your letters. Some good tree crops are biennial bearers.

I hope you'll forgive the lean times of this endeavor. I believe that abundance awaits us, and indeed we've already shared and celebrated some of it

See you at the Exchange,
Jack, Zack & Lainie


A biological control for the blight that devastated the American Chestnut is now under trial. The treatment involves injecting infected trees with a mixture of the blight strains containing a viruslike organism. The organism does not kill the fungus, but renders it ineffective. Contact Sandra L. Anagnostakis, Plant Pathology & Ecology, Conn. Ag. Exp. Station, New Haven, CT 06504.

We also note that Dick Jaynes, a renowned researcher of Chestnut blight pathology and Chestnut breeding concludes that the predominant tree species in Massachusetts is still American Chestnut.

CORRECTION: Issue #13 contained a brief rundown of plants suitable for alley cropping and boldly stated that pruned branches from black locust were not suitable for livestock consumption. That stands corrected. See research notes (in the publication section of this issue) for further explanation.

Black Locust is 250% more durable than white oak, is the seventh hardest of all our sylva, is the stiffest of all our woods (40% more than hickory) and is equal, almost, per cord (at 20% moisture), to a ton of anthracite coal. From: "A NATURAL HISTORY OF TREES OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA", Peattie.

Black locust commands considerable more respect as a valuable timber tree in Hungary (where it is non-native), primarily because of the absence of... the locust stem borer.


  • George Stilphen reports that records at Norlands "Living History" Farm indicate that the variety "May Duke" sweet cherry was once grown at their Livermore site. He also mentions that "Winthrop Greening" and "Ashmead's Kernal" could make acceptable "Granny Smith" substitutes. These two late maturing apple varieties should reliably fruit in this climate, unlike "Granny Smith", which requires a warmer and longer growing season.

  • Roger Luce recommends Cole's 1835 publication "GUIDE TO ALL MAINE FRUITS" for an historical account of regionally grown varieties. Over 100 pears are listed in this reference. Roger maintains a rather unique collection of magnolias on his Newburgh homestead. Unique indeed! He's found several magnolias to be hardier than some apples and a winter low of-38 F in '81 / '82 put these to a test. Somewhat amazingly, one of these hardy magnolias originated from seed from a species only found growing in Florida!

  • Raising woody plants from seed may be slow and uncertain, but it certainly has some promising prospects for northern regions. Roger has 2 crabapple varieties that are showy in flower and have distinguished fruit; NEIDWITSKIANA is a Russian cultivar, whose 2¼" fruit have blood red interiors. Another Russian cross with "Wolf River", REDFIELD, runs about 3" in diameter with a distinct full margin of pink inside. Mark Fulford has pressed some of these into cider. The rich color has prompted him to begin propagating these himself.

  • Will Bonsall reports that he will work jointly with the Seed Savers Exchange to help secure the apple collection at the Geneva Experiment Station. This collection, numbering about 1000 varieties, and the largest single grouping in the U.S. is slated for removal over the next few years.

  • Lewis Ward advises us that carnauba wax, used commercially to wax apples, is not listed as toxic in chemical dictionaries. Still, it's becoming quite a common practice to remove this film with mild detergent, warm water and some scrubbing.


At our second Fruit Swap, we saw and sampled fruit of a "Chojuro" pear raised by a Brunswick couple. Our information on these type of pears is still very sketchy and we noted the following in a Carlton Plant newsletter: Asian Pears are as susceptible to coddling moth as apples.

Winter hardiness is thought to be about the same as "Bartiett". The blossoms are attractive to bees and do not produce the offensive odor common to the bloom of most European pear varieties. Consider them to be excellent pollen sources for European pears (except Niitaka, which is pollen sterile). The timing of the bloom must be kept in consideration. Asian pears can be grafted on European stock (for trial or as a pollen source). All varieties are precocious and "run out" easily if not properly cared for. Thinning is recommended for better size fruit.

