Monday, November 30, 2015

Hazelnut diseases and insect pests.

  Kelsey Dunnell, who has been an important part of the hazelnut research team, has moved to Oregon to finish her PhD at Oregon State University.  Good luck Kelsey, & you will be missed!!

The picture on the left is Kelsey at NDSU research arboretum near Absaraka, with her hazelnuts research for NDSU. The picture on the right is Kelsey at Riverbend Hazelnuts research area. 

These next pictures are some of the common diseases and insect pests we've had to deal with in this area. 

  This first picture is not a pest, but Kelsey D. showing the effects of EFB (eastern filbert blight).

This is a close-up of the branch that Kelsey was holding. You can see the row of black cankers of fungus, and the dried area of the branch. This disease is called Eastern Filbert Blight (EFB).

This affected part of the hazelnut has almost decimated the whole plant with EFB. 

This is another picture of a branch with EFB.

Can you spot the EFB on this horizontal branch?
This blight was first found by Kelsey during the annual inspection, and positively identified by Jim Walla - Tree Doctor of Northern Tree Specialties.  Jim also suggested removing and burning the infected branches before spring to help keep EFB under control.  His help is greatly appreciated.
My hope at Riverbend Hazelnuts is to breed a hardy EFB resistant plant with a tasty, large, and thin-shelled nut that grows in this area.  Right now we have several plants that almost meet all of these requirements, but there is always room for improvement.  

These are some of the new resistant varieties that have just started  producing nuts.
This is another exceptional plant that has just started producing high quality nuts, and it shows no signs of EFB.
Note the size of the plant against the 7ft fence behind it. 

Hazelnut Weevil, photo by Entomart, Belgium

In the past couple of years this pest has started raising his little head. This insect is called the hazelnut weevil. Originally I thought they where the same as the oak/acorn weevil, but found that they are a specific species that just affects the hazelnuts. I have no idea where they came from because the nearest wild hazelnuts are over 30 miles away, so they must have a good nose to smell the nuts from that distance.

These are some of the nuts affected by the weevil larva.
The weevil larva tends to leave the nut a few hours after it has fallen 
 to the ground, so I try to control the weevil without a pesticide by picking the hazelnuts as early as possible before the larva bores out of the shell, and then dry the nut and husk down inside on a drying racks with trays underneath to catch the weevil larva.  This year I did find some larva that had already bored out of the nut while still on the plant, so I might have to change my tactics and use a pesticide. Right now I feel that by keeping all the hazelnuts picked and cleaned off the ground I can control this pest.  I estimate that this year I have a lost 1 to 2% of the crop.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hazelnut Harvest

The hazelnut harvest started on August 11 this year. It is a week earlier than usual. As you can see in these pictures, each hazelnut bunch looks different because of the wide variation of plants we have.

Notice how open the husk is on this plant.

This plant tends to have mostly singles with just a few double husks.

These are wild hazelnuts picked this year from Little Yellow Stone park south of Valley City.
Notice the big juicy husk and the nut has very thick shell.

These are also wild hazelnuts from south of Leonard along the Sheyenne River.
The husk here isn't as big, but the nuts have very thick shells.

The hybrid hazelnuts that you see here are growing on our research plot in Horace.
These have a leafy husk, and the nuts are easily removed from the husk. The nuts are larger with a thin shell.

The hazelnuts here have just been picked from 3 different plants. Notice the big variations in the type of husks.

The hazelnuts here are ready to be picked, can you find all the nuts in this picture?

These hazelnuts are in the process of drying down so the husk can be removed.

This is the plant identification and size of the nut.

I use my drill with paint mixer with 2 added weights to release the nut from the dry husk.

This is the drill in action, but the cover is usually shut so that I don't get pummeled from the flying nuts.

I then use an aspiration system to separate the husks from the nuts.  The only problem I had was plugging the system up with husks if it was fed too fast. "What a pain to unplug all those tubes!" 

I've filled this tub a couple times with husks.

These are the finished cleaned nuts packed neatly in their bags with the labels.

Just a few bags to go.

Only 3 more hazelnut plants to go and this year's harvest is complete. My fingers are really tired and sore!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Japanese beetle on hazelnut plants

While stopping near Minneapolis at my brother's house, we saw the damage that Japanese beetles can do to the hazelnuts. These hazelnuts are seedlings from Riverbend Hazelnuts planted a couple years ago.

Make sure to keep your eye out for these beetles. We don't want them in North Dakota! 

Japanese beetles can damage many plants including raspberries as well!

Here are some Japanese beetles happily munching away on not only the leaves, but the raspberry fruits as well.

Click below for more information on Japanese beetle. 

Heavy wind damage

The heavy hazelnut crop this year was decimated by the 50 mph winds that blew through this week

Of course it was the larger hazelnuts that fell off in the high winds. They aren't quite ripe yet. Still another couple weeks to go.
The wind broke off some whole branches with hazelnuts on.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Spring Update

Planting your hazelnuts too close to the river could result in some beaver damage as shown below.

I (Dan) tried hand pollinating some of the flowers this year. First all of the catkins were removed from the branch, then a bag was placed over the flowers to keep it from getting pollinated by outside pollen. Pollen was then collected from selected plants and used to hand pollinate the female flowers. The bag was then placed over the pollinated flowers to keep unwanted pollen out. The bags were removed after the catkins dropped. 
This picture is showing the developing hazelnuts that were hand pollinated.

This is an emerging seedling that was planted this spring after stratification.

This is what they look like a week or two after emerging.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Processing the hazelnuts

Dan made a sorter to sort the hazelnuts by size so it's easier to run through the cracker.

The sorted hazelnuts.

 Dan using the drill operated cracker.

The cracked hazelnuts.

Dan constructed an aspirator that will separate the shells from the hazelnut meats. 

The nuts and shells get sucked up through the hose, and since the shells are lighter they get sucked all the way up, while the meats fall down in to the bottom.

The cleaned hazelnut "meats." Yum!

Fall Colors

The fall colors vary from green to gold to red.