Saturday, November 4, 2017

FALL COLORS & TREE LIKE HAZEL'S

I'm a little late with posting fall colors, but I wanted to compare it to last years colors.




This hazelnut plant is from the fall of 2016.




This is the same plant from this fall, 2017.  The colors look almost the same, but they could be a little more of an orange color this year. The plant really has a good fall color, but the nuts from this plant are small and bitter.




This is a picture of a wild hazelnut plant in my orchard from 2016.




This is the same wild hazelnut from this fall, 2017. The color this year is a lot more reddish, and it's always the first plant to show fall colors, and was originally from northern Minnesota.






In this part of the hazelnut orchard the leaves have always been more yellow, but this year there are more orange and red colors. The green plant in the center is not a hazelnut but a raspberry patch, and you can also see some of the different sized hazelnut plants. 





The 6 year old plants in this part of the orchard have quite a large variation in colors. The tree with the bright yellow leaves close to the middle right is not a hazelnut, but a buckeye.  I planted the buckeye to try to divert the squirrels away from the hazelnuts, and found that they would not touch the nuts from the buckeye until all the hazelnuts were gone.  That was another good idea gone bad. 👎





This is an interesting picture showing colors and sizes of these two hazelnuts. The smaller red-orange colored plant in front is almost 5 ft tall, while the taller more yellow colored plant in the back ground is over 15 ft tall.  Both plants are the same age and produce a good quality nut, but taller one produces a larger quantity of nuts. 




 Developing a tree-like hazelnut plant


Most wild hazelnuts are a small shrub with suckers. The stems remain small and the plant tends to spread by suckering up from the roots.  These plants tend to be hard to control and manage in a yard or orchard.




I'm trying to develop a plant with a more tree-like structure with one truck. In this picture the 15 year old hybrid hazelnut plant has one main stem with several smaller ones on the sides, and if pruned would have just the one stem. This type would be easily manage in a yard or garden, and could be pruned into tree form.




This might look like one plant but actually its 2 plants that were planted too close together 15 years ago.  The plant on the left has one trunk with one main stem and a couple smaller stems that could be pruned off. The plant on the right also has one trunk with three main stems.  I was going to eliminate one, but both plants produce lots of excellent nuts. Next year I plan on cloning both by layering.




This is another plants that does not sucker and has several stems coming from one main truck. I'm layering this plant, because it is such a heavy producer of large thin shelled nuts,  The hollow plastic container with compost is the layered stem that I'm cloning. This stem will be moved and planted in a new location in the spring.




These are two more hazelnut plants that stay as a tight multi stem shrub, and both are good producing plants. I might have to start pruning some stems to keep the plant more open. Some of these plants have never been pruned in 16 years and I'm finding that the older branches produce smaller nuts. On some older hazelnut orchards they coppice (cut back to the ground) every 10 years, but I'll try pruning some of older branches out to open up some plants next spring.





This is nothing to do with hazelnuts but this was growing out of a Mulberry stump in the hazelnut orchard. It's a mushroom that I've never seen before, but looks very interesting. 



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Harvest & Japaneses Beetles

Hazelnut harvest 2017




It looks like a good year for hazelnuts. I thought the plants might drop some of the nuts due to the dry condition this year, but they came out looking good.



This is a close-up of the hazelnuts in the bag. These aren't the largest nuts that are in the orchard, but this plant produces a large crop every year.




These are ripe hazelnuts ready to be picked, note the slight darkening of the husk. I also check to make sure the nut rolls out of its husk before picking.




On this plant the husk never changes color but the nut will just drop out of the husk when ripe.  To harvest this hazelnut, I just shake plant and the nuts fall on a tarp. The plant is difficult to harvest because not all the nuts are ripe and will not drop at the same time.




This is some of the drying racks to dry down the husk before they are separated.  The hazelnuts on this drying rack are from one plant.



In picture the husk is dried down enough to go through the separation process. 





This is the final product bagged and tagged. The nuts are kept in these bags for about 3 weeks to dry them down for the taste test.   If the nuts fail the taste and size test, that plant will be eliminated.




These are some of the various sizes that were picked this year.
Which one would you remove from the orchard?




Here I am in the hazelnut orchard with my new fruit picking bag that I received on by birthday. It's been really helpful, thanks Kelsey.👍



I still have lots of 2 and 3 year plants for sale. 
If interested contact me at Riverbendhazelnuts@gmail.com or at 701-361-8581

Beetle Destruction



These next group of pictures was sent to me from my son's home in Lino Lakes MN showing the damage from Japanese beetles on hazelnuts.




The beetles look like they just eat the outer most leaves.




They tend to destroy just the leaves and leave the husk and nut.  It'll make it easier to find and pick the nuts, but the kernel might not fill out.  I will have to find out what shape the nut is in after it has been picked and dried down.



In this picture the husk and nut look in good shape.




The lower leaves and nuts look good.





If these plants are defoliated every year it may cause reduced nut production.
This is something I do not want to happen here in North Dakota!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Storm Damage & New Crop

Tree damage from high winds 😕


After a bad storm I found 3 ash trees down in this part of my orchard.  I was sure wondering how many hazelnut plants are under those ash trees.



This downed ash tree was at the other side of the hazelnut orchard with the new seedlings from this year.  I did finally get this tree down without any damage to the new trees but the fence had to be repaired.



The deer fence was completely crushed from 2 ash trees. This is the first area I cleared so I could repair the fence before the deer and rabbits found the opening.



This is the only hazelnut plant that was really crushed. I removed all the broken branches and now it's looking pretty good for having had 2 ash trees on top of it.



This was taken while visiting my son in Lino Lakes, MN, which had a severe storm with lots of hail a few days before we arrived.  In this picture I was checking the damage to the hazelnuts that I planted four years ago.



The hail damaged a lots of the leaves on the plant, but the new crop of nuts still looks good.



NEW CROP 2017


Large crop of hazelnuts this year, now I just have to keep ahead of the squirrels!



Some of the branches that have lots of nuts are on the ground, which makes it a little hard to mow.



THE NEW CROP 


I'll try to show the big diversity of husks, which is the covering on the nut before it ripens.



The picture here shows more of a flower type husk.



This is another flower type of husk.



Some husks are more leaf like.




This is another picture of a leafy husk.




Can you find the hazelnut in this picture with the small open husk?



This husk completely covers the nut and has small sticky hairs covering the husk. This type is harder to pick and remove the nut from the husk.



These hazelnuts are easily removed from the husks and some will even fall out of the husk when ripe.



This an enclosed husk from a wild hazelnut.



The husk incloses the whole nut and is more leafy. This type is hard to find on the plant when ripe.




This is a beaked hazelnut husk with the long husk inclosing the whole nut.  These beaked hazelnut husks also have the small sticky hairs covering the surface.  Note the long beaked like shape.



The husk on this nut is completely open and tends to dropout. This is probably the type of hazelnut you would want for a large orchard. I do know that squirrels prefer this one.




This leafy husk hazelnut is easy to pick and dries down fast to release the nut. I like these because they can be picked and laid out on drying racks in a safe place away from various kinds of rodents.