A New Crop in Ontario: Hazelnuts

As other crops start to peter out, another one is getting ready to be harvested in Ontario—tree nuts. One of those edible nuts has crept into the spotlight in southwestern Ontario recently due to its presence in Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, and the fact that it has flourished in the Great Lakes region and other fruit orchard areas. If you are still guessing which nut it might be, let me introduce you to the hazelnut.

Ferrero Rocher are just one example of delicious treats which can be made from hazelnuts

The folks at Ferrero were smart when they decided to put hazelnuts into their delicious bite-sized chocolate treats. They are full of protein, folate and complex carbohydrates, as well as a great source of dietary fibre, iron, calcium and vitamin E. They are low in sodium and sugar, plus have no cholesterol. For those of you on a gluten-free diet, you are safe here too, as hazelnuts contain no gluten. The only drawback is for those with allergies, as tree nuts can cause severe allergic reactions in those with an allergy to them.

Growing regions for hazelnuts: Soil suitable for hazelnut production and number of years with temperatures of -30°C and lower (1990-2010) in Southern Ontario

For those who want to cash in on the growing nut-tree industry, for starters you need to have the right growing conditions. Corylus prefer moist to sandy loam with good aeration. They are not especially cold tolerant, so benefit by being situated close to the Great Lakes in already established fruit tree areas (ie. Niagara peninsula, North shore of Lake Erie). Hazelnut trees are also susceptible to eastern filbert blight, so selecting varieties that are disease resistant is key. The Beaked hazelnut is native to Ontario, so a good choice, but if you are planning on establishing an orchard, make sure you purchase from reputable nursery stock.

Hazelnut trees have a shallow root system, so require frequent watering, especially in the first 3-4 years. It also makes them drought intolerant, so if you want a bumper crop keep the water flowing. If you want to produce nuts, you must have more than one tree, as they do not self-pollinate, rather get pollinated by the help of the wind. Once your Corylus produces nuts (at approximately 4 years old), you are in luck though, as they are a fairly short tree or shrub, so harvesting is an easy task. Of course, as with many nut trees, you can let the ripe nuts fall to the ground and collect them from there. Keep an eye out for mice, squirrels and hungry jays who also love the taste of hazelnuts though. They can reduce your crop quickly, if you don’t collect your nuts promptly.

GrimoNut Nursery sells several hazelnut tree varieties in southwestern Ontario

Other things to take into consideration when growing a hazelnut tree is their maintenance. They require pruning in their second year to establish a central trunk, preferably in late winter or early spring before their active growth starts. After that you need to keep on top of their suckering nature to keep your tree to a single trunk. As the tree sets fruit on new wood, don’t go overboard with your pruning. Remove dead or damaged branches, as you would with any tree. After that, watch for pests and disease, but expect to reap the benefits of your work for the next 60-100 years. Not a bad deal at all in our books.

Yum, I think it’s harvest time! Pass the nutella…

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High-Flying with Cameron Crane

Cameron Crane

Cameron Crane; in operation since 1973 and an important part of CLC Tree Services’ team

At CLC Tree Services, we pride ourselves on the fact that we can handle most any tree services job sent our way; difficult tree problem or not. We have certified arborists on staff and the equipment to handle most any tree related needs your home or commercial business has. But sometimes, even we need a little helping hand.

When CLC Tree Services can't access a work site, due to close proximity of houses, sometimes a crane is necessary to help

When CLC Tree Services can’t access a work site on our own, we know Cameron Crane can get us into even the tightest spots

When you tend trees in an urban setting, there are often many contingencies that need to be taken into consideration. We need to assess location of hydro wires, proximity to roads, distance between houses, how close trees are to buildings, and the ability to maneuver ourselves and our equipment around all of these things without damaging any of them. When trees are located in backyards, with no access for a bucket truck or other equipment to get at the tree, or space to remove trunks or large limbs, then the problem of undertaking tree services can be a little trickier. That is when we call in the big guns for assistance—Cameron Crane & Riggers.

CLC Tree Services has been working with Cameron Crane since 2008. Cameron Crane is a family run business located on the outskirts of London, Ontario. Originally started in 1973 in the heart of London by his father, Jim Cameron, Ray Cameron is no stranger to cranes. He grew up with them. So it should come as no surprise that by 1995, he was at the helm of the family business. In 2008, Ray relocated the company to their present site on Glanworth Drive, in part due to the larger yard and with easier access to manoeuvre the fleet of vehicles. With increased space, the number of cranes also grew; the fleet doubled in size. Today, the company has 14 cranes and boom trucks at the ready for work, ranging in size from 8 tonnes up to 350 tonnes.

