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hazelnut bushes with no nuts

Kelda Miller


Joined: Jun 30, 2007
Posts: 763
the heck?

hazelnut bushes are a very popular roadside hedge in this town, and yet I've seen so few nuts. what's up? there can't be That many squirrels...

is it a pollination thing? a nutrient thing?


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Kelda Miller


Joined: Jun 30, 2007
Posts: 763
amendment: since posting this I have looked into these barren bushes a bit more. Male catkins! Darn it, the plant is dioecious! Aside from that being a great 'word for the day' for me. Darn darn.

The funny thing is there's hazelnut seedlings coming up in nearly every garden around here. So there's got to be a few females. Maybe the squirrels are quick enough though with those nuts, and then drop a few.... and then there's still seedlings.

This calls for a home-grown hazelnut nursery. Now the question is: how old are hazelnuts when you can sex them properly? I'd love to know what sex they are before planting them, so I can do so strategically.
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
I have been wondering that about mulberry trees. There has to be a way!!! I don't to waste space on non productive trees. I adore hazelnuts, they are called Filberts around here.


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"One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
We don't have squirrels here (too many cats), but we have a prime hazelnut predator:  SCRUB JAYS!

The are all over the trees and seem to be able to tell the difference between an empty nut and a meaty one.  Then they bury them, forget where they are, and the trees sprout next spring.

Also, here in WA, the end of September is too late to collect hazelnuts.  All we find are empty (unpollinated) shells.  A local expert says start in the last two weeks of August.

Sue
Kelda Miller


Joined: Jun 30, 2007
Posts: 763
Woops, hazelnuts are Not dioecious. A friend of mine pointed out that they are both male and female, but since the only female sign is the nuts come autumn, and i don't see the nuts.....well it doesn't mean it doesnt have female flowers.

So back to square one. They are being pollinated. There just aren't enough nuts.

Which brings me back to how to easily have more nuts. I've heard that if there's enough nuts in one area, then the one squirrel family who's 'territory' it is, will not have the energy to harvest all those nuts, and the humans will get some. (unfortunately the stellar jays don't recognize squirrel territory. alas). So I advocate, and guerilla plant, hazelnut street trees and in all wayward spots.

Interesting to hear about the very early harvest, Sue. I'll be looking earlier next year. I've heard gossip though that there's a u-pick nut place in the skagit. and they still have hazelnuts. maybe the jays and squirrells are slower there.
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
Maybe they netted the trees or have several squirrel-eating dogs.

Sue
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I have seen female flowers, i can't remember exactly how they are i remember them as a bunch or one or two burgundy coloured filaments, tiny but visible if you look hard at the branches or should i say twigs. The catkins come out befoe them, maybe they take a time to mature, so you dont always see the female flow er when the catkins are there. I think you see the female one, late winter.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
Ok so you are freaking me out..i just planted 6 hazelnut trees and our neighbors planted 2..they had better bear nuts !!!


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
Yes, they are monoecious, with both male and female on each tree.  I have two large plants in my backyard.

I do have nuts every year, but the birds usually get them before I do.  A local nurseryman said to harvest in August.  Birds can apparently tell if a nut is full or empty, and they leave the empty ones for me.  Then they bury the good ones.

Young nuts are hard to find.  Even large nuts seem hard to find until they turn brown.

When I first moved here about 10 yrs ago, it seemed there were more filled shells than there have been the last few years.  I don't know if the birds are getting them, or if there is a pollination problem.  But I seem to have good pollination in my cherry tree 200' away the same years that I have poor nut harvest, so maybe that isn't it.

By the way, to sort between the full and empty nutshells, just dump them into a bucket of water.  The full ones sink to the bottom, the hollow ones float.

Sue

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i generally find it is less of a proximity problem when i have crop losses but rather a weather problem..if it is too cold, too windy, or too wet when the bees are out maybe they just aren't getting properly pollinated..

i know we have late frosts that kill buds here too..but that wouldn't effect the innards of the nuts..i don't think?

my guess would be weather would make plump or hollow nuts..say not enough water..or warm sunny days..or

not being a nut expert I really am only guessing.
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
You're not a nut nut? 
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
my six baby hazelnut trees are growing absolutely beautifully, they have all leafed out and show excellent growth. Not sure how long to expect a crop..but they are all about 2' tall or less.

have them all close together..to form a hedge..neighbors have 2 on either side of our gate..

my 3 walnut trees are also doing well as our the almond and the 2 sweet chestnut trees i put in this year..the pecans haven't sprouted and the hickory show growth..but very limited..