At this point I'd exercise some caution before setting out any number of these trees, though they do appear worthy of trial. We note some catalogs (Raintree, North woods) carrying a healthy selection and often listing varieties hardier than "Chojuro". And we've heard of some numbered selections surviving -40°F in Wisconsin. We'll continue to report what we learn and hope you'll let us know of your progress with these fruit.


Common Name: Autumn Olive

Scientific Name: Elaeagnus umbellata

Origin: Himalayas

Minimum Temperature Range: -30 F

Plant Habit: Shrub to 15' with silvery leaves

Propagation: Seed or softwood cuttings

Flowering Period: May-June, fragrant, yellow-white blossoms do not appear to be affected by late frosts.

Pollination: Insect

Edible Parts: Small, speckledred berries 1/4" to 3/8" (½" on "RedWing" and "Elsberry")

Food Value: 4.6% protein

Fruit Quality: Tart, may sweeten if left at room temperature for a few days. Single seed is chewy and not offensive. Branches of fresh fruit are commonly sold in China & Japan, where it is made into sauce, preserves, pie and even sherbet. Will make a cranberrylike jam.

Bearing Age: 6 years?

Yields: 24 plants of "Cardinal" strain yielded 900 lbs of fruit (USDA)

Pests and Diseases: Grasshoppers. No diseases observed.

Problems: May spread by seed and suckers.

Supple thorns are negligible.

Researchers: Hector Black, Hidden Springs
Nursery, RT 14 Box 159, Cookeville, TN 38501.

Hector heads a NAFEX test group for the Elaeagnacae genus, including Sea Buckthorn and Buff aloberry. Much of this information comes from his observations.

Selections: (* = Not commercially available yet.)

  • "Cardinal" common selection offered by nursery trade
  • "Red Wing" UNIV NEB/MICH joint release. Improved size and sweetness.
  • *"Elsberry" Missouri Exp Station release. 3/8" to ½" berries.
  • "Jazbo" Selected by Michael McConkey of Edible Landscaping.

Area Trees: A common shrub found in interstate

Contact Person: None at present. Uses: Interplanted with Black Walnut for improved Walnut growth. Possible alley crop plant for clipping or interplanting amongst annuals. (Nitrogen fixer). Poultry food. Wildlife food, dense cover=shelter. Bee forage=honey plant. Cheap, ornamental hedge.

A space devoted to noteworthy introductions.


JAN & JOY Fall Fruiting Cherries

These 3' high productive bush plants ripen late in the season when oird activity is less. They can be easily netted and picked. Not susceptible to powdery mildew, Japanese beetle or cherry worm damage. Fruit size comparable to Montmorency Cherry with attractive spring blooms. Space saving plants may also be grown in pots. Should tolerate winter conditions in many parts of the state. A cross of Prunus japonica X Prunus jacquemonti, by Professor Elwyn Meader.

Available from: Edible Landscaping, PO BOX 77, Afton, VA 22920.


CAMELIA FOREST NURSERY: Kai Mei Parks, Proprietor. 125 Carolina Forest Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

The Camelia selections offered in this catalog (some of the hardiest to be found) are rated at best for warm zone 6 climates, so you may just skip over this section. What follows is a nice collection of common and uncommon trees and shrubs at reasonable prices. These folks have collected seeds on trips to Japan and China and are working to introduce rare species and promote others of pure seed origin. Send a SASE with 2 stamps attached

OICOS TREE CROPS, 721 Fletcher, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.

Carries a healthy selection of seed grown nuts from select parents. Includes hickory, filbert, chestnut, walnut, plus native, non-native and hybrid oaks. Also native pawpaw, persimmon, rose and more. Small size stock and quantity discounts are available. Plant a forest or two!



Deane, Minister and Cranberry Pippin. Contact: Cynthia Anthony, RR 1 BOX 945, Morrill, ME 04952.


AMERICAN WILLOW GROWERS NETWORK, RFD 1 BOX 124A, South New Berlin, NY 13843-9649. -

A source of hardwood cuttings and information on trees and shrubs for basketry to biomass production. Editor Bonnie Gale deserves a round of applause for creating a network that should work to gather and disseminate firsthand knowledge of numerous Salix species. A $5.00 yearly membership obliges you to answer a questionnaire and makes you eligible to receive cuttings (15 selections offered at present). Newsletter offers practical and diverse articles on culture/ use, identification and more. Want a willow in your landscape? Want to know why? Join AWGN.


