Merle’s Best Shellbark?

yo, for sure. me too. I’m planting 15 shags and shells I suppose, in-total.

I learned there’s some really great ones and you found them. ‘Henry’ is awesome. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. The thing that needs clarification is which cultivar(s) of these ones that I consider awesome - whether they are precocious or prolific. That would be something Fred knows probably more about than any other person in the United States, maybe. I would hope somewhere along the line he’s been writing those two traits down. And, vigor. Nothing’s more important (ever) than vigor. You don’t get precocity or prolific-ness w/o vigor. It’s the key to everything.


As I understood Fred, Merle’s Best was both precious and prolific, and cracked out well with good flavor

He had talked to me about lenticels on rootstock before and he did again

I recalled that when I lived in Virginia 30 years ago a fellow showed me some 7-8 year old black walnuts he planted from seed. Some with a scoop of cow manure underneath and some without. Those with the manure were literally 50% bigger

Fred said he does the same thing

I am planting 2-3 nuts and then selecting the most vigorous as the rootstock, direct seeding so I don’t have transplant shock. About 55 acres total, vast majority pecan but a good number of hickories- all on pecan rootstock

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Several of my own local hickory selections are in Tyler’s displays…‘Garnett’ shellbark, and ‘Sinking Fork’ and ‘Morris 1’(renamed ‘Happy Hollow’).


Manure improves soil and feeds so well. You’re going to have some massive seedlings if you can keep them growing all summer. Don’t allow their soil to dry up, ever… and you should be able to keep them growing with short pauses. I would do it just like you are. Manure and water and mulch of some kind… and nothing else.

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@Cavedog should Kanza be your seed nut, you gotta stop that thought right now. You can’t use Kanza for its’ vigor is extremely weak! I’ve grown at least 150 Kanza seedlings and 1 of 5 might have some vigor, but still… not the kind of vigor pecans are capable of having. I saw something earlier that caught my attention when you used the words Kanza and Rootstock in conjunction…


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Dax - please check your email

I couldn’t reply until now as I am new member here and had maxed out my replies on first day

This is why I felt ok with Kanza rootstock


Nope, stay away from Kanza al-together. Check your email and call Dan Shepherd immediately cause he’s gonna close today or tomorrow. You gotta get your seeds ordered today!


Guess I need to pay more attention here! Looking to graft 8 or so established northern pecan seedlings in my yard this spring (few each of shags, shells, hicans, and pecans as a start. Will probably end up multi-grafting at some point… - catching up on this thread and looking for recommendations - might be time to start a new thread…


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you might end up stating where you are or the nearest big city. zone 6 doesn’t mean a whole bunch Pete. You should state your grafting ability/technique & seedling height/caliper. If you are able to graft at or above deer browse (5-6 feet), that’s the ideal. It’s worth waiting another year or two.

people will know or simply say, I need however many 3/8ths size scions with a bud or two to bark graft or if you need 1/4" little stuff that doesn’t graft nearly as good. you’re grafting nut trees so you need to be thinking about 3-flap or bark-grafting, Pete. It’s worth waiting, I’ll say again…


Hi Dax - thanks for the response and helpful info. You’ve got me wondering now… when you suggest that I wait until my seedlings are above deer browse height, it sounds like you’re suggesting I don’t graft inside tree tubes, but rather wait until the seedling is out of my tubes and over 6’ tall. Any reason for not grafting inside a tree tube? All my seedlings are in tubes, mostly for the very reason you mention; lots of deer browse pressure in my yard (these are all backyard trees). Most of my seedlings are 5’ or taller, sticking out of the tops of my tree tubes, and 1/2" or more diameter at the base, so I should be able to match up a decent stick. My seedlings have been in the ground 3 seasons; this will be their fourth, so I’m expecting them to really take off (relatively) this year.

I’m a very experienced apple and pear grafter using several (many?) different types of grafts. I’ve also been successful with persimmon. I’ve not done a 3-flap, but that was what I was planning on using as it looks like it’s got the highest probability of success on carya. Depending on what my sticks look like, I may also try budding as a backup.

I am located west northwest of Philadelphia, 15 or so miles south of John Hershey’s old farm.

Bump @Barkslip :wink:

Hickory Scions:
Get Grainger and Fayette for Shagbarks
Get Selbhers & Scholl shellbarks

Porter needs to be in there somewhere.

I agree. Porter

Fayette is a shellbark.

Bark slip and others posting comments on hickory cultivars (shag & shell) and hican cultivars I need your thoughtful comments on the most cold hardy of the bunch. I’m growing at the beginning of zone 5a north of Sioux City, IA and am able to finish Colby pecans. I’m looking for your recommendation for the cold hardiest of each of the following hickory types;


Thanks for the input!


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