David Binner

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since Mar 09, 2020
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Recent posts by David Binner

I've propagated Walnut trees, and documented it in my blog, with photos.
Your photo indicates a regular Persian Walnut tree.

Squirrels are notorious for cleaning off nut trees, but they also forget where they hide all their nuts, so I am surprised you don't have at least a few young trees coming up every Spring.

Walnuts have deep taproots, so they don't like being transplanted.

If you do manage to collect a few walnuts before the squirrels get to them, they need to go through a period of cold temperature stratification. Basically, they need to go through a period of cold temperature for about 100 days or they won't germinate. The safest place to do this is in your refrigerator. Keep them slightly humid. In the Spring, take them out and plant them in pots.

They will still need to be protected against squirrels for at least the first year. Even after the nut germinates, if squirrels smell them, they will dig up the nut and take them. Even if the tree is four months old and 1 foot tall, squirrels will nip off the tree at the base and dig up the nut, killing the tree for the sake of that nut. Squirrels are pesky critters. One way I found to protect the trees from squirrels was to wrap the tree in a chicken wire teepee. The trees were in five gallons planter pots and each one got a cone of chicken wire wrapped around it.

That was the only way that worked for me.

After the first year, the chicken wire can come off the following Spring.
I think, by this time, the smell of the nut has disappeared and the squirrels ignore the young trees.

Regarding trying to clone the tree by taking cuttings, I don't think it can be done.
If you can successfully do it, that would be wonderful. Post back and let us know.
But if you want a clone of that tree, a better option would be to graft scions from that tree onto rootstock of another Persian Walnut tree, or a Black Walnut tree.
1 week ago
I am considering making winter jackets for trees and am looking for design suggestions. Sizes. Material. etc.

Has anybody in these forums done this before?

Local nurseries sell some for banana trees.
Winters in my area are mild compared to other regions of Canada, but still not warm enough for tropical trees to survive the winter without extra protection. Especially against wind.

So, I was thinking about getting some insulating hard styrofoam (hard board), cutting a groove in it to fit the trunk (for young fruit trees), and maybe even packing some styrofoam pink (soft foam) into it. Then tying these devices around the tree trunks to give the trees added protection against the wind in winter. But I am concerned about humidity. Am I solving one problem, but creating another? Is humidity a concern with this proposed design? As long as I don't wrap anything in plastic, moisture shouldn't be trapped against the tree and cause problems, should it?

Any advice or suggestions?
1 week ago
I have a blog too, but I wouldn't call it a traditional blog in the sense that it is treated like a diary. It is nowhere close to being a diary of daily events.

And its purpose has changed several times since it was started.

It first started out to record books that I had read and some activities in my life.

Then it became a place to document work that I do with mathematics and computer programming. I write many computer programs that compute discrete solutions to math problems. Remember the Quadratic Equation in high school? One of my JavaScript pages computes solutions to those problems. And polynomials of higher degrees. And several other problems in Linear Algebra such as Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors, solving N Equations in N Unknowns, and several more. Putting background information and examples on a blog page allows me to keep the JavaScript page relatively clean, but making the extra information available if a user wants it.

Lately, I've used the blog to record work in the garden and document the growth of trees. I am always going back and updating blog posts to add more information. Between the blog and Google calendar, I have a convenient way to look back over years and remind myself when I planted/pruned/bought a plant, what strain it was, what a Walnut tree looks like when it sprouts, at one year, when the Comfrey flowered, etc.

Each blog post then becomes an independent repository of information on a particular topic for me. It is not like a diary entry that I write one day and then never touch it again.

If you are curious, here it is: David's Blog

1 week ago
I've had pretty good success using a file to scarify the seeds--but I don't do many seeds at a time.
The most I've done in one sitting is about 30 seeds. If you are planning to scarify many seeds at a time, this manual labour method probably is not appropriate for you.

First, I put down a few sheets of white paper. The seeds are always slipping out of my fingers; the contrast of black seed on white background makes it easier to find the seed when that happens.

