Saturday, May 20, 2017

Plants for sale & Rodent damage recovery

These are some of the hazelnut plants for sale

The hazelnut on the left is a 3 year old plant for $15. The next two are 1 & 2 year old plants for $10. The 3 month seedling on the right is $5.

If you're interested in purchasing these or looking at a mature hazelnut plant, contact me at or call 701-361-8581.

This is another picture of a 3 yr, 2yr, & a 3 month seedling.

In this picture the 3 month old seedlings are on the right, and the 1 year old plants are on the left.

These are the 1 & 2 year old plants for sale.

The hazelnut plants here are 3 years old.

The next group of pictures are the plants recovering from rodent damage.

This plant was gnawed off about an inch above the soil line.

This plant was in about the same condition.

This one is in about the same shape as the others, but the ones that were chewed below the soil line are not looking as good:(

This is the recovery row of the plants that show some signs of life.

The new crop of 2017

Can you see the small cluster of hazelnut developing under the leaf.

Can you find the hazelnut cluster here?

This looks a little fuzzy but in this cluster there are 5 hazelnuts developing, and by the end of August we will have a crop ready for picking:)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Various types of nuts & Rodent damage

I'm often asked what types of nut do they produce, so I'm going to try to show the various types I grow in my orchard.

Not all hazelnuts are equal.
These are just some of the many different types.

This plant that produced the hazelnuts on the left was bought at a local nursery and has a large crop of small bitter nuts every year.  I did remove this plant from the orchard this fall.                          
The nut on the right 2N-77 is a hybrid plant that's growing in my orchard. It produces a nice crop of larger great tasting nuts.  I'm probably a little biased, but they are good:)

The wild hazelnuts here are from northern Minnesota. They have a medium thick shell and a bitter taste. The plant is very prolific, tends to sucker up and is hard to remove once established.
Hybrid 5-61 is more tree like and does not sucker at all. It also has a medium thick shell and a good taste.

The big difference between these two hazelnuts is shell thickness.
Hybrid 1T-19 produces a nut with a very thick shell which is hard to crack and separate the meats (kernel) from the shell. The meats are also relatively small compared to the size of the nut.
Hybrid 2N-5 has a very thin shell that cracks easily with larger meats (kernel). 

A larger sized nut does not always indicate a large kernel.

Hybrid 7-12 is a flatter shaped nut, but it has a good buttery taste. The meats are a flat bean shape. I would have eliminated this plant if it wasn't for the good taste.
Hybrid 2N-74 has a rounder shape, thin shell and a fair taste. I like this one because it's round, cracks easily in the cracking machine and separates nicely in my aspiration system.

The big difference between these nuts is the pellicle, which is the thin papery skin around the kernel.
Hybrid 5-63 has no pellicle and is a little bitter, while 2N-121 has very thick pellicle, but has a good taste.

Mice Damage 😠

When the snow melted the past few days I noticed a lot of damage from mice. I've never had problems with mice before. They must be mini beavers. I might move them to a better location this fall where I can monitor the plants all winter. I think the leaves that blow in and the snow cover made a perfect home for the little critters. 

This is another picture of the damage. I'm hoping they resprout from the bottom.
I've also noticed some of the buds are starting to swell, which is way too early and they might freeze if we get any real cold weather.

I'll give an update on the mice damage when they start leafing out.
Right now I'm  busy setting up to start this years seedlings.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Fall colors, Catkins & Layering project

I've done fall colors every year, but this year there seems to be a lot more variation in the fall colors of the hazelnuts.

This one by our deck has a dark red color.

This one by the garden which came from northern Minnesota has more of an orange color.

We were hiking near Pequot Lakes, MN and found these hazelnuts with a reddish orange color. I tried to find some of the nuts but they were long gone.

This is another picture of hazelnuts from the same area with a darker red-green color.

These tubular shapes hanging from the twig are the catkins (male flowers) of the wild hazelnuts near Pequot Lakes. They will stay attached to the twig all winter and after opening to release their pollen in the spring will fall off.  

This is one of my hazelnuts I planted 4 years ago that is over 5 feet high located at my son's house in Lino Lakes, MN.  This plant has not produced any nuts yet but should have this year.

Here I'm looking for catkins on that same plant which is a good indicator of a mature plant that will flower next spring. The type of catkin will also give me an idea of the genetic back ground of the plant.

These are some of the hazelnut catkins that I found on the plant. Note the 3 catkins on one stem. Cluster of catkins like this usually indicate a hybrid hazelnut of the European type.

The catkins here are in sets of  1, 2 & 3 on another plant at that location. That indicates this plant has a very diverse genetic back ground. This plant was also damaged by Japanese beetles, and may have problems producing a large crop of nuts next year.

This is another plant that was badly damaged by Japanese beetles.  On this plant the catkins are in sets of 1 & 2.

This hazelnut at my orchard has a single catkins held tight to a branch.  The catkin scales are a dirty brown with a short stalk. This plant produces a very thick shell, small nut and the plant tends to sucker up, which indicates a more of wild American hazelnut (C. Americana) in its genetic make up.

