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  • Author or Editor: John M. Capik x
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Hazelnuts (Corylus sp.) are monoecious and wind-pollinated with reproduction limited by a sporophytic self-incompatibility system. They flower during the winter and are dichogamous with the dates of flowering ranging from December to March in New Jersey depending on the genotype, geographic location, and year. Successful, consistent nut production depends on both genetic compatibility and the appropriate timing of flowering between pollinizing and nut-producing cultivars. While the disease eastern filbert blight (EFB), caused by Anisogramma anomala, has severely limited past hazelnut production in the eastern United States, resistant and tolerant genotypes are now available for testing. However, little is known of their flowering phenology in this region. In this study, the flower and budbreak phenology of 19 different EFB-resistant and EFB-tolerant hazelnut accessions was evaluated over 4 years, and the results compared with air temperature data collected during bloom. Results showed that the accessions followed a similar progression of bloom each year (both staminate and pistillate flowers), which allowed their placement into early-, mid-, and late-flowering groups. However, the date of bloom and duration of bloom, especially for pollen shed, differed each year, largely corresponding to average air temperature trends. Confirming previous reports from other cold regions, it was shown that consistently colder average temperatures delayed bloom until later in the winter, which then led to a compressed period of flowering once temperatures warmed. In contrast, relatively warm temperatures over the season led to earlier flowering as well as a significant lengthening of the duration of bloom, similar to responses reported in Mediterranean climates. Our study documents hazelnut flowering phenology under New Jersey’s variable winter climate, and the results provide a benchmark for selecting suitable pollenizers and breeding parents for future nut production, flowering research, and/or genetic improvement in this region.

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