Hi, new here but I know a couple of the participants. Lucky Pittman graciously gave me some advice (along with Dan Shepherd and Fred Blankenship) on choosing cultivars for my farm in southern Illinois. Zone 6A 6B borderline. East amd north of Carlyle and south and west of Effingham
My particular question is about photos and experience with Merle’s Best and Scholl Shellbark Hickories. Fred Blakenship said given I was in southern Illinois, Merle’s Best would be #1 on his list for me, with Scholl #2. Lucky also recommended Simpson #1 and Fred said that was an incredible pollenator and excellent also
My Shagbark choices are Grainger, Lorane, and Fred’s BBL 1
My pecan choices incidentally are Kanza, Hark, Major, Bee Box, Lakota, Oswego, Greenriver
Bee Box is a new find that is Kanza x Pawnee
My rootstock is Kanza pollenated by Pawnee, and Shepherd open pollenated
Good choices. You can’t go wrong with any of those. I would make sure you have ‘Selbhers’ shellbark. It’ll produce nuts in 10-years or less from a young tree you buy. Selbhers from a bark graft on an established tree produces nuts in 4-5 years so it’s just a matter of time getting a smaller tree up to a bearing height. Selbhers is the only shellbark hickory that’s commercially sold that will give you nuts (maybe) a decade or two decades before other shellbark hickories that you may plant.
Of course Simpson #1 is a shagbark but it’s pollen qualities are useful everywhere.
Scholl is great. It’s as good as any top shellbark because it’s a great cracking nut. How prolific it is I don’t know that. Fred would know though. So would Lucky. Merle’s Best is one I haven’t evaluated/cracked.
Your go to nursery to buy these is Rock Bridge Trees. All his trees are grown in Roottrapper bags which produce roots like none other container can. It’s all fibrous roots which for a nut tree is saving you years to become established or (doesn’t die) at planting time. These are the very finest pots available anywhere in the world.
Thanks Dax. Fred called me back this and also recommended Fayette and Henry and Selbhers. Fred told me Merle’s Best started producing at 5 years after grafting a seedling for him and not only a great nut but a very showy, beautiful tree. From Merle Winter in Pickneyville, Illinois
I would like to graft some Lake Icaria shagbark but Lucky and Fred both told me they had poor results on pecan. Fred suggested grafting it on shellbark if possible. Thoughts on Lake Icaria?
I like the phone call. Those three are 100% worthwhile and so too is Scholl.
Scholl will be easy to pick up because nobody knows anything about it. It’s pretty old (a) cultivar I have to believe. Probably very old.
Lake Icaria is too small of a nut or too close to getting to a medium size which is “OK” a size but not ideal whatsoever. That’s its’ downfall. It has so much “frenzy” driven into peoples minds because Halvin found it that they can’t stop thinking about it. If there’s one nut people are just insane to find and ask me if I have it, that’s it!
It has a very “buttery” flavor. For me, butter is not something I care to add onto my food. For the remainder of the world, they probably LOVE IT! : )
My youngest sister has a confectionery business, www.auntmabelsfudge.com I talked her into using a single heartnut half on her Valentine cookies last year and been working on her to try some hickories in place of pecans for some super premium goodies. Does anyone commercially supply hickory nuts
No. You could make so much money having a hickory orchard. The drawbacks are there are no commercial crackers (like pecans). So, people on eBay shell them and sell them for 30-35$ a pound. That’s without shipping I believe.
Hale’s Papershell cracks like a champ. It’s halves and quarters very easily, Zach says. He uses a Master Nutcracker. I use Fred’s ‘Mr. Hickory’ here.
Mary (my sister) bought whole heartnuts and a cracker and cracks them herself for Valentines Day
She gets black walnuts from Hammons and makes a white chocolate black walnut fudge that is wicked good
So far those are the only specialty nuts she uses other than macadamia nuts
I tend to agree with you on a hickory orchard; I will be grafting quite a few so hopefully someone develops a mechanised cracker for them by the time I have some decent production. If not I guess I will just have a lot of them around