This is an other hybrid hazelnut growing in our orchard.  The catkins are in clusters of 2 to 4 on one stem and are a light green color. The nut from this plant has a thin shell, a larger kernel and a milder taste.

These short catkins are in groups of 2 and in an upward position. This plant is a typical beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornets). 

The catkins here are in clusters of 2 to 4 with some pointing upward. The nut is very thin and the husk is almost beak like. That indicates a very diverse genetic background.

This cluster of longer green catkins are a typical hybrid of the European hazelnuts (Corylus avellana).  The husk on this plant is open and the nut tends to drop out. 
The catkins tend to be a good indicator of the type of nut and some of the general genetics of the plant. This may not always be the case because I do have a couple hazelnuts that do not have the male catkins at all and the still produce good nuts. I've also found that plants with these types of catkins are more susceptible to EFB (Easter Filbert Blight).

While on vacation this summer I toured Birkemier Farms & Nursery and learned how they propagate most of their hazelnuts. The layering technique is not new but they do a good job in simplifying the process.
This year I'm trying it on some of my better cultivars using the same methods Birkemier Nursery uses. I have tried layering before but have had mixed results.

In the spring I cut one or two of the main stems off and by mid summer the plant will produce these immature stems (suckers) from the ground.

Next I restrict the bottom of the stem by using a hog ring pliers to clamp a metal ring on the stem. 

In this picture you can see the metal ring on the bottom of the stem. After the ring I apply some rooting hormone around that area.

After the hog ring and rooting hormone I layer the area around the plant with a foot of compost. In this picture I've done this to 3 of the immature stems.

As you can see here I needed a little deer protection to prevent them from nipping off the tops of these new suckers that I just layered.

This is my first plant that I layered 2 years ago in the late summer and transplanted this spring. The plant is over 5 feet tall and has catkins this year. 
The propagation by layering will help guarantee a better plant for people who want a specific trait, and a crop in just a couple years. The open pollinated seedlings I have now only have about a 50% chance of being the same or better then the parent plant and will produce a crop in 3 to 4 years. The seedlings though are much easier to transplant and take care of than the larger layered plants.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Hazelnut Harvest 2016

Early Harvest

I'm finally posting an update about harvest. It has been a hectic summer, finishing the fencing for the new planting area, planting a row of seeds in an open field, potting up the new seedlings, harvest, and of course vacation. Most of these seem to happen at the same time.

This years harvest started on the August 8. That's 3 days earlier then last year and over a week earlier then the average harvest.

This year we had some unusual husks. The husk usually encloses the whole nut, but half of the husk is missing. I think this was due to the late hard frost (26ºF) we had this spring when the hazelnuts were flowering. The hard frost might also be the cause of the low number of nuts on most plants. 

This is another picture of deformed husks from a different plant.

This is a normal husk, but this plant flowers a little later the others, and it's also in an area that's a little more protected from a frost. 

When do you pick the nuts? Most think the color will determine when to pick the nut or when the nuts fall out. I've found that if you wait that long the squirrels would have removed most of the crop.

I pick the nut when the abscission layer forms between the husk and the nut. To find out if this layer has formed I roll back the husk and press with my thumb. If the nut pops out they can be picked. Not all nuts ripen at the same time on each plant, so I check in several locations.

Here I've just checked a couple places, usually close to the bottom and on the top. Both were easily removed from the husk. I then remove all the hazelnuts from that plant and I'm ahead of the squirrels  most of the time!

While on our vacation to Alaska we stopped in Vancouver for a day and I just had to check out their  hazelnut crop. I just hope they didn't mind me going through their yards! Most were the European Filbert (Corylus Avellana) or a close relative. I sure wanted to take some with me but I don't think they would have made it through customs. They probably wouldn't have survived a North Dakota winter.

 Major squirrel damage this year, probably due to lack of other natural food, such as acorns, ash seeds, black walnuts, plums, and apples. All of these plants just happened to be flowering and leafing out during the late hard frost. The temperature was 26º F most of the night. I also was on vacation for 2 weeks and unable to use my hot pepper spray. ( see August 17, 2012 post for the recipe)

This spring I planted a row of hazelnuts in an open field to see how many would germinate. The hazelnuts were stratified in a refrigerator for the winter to eliminate rodents from removing the nuts. I had about a 40% that germinated, but lost quite a few during the dry spring. I also had to put cages around  the plants to keep the rabbits and deer from clipping them off. 

These seedlings came up on June 6 after a good ran. They are about 3 to 4 inch high and have about 4 leaves. Most look in good shape, but some look like they need a little moisture to make it through the winter.

These are plants I've started inside. The one on the right is a seedling from this year which is about 12 inches tall with 8 leaves. The plant here is over a year ahead of the ones planted in the field and will produce nuts earlier.

The three plants starting from the left are 2 year old, 1 year old, and a seedling started in March.

If your interested in purchasing these or looking at a mature hazelnut plant, contact me at or call 701-361-8581.