Hazelnut or Fibert:Corylus avellana L.
In Europe, hazelnuts are generally non irrigated, being planted in areas with adequate rainfall and high humidity (maritime climates). The level of management in Turkey is low, with bushes planted in clumps, often on steep hillsides, and harvested by hand. In the Pacific Northwest, the deep, fertile soils of the Willamette Valley do not require irrigation.
Pollinizer placement was 8:1 (every 3rd tree in every 3rd row), but has been increased to 17:1 in many cases (every 6th tree in every 3rd row) since pollen can travel about 60 ft.
Tree spacing is generally triangular or square, with 10-20 ft between trees; this gives densities of 150-250 trees/acre.
Vigor gradually declines over 5 yr period, so every 5th row is severely pruned each 5 years to stimulate new productive wood; only thinning cuts are made. Yields are drastically reduced the year of pruning, since flower buds are removed, but trees yield high for 2-3 years after pruning. Alternatively, trees can be lightly pruned every other year, preferably in the "on" year, to maintain more consistent yields.
Propagation is accomplished largely by simple layerage ("Hog-tying", a simple layer with a metal ring to girdle and induce roots at the constriction), but traditionally was by removing suckers from existing trees. However, suckers do not produce as efficiently as layers. Grafting has been largely unsuccessful, yet possible, due to poor callusing, poor scion wood, and lack of survival. A non-suckering rootstock (C. colurna) was selected but it tends to overgrow the scion, and yield efficiency is low. Cutting propagation has also been unsuccessful, due mostly to poor survival, despite 60-80% rooting.
Backyard considerations. Hazelnuts can be grown in the east, but bear few nuts. We have a few trees over 25 years old at our research farm near Athens, but I have to search the canopy to find a few nuts for teaching purposes. The American filbert, C. americana, is well adapted to the eastern US, bears nuts, and is a reasonable facsimile of the true hazelnut.
Harvest, post-harvest, food uses:
Harvest is by hand in most of Europe, but mechanized in the US. Nuts drop naturally during a 6 week period beginning in September. Winds or helicopters can remove the last remaining nuts. The orchard floor is mowed closely, and kept free of debris to facilitate windrowing and sweeping of nuts. Debris is blown from the nuts, which are washed in mild chlorine to reduce surface contamination, and bleached by exposure to SO2 to enhance appearance. Filberts are dried to 8-10% moisture, permitting storage for up to 1 yr at 36-40 F.
Contribution to diet, food uses:
Most of the crop is utilized immediately for the holiday market (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Premium nuts are sold in-shell, and exported; currently this is only 5-10% of the market, but growing. A large portion of the crop is cracked and kernels are used for cereals, confectionery (mostly in baked goods) and in canned mixed nuts.
- 1.Hazelnut or Fibert:Corylus avellana L.
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