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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] Hazelnuts in NC OT?

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  • From: "Kieran &/or Donna" <>
  • To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Hazelnuts in NC OT?
  • Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 15:10:32 -0600

Our property is wall to wall wild hazels, which do well.  Badgersetts hazels have surprised me by practically refusing to grow.  I got them 5 years ago, and most are up higher than my knee now.  On the other hand, my son sent me a few resistant hazels, and I have seedlings of Euro x tree hazel, they all seem pretty vigorous.  The biggest plant one is one of the resistant hazels that are now sold as pollinators for commercial hazel groves.  They aren't considered quite big enough to be the main crop variety, but they are considered pure European hazel with intrinsic blight resistance.  My big plant doesn't have catkins this year I am sorry to say, but it's taller than me with multiple trunks.  Who knows, there may be some female blossoms this year, but I'm not betting on it.  Almost any plant that can will go the cheaper pollen route before it thinks about taking on the burdens of bearing. 
    The only thing that has ever kept us from growing hazels in the east was the blight.  There have been resistant crosses around for many decades, they just didn't seem easy to get hold of.  I got some Grand Traverse and Faroka and another of the blight resistant filberts from Corvallis last year.  They are supposed to be a pain to graft, but fortunately I was too busy till I thought it was too late, so grafted them in the hot weather that is needed for success.  Now all I have to do is figure out how to air layer something I have grafted 5 ft high.  I doubt I have air layered anything in my life. 
    The one thing you might want to think about is that most of the eastern crosses were made by people Up North, and no one knows how suitable they are for The South.  One thing that encouraged me to try more kinds of hazels was Cecil Farris's book in which he says that his daughter grew some of his crosses in Franklin TN, less than a hundred miles from me, and they did well. Grinnell Nursery was selling Farris's crosses, but dropped them for a few years.  I think that he may be doing them again, with a heating system.  The big problem with hazels is that unless they are grafted on the non-suckering tree hazel, the grafts get lost in the mass of suckers.  If they were grown from cuttings or root sprouts, they'd all be own root.  That's the way they are doing them in Oregon I understand.  But a lot of the eastern crosses have been lost or misidentified due to the practice of grafting them. 
    This fall I got some rooted cuttings and seedlings of Euro x beaked hazel that I'm just now planting.  They had crossed and recrossed, but all the nuts were huge compared to what our native bushes make.  Incidentally, I have seen wild hazelnuts that were about the size of small peas, in the shell!  Our wild ones are more like marble size in the shell, but are not nearly as tasty raw as the European ones.  Toasted, they are pretty good though.    Donna, Z9 TN

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