A service providing literature searches and names of researchers to contact for answers to specific horticultural questions. Recommended for troubleshooting your landscape from microbe to macrocarpa.



Want to be the first on your block to own a "Rambo" model blade for your Wheeler Pruning Saw? Then send $2.50 to Arthur Harvey, Hartford Center, ME 04221. As part of the Greenleaf pruning crew, Arthur has experimented with numerous blade styles and now produces 4 different designs. The smoothest cutting one has 14 teeth per incn and cuts easily, while the "Rambo" (8 TPI) takes a bit of oomph. What are you "stalloning" about? Pruning season is here! Send $10.00 (ppd) for an entire arsenal, 4 original designs, plus 2 standard blades, or send for a free spec sheet and look for Arthur at the Scionwood Exchange hawking, his wares. (See P.6)


Lists 60 companies supplying biological controls. Free from: California Dept of Food & Ag Biological Control Services Program, 3288 Meadowview Kd., Sacramento, CA 95832.


ORGANIC AND LOW SPRAY FRUIT CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS, 1988 133 P 8 1/2"X 11" paperbound $10 ppd from: NOFA NY PO BOX 454 Ithaca, NY 14851

This is a compilation of transcripts from a 1987 conference at Cornell University. It is a "blow by blow" account of the technical and informal lectures, panel discussions, questions and more questions that were presented. Some of it is humorous in retrospect, illustrating just how far we still need to go to find responsible solutions for safer, saner fruit production. Lewis Ward and Tracy Frisch put in a lot of time organizing this event and pulling it off at a respectable agricultural institution. It is perhaps the first giant step towards a not so pie in the sky dessert. Your $10 will support the possibility of future conferences and help with existing expenses. Focus is primarily on commercial practices.

NOTE: This year a questionnaire is being sent to commercial growers to determine what methods or techniques are presently providing adequate pest control. Feedback is also being sought on what materials, equipment or technical information is currently missing. The focus of this is to create a network for orchardists to exchange ideas, advice and concerns regarding organic fruit culture. Responses and names of participating growers will be available after April 15th. For more details, contact: Darryl Kandel, 91 English Range Rd, Deny, NH 03038.



A1981 Design Course Transcript, 11p., 1988

Once again Mollison stirs up muck and mire to get our brains churning. Salt and fresh water culture of aquatic plant and animal species are discussed. Sewage treatment, food production, manure handling, feed production, nutrient needs, food webs and more are covered in varying detail.


The last of the 1981 Course Transcripts to be transcribed and reproduced 20p 1989.

Includes modified Keyline designs for water conservation and use. How to store water on the land using dams, ponds and soil conditioners*. This pamphlet is a good compliment to the above, rounding out the functional role of water in the landscape.

[*This refers to a tractor drawn implement such as a Yeoman's (Keyline) Plow. A bit different than a standard chisel plow, these devices can efficiently aerate the soil, causing all kinds of favorable interactions. In one example, Mollison mentions a football field being 'conditioned' and then played on the next day! Distributors of the Yeoman's Plow: Fertility Implements, Bass, AR 72612.]


USDAFS General Technical Report SO67
Southern Forest Experiment Station, New Orleans, LA.

This book treats the subject of growing nursery stock in a simple yet thorough manner. There are numerous photos and illustrations which the smalltime nursery grower could use to help increase work efficiency and to promote better plant growth. Details of actual tropical conditions, tree species and pests are kept to a minimum, so much of the text remains applicable to temperate zone tree growers. I would recommend this guide to anyone interested in assisting with tropical reforestation programs. Those people seeking to provide local plant material for themselves and others should also find this book a useful reference.


North Central Regional Extension Publication #237
Taylor and Perry 1986, 27p $1.50

A good beginners guide. Order from:
MSU, PO BOX 6640, East Lansing, MI 48823-6640.

