Development of a Sustainable Hazel Nut Production Industry for Noble County, Ohio

2005 Annual Report for FNC04-522

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2004: $4,590.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $1,420.00
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:

Development of a Sustainable Hazel Nut Production Industry for Noble County, Ohio


There were many successes for the project during 2004. However, abnormal drought conditions from early May of 2004 through September of 2004 delayed completion of the project. The achievements from September 1, 2004 through December 1, 2005 are itemized below.

Mr. Shawn Mehlenbacker, Department Head, College of Horticulture at Oregon State University was the predominant program cooperator in the early project stages. He recommended that the project be amended to include planting of blight resistant trees developed by the University of Oregon. These trees are crossed with the wild American hazelnut, C. americana. The project was modified to encompass this recommendation. The change will not increase the project budget and will introduce more diversity and information into the project outcomes.

1. A press release was issued in the Noble County Journal Leader, a local newspaper. As a result of that press release, four sites in Noble County were located where the wild hazelnut bush, C. americana could be obtained. All four contacts were willing to contribute stock to the project.

2. Approximately 60 to 80 nut clusters were collected from a wild hazelnut stand. These nuts will be used to start new seedlings for future plantings.

3. One hundred wild hazelnut bushes were transplanted to a site on Slater’s farm property. These trees were transplanted by a professional local nursery, Hrinko’s Tree Service, using a hydraulic shovel in mid-April of 2004. The transplant of the second hundred was postponed due to drought conditions and a decision to use blight resistant stock developed by the University of Oregon.

4. The hazels were tended by a farm laborer who performed orchard maintenance tasks.

5. Additional professional contacts were made with Michigan growers working with stock developed by Cecil Ferris in the 1940s. These contacts are Mr. Phil Rutter, Bagersett Research; Mr. Dennis Fullbright, Michigan State Univeristy and Mr. Sid Grinnel.

6. Construction of pollination bags out of Tyvek wrap with inner cotton-polyester bags. Pollination was not attempted in the spring of 2004 because of the effect of transplanting on the trees. Pollination will be done in early 2006 using pollen provided by the University of Oregon.

7. Continued research and reading on cross fertilization techniques.

8. Applied to be a presenter at the North Central Region (NCR) SARE conference in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

The transplanting of the wild American hazel nut stock had a poor (approximately 30 percent) success rate due to unusual weather conditions prevailing over the mid-western and western United States from early May until late September. Severe drought conditions and high temperatures exacted a high toll on the transplants. The stock that did not survive will be replaced next February from another source of stock in the county. Mr. Mehlenbacher recommended postponement of shipment of the Eastern Bight Resistant stock until February of 2006 due to the drought conditions. I concurred with that decision because of the difficulty incurred with the initial transplants under the dry conditions.

1. The progress of the project was severely affected by the extreme drought conditions incurred by the region over a five-month period. Linda Slater requested and was granted permission to continue the project in 2006. The new work of transplanting trees is scheduled to begin in February of 2006.

2. Mr. Dennis Fullbright, Researcher, University of Michigan and Editor of the Annual Report for the North American Nut Growers Association provided the following advice. His suggestion was that I not place all my eggs in one basket by working only with cross-breeding the wild American hazel nut bush in my groves. He proposed that I diversify by planting some of Cecil Ferris’s stock and purchase some of the blight resistant European filbert stock from the University of Oregon. I agree that this is a valid proposal and contacted Mr. Mehlenbacher at the University of Oregon. Mr. Mehlenbacher has agreed to provide both the EFB-resistant stock and the Cecil Ferris stock in late February of 2006 along with an adequate supply of pollen.