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Nutless Filberts

 
Anne Chastain
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I read an old thread on this topic and didn't quite get any ideas I haven't tried. My three different varieties of filberts are healthy 10 year old trees and I have only seen 2 filberts in all that time. I get lots of lovely catkins all over them, I'm keeping a careful eye out this year for the female flowers to make their appearance. The foliage is lush and healthy, the male catkins are everywhere. There is no sign of disease and everything else in the orchard produces like gangbusters (except for a finicky pear tree that only produces when everything is perfect) I live in the Pacific NW so I may have an issue with fog or humidity affecting the viability of the pollen? The only other crop I've had this issue with was corn, which grew lovely healthy plants, with ears that only had one or 2 kernels on each ear. Suggestions anyone
 
Deb Berman
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What is your early spring weather like? The female flowers will freeze if it gets really cold and then you won't get a crop. The other issue that usually affects fruitset (nutset?) on hazels is if the male flowers don't release their pollen until after the female flowers have gone by, which can happen if your weather is particularly weird in the spring. Also they are wind pollinated, so I suppose that if the air is saturated with moisture and very still the pollen might not get to the female flowers. Have you checked for nuts while they would still be green? They can be very hard to see then, but sometimes the trees set plenty of nuts but things come along and eat them before they have a chance to get ripe (this happens to us a lot).
 
Anne Chastain
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I'm on the Olympic Peninsula so springs can vary wildly from year to year. I just learned about how to spot the female flowers this summer so I'm going to be watching for them this year and seeing what the weather is when they are out. Right now, 2 of the trees are starting to lose leaves and the 3rd is more protected and still full of green leaves. All three trees are covered in the male catkins. Does anyone know at what temperature the female flowers appear? If it's too cold does that inhibit bloom production until it warms up or is it a timing thing? By the end of this growing season I plan to be an expert in filbert pollination!!!
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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The female flowers are less hardy than the catkins (hardy down to 10-15F, I believe), but still able to handle frost/freeze in my experience. Watch for them in early spring, the red "hairs" are really small but easy to see once you know they should be there.

do you know which three varieties of filbert you have? If not, I would suggest ordering an early and late pollinating variety this next year to make sure you are covered.

If you are short on extra space, they can be trimmed back vigorously and interplanted as a hedge.
 
Deb Berman
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I don't know whether the female flowers come out in response to increasing daylength or increasing temp. When I lived in Olympia, WA, the female flowers on the filberts started appearing when the osoberry stated flowering, which was usually the first or second week of February. I have heard that the female flowers are hardy to about 15 F. I don't know how hardy the male flowers are, but I have had them get frozen.
 
Tom Allyn
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Location: Maple Valley, WA
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My experience with wild hazelnuts in the PNW is that they won't necessarily produce every year. Some of the wild trees around here only produce once every few years. And trees in the shade never seem to produce or produce very few nuts. Trees with full afternoon sun do well and may produce year after year.

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I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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