Levente Andras wrote:I'm glad you brought up this topic.
I have many hazelnut bushes of different ages (many of them just a couple of years old), as well as several laying hens which I keep semi-free range. Luckily so far, I haven't noticed any nut weevil issues - but in truth, I haven't yet harvested too many nuts either, because my bushes are still quite young.
I've been reluctant to let my hens near the hazelnut bushes, because I've noticed that these plants have superficial roots (especially as I've been mulching them heavily with compost, wood chip, and other organic matter), and the hens can very quickly expose the roots, and even damage (break / tear / shred) the thinner ones.
So I've been wondering: does the advantage of hens keeping the bugs under control outweigh the risks / potential harm of exposed / damaged roots? Will the bushes suffer a setback if their roots are damaged in this way? Will the larger, mature bushes be able to withstand the stress, as opposed to the very young ones?
Marceau Oppermann wrote: I guess you should only let the chickens graze so far that they don't expose bare soil
Sue Rine wrote:Cross crossing small, twiggy branches around the base of trees will stop chickens from scratching up the roots.
William Bronson wrote:How about placing chicken wire down over the roots?
Of course stopping the chickens from scratching might keep the larva safe.
What if you caught the falling nuts in window screen nets?
Collect them all,soak them, crush them, heat them,feed them to the chooks.
No insects larva reaches the soil, the chooks stay out of the hazel roots , and you still break the reproduction cycle.
I would be inclined to let the chickens have at it.
I have heard that hazels are quite resilient.
If the hazels can't deal, maybe they aren't tough enough for permaculture?
Are there other plants can deal with chicken around their roots?
Are there pest resistant hazels?