Smaller crane

One of the smaller cranes in the Cameron Crane fleet

The variety of cranes are for a reason. Different cranes are needed for different jobs; smaller cranes for things like moving items to the top of small building, and larger cranes for stretching up to the height of giant wind turbines for example. As there aren’t many crane companies of a comparable size and nature in Southwestern Ontario—none with a yard in London at any rate—Cameron Crane receives calls from all over Ontario. Sometimes that amounts to jobs spanning two days or more for the Operating Engineers who drive the cranes. All in a day’s work for the unionized employees though.

When CLC Tree Services calls though, Cameron Crane is happy to hear from us. While the office staff is quick to offer a sales rep for new clients—usually Ray himself—to go to a job site to assess a client’s needs for a crane rental, when Calvin McCallum calls they know he is usually pretty astute at knowing exactly what he needs. Most tree services companies need a crane approximately 75-90 tonnes for difficult tree jobs, but that isn’t always the case.

Tree Planting with the help of a 250 tonne crane from Cameron Crane

Tree planting with the help of a 250 tonne crane from Cameron Crane

For example, this past spring Calvin contacted Cameron Crane to say he needed one of the big cranes. CLC Tree Services was doing some tree planting, but had to relocate mature trees, one weighing upwards of 6300 lbs, into a customer’s back yard. The trick was, there was no space to get any equipment more than a dolly, between one house and the next. The solution; to go over the house. That required a crane.

Kelly scheduled it in for the day. As cranes require time to get to a job site (they don’t drive as fast as average vehicles due to their size and weight), plus time to set up (it takes an hour to set up counterweights on the biggest cranes, less for boom trucks), she needs to calculate how long the crane will be on site. The minimum number of hours for any job is four (which only leaves an hour for active work if you are a half hour drive away). Anything over eight hours amounts to overtime for the operators. This job was pushing that.

Cameron Cranes

Like big Tonka Toys, Cameron Crane and their fleet of big cranes and boom trucks turn heads wherever they go

Thankfully, not all jobs are as difficult as that particular one, but Calvin still talks to Kelly about crane rentals approximately twice a month for one reason or another. As CLC Tree Services has been a good client for the last seven years, Cameron Crane does what they can to fit them into the ever-changing schedule, of which Kelly is a master at coordinating. She is good at her job and does her utmost to make sure all of the Cameron Cranes get where they need to go every day.

For that, CLC Tree Services is grateful. Without them, many jobs would be impossible. So we appreciate the excellent working relationship we maintain with such a great local company. And the next time you can’t get something or someone into a spot where it just needs to be, why not give Cameron Crane a call. Kelly will have a crane rumbling your way in no time flat.

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Animal Planet: The Creatures CLC Finds in Trees


If we play cute, maybe we can hold him down until reinforcements come. MOM!

At CLC Tree Services, our job is to tend to trees. We assess them, prune them, fertilize them, treat them for illness and infections, and sometimes have to cut them down. There is far more to the job than just dealing with trees though. We also get to get up close and personal with some of Mother Nature’s other creatures—animals.

When we work on a tree, we are also working on the home of many creatures; insects, birds, small mammals like squirrels and sometimes larger ones like raccoons. Trees provide shelter, food, nesting places, perches and so much more for animals and insects, big and small. At CLC Tree Services, we have come across many of them.


Are you my Poppa?

We have to admit that we have a soft spot for some of the smaller creatures though. This summer alone we came across several squirrel nests while working on their homes in the trees. I’m sure the babies were mightily confused, but thankfully the Mommas came back to retrieve their babies and relocate them to safety once we departed for the day.

Calvin and a baby raccoon

Is it morning already? What are you doing to our home?

It’s not just squirrels we come across either. Raccoons know the value of trees as well, and a nice hollow tree makes for a perfect place for mother raccoons to raise a family. Sometimes all we have to do is make that home a little safer for the others who inhabit the space around the tree though. The raccoon family on the right was in an old dead ash tree in the middle of Camp Woodeden. We shortened up the trunk to prevent the brittle tree from falling on passing campers, then put the baby coons back into their new home for Mom to tend to once more. And everyone was happy at the end of the day, including Calvin who got to put the babies back into their new home once the tree was safe for the people who share the space.

