SONG News June 2008 no. 82
In this Issue...

tree spade

The first Immune Hazelnut Orchard in Courtland, Ontario was established in April 2008 Scattered 12-year old immune hazelnut trees were moved into a 20' X 20' orchard setting with a tree spade.

Hazelnut planting at Simcoe Research Station
Dr. Adam Dale
Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph

Since Ferrero built their confectionary plant in Brantford, there has been considerable interest in hazelnuts. They have stated that use at least 6000 tonnes of hazelnuts annually. We estimate that this would take about 12,000 acres of trees. However, many of the varieties used are either susceptible to Eastern Filbert blight or are damaged by our winters. So we need to find out what varieties would be suitable both for our climate and for Ferrero's needs.

This spring we planted our first hazelnut planting with ten varieties and selections. We obtained five varieties from British Columbia, Lewis, Barcelona, Jemstaard, Butler and Clark; two from Grimo Nurseries, Geneva and Grimo l86M; and three from Martin Hodgson. Trees were planted in late April in two of the four replicates in three plant plots, 3m between plants and 6m between rows. The trees for the remaining two replicates were sent to Earthgen International to be grown by their proprietary method. These trees will be planted next year. Also, a thank you to Ernie and Martin for supplying their trees.

Chip Bud Layering
An Easy Way to Produce Rooted Layers of Hazelnuts
John Capik and Tom Molnar
Plant Biology and Pathology Department, Rutgers University

Chip budding and layering are two well known plant propagation techniques that can be effectively used on hazelnuts. Combining these techniques and following the steps below will allow you to propagate hazelnut clones of your choosing, on their own roots, in just one season. You must be able to successfully chip-bud to complete this method of propagation. While not unduly difficult, chip budding does require some practice before one can be successful a high percentage of the time. After your chip bud has callused and a resulting shoot has grown for a couple months, the base of this new shoot must be treated with rooting hormone to initiate root development in a process similar to air layering. The shoot should then be allowed to grow attached to the rootstock until the end of the growing season. At this point it is ready to be detached and repotted as a rooted layer.

Step One; Choosing your rootstock and scion cultivar to be layered
The first thing to do is to select the rootstock that you would like to chip bud. The rootstock should be a healthy, vigorous seedling, with a full year of growth behind it. Dormant one-year-old seedlings grown in one-gallon containers work well. As such, one must plan ahead a year in advance to grow their own seedlings. Once you have rootstocks, you can either choose to do your chip budding at the beginning of the growing season, just before your rootstock wakes up, or you can do it at the end of the first season, just after your rootstock reaches dormancy. If done in the latter, the layering will be performed the following growing season. The method described here follows chip budding performed in the spring. This requires dormant scion wood and rootstocks. With hazelnuts, it is best to collect scion wood in January before there are any signs of bud swell due to warm weather. Keep your scion wood in a plastic bag with slightly moist paper towels in the refrigerator until needed. Don't forget to clearly label your scion wood!

Step Two: Chip budding
Chip budding is a very useful and straight-forward propagation technique that is described in detail in many propagation textbooks and online (i.e. see Hartman and Kester's Plant Propagation Principles and Practices). For this technique, the budding should be done in mid-February to mid-March in a warm greenhouse (70-75°F day/65-70°F night). Place the bud as low on the rootstock as you can; two to three inches from the top of the pot works best. If desired, two chip buds can be done on the same rootstock to increase the chances for success. Our preferred material for attaching the buds is a clear, non-sticky 2 inch wide polyethylene budding tape. This is widely available from several nursery supply companies. Other similar materials can also be used with success. Make sure to cover and seal all exposed areas of the chip with the tape, but leave the bud exposed (Fig. 1). After budding, allow the wound to callus and the new resulting shoot to grow for four to five weeks (Fig. 2). At this time, the rootstock should be cut back on a 45° angle just above the chip bud and any lower shoots of the rootstock removed to force the growth of the new shoot (Fig. 3). Make sure to stake the new growth after a few weeks if it does not grow upright. Leave what remains of the plastic budding tape for another 2-3 weeks. At this time it must be removed to prevent girdling the new shoot.