Second, each side of each seed gets about twenty rubs across the file. Sometimes I get lucky and a seed doesn't need twenty strokes. Sometimes I see the white inside of the seed before twenty, so I stop. All that is required is that the waterproof coating of the seed be unsealed so that water can be absorbed by the seed and it swells.

Third, the seeds are put in a shot glass of water. Cold water straight out of the tap. The intention is to let them soak in the water for 24 hours, but sometimes that plan doesn't work out. (I have a full-time job, so they might end up soaking for 48 hours, or when I find time after work to put them in dirt.)

Fourth, after soaking in water, they should have swelled up, so they are put in planter pots. I like using 3" peat pots because none of these trees are staying in my yard; they are all going somewhere else for their permanent homes. Using 3" peat pots gives them a good start and are inexpensive.

New sprouts poke above the ground in about a week.

In the photo below:
i) the tree on the left is from a batch planted June 4, poked above ground June 12;
ii) the tree on the right is from a batch planted May 9, poked above the ground May 14.
Today is June 20, so that is about 1 week and 5 weeks of growth.

In the June batch, 8 out of 11 seeds sprouted, which is a pretty good rate.

One more thing: I don't throw out the peat pots in which a Black Locust did not sprout.
I've read that Black Locust seeds can remain viable for many years. Just because a seed doesn't sprout now, doesn't mean it's bad. (Maybe I didn't scarify it enough. Or maybe it needs to go through a couple more winters.) In any case, I plant the peat pot somewhere I'd like a Black Locust tree to be and hope for the best. I may be surprised in a future year.
2 months ago
This year I had some success grafting Plum Trees.
This art is still very new to me, only the second year I've attempted grafting. Last year was a complete failure. This year, I was happy to see two grafts taking.

After seeking information about when to take the tape off, (i.e., watching YouTube videos), the norm seems to be about one month after leaves sprout on the scion. So that is what I did.

Unfortunately, the electricians tape that I used took a lot of the bark off the branch too (see attached photo.) Each unroll of the tape took another patch of bark off.

I am now afraid I may have girdled the very branches I wanted to be most successful.

Hoping for the best, but thinking ahead for future years.

What did I do wrong? Did I wait too long to take off the tape (i.e., did the tree have too much time to grow tight against the tape?)
Is there a better tape to use than electricians tape? Plain old non-sticky wrap doesn't make a very tight seal.

Any advice for the future?
3 months ago
I'd like to plant some trees I have no experience with: Autumn Olives.

Are any varieties more cold-hardy than others?
If there is any differences among the various strains, which ones are the most cold-hardy?

3 months ago
There is a young Persian (AKA Carpathian) Walnut tree growing in the back. It's about six years old.
Instead of growing up straight, the main trunk is growing in a curve (see attached photo.)
I had thought, if anything, it would grow toward the Sun--but straight. However, this tree is growing like it wants to make a quarter of a circle.

Is this normal?
Will it straighten up later?
Or should I put a post up beside it, with a strap, and tie it to train it to grow vertical?

3 months ago
One of my young (1 year old) Butternut trees has a couple new saplings growing up from the ground beside it; I assume they are suckers. (See photo.)
(Are Walnut trees known for sending up suckers?)

I am wondering if I can cut these suckers off any time of the year, or should I wait until the Autumn, when Walnut trees are usually pruned?

What is best practice for dealing with these suckers?
3 months ago

Steve Thorn wrote:I soaked them in willow water overnight.

The larger branches did best. Most were probably 1/4 of an inch and the best one was the largest at about 3/4 of an inch.
. . .

Thanks for the information, Steve.

So you soaked them in water overnight, that's it. And then put them in the ground? That sounds pretty easy. I'll try that.
BTW: I watched your YouTube video mentioned in the other thread and gave it a Like.

One more question: is there a difference in cold-hardiness between different strains of Black Locust?
I am especially interested in the Frisia cultivar. Any idea if this cultivar is less cold-hardy than other varieties of Black Locust?
4 months ago

Steve Thorn wrote:I was having good success rooting hardwood cuttings ...

That's good to hear. Glad to know it's doable.

Did you use any rooting hormone, or anything like that?

Is there a minimum size branch that it works with? Half inch diameter? Quarter inch?
4 months ago