Thursday, September 8, 2011

Planting nut trees for protein and shade

By Katharine Fletcher

From butternuts to hazelnuts, growing nut trees promises delicious rewards and the usual benefits.

Gardeners rejoice! Many of us enjoy growing plants that yield a crop—but how many of us think of planting nut trees? Lynda and Richard Wegner did. After learning butternut trees were becoming endangered species in Canada, they planted a gracious avenue of them on their organic farm in Bristol, West Quebec. “We chose butternuts for environmental reasons,” explains Richard. “They’re an endangered species because they’re susceptible to a canker disease which appears when they are about 15 years old. The Quebec government offered them, free, to people who would plant them. We got 100 saplings 24 years ago.”

With compound, emerald-coloured leaves divided into leaflets, butternuts shimmer and stir on a light breeze; the effect is picturesque and calming on a summer’s day. Heartbreakingly, after 24 years of nurturing, the Wegners realize canker has infected their grove. With no known cure, their trees will perish although for now, they all still look lovely. “All anyone can hope for is, like elm trees with Dutch elm disease, some will be resistant,” says Lynda.
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Read the full story on the Canadian Gardening website.

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