Hazel/Filbert Propagation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs
Just to help people who wish to grow hazels/filberts. The system will probably work with other suckering plants too.

Submitted: January 13, 2017

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Submitted: January 13, 2017



In one of my short stories, I made reference to the propagation of hazelnut/filbert plants. I know there are many people who like to grow all sorts of plants, so this is intended to encourage and maybe assist. On a commercial scale hazels were among the most difficult to propagate from cuttings, and cuttings will produce nuts much quicker than seedlings. Sure I too have heard stories of people bunging them in the ground and they grew. But commercially, you need the process to be more reliable.

For most species, cuttings will keep in moist plastic bags or in a cool store, but university researchers found that hazel cuttings should be set into trays of pop-mix as quickly as possible. The cutting material most successful was from suckers that grew at the base of the parent tree. The filled trays then sit over heat and under mist for perhaps three months. We did this method for three seasons and no more than ten percent of the cuttings produced roots. Plainly this was an unsustainable method.

We had to decide if we were going to be in the game or not, and in response to many enquiries and orders, we decided to we were. I therefore had to come up with another system. Out in the nursery beds, we had already planted hazels as stool plants. So if you have or know of a hazel plant this method will work for you.

All hazels have suckers growing at the base if the stem/trunk, except one special, non-suckering clone – but it was nigh on impossible to propagate from! There is a little preparation required. I used car tyres, but boards or bricks will do as well. What we are going to do, is build up the soil around the base of the tree, so a supply of soil or rich potting mix is needed also. I used a powdered rooting hormone, but it is not totally necessary to use any. When the suckers, or the bulk of them, are about twenty centimetres high, wound their stem, just a normal five mm wound, but not right down by the base, remember the cutting will be cut off when it has roots. If you are using the hormone, dust it on. Place the tyres/boards/bricks around the tree and fill in the soil. The suckers should stick out by about ten centimetres. Keep the soil fertile and moist. This work should be done late winter. In our case we harvested the rooted cuttings at the end of summer, potted them up and sat them over heat with lighting, so they were ready to plant out early spring. Gardeners can just leave them until spring, harvest the cutting and either plant them out or pot them up if they want to grow on a bigger plant.

I hope all that is understandable and I wish all growers the very best of a long and plentiful nut harvest.

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