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A “Little” Hazelnut Pruning

24 Feb

final-58I went out with Matt today to do a little pruning on our youngest hazelnut trees.  I say a “little” pruning because I only made it about four trees before I realized that I was no where near dressed with enough clothes on for a 33 degree wind chill.  final-59But what we were able to accomplish was some consensus on what we were going for, once it warms up or I get more layers on, we will be able to get the job done.

Trees, especially hazelnut trees (which are naturally more bush than tree) take a lot of work get looking just right.  We were working today on making sure that the crotch of the tree has the correct angles for the most support system to hold up the branches and the weight of nuts.  final-60Also we were looking at branches coming up through the middle.  Light in a tree is a very important factor.  And then just the overall shape of the tree, are there branches going just one direction or in all directions?  How tall is the tree and all of the leaders?  Lots of questions…final-57

And since every tree and the way every person looks at a tree is all very different, it’s important to get try to start on the same page, where you end up will probably be all over the board (haha!), but starting out on the same page is good!

Weather Update…It’s Still Cold!

13 Jan

Well it’s still freezing here in Oregon on the farm.  We did get a little insulation for the crops in the form of snow, but not sure it’s enough to make a difference. final-25

I get a lot of questions about what this will do to our crops.  So far I’m really only worried about our vegetable seed crops that were planted in the fall.  We have both cabbage & swiss chard that is still pretty small and not looking too happy with this cold weather.  I am told not to worry too much until 12 degrees, we have gotten down to 14 so far, hopefully that is the lowest we get!

final-22final-23This is a photo of some of our younger hazelnut trees.  These trees pollinate in the winter, however not when it’s this cold!

Just another reason why being a farmer is truly so risky, no one can control the weather, and no one can tell you what is going to happen.  Would we have changed our planting schedule last fall if we had known this was going to happen…probably so!  But once again (I feel like I say this a lot) that’s farming!

final-26Yukon sums up how we all feel about all this cold weather & snow pretty well…we know how you feel old dog…and we are right there with ya!

Happy Friday folks and stay warm!

Orchard Work Continues

9 Jan

This time of year it sure feels like we spend a whole lot of time out in our hazelnut orchards!  Last week during all the freezing weather, while we were flailing, we were also knocking trees over.  Which may seem strange, but it was time!final-18

Filbert or hazelnut trees need a certain amount of room to grow.  The sun needs to get down into the branches and those branches need to have room to stretch out in order for them to produce to their highest potential.  Our trees have been in a constant cycle of removal for about the past 8 years.  We have done it in cycles mostly because of the windows of opportunities that you get, when we have the labor, and also when we have the time to get this job

Well last week we took out the last trees that needed to be removed, and I can thankfully say, while this job isn’t over yet, it’s well on it’s way.  I’ll say here that one of the hardest things about tree removal is all mental.  When the prices are good for nuts you want to leave the trees in, knowing that for the first few years you will have a dramatic decrease in yield until the trees that remain can catch back up.  So more nuts, is more money.  But then when the prices are down you think, “Shoot I can’t take the trees out this year, we need all the nuts we can get because the price is so low.”  You see what I mean…it’s a battle.  So this year while harvesting we noticed that the yields were dropping in the areas we hadn’t thinned, the trees needed the room, it was time (no matter what the price!).  final-21

Here is a video of how the thinning was done.  We planted originally on a square grid of 18′ by 18′.  Then we thinned, or pushed over the trees on a diagonal.  Leaving a diamond pattern of 18′ by 36′.  This will give room for the tree branches to stretch, and the sun to get into the canopy.

Meanwhile we are also out pruning suckers that grow from the base of the tree, and pruning out blight.  Basically from the day we finish harvest in the fall until spring, there isn’t a day that we don’t have someone working out in those trees.

Next step will be pulling those trees out of the orchard, which is another blog post in itself. And hopefully not a too muddy of one. Who knows, maybe more freezing weather will help us get that job done with little mess too!

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