Step Three; Putting down new roots
After the new shoot reaches approximately 18-20 inches tail, it is time to initiate the layering process. First, using shears, remove leaves from the base of the shoot to about twelve inches high. Next, wrap a twist-tie at the base of the shoot. It should be wrapped firmly, but avoid tying too hard as the new shoot can be very fragile (Fig. 4). This will girdle the stem as the layer develops, allowing easier removal of the rooted layer when finished. Next, using a razor, blade gently wound a one inch section just above the twist-tie on opposite sides of the stem. The best way to do this is to attempt to shave off the smallest layer possible on two sides of the stem (Fig. 5). Wounding the stem will allow better access of the rooting hormone into the vascular tissue. Make sure you do not make a very deep cut, or you risk losing the new layer. Also, be very careful when handling the new growth, as it is delicate and easy to break at this stage. The wounded area is the main place root formation will occur. Using a small brush, coat the wound and several inches of the shoot thoroughly in a solution of one part Dip N' Grow (commercially available liquid rooting hormone containing IBA and NAA) to 19 parts water, for a final concentration of 750 ppm auxin.(Fig. 4 & 5).

Step Four: A place to grow
Now that the shoot has been prepared, cut out the bottom of a second pot and slide it over the new shoot and remaining rootstock. The new growth should extend well above the top of the upper pot. Once in place, carefully fill the pot with a moistened mixture of Perlite and a peat based potting mix, in a 1:1 ratio (or a similar well-drained porous media), making sure the wounded stem is well covered (Fig. 6). This will be your shoot's new home for the remainder of the growing season. Stake the shoot with a piece of bamboo, if necessary, to keep it growing upright and to secure it from moving around in the pot, which could damage the developing roots. Keep the composite plant in the greenhouse until the threat of frost has passed in your area. At this point move the plant outside under partial shade. The shoot should continue growing until mid-September, if well cared for. Make sure to check your plants often, as it is important that the potting mix does 1 not dry out. Also, make sure to keep the rootstock well watered, as it can be easy to forget about, as it is hidden by the upper pot. After a month or two, you may be able to see new roots poking out of the drainage holes in the upper pot. This is an excellent sign that the process is going as planned, but don't worry if you see no roots, as most will be hidden.

Step Five: Leaving the nest
This is the final stage of the chip bud layering. Assuming everything has gone well up to this point, by early November abundant roots should have formed at the base of your new shoot and the twist-tie should have begun to girdle the stem connecting your soon-to-be layer to the rootstock. Now it is time to separate the two plants. First, slide the bottom pot off the root ball of the rootstock. Using a small pruning saw, cut the root-stock at the juncture between the upper and lower pots (Fig. 7). You will cut through both the solid woody stem of the rootstock, as well as fibrous roots that developed from your layer and passed into the pot below. For demonstration purposes only we removed all the potting media from the layer to show root development (Fig. 8). After separation, reach into the bottom of the upper pot and remove as much of the remaining rootstock's stem as possible from the new layer using pruning shears. This will greatly decrease the chance of survival of the remaining rootstock stem, which may, although unlikely, send up a shoot if left attached. After doing this, remove the new layer from its pot, trying not to further disturb the root ball (Fig. 9). It is now ready to be repotted into a larger container. The new layer will need to be properly over-wintered in a cool location that does not go below freezing (preferably 34-38 F), until the spring. At this time the layer should break dormancy and grow vigorously, sending out many roots to colonize its new home. If stepped up into a three-gallon container, by fall it should be ready to go to the field.

Figures 8a & 8b. Here the potting media has been washed away to show the root development on the shoot. In Fig. 8b the layers have been detached from one rootstock, which originally had two successful chip buds. It is not necessary to bare-root the new layers once the top pot is detached, but it is important to cut away most of the rootstock stem that remains underneath to reduce the chance of it sending up a shoot.

Figure 9. The final product: a well rooted layer that can be potted into a larger container to be over-wintered. By next fall it should be a vigorous plant ready for field planting.

Figure 1. Hazelnut chip bud at two weeks; Leaves are beginning to develop. Note budding tape covers all exposed areas of the chip, except the bud, which remains exposed.