As for birds, there has been more than one nest rescued from the chipper each spring. We prefer to admire them in flight, than to have to force them to relocate, but unfortunately a nice place to call home for birds, doesn’t always equate to what meets the best needs for a homeowner.

Going up is the easy part. Down is another matter entirely!

Going up is the easy part. Down is another matter entirely. Meow!!

Not all animals we come across in trees necessarily live there though. We’re not sure why, but the phone rang off the hook this summer with people begging us to rescue their pets. Domestic house cats are great climbers, but for some reason they struggle with the whole down the tree concept. You can’t imagine the relief that worried pet owners have when their poor kitties are safely brought back down to earth again. It always makes us wonder if those silly cats head straight back up into the nearest tree once they are outside once more or if their outdoor privileges are taken away by their owners. Regardless, we don’t necessarily promote ‘animal rescue’ as a skill on our website our resumes.

Back into the tree! Wait, this is a little bushier than  what I remember...

Back into the tree! Wait, this is a little bushier than what I remember…

Whatever animals CLC Tree Services comes across, we try to respect that we share a world with each other. Even if we are altering an animal’s home, we do our best to take care of all of Mother Nature’s creatures, large and small. And if we get a cute cuddle from a baby squirrel once in a while, well that just makes our day that much nicer.

Plus, it makes for a great photo op. Cheese!

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An Unwelcome Traveller: The Gypsy Moth

Travelling can be an enjoyable pastime. You get to see new places, meet new people and eat new things. That is one of the reasons why gypsy moths got their name; they do all of those things. They easily attach onto objects, like tents, vehicles, firewood, lawn chairs and more, or quite happily blow in the wind to move from place to place to find their next meal.

Lymantria dispar MHNT Chenille.jpg

Gypsy Moth caterpillar – “Lymantria dispar MHNT Chenille” by Didier Descouens – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.

The problem is that gypsy moths are not native to North America and their travels here have left a swathe of destruction in their wake. They are indiscriminate in their taste for leaves, preferring deciduous trees, but have been known to strip a coniferous tree or two as well. While deciduous trees can survive a defoliation, albeit in a weakened state, coniferous trees are less resilient and may die after a first attack.

So how did this invasive species arrive in North America in the first place? A good idea gone awry again. Back in 1869, a French naturalist thought it would be a good idea to cross European gypsy moths with North American silkworms to create a silk industry in North America. Sounds like a good idea, right? Wrong! Some gypsy moths escaped and have been spreading across North America since then. In Canada, they can be found in Ontario, Quebec, and across the Maritime provinces.

Adult gypsy moth

While some pests are exclusive to a certain type of tree, gypsy moths earn their title as one of North America’s worst invasive insects due to their wide tastes. Gypsy moth caterpillars have been known to eat oak, aspen, birch, basswood, hawthorn, willow; pretty much any tree they come across.

It is when gypsy moths are in the caterpillar or larva stage that they are the most destructive. They eat any leaves  they come across and will climb anything to get to them. Larvae go through five instars or molts. They grow larger after each successive instar, starting at 3 mm and growing to 50-90 mm in size before they reach the pupae stage. During the pupal stage, they change from caterpillars to adult moths. Moths then mate, lay eggs and die within a week. Male gypsy moths often mate with several females, although the larger females usually only mate once before laying upwards of 500 eggs. This is the stage where the gypsy moth overwinters, reducing water content, so as to withstand freezing temperatures. Come spring, the eggs hatch and the cycle begins all over again.

Canisters administering TreeAzin ash injection

TreeAzin treatment

There are ways to control gypsy moth outbreaks. Egg masses can be removed and burned or soaked in a soap/bleach and water bath. Caterpillars can be hand-picked and crushed (wear protective gloves as they cause allergic reactions or skin irritation for some). Traps can be set using a wide burlap band wrapped around a tree. Caterpillars hide in the burlap during the heat of the day and can easily be removed. TreeAzin is also registered for use against gypsy moths and CLC Tree Services is a licensed pesticide administrator, for those facing larger infestations.