John Sabuco, Good Earth Pub. Ltd, 1985,440p

Is there a lack of plants for northern landscapes? "No!" says the author, only a lack of knowledge, and with that premise he sets down the merits of some 2,000 plantstrees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, ferns, ornamental grasses, cacti, bulbs & corms, and perennials that will tolerate a minimum of -20°F. As a Landscape Architect in the Chicago area, Sabuco has a credible opinion on these ornamentals and readily points out neglected plants that have excellent possibilities in the landscape industry. His bias and humor is well appreciated. Here are a few of his views on Caragana arborescens (Siberian Pea Shrub). "Nothing bothers Caragana arborescens. It will take hurricanes, hail, drought, tidal waves, no soil, salt and cold that would scare a penguin...in stride. You don't even have to fertilize it: If you manage to kill it by your gardening, stop gardening." and Caragana gets a bum rap from nearly every writer. Most home owners are not great gardeners. They simply want a shrub that won't die and will look reasonably presentable. This shrub certainly won't die. The flowers are as nice as any Forsythia and are never killed by frost." He continues on with its notable qualities then lists his variety of choice: "Lorbergii" for its feathery foliage and reduced thorniness.

The book begins with an excellent two page chapter of how plants react to 'winter' (here the author presents his own hardiness zone map). Then there's an explanation of how plant ratings were gathered and pointers on how cultural practices affect plant adaptability. What follows are tips on fertility, planting, genetics and finally "The Lazy Man's Guide to Better Gardening". In short, most everything you should be aware of when working with plants in colder regions is contained within! A most readable account of many of the things only "hinted" at in some books or "camouflaged" in dry texts.

Nearly 700 illustrations are helpful in aiding with plant selection. If you are intimidated by scientific names (Latin), scientific jargon (Greek?) or conflicting plant ratings, give this book a thorough scan, then plant the best.

Second edition (1987, 368p) has been expanded by 40% and includes a nursery source list and glossary.

"AMERICAN CHESTNUT", a collection of articles from KATUAH JOURNAL (PO BOX 638, Leicester, NC Katuah Province 28748) a Southern Appalachian bioregional publication. Autumn 1988,17p. Available from MTCA for $1.00.
"RESEARCH ON BLACK LOCUST AS A MULTIPURPOSE TREE SPECIES FOR TEMPERATE CLIMATES", Robert Barrett, T. Mebrahtu, J.W. Hanover, Dept of Forestry, MSU, E. Lansing, MI 48824. A paper presented at the 1st National Symposium on New Crops Indianapolis, IN Oct 2326, 1988, 9p ($.50 and a business sized SASE from MTCA)

Main emphasis is on locust utilization as alfalfa (forage) replacement. Attributes of locust: rapid growth, survives droughts and severe winters, tolerates infertile and acidic soils, produces livestock feed nutritionally equivalent to alfalfa. Performance evaluation of selected seedlings, planting densities, and harvest dates are being examined.

"NORTH AMERICAN FRUIT EXPLORERS CHERRY PLUM REPORT" Compiled by Paul Sprung, St. Francis, Me. 1989, 5p ($.25 +SASE from MTCA) Paul's notes will help to demystify some of the who, how and what's of these puckery to pleasant hybrids. A mixture of plant genetics, breeding history and keen observations make for a well rounded account.

"Quonset Style" Mini-Greenhouse

  • The raised frame makes for a more workable height
  • Wet sand acts as thermal mass, retaining daytime heat and releasing it slowly at night.
  • Capillary watering (potted plants will wick water from the bottom) reduces nutrient losses commonly associated with overhead watering.
  • The frame is easily covered or uncovered to adjust for temperatures.
  • Though not eactly portable, it could be positioned against an existing building and removed, without structural damage, at a future date.
  • A fine winter project for amateur propagators that should give good results, rather inexpensively. Materials List (approx. 16" high x 8' long x 4' wide) What you are building here is a covered sandbox; modify as needed.
  • 1" x 8" boards (2 for each side plus bottom - or use plywood) plus corner braces & brackets & bottom support strips.
  • 2 x 6 joists and bands.
  • PVC pipe, or conduit (8-10ft lengths).
  • Brackets to hold pipe.
  • Overhead support with side braces.
  • Thick (6-8 mil) black poly (liner - will last several years.)
  • Sand to about 1 foot depth.
  • Blocks to support at a comfortable height.
  • Clear greenhouse poly - attach on back side, roll up and down as needed. Secure ends and sides.

