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Denis Huel

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since Jul 04, 2013
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Recent posts by Denis Huel

A Crossman wrote:

Denis Huel wrote:I never did get a mulberry tree. I read about a variety that was selected in North Dakota called the "Trader" mulberry.  It probably was Morus alba var tatarica. Likely can't get it Canada but if you find a source let me know. I'm tempted to buy an "Illinois Everbearing" from Grimo Nut Nursery. I believe this variety is a Morus rubra x Morus alba hybrid.

I live 80 km SW of Moose Jaw and am likely a little bit warmer than you. Very interested in bees but have too many projects on the go at the moment. I am experimenting with a variety of tree crops on a little bit larger scale and a kind of a tree seed nut. Feel free to contact me with questions about trees and shrubs and I will do my best to help you. Take care.


What kind of tree crops do you have? I am growing trees and am getting a tree seed order in the next few weeks.



Tried quite few types, but most of my trees are extremely young. Weather has been extremely difficult here the past year, driest on record (130 yrs) and wildly fluctuating temperatures, including some very damaging growing season frosts in 2017. Along with the deer my plantings received an tremendous amount of damage over the last 12 months. I think climate change is going make life very challenging in my area.

I have several hundred black walnuts from hardy seed sources (seed source is extremely important if you are in a marginal area). I am quite impressed with black walnut's toughness and am optimistic I will have some success with it. Have butternuts as well and although they don't seem as tough as the b.walnuts they are still promising. Have shagbark hickories that have survived one winter so far. Yellowhorn has also survived a winter. Bur oak is ironclad. Have seedlings of three hybrid hazelnut sources. They don't seem to like my heat and drought but I am not giving up on them yet. American chestnut was a bust.

Nut pines, I have Siberian(P.sibirica), Korean(P.koraiensis), Limber(P.flexilis), and Pinyon(P.edulis). Pinyon pine may seem a stretch but Natural Resources Canada has a plant hardiness site where they run species adaptions through various climate change models and some predict southern Saskatchewan and Alberta as the core area of climate suitability for P.edulis by mid century. Unfortunately deer ate many of my Siberian and Limber pines this fall.

Honeylocust seems OK in my area. Manchurian apricot fruits well occasionally, many apples, have some seedling pears with poor quality fruit but very tough plants. Saskatoons. Ponderosa pine is very good. I do like the North Plateau strain better than the Black Hills type for variety of reasons. Red pine which is never planted here seems to be doing very well. Not so fond of Siberian Larch. Would like to try Douglas fir.

When buying seed of trees, seed source or locality can be critical for some species.

Where are you from?
1 year ago
Yellowhorns definitely survived winter in southern Saskatchewan. Although the plants were small, last winter had very little snow and the plants were exposed for most of the winter.

My chestnuts were a bust but >90% of the shagbark hickory survived.
2 years ago
I bought a 0.25lb of seed in 2015 from Sheffield's. I live in southern Saskatchewan, Can. Zone 2,3 4??? (the world is changing!!). Would not have considered growing yellowhorn in my area but Sheffield's seed source at the time originated in Mongolia. I soaked the seeds in water for a couple of days, drained and placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2 months. They germinated very rapidly in a high percentage once removed from the cold. I direct planted the germinated seeds on a open exposed site.

Was just checking my seedlings (April 9) and although too early to be 100% certain, a small nick in the bark of several seedling showed bright green tissue to the very tip despite temperatures dropping to -35C (-30F) last winter. Although a little premature I am certain the seedlings are fine.  Will provide an update in a month or so but am very optimistic. Generally a winter killed planted will be rusty brown under the bark.

Off topic but other oddball plants (for my area) I planted last year included Colorado Pinyon pine (definitely survived!) and shagbark hickory and American chestnut, both of which I think also survived well. Butternut, black walnut, Korean pine in my area are fully hardy.  Tree crop advocates (or nuts as I prefer!) get experimenting with new plantings. Be aware of the importance of seed source.  I believe plant hardiness data from even a couple of decades ago is obsolete in many areas. We need food producing tree crops!
2 years ago
I never did get a mulberry tree. I read about a variety that was selected in North Dakota called the "Trader" mulberry.  It probably was Morus alba var tatarica. Likely can't get it Canada but if you find a source let me know. I'm tempted to buy an "Illinois Everbearing" from Grimo Nut Nursery. I believe this variety is a Morus rubra x Morus alba hybrid.