Of course you could go the route of introducing predators to control gypsy moths when you come across them in your trees. The white-footed mouse, short-tail shrew and small wasps all have an appetite for gypsy moth caterpillars. Or you could fill up your bird feeders and hope the local birds pick off the fuzzy intruders in your yard. Bluejays, robins, northern orioles and chickadees all enjoy gypsy moth larvae and pupae. And I don’t know about you, but I would far rather watch the birds perch in the healthy trees in my yard (and nibble invasive gypsy moths), than to have to go caterpillar stomping. Wouldn’t you?


Many birds, like this robin, help control gypsy moth populations, so encourage their presence in your yard


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MANY LEAVES ONE TREE: Spotlight on Hedley Bennett

Hedley Bennett

Hedley Bennett Truck Parts

Many leaves one tree… ~ Shel Silverstein

At CLC Tree Services we pride ourselves on our capability of doing our work to the best of our ability. It requires a team of people, from Office Manager Christine Siemens, to lead hand Calvin McCallum, all the way down through the crew of men who are out on the trucks every day completing the tree service work our customers expect. As good a job as we do though, we cannot do it alone. There are a host of other people, whom we could not do without, who comprise an integral team which allow us to provide our services. Hedley Bennett Truck Repairs is just one of those companies.

When Curt McCallum started CLC Tree Services he had a pickup truck and a stump grinder. If he had need of truck repairs, he went to local mechanics to get his vehicle serviced. As the company grew, so too did the size of the fleet and the size of the trucks. The larger trucks could not be accommodated by the shops he had previously frequented though. So Curt found himself asking around to find out where he might take care of the essential services for his larger trucks. Don Bobier, owner of a local trucking company out of West Lorne, suggested Hedley Bennett. He serviced all of his trucks with Hedley and would go nowhere else. As Curt respected Don’s opinion, he contacted Hedley. And Curt has no regrets.

Truck engines

The warehouse holds engines, transmissions and other parts needed for truck repairs

Hedley Bennett started his truck repair business in 1957. He was no stranger to vehicle repairs, having learned at his father’s side when he was a boy. As a Master Mechanic, he repaired whatever vehicles came his way. As the years went by, the bulk of those vehicles became trucks to the point that today, Hedley Bennett is chiefly known for his large truck repair and service.

While services have changed over the years, some things haven’t. Hedley has never advertised his business. He relies exclusively on word-of-mouth referrals and his wife Pattie is happy to report that most of their customers are good ones. They come from over a 40-mile radius and include farmers, small truck drivers and large highway driven trucking companies.

Parts counter

Hedley’s son Paul mans the counters where smaller parts are located

No matter how many customers call or show up on Hedley Bennett’s doorstep, work gets done one truck at a time. There might be four or five trucks lined up for the day, but the company prides itself on offering a quality service which has kept the doors open for 58 years. And while Hedley is often found answering the phones today beside his son Paul, who works the counter greeting customers and pricing parts, he has his own workshop where he works on his other passion, antique Hudson cars. His other son Chris and nephew Carlton, both Master Mechanics in their own right, are out in the three-bay garage, working on the bulk of the trucks which come through the door. Pattie rounds out the family run business as the company’s bookkeeper, and their dog Diesel is official greeter.


Hedley has his own workshop where he restores antique cars; his specialty being the Hudson

For Curt, the reason why he has never taken his trucks anywhere else is easy to answer; Trust. He knows he can drop off a vehicle and have it fixed expertly and quickly. Just this week, Calvin feared one of the trucks had a differential problem. With heavy heart, they dropped it off expecting a bill of anywhere from $3,000-$5,000. The next day the phone rang announcing the truck had been repaired, but the problem was in fact a universal joint. The difference in cost: a $300 repair. That honesty is what keeps Curt going back again and again, whether it be for repairs, services or safeties. Curt knows the value of honesty and the integrity behind a business that sticks by its word and refuses to up-sell customers when they have them at their mercy. In Curt’s books, that makes Hedley good people. As for Hedley’s part, he counts Curt as a valued customer and friend. Both wouldn’t have it any other way.

Most importantly though, without the services of Hedley Bennett Truck Parts, CLC Tree Services wouldn’t be able to work at all. They are an integral part of CLC’s team and an invaluable affiliate company which CLC Tree Services is proud to support.

* Hedley Bennett Truck Parts is located at 1821 Pension Lane. They are open Monday-Friday from 8am - 5pm. For service contact (519)451-3160.
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