Sunday, June 9, 2019

CCRES hazelnut trees

Corylus avellana and potatoes from Lika region

Providing shade, which is helpful in cutting cooling costs, increasing property value and, of course, they yielding edible nuts. Many nut trees also continue to bear for decades, so the fruits of your labor can be enjoyed for generations.
However, one of the most common reasons people give for not considering nut trees as part of their edible landscape is time. Many nut trees bear within a few years after planting, but some do take longer.

Zeljko Serdar, CCRES TEAM

Because of their smaller size, Hazelnut trees are ideal nut trees for growers. These trees can be grown naturally as large shrubs with many trunks, or grown as small trees through selective pruning. Leaves of the hazelnut tree are a valued food source for wildlife, including several species of butterfly. Once mature, nuts will drop to the ground for harvest and require a drying period before consuming. Hazelnut kernels are eaten raw, roasted, or ground into paste. Hazelnuts contain significant amounts of protein, B-vitamins, and other minerals.

CCRES Growers of delicious and easy to grow fruiting plants, nuts, tubers, roots, seeds and perennial vegetables. 

An ongoing dialog among growers and the CCRES hazelnut research team has indicated that even as hazelnut trees are increasing in the numbers planted, the number of commercially viable cultivars is too narrow to sustain optimal production.

The hazelnut industry planted trees based on the commercially available cultivars, and the trees have grown well in Lika region. As these trees mature, the failure of some known pollinators has caused the CCRES research team and the industry to look more carefully at having diverse pollinator trees in the orchard from a strictly pragmatic point of view. However, the more important research need is to identify the pollination vector and method of pollination so that a more efficient methodology can be developed.

CCRES hazelnut trees in rows with potatoes

Ongoing research with the hazelnuts peeler has identified many issues with regard to post harvest handling and storage of hazelnuts that were previously unknown in the Croatia. Subsequent work with the microbiologists on the CCRES hazelnut research team have identified an entire area of research that must be undertaken to be able to deliver a safe, and very high quality peeled hazelnut product. The research results must be backed up to both cultivation and post harvest handling and storage. Thanks to previous work in this area, the CCRES team has made significant progress in this area.


  1. This is a alley cropping cultivation of hazelnuts. Alley cropping is the cultivation of food, forage or specialty crops between rows of trees. It is a larger version of intercropping or companion planting conducted over a longer time scale. Alley cropping can provide profitable opportunities for row crop farmers, hardwood timber growers, and nut growers.

    Benefits: Alley cropping benefits both humans and the environment
    Income diversification. Crop production during the years before nut trees come into bearing or hardwood timber is harvested creates cash flow and diversifies farm income, thereby improving the return o­n long-term investments in trees.

    Marginal land improvement. By planting rows of nut or timber trees o­n land where annual crop production is low due to erosion or other limitations, marginal croplands may be converted to higher value woodlands.

    Shelter. Rows of trees reduce wind speed, thereby controlling wind erosion. They also create sheltered microclimates that improves the yield and quality of crops growing in the alleys.

    Wildlife. Alley cropping increases the biodiversity of cropland which creates new habitat for wildlife.

    Alley cropping enterprises:
    Hardwood timber or nut trees: Hardwoods such as black walnut or pecan may be combined with annual crops such as corn or soybeans.

    Forage crops can be cultivated between tree rows for harvest or livestock grazing, or shrubs palatable to livestock can be grown for fodder, e.g. tagasaste.

    Combine specialty crops with conventional field crops: Another alternative is to plant rows of perennial specialty crops within a field of tall field crops such as corn to diversify income while maintaining annual crop production.

    If you are thinking about starting your own Hazelnut plantation, the following information can guide you through the costs and profitability expected over multiple years and how your plantation should ideally be set up.

    Hazelnut trees have both female and male flowers on the same plant. The male flowers are borne in catkins that arise in the axis of the basal leaves on the current seasons stem, 150-200 male flowers on a single stem form the catkin. Catkins develop rapidly from August onward, then remain dormant during the winter.

    The female flowers are borne in tight clusters at three locations: singly at the basal leaves on one year wood, in groups of one to six on the catkin peduncles and on very short spurs on older wood. The flower buds are usually indistinguishable externally from leaf buds until they are open. Male and female flowers do not open together, female flowers blooming early March and the male flowers opening approximately 10 days later. Therefore, in a Plantation, there must be at least 2-3 varieties. For nuts to develop successfully, compatible pollination must take place.

    ​When the nut has reached full size in July, the wall of the nut begins to form a hard shell. In late August, the nuts start to change colour and will soon be ready to drop. In Croatia, nuts usually fall for several weeks from early September to the end of October.

    ​Almost all hazelnut varieties form suckers, but the quantity depends on the variety. In the case of Hazelnut trees, the CCRES team will realize a 4 year advantage in reaching full yield and will reduce the financial break even point from 8 years to 4 years.