Figure 2. Hazelnut chip bud four weeks after budding.

Figure 3a & 3b. New shoot eight weeks after budding. Note rootstock has been cut back above bud.

Figure 4. Twist-tie tied at the base of the new shoot to be layered, with leaves removed. Stem is being liberally coated with liquid rooting hormone (ratio of 1 part Dip n' Grow concentrate to 19 parts water).

Figure 5. Wounded stem cut by razor blade to allow better access of rooting hormone into vascular system.

Figure 6. Prepared shoot covered by bottomless pot filled with porous media.

Figure 7. Slide off the bottom pot and cut the rootstock at the juncture between the two pots with a pruning saw.

California Walnut Soup

Not until you've tasted this divine soup can you imagine that walnuts could be credited for bringing such rich flavour and creamy texture to a soup. With so few ingredients to assemble, you can whip up this tasty soup in close to 30 minutes and enjoy it for a light a lunch along with salad or as a starter for dinner. A hearty bowl of soup and hearty whole grain bread or whole-wheat pita seem like perfect partners. Provide a tasty spread like hummus and you've got the makings of a terrific meal. Yield: 4 servings ,

1 cup walnuts
2 cups chopped celery (about 3 ribs)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups unsweetened soymilk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red miso
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon veggie bacon bits
1 green onion, green part only, sliced
Toast the walnuts in a deep skillet over high heat, stirring frequently for about 1 to 2 minutes and remove them to a dish to cool. Combine the celery, onions, garlic, water, and olive oil in a 6 to 8-quart stockpot and cook and stir over high heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and transparent. Add small amounts of water as needed while cooking. Transfer all the vegetables to the blender, or transfer them in 2 batches, add the toasted walnuts, soymilk, miso, salt, tarragon, and pepper and process on low speed for a few seconds. Switch to high speed and process for 30 to 40 seconds, or until the soup is thoroughly pureed and creamy. Return the soup to the stockpot and gently warm it over medium heat. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of paprika, veggie bacon bits, and sliced green onions, and serve.

Hazelnut cultivar study program at Simcoe

Dr. Adam Dale was finally successful in obtaining a grant to bring in and study the potential of a number of varieties of Hazelnut cultivars at the Simcoe station. Samples will be selected from local varieties and selected specimens from Oregon and possibly New Jersey. The first group was planted this spring with others to follow next year.

Meeting with Ferrero Roche

We were finally able to meet with the new management at Ferrero Roche in May. We were warmly received and it would appear that they are willing to look at non-traditional shaped nuts for up to 80% of their stock provided they meet their taste and blanching requirements. This will prove very favourable for local hazelnuts that typically tend to be oval in shape rather than the l/2"dia. round Turkish variety. Future meetings are planned this year at currently unspecified dates.

Nut samples from Oregon State University and some locally grown examples were delivered to their office for study in Italy. Roasted samples of local nuts were presented during the meeting with at least one sample receiving a good review with regards to taste. (This tree from Hodgson's orchard in Courtland has exhibited great vigour and high nut yield. Prior to a heavy pruning in 2007, it yielded 14 Ib of wet nuts on a 12-year-old tree).

Future Potential

There has been a great deal of mumbling from various government agencies, that disperse grant money, that there may be monies coming that we might be able to tap into. It is not here yet!

The establishment of hazelnuts is not something that will save the tobacco farmers; it can only be a sideline crop for the first 8-10 years. Then it can get serious. Especially when a proven market will take the entire product from 15 to 22,000 acres of land.

It will take about 60 million dollars and 2 million trees to do this, but it will not start on its own because there is a critical mass of produce that must be made available to Ferrero Roche before they would be willing to switch. Best estimate 25 to 50% of their current supply. It could be less though if world conditions force them to do it. It will take some form of government support for this to happen because the entire system must be established from grower to harvest equipment to cleaner and dryers to cracking plants.

It would probably be best to do this in a stepped program where an initial industry is established using known viable varieties, followed by a second wave in ten to twenty years with improved varieties and then finally bring in any better new varieties as they are found or developed.