some day we'll have NUTS !!
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I was trying to take photos of the flowers of the natural sorbuses, sorbus domestica, that i found growing up on the hills beyond the other side of the willage and i found them covered covered in flowers, so i hoped i would get a photo of the fruit later on, but there was hardly any fruit, which was also true of the medlar tree i had planted and I wondered why and as it happened read soon afterwards, i am an inconstant and haphazard reader of gardening books, though i read right through ecological articles and books, that if the soils are too poor, if there isn't enough nitrogen in them the trees drop their fruit.
    This year, some four or so years later, it takes me a while to absorb information sometimes, i have started putting horse manure on the trees which weren't fruiting though they flowered. I have a walnut, the only tree that had been left big, though severely pruned, when i got the house, that has never given nuts and i went and looked and it had some nuts after the manuring, so the manure worked, maybe. The soils as i said before are very poor. Though grass seems to grow even in poor soils other things don't take well in them.
      We got apples and plums however and a few cherries in the poor soil.
      All the hazels i have ever planted have been none performers, so i understand this forum. As I started to pull myself together about manuring trees that weren't producing late this spring, the walnut flowers late, i shall have to wait till next year to see if i can get hazel nuts to fruit with a bit of manure.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
that is great to know, I'm a big believer in manure..and my nut trees were planted with manure and compost immediately so maybe that is why they are doing so well..although just whips.

i'll try to remember to keep them well manured every year now with this info
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Brenda Groth. I don't know that manure is the right answer to fruiting treees who flower and don't fruit ,it is only my present line of attack on my ones. Thanks for the answer.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  Maybe the different perfomance of fruiting trees on poor soils is an interesting question. The apples the previouse owner planted to tempt some one to buy his land, though really he was selling such a big bit of garden at such a low price that i don't know why he had to do anything special to attract buyers. (lots of people here really don't think that looking after land is a sport as i do so maybe he had to attract people who wantd fruit), fruited on the poor soil, though the trees caught everysort of canker etc and did very badly. Blackberries fruit and grapes and plums and the plum trees fand blackberries the plum trees have hardly growm did not get ill but they have hardlly grown but nuts walnuts did not give any fruit i have had like ten nuts off them always supposing that the poverty of the soil  was the problem and peaches and cherries hardly and really struggling with peach tree curl which is so much worse than the one in your foto though they grow good leaves later on in the season. I did not really want peach trees any way so i had not really been putting any mulch on them.
  John seymour a famouse  english organic person said in a book my brother in law had and I have just tried to buy and brought the wrong one of his books, that the greeks and romans stared to have empires because they had had completelly spoilt their land, probably byy tilling it and so the only thing they could grow where grapes and olives which produce on poor land, so they had to trade wine and oil  for wheat and that lead them to traveling and protecting their trading partners i suppose and then conquering them. Insead of rebuilding up their own soils. Spain was good for wheat and now it is a s covered in bare soils as greece or rome, but with chemical fertilisers you can produce on barren soils though they don't hold or retain so much water as good ones so maybe your grain of wheat don't swell and ripen as well as they would on good soils due to lack of water if the dry season comes early or there are dry weeks in the wet season.
I post a photos of the wild plums in my garden and they where not cut down when i got the garden, as many other trees had been, the willows for example and you can see how small they are, so it is obviouse they have hardly grown in 13 years, they have fruited however and produced lots of other plumtrees from their roots. 
 


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Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
Filberts wont produce with out a male around, do you have one? Many people plant males from landscaping because they don't have to deal with fruit or nuts falling and making a mess or attracting pests. They forget that they cause huge allergy problems for pollen allergy sufferers. Fortunately I am not one of those poor souls so I'm not personally too worried about it.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
well this spring my baby hazelnuts are really growing nicely..although still babies i'm very glad that my trees i put in last year are mostly doing very well..

i did read that hazelnut catkins can get damaged while hanging on the trees, and that those catkins are what form the nuts later on..so that you have to be very careful to not cause damage.

made me think..if people are using them for a "hedge" as mentioned above..possibly they may have PRUNED OFF the catkins? in an effort to prune their hedges??

mine are planted in a hedgerow, but won't be pruned.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
   The catkins prvide the pollen and they start to form in autumn, early, though the female flower isn't out till early spring late winter. So cut off the catkins and no pollen. I have put up a photo of the femal flower, red and catkins. I posted it somewhere else thinking of this thread but having probably forgotten which thread the hazel nut bit was on and finding some mention of hazel nuts elsewhere.
    I did plant a hazel in my brother in laws garden that was not trimmed but did not give fruit. I don't know why, maybe it was a filibert if that is  a strain of hazel nut that Emerson White says needs a male tree with the female tree or female with the male and thats why it did not fruit.


