Update on hazelnut development program in the Lake States
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Hazelnut (Corylus spp.) is a potential nut crop for the Lake States. In the past, researchers and hobbyists have hybridized American and European hazelnut in an effort to develop a cold hardy, disease resistant hybrid hazelnut. There are relatively few varieties available and most plantings are currently seed origin. For pure American hazelnut, there are nearly no available varieties (at this point we know of two). Our goals are to: select high productivity wild hazelnuts, successfully pilot one or more propagation protocols and field test the selected genotypes. A group representing a diversity of disciplines and Upper Midwest States has been selecting American hazelnut from wild populations in Northern Wisconsin for use as parents in controlled crosses as well as potential clonal planting stock. To date, we have screened 35 sites across 10 WI Counties and have selected more than 30 individuals that meet 1% selection criteria on kernel yield per square foot. We are currently micropropagating these individuals for evaluation in replicated germplasm trials. We have also successfully tested mound layering protocols. This is an intermediate general report and specific results will be reported as they become available.