Spring has arrived on the farm! As tender, green buds begin to bloom on the branches, the window of opportunity to get to work on certain projects is open for a limited time. Hazelnuts are rather hardy and thrive in Oregon due to the optimum climate and soil conditions, but farmers still have to be diligent and adhere to a fairly rigid schedule.
Pruning is one of the biggest difference makers in an orchard; shaping the trees and removing dead or diseased limbs is essential for the health and productivity of an entire orchard. There are many methods for pruning and every grower has a slightly different style, but every hazelnut growers knows the importance of pruning and keeping their tree scaffolds orderly.
Moving on to another crucial task: tidying up the orchard floor. After harvest, many growers will allow grass to grow in the rows between the trees until springtime; weeds, fallen branches and debris will also accumulate during this time, but must eventually be removed from the orchard floor. Through the combined practices of mulching, mowing and eventually flailing, the orchard floors are clean and smooth; this makes harvest more efficient and eliminates large obstructions like sticks and dirt clumps.
The rest is up to Mother Nature. Hazelnut farmers base many of their practices on the weather patterns in the area. When the rain, sunshine, wind and temperature all work in concert, it makes for happy hazelnuts!