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Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
each plant should have catkins and female flowers (they are very small)  once the catkins elongate in late winter, start looking at the branches for the female flower buds.

they do need another hazelnut variety for pollination.  when buying plants, in addition to looking for blight resistance, look to see which other varieties it will pollinate.  3 or more varieties is best to be safe


"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
Lisa Paulson


Joined: Apr 17, 2010
Posts: 254
Thank you everyone for the information, I am just in the process of planting more nut trees this year, and it is most helpful.

                        


Joined: Jan 28, 2010
Posts: 175
http://ohioline.osu.edu/for-fact/0060.html

It may be that hazelnuts are mast crops.  This author seems to use the term 'mast' as synonymous with 'nut' but more generally a mast crop means that the nut produces its fruit in cycles -- usually not every year.  My pecans for example are on a four or five year cycle.  Every 5th year they have a bumper crop (my dogs go crazy trying to keep the squirrels away and cracking  all the nuts coming down for themselves).

In pre-historic North America the mast cycles of nuts were of enormous social importance because the largest unit of a family (a whole clan for example) would meet to gather nuts at that time and place.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  Maybe as the pollen is air born in plants that produce catkins, are catkins called aumentos scientifically? a young tree with few catkins does not send much pollen in to the air and does not polinate many female flowers. Several young trees would leave more pollen in the air thats maybe why you need several trees.
    Maybe in order to get cross pollinization the catkins don't produce pollen when their own flowers are out, would that be why you need several trees or several varieties of trees to get hazel nuts? agri rose macaskie.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
"Mast" is a word for any kind of nut crop that is primarily used for livestock feed -- acorns, beechnuts, any kind of nuts.

Hazelnuts are wind pollinated, aren't they?  So the bee populations wouldn't have anything to do with the problem of no nuts (in any case, even if they were insect pollinated, they bloom too early in most locations for the bees to be out yet). 

Other than that...net your hazelnut/filbert trees (they don't get huge, so it shouldn't be too hard to net them).  Plant several varieties, as has already been mentioned.  Amend the soil so they have plenty of nutrition.  And pray for good weather when they are blooming!

Kathleen
                        


Joined: Jan 28, 2010
Posts: 175
Here is an article on the masting cycles of mast crops.

http://www.sierrapotomac.org/W_Needham/TheMastingBehaviorOfTrees.htm
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Great article the one on when trees mast posted by wombat.
   kathleen sanderson i did not know that thngs like deer ate hard skined nuts. So if you grow hazel nuts you are feeding that sort of fauna not just the squirrels and mice. I think my father said he saw cows eating up walnuts. rose.
.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
deer have always been big nut eaters here, esp the acorns, if you have oaks, you have deer
Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
Brenda Groth wrote:
deer have always been big nut eaters here, esp the acorns, if you have oaks, you have deer


Deer are also edible. 
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
We were walking around the woods last fall thinking the same thing, Kelda, and then I looked up....and saw....a HAZELNUT!  Attached to the shrub!  It was like winning the lottery, even though it was too old to be edible. 

A woman who lived in the woods long term told me that if you want forest nuts, you have to follow the squirrels and steal their cache.  Which I would never be tempted to do unless I were seriously getting all my calories from the wild, as she was. 
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
marina philips did you knnow a woman who seriously got all her calories from the woods? How come? Tell more? It sounds interesting, rose.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I have not even seen nuts forming on the bushes or i have only seen one or two on the hazels i have planted, so it can't be the squirrels nuthatches jays etc, that eat them or bury them for later or any of the other animals that eat them that are to blame for the lack of nuts, there have hardly ever been any forming.   rose.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
update on my hazelnut trees..

well i planted 6 seedlings last spring..and they did OK..but nothing spectacular..but this spring they are growing like wildfire..such beautiful healthy leaves..our neighbors also put in two and they are doing ok..they have a little more weed competition than mine do and i'm planning on cleaning out more of the area around mine and planting the area with perennials..and I also have some Mulberry babies between some of the hazelnuts, but they haven't even gotten leaves on them yet (just planted the tiny bushes last week)

anyway, I'm totally thrilled at the growth on my hazelnuts, and am sure hoping that i have the proper pollinators around so i'll get some nuts someday soon..or some YEAR soon.
 
 
subject: hazelnut bushes with no nuts
 
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