The extraction of Taxol from immune hazelnut tree's biomass could prove to be a quick way of establishing the cultivation of hazelnut trees. Taxol's presence has been recorded but as of yet not been very well quantified in hazels.

If the level of Taxol proves viable, windrows or hedges of the trees could be pruned annually for their content. This would carry the farmer over the long dry 8-10 year hump of no salable product. After a certain point of time, the hedges could be tree spaded out and used to establish a nut orchard. Annual pruning could then continue to fill in the biomass requirements.

To start this we must first establish that there is product in the hazels. This should be done through a government grant with the University of Guelph where graduate level students would carry out a detailed survey of the levels of Taxol in immune and native hazels to determine the overall potential of producing the chemical from these trees. I have been told that there is good potential for a grant so we will attempt to pursue this idea.

Butternut Farm 2008 spring review

Spring thaw came a few days later in early April this year than last, but stayed around long enough for the Hazels to carry out a full pollenization. Contrary to BC where the hazels can take months to complete the job, it looks like the varieties we have here all get it on within a week or so of each other and are all done in two to three weeks. Late and early pollenizers are still a good idea, but I think that it is not a big deal here. Time will tell. Further research is needed in this matter.

A late April frost burnt all of the heartnut flower buds off and there will be no heartnuts this year. We do not believe that it hurt the hazels or the chestnuts at this time. Stay tuned for updates.

We finally took the big step to consolidate our scattered brood. We rented a large Bobcat track mounted tree spade and shifted about half of the surviving hazelnut trees that were thriving around the farm. We moved about 50 of the remainders of 1997 planting into an orchard array based on a 20 x 20 ft. orientation. All were large, multi-stemmed trees 10 to 15 ft high and 10 to 12 ft. wide.

We trimmed the trees down to about 6-10 stems to help conserve their strength and reduce wind load. The wet spring has certainly been a blessing to help them along. It was very apparent during the lifting operations that these trees are very shallow rooted, with next to no roots below the 24-inch depth. A low nitrogen/phosphorous and high potash liquid fertilizer was used to promote root growth. We expect that it will take at least two years minimum to get these trees back to growing at the normal rate, however with the drastic pruning that occurred means that they will not have to build up as much wood as before. It will also serve as a test to prove that large hazels can be transferred around the orchard successfully when new orchards go from a 12 X 20 pattern to a 24 X 20' at the 12 to 15 year point. We are hoping that this is just the start of a revitalized hazelnut orchard that, along with the numerous clones we are producing will allow us to get back to a productive nut orchard fairly soon. In the mean time we will have most of the trees in a concentrated area where we can collect the harvest and study them more easily.

Speaking of clones, we were able to pull off about 200 or so clones from stool beds located around selected specimens last year. They seem to be thriving in specialized rooting containers and should be ready for nursery-planting this fall.

Niagara in a Basket
Linda Grimo

Niagara AgriTourism and Club 2000 are assisting a group of Niagara producers to collaborate on an exciting new project. We have formed The Niagara Local Food Co-operative and elected an interim Board of directors, including Linda Grimo as co-Treasurer.

The Niagara Local Food Cooperative is an innovative marketing and distribution system for local farmers, agriculture producers, and consumers. Their goals are to ensure sustainable agricultural practices, increase farm income, while providing consumers with the freshest food available straight from the farmer. Membership is open to agricultural producers and consumers within the Niagara Region. ,

Using the internet, each month farmer members will post what they have available on the website. Members will order online using a shopping cart from all the products posted that month. One day a month farmers and producers will bring the products to a distribution point where the items will be sorted into customer orders. Later that day, the customers will arrive to pick up their fresh local produce.

This will allow consumers to know where their food was grown, who grew it, and the story behind it. Members who are interested in producing foods using locally grown ingredients may sell their products as well. All products will be grown or produced by co-op members.

The website is currently under construction, but should be ready with more details and information in the near future. The co-op aims to be up and running by October so the fall harvest including apples, pears, pumpkins, root crops, meats, honey, breads, and of course nuts - can find it's way onto local tables.

We are currently looking for local farmers, producers, and consumers. You can contact Linda Grimo at if you have questions about how to get involved.

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