Precocious hazelnut represents a 30 year trial growing several thousand hybrid hazelnuts called filazels or hazelberts at our farm in southwestern Michigan. In the beginning the huge mortality of the seed strains called Gellatly, Slate, Geneva, Buchanan and Laroka revolved around resistance to filbert blight of which almost 100 percent of these did not make it past year 5. It was only later I found out from a research scientist that the overall genetic base of these hybrid hazels were extremely narrow in terms of immunity to filbert blight. As it turns out Michigan is home of the most virulent form of this blight making it really difficult to find resistant seedlings. As a result I attempted to thread the needle of these narrow confines mostly by trial and error leading to accidental discoveries. Here is the back story. I was supplying the mail order trade with thousands of the hybrids with one year seedlings and when they went on with other plants and quit ordering I ended up with over 10000 plants with no where to go. This was the perfect time along with other seed strains I was developing to see what nature had to offer which after year 3 completely swept through our plantings and removed almost all of the plants except for 60 or so.
The result: Precocious Hazelnut. As time went on the nut size was smaller than the hazelberts but so was the plant as well and its ability to runner increased making it ideal for hand and possible machine harvesting. . Along with that came the ability to reproduce by runners making clonal propagation easier as well. More and more of the genetics of the American hazelnut came through and this proved overall best to the plants health and longevity including lateral bearing and clean foliage even in heat prone areas. Even though the nuts were smaller, the shells became thinner and easer to crack as well. Precocious is a strain that combines the best of the American hazelnut with thinner shells and heavy lateral bearing. When we grew them from seed these characteristics continued with 100 percent immunity to filbert blight. In permaculture settings. Precocious hazelnuts can add to the genetic diversity of a population without the fear of the dreaded filbert blight coming back on weaker plants as well as supplying pollen for other American hazelnuts. Precocious hazelnut does not appear to cross with beaked hazels.
Today there are a few other hybrid hazels on the market. More than not, these are likely from the same seed sources I was using in the beginning. The problem with them is in their lack of testing over time. One university has started growing our Precocious hazels as a seed strain as well as for cultivar development. Why? They had seen the yields in other grow outs of our seed strains in other locations.
The Precocious showed to have the highest yields per plant. The new hazels from Oregon are not sufficient here to repel disease and their seedlings are not adapted as well. Many other nurseries that grow hazels are often selected American hazels with thick shells and variable yields. These are not bad necessarily, it is just that they lack the vigor and lateral bearing tendencies found in the Precocious Hazelnut.
FOUNDATION SEED STOCK: My foundation seed stock allows you to freely name cultivars derived from Precocious hazels. When purchasing I am asking you to use the name 'Precocious Hazelnut" as well as 'developed by Oikos Tree Crops" as the source of the original germplasm. For seed strain and sale of nursery stock: you are required to use the phrase: Developed by "Kenneth Asmus of Oikos Tree Crops". We will provide a logo for your use as well as images of nuts and plants to help you in your advertising. For either usage there is no royalty or other fee that will be applied to the use of our trademarked logo. If you are growing them for your own use, there is no requirement and they can be freely grown and distributed. The requirement of nursery stock sold the above only applies to the use of plant material and seeds for plant material" 'Precocious Hazelnut' Developed by Kenneth Asmus" is required. This helps maintain the germplasm as well as knowing the origin as it continues into the future. Anyone can grow them and distribute them but they have to be named as mentioned above if being sold as nursery stock or seeds for propagation. For use in agricultural as produce or direct to consumer consumption it is not required to mention seed source.
Germination Requirements: Seeds were processed and de-shusked starting on September 1, 2021. 1-5 % are blanks and we include extra seeds to even out the total quantity of the seeds. Roughly 20 percent of the seeds are the plants we previously called "Ken's Select" These are from larger nuts and from smaller plants with heavy yields. We are now combining them with the Precocious Seed as the differences are small.
For germination begin with a lightly moist Canadian peat moss so no water can be squeezed out with your hands. Let sit for a week at room temperature like that and then Refrigerate 90-120 days at 36-38 F. Do not freeze the seeds. Germination will begin around 90 days and will continue for 1 month or more. Plant seeds one inch deep in well drained soil. Best to use a type of soil mix that is not active in terms of decomposition as this can interfere with the seeds sprouting and destroy the embryo. There might be a portion of seeds that do not sprout the first year. This is normal with hazels and those can be treated like Prunus seeds in that you store them at room temperature through the growing season and do another dormancy period. Things to not do: soak, freeze, crack the nuts
Because of demand, please order them as soon as possible as supplies are very limited this year. For further help with germination: email firstname.lastname@example.org