Mark Shepard’s outstanding book Restoration Agriculture has made his nut tree breeding program famous. We are the exclusive Ontario importer of Mark’s stock. Here’s the description from his website: The parents of our strain of hazelnuts come from breeding programs in Alberta, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. Our own breeding goals include: youthful bearing, high yields, pest & disease resistance, suitability for low-input and certified organic conditions. All seed is all open pollinated. Seed is selected from the top producing plants and only the best are allowed to shed pollen in our pollen-controlled breeding plots. Nut clusters in their fringed husks (involuchre) are very ornamental. Autumn colors can be anything from yellow to red, orange and even pink. Nutritional equivalent of a soybean with 3 times the oil by kernel weight. (See also Selected Seedling Hazelnuts.)
What do you mean Controlled-Cross?
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. Several 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 are being released publicly for the first time this year!
80% of Controlled cross seedlings have flowered within the first year from planting and they bear more consistently across the population than do selected seedlings. They exist in areas of heavy Eastern Filbert Blight presence and show no signs of susceptibility. Because these plants have only been out in the landscape for 5 years, their long-term average per-plant yields are not yet known. UW Extension, U IL Champaign and the Savanna Institute are all involved with data collection on the first out plantings of this material.