Hello all, anyone planted a nut tree in Zone 4? Any suggestions as to a good variety? Someone told me Butternuts are good. And will they take forever to bear? Thanks in advance.
My experience with butternuts is that they are very hard to get any nut meats out of. They were never very prolific on our farm. The ridges of the shell are very sharp. When you crack them with a hammer, the shell tends to colapse crushing the interior. The meats are soft and tend to break up instead of coming out of the shell.
and if i have the correct tree in mind (from my childhood which my dad said was a butternut), it's a messy tree -- the nutshells are horribly sticky and stepping on one barefoot is not fun. i loathed that tree, especially during fall rake-up. and my worst memory of all is that the leaf frond center rib made for a good switch used on the back of our bare legs to keep unruly children in line, back in the dinosaur age from whence my memories spring.... my momma didn't spare the rod much, with five of us cavorting about. =)
Yep, Roxanna, we're talking 'bout the same tree. Let's see what Peattie has to say:
That sticky coating stains your hands. A true dye, it will eventually wear off. It has a sweet sap you can make sugar from. Mountain folk made a yellow to orange dye from the inner bark. Nuts are very oily but soon turn rancid.
BJ ~ i'd known about the dye capabilities, but not the sweet sap. i never tasted the nuts, tho my father did, i believe... it seems to be one of those nuts that is too much trouble to get to the meat to make the effort worth the time. rather like Brazil nuts, which were always the worst ones to crack in the inevitable bag of mixed nuts in the shell at the holidays. yummy, tho i always tried to con someone else into cracking them for me!
fishercat ~ your thread title had me going for a minute -- "nuts in the north"? sure, we have 'em, some of us post here on this forum! some of us lurk. oh, that's not what you meant, is it? hee.
Oh, i kind of meant that too! Anyone know about Hazelnuts? I'd like to be a little more self-sustaining and grow more of what I need. Thanx---Fishercat
you may want to check locally to see if they will survive where you are. I believe Zone 4 is about the limit for them. Hazelnuts or Filberts are grown commenrcially here in Oregon's Willamette Valley. They are fairly easy to grow here and don't seem too picky about soil. Most of our soils have a fairly high clay content, though most of the orchards are in river-bottom loam. Easy to harvest, and they are a great nut for cooking or eating fresh.
"The plants have been good to us." Lester Hawkins
If you grow hazelnuts you can also try growing truffels in the root area. In North Carolina there is a supplier of truffels for growing under hazelnuts. I wonder if it matters if you use the larger European nut or the tiny native hazelnuts.
Have you thought about a Shagbark hickory? They will grow in zone 4, and there are improved varieties available commercially that have larger, delicious nuts. It seems to me that Stark's used to offer them in their catalog.
I know chestnuts (buckeyes) grow near us, south side of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. maybe they would work?
If it can die, I can kill it.Certified Brown Thumb, 4th degree
C hestnuts are hardy to zone 4, so yes, they would. There are crosses being done between the Chinese and American chestnuts that have resistance to chestnut blight and better tasting nuts, but I don't know what is available commercially. It sounds like that might be a good choice. Personally, I LOVE hickory nuts (a hangover from childhood in CT, when we would gather them by the bagful to have in the winter) and chestnuts taste like boiled potatoes to me.
chestnuts taste like boiled potatoes to me.
You are so right. I like to score the hull with a chestnut knife and nuke them just enough to make the hull peel loose. They are still raw but hot. They are also good when just off a grill from a street vendor.
"Chess nuts boasting by an open foyer" (That's why hotels don't like to host grand masters tournaments) :-)
Maybe if I tried them that way I would like them better. I had heard about roasting chestnuts and how great they were for years before I got to try them. I was SO dissapointed! I always figured that the native American ones must have been much tastier than the Chinese ones. My mother always talked about how they had a wire mesh basket to put them in and they roasted them in the fireplace. It sounded so wonderful!
When I was a small child we had chestnut trees but we never harvested the nuts. By the time I was in elementary school the chestnuts were gone. I have read that castenea dentata, the American chestnut was a superior nut and that great quantities were shipped to Europe where it was in demand. Ruth Lively once gave me some American chestnuts which she had gotten from a hibredizing project in which c. castenea was crossed with c mollissima (chinese chestnut). The object is to retain the resistance of the chinese chestnut while reproducing the quality of the American.
I got one of those 10 years ago when they were offered in limited number for a low fee from the state ag dept.. For many years prior to that I'd admired how nice a tree a Chinese chestnut looked in someone else's yard. It started bearing about three years ago. I don't know if you remember my stance of barefootism, but that spelt the end of that tree. I'm not that keen on gumballs, but I couldn't even stand trying to get into those chestnuts. There weren't nuthin' in those porcupine balls I wanted bad enough to put up with them. Maybe if they had cashews in them. Then again, no. I can *buy* cashews.
There were some people down the street from me who had a chinese chestnut they never did anything with, and those hulls were always all over the ground. They could be used as a weapon. I used to gather some and put them in pine cone wreaths. When that hull opened, it spread out and became star shaped, and they were lined with what looked like tan velvet. They were really beautiful, but very painful to work with. I guess you REALLY wouldn't want to walk barefoot under that tree!
At my neighbors the deer love the chestnuts. But do they clean up the burrs? Noooo. I'm not sure what you saw in the Chinese chestnut that was attractive. If you have seen the old American chestnuts, the Chinas are coarse and unattractive by comparison. I cannot imagine the "village smithy" under one of thse trees.
Well, it wasn't like it was 100 years old. It was probably 10 years old when I first saw it and I watched it for 7 years. It was a nice, rounded small tree that bloomed like crazy and had those great fruits. Trouble is, I didn't walk around under it so I was ignorant about the deadly nature of the burrs.
Besides, you know my motto: Plant a tree, nurture it, then cut it down.
I haven't seen a castenea mollissima from which you could cut a saw log, regardless of age. The c. dentata were high limbed so that a lot of knot free lumber could be cut from the bole of the trees. We built a barn from harvested dead chestnut lumber in '39 or'40. In the mid 50s I knew men whos livlihood came from cuting chestnut trees in the mountain tops of the Virginia- West Virginia line near Staunton, Va. They were selling the wood to tanneries. Gives you some idea of how rot resistant the wood is.
Doesn't mean the burrs are anymore fun to step on. : - P
It was a great loss, yet one more example of how much an impact we have on the world around us. I wish I could've seen one (while wearing shoes).
I read about that project, and there is also another one that is looking for native trees that are naturally resistant. I also read that , in their pre-blight days, chestnuts made up 75% (!!!!!) of the southern forest. When they bloomed, the mountainsides looked like they were covered with snow. Can you imagine how devastating it was when they all started to die? It would be like us losing all our oaks at once.
Be careful not to get buckeyes (horse chestnuts) and true chestnuts mixed up. Buckeyes are relatively toxic and shouldn't be eaten, although I think they're very pretty.
North Carolina - zone 7
I planted both chesnuts and butter nuts in my garden.
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