Production Research

Research Project Overview for 2015-2016

Hazelnut Breeding – Shawn Mehlenbacher


  1. Develop new Eastern Filbert Blight resistant hazelnut cultivars. For selections that lack the ‘Gasaway’ gene, continue to assess the level of relative susceptibility of cultivars and advanced selections. For progenies segregating for the ‘Gasaway’ gene for immunity, select based on linked DNA markers prior to planting in the field, and greenhouse inoculation to confirm resistance of selections. Identify and use new sources of resistance and determine percentage of resistant offspring. Use DNA markers for these new resistance sources when feasible.
  2. Obtain information on the genetic control of important traits. Many of these forms have value as ornamentals (e.g. contorted growth habit , immunity to EFB, cutleaf, red-yellow leaf color).
  3. Identify the incompatibility alleles in cultivars and selections, take notes on phenology, and recommend the best available combinations of cultivars and compatible pollinizers for new plantings.
  4. Use HICF to fingerprint the ‘Jefferson’ BAC library. Identify a minimal tiling path (MTP) and sequence the ends of the BACs in the minimal tiling path.

Advanced Selection, Cultivar & Rootstock Evaluation – Shawn Mehlenbacher / Becky McCluskey


  1. Evaluate promising selections and cultivars in four replicated trials (2006, 2007, 2009, and 2011) for yield, nut and kernel characteristics, tree vigor, blooming characteristics, etc.
  2. Add a new advanced selection planting in spring 2013. This trial will be smaller than the past two.
  3. Determine time of female bloom and pollen shed of cultivars, pollinizers, and advanced selections from December until budbreak. Determine pollen viability of selections most likely to be released as new cultivars or pollinizers within the next 1-2 years.
  4. Create relevant publications describing the new cultivars ‘Dorris’, ‘Wepster’, ‘York’, and ‘Felix’, as well as ‘Eta’ and ‘Theta’.

Micropropagation of Hazelnut – Barbara Reed – USDA-ARS


  1. Initiate and maintain new selections from the Breeding Program. Provide these to commercial laboratories for further propagation as required. Provide a safe long-term storage system for selections until they are named or discarded by Shawn Mehlenbacher.
  2. Complete the development of improved initiation, culture medium and growth conditions for hazelnuts. A graduate student has begun this project.

Management of Hazelnut Diseases – Jay Pscheidt


  1. Continue establishment of field trials designed to evaluate new chemicals for effectiveness against EFB.
  2. Continue to implement a long-term fungicide protection program in a mature Ennis orchard.
  3. Investigate infection and canker development on Jefferson trees.
  4. Determine fungi associated with kernel molds at harvest.
  5. Determine the relationship between nut moisture levels and kernel mold.

Development of Water-Wise Hazelnut Pest Management Strategies – Vaughn Walton


  1. Use of FBW mating disruption in order to minimize pesticide use.
  2. Minimize pyrethroid use with targeted alternative ‘soft pesticide’ spray regimes.