I live 80 km SW of Moose Jaw and am likely a little bit warmer than you. Very interested in bees but have too many projects on the go at the moment. I am experimenting with a variety of tree crops on a little bit larger scale and a kind of a tree seed nut. Feel free to contact me with questions about trees and shrubs and I will do my best to help you. Take care.
2 years ago
I'm from southern Saskatchewan, 150 miles north of Glasgow, MT. Also in that 100-120 frost free days.  I've been growing tomatoes for 40 years and always use transplants. That said a local gardener directs seeds and says there is no difference in maturity with the transplants. By the time the transplants recover from being planted the seedlings have caught up and both ripen tomatoes at the same time.

I did have many years ago have a small variety that routinely produced volunteer seedlings in the following years. It was kind of a wild looking type sprawling along the ground and ripening small fruit very early. Unfortunately I no longer have it and can't remember its name.
2 years ago
They certainly are a very tough and carefree plant. The earliest plant to bloom for me in the Northern Great Plains but rarely fail to produce a crop of almonds. A little breeding work to produce a non bitter seed strain would result in a very useful plant.
3 years ago
I am fairly certain it requires cross pollination. Plant several seedlings.
3 years ago
As the saying goes, common sense is really not that common. In an age when rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, deteriorating soils and declining energy sources seriously threaten our future, burning biomass simply to get rid of it, is to put it bluntly, stupid. Unfortunately we can rarely look to governments and bureaucrats for true leadership and large industry is focused solely on its next few year profits. After decades of trying to be a good citizen maybe I am turning into a cranky old man but I now try to do more of what make sense and what is right and less what some local/regional government regulation says I must.
3 years ago

Reist John wrote:

Denis Huel wrote:I frequently store potted trees over winter in Saskatchewan. I simply dig a trench the width and depth of the pots and place the pots in the trench filling the spaces along side and between the pots with some of the excavated dirt. Chose a sheltered area where snow will cover the ground. Make sure the plants are well watered before freeze up. You could mulch with leaves but run the risk of mice settling in for the winter. I occasionally lose the odd plant. I suspect drying is the culprit. I overwintered some butternut trees last winter without any difficulty even though the coldest temperatures of the year occurred (-30C) in the first half of November when there was no snow.



Would you lie the trees in pots on there sides or stand them upright ?




Upright just as if they were planted.
3 years ago
It has been my experience that heavy clay soils in the drier parts of the Great Plains, especially high sodium(Na) alkaline clays, are very difficult for trees in general. They tend to have a surface dominated moisture regime, soggy poorly drained during periods of abundant precipitation but can drying rapidly hot dry weather. Most native grasses can cope with these conditions by going dormant during dry periods. In my area virtually all the areas with heavy clay soils that are not cultivated for crops are of the high sodium type.

The high sodium clays generally have poor structure slowing deep infiltration of water resulting in higher surface evaporation. The clay soil should allow for greater storage of soil moisture, buffering the effects of drought but in many situations this is not the case. There have been studies conducted on deep ripping these high sodium clays to improve water infiltration and structure with I believe mixed results. Adding gypsum will improve the Ca/Na ratio and benefit soil structure and water infiltration. The soil is also very susceptible to compaction from grazing animals during wet periods and are difficult to cultivate. I have a couple of hundred acres of this type of soil in southern Saskatchewan. It had been to used for crops, mainly wheat by my grandfather and father, however, 10 years ago I sowed it to a mix of native grasses and have not touched it since. Soil structure has improved greatly since then and I am tempted to try planting some trees in the future. I have resisted attempts by my neighbours to rent the land for grazing because of soil compaction concerns but may in the future allow grazing during dry periods. I remember reading a paper some time ago about Soviet era experiments to plant trees on this type of soil in southern Russia with some success I believe. Can't remember exactly where I found the paper.
3 years ago