Since the 1990’s, Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC in collaboration with the University of MN St Paul, the Universities of WI Steven’s Point & Madison, an UW Extension, has been pioneering vegetative propagation of specific cultivars of hybrid hazelnut. Although early efforts proved to not be economically viable at the time for producing clonal cultivars for farmers, they were successful enough to establish isolated breeding nurseries for the production of controlled cross seedlings. In the earliest variety trials, seedlings from one parent proved to not produce at a young enough age. Seedlings from the second parent plant began to bear within two years. The initial nursery was slowly expanded for several years until it reached its current size. Seven other controlled cross nurseries have been established in several different states.
Seedlings from the first controlled cross were put into variety trials beginning in 2012 and were released publicly for the first time in 2017!
80% of the Controlled cross seedlings have flowered within the first year from planting and they have born crops more consistently across the population than selected seedlings. They exist in areas of heavy Eastern Filbert Blight presence and show no signs of susceptibility. Since these plants have only been out in the landscape for 6 years, their long-term average per-plant yields are not yet known. Most notable for the controlled cross seedlings is that they have demonstrated a dramatically shortened and consistent harvest window which is extremely important, especially for mechanical harvest. Harvest begins in Mid-August in southwestern Wisconsin.
UW Extension, U IL Champaign and the Savanna Institute are all involved with data collection on the first out plantings of this material.
We recommend planting at least 1 Selected Seedling Hybrid Hazelnut (or a hazelnut cultivar) per 5 Controlled Cross Selected Seedlings in order to ensure adequate pollination.