    NOON to 5 P.M.

    Get set for another exciting Scionwood Exchange! Our eighth annual exchange promises to be another informative and congenial occasion. Workshops will include Grafting, Pruning, Orchard Pest Management and a panel discussion on Woody Ornamentals for the Landscape.

    There will be a small assortment of tools and supplies for sale, and tables of literature and catalogs to review.

    Bring labeled scions and seed to trade and give away and come prepared for an enjoyable time. (Scionwood is not mandatory to attend and we encourage you to take home what you can use).

    The fun starts at noon. PASS THE WORD and bring a friend. For more information, contact Jack or Lainie at 568-3444. DIRECTIONS TO UNITY COLLEGE: From Bangor: Routes 202/9, turn left 1/4 mile past Unity village at sign to college. From Waterville: Route 139 to Unity village, right on 202/9, then next left at sign. From Augusta: Route 3 to 202/9, turn right at the sign for Unity College just below the village. The main entrance to the campus is 1/2 mile from the sign on Route 202/9. Turn right and continue up the hill to the furthest building on the left (gym). Activities will take place upstairs, the first door on the left.


    So you forgot to order trees from FEDCO this year and you're in a tizzy about what to do. WHY NOT GO to the FEDCO TREE SURPLUS SALE? You may get lucky and find a selection or two that you wanted. These 'surplus' trees are all unused 'extras' waiting for a good home. A smattering of leftover OGSI supplies (organic fertilizers, pest controlling substances, etc.) should also be on hand and take a gander at the surplus from Fedco Seeds (garden seeds) and Moose Tubers (seed potatoes, flower bulbs) as well. Then there's usually a few odd sorts of plants, trees and shrubs that arrive from local growers. Still not enough to entice you? Well, the drive is pleasant and so are the folks who work (and shop) at the sale. See you there? APRIL 27 & 28 from 9am-4pm at Mark Fulford's barn in Monroe (signs posted in the village) or call 525-7761 for details.


    APPLE PEST MANAGEMENT IN MAINE, 1 hour UMO 1987; tape #1024


    For rentals and a complete catalog, contact: Will Walton, C/O Open Doors Farm Video Center, 970 Illinois Ave, Suite 2, Bangor 04401.

    What's in this issue...

    • Introduction....................... 1
    • Updates: Am. Chestnut & BL Locust... 1
    • Grapevine......................... 1
    • Plant Profile....................... 2
    • Asian Pear Notes ................... 2
    • Variety Column.................... 3
    • Notable Nurseries.................. 3
    • Wanted.......................... 3
    • Organizations..................... 3
    • Tools & Supplies................... 3
    • Publications....................... 4
    • Mini-Greenhouse................... 5
    • Videos........................... 6
    • Fedco Trees Surplus sale............. 6
    • Scion Wood Exchange .. ............ 6

    Maine Tree Crop Alliance, Environmental Science Center, Unity College, Unity Maine 04988

    Address circled in RED? Your subscription has expired! Please renew promptly...

    Subscriptions are $2.00 per year, and includes 2 issues of this Maine Tree Crop Alliance newsletter. MTCA also sponsors the annual spring Scionwood Exchange and fall Fruit Swap. The purpose ofthis Alliance is to share information and access to trees, so we welcome articles, letters,tips, leads, and any info on trees our subscribers may come across.

    This newsletter layout donated by Marshall Arts in Dixmont using PageStream Desktop Publishing Software on an Amiga computer. Photocopy-ready masters were produced using an Amiga and a laser printer at Skylight Software in Belfast.
    Printed on recycled paper.