Filbert nurseries use variety of techniques
Various methods used to produce self-rooted planting stock
By JOHN SCHMITZ
For the Capital Press
In a recent article on hazelnut tree propagation in Oregon, it was said that only one nurseryman, Dwayne Bush of Junction City, was believed to still be practicing the traditional tip-layering technique.
That statement should have read that Bush is the only nurseryman using tip layering almost exclusively.
"I don't know of anybody besides Dwayne who is doing primarily tip layering," said Newberg nurseryman Ben Mitchell. "We're not doing any. We're all micropropagated or tie-off."
Mitchell is propagating Jefferson trees by tying off suckers growing in his young Jefferson orchard.
While micropropagation, or tissue culture, has come to be the primary method used to initially ramp up propagation of Oregon State University's new Eastern filbert blight-resistant cultivars, many, if not all, nurseries employ traditional tip layering or tying off in stool beds to some extent to produce finished, self-rooted planting stock.
But these beds are mostly established using micropropagated plantlets, which is a much faster way to get beds up and running.
"We are making stool beds now and not just doing micropropagation," said Liz Hajek, office manager for Pierce & Sons Nurseries in Dayton. "But we have raised (the beds) from (micropropagated plants). We bought them from North American Plants and started them."
Hajek said that Pierce & Sons has also sold micropropagated, potted plants to growers. "We've been selling out but last year we started putting (micropropagated) Jeffersons in stool beds.
"Basically all the new varieties have (originated with) micropropagation," Hajek said. "There's no way we could (increase them) otherwise."
"I think a lot of (nurseries) are moving back (to traditional stool beds)," said Salem-area nurseryman Bruce Chapin. "You start with a micropropagated plant as a way to (establish) your nursery, and then you either tip layer or tie off as a way of propagating off of that."
While increasing trees in stool beds is slower than going straight from grown-out micropropagated material to commercial orchards, the bedded trees are more economical to produce and sturdier.
"You get a darn good tree and it's cheaper to produce," said Chapin, who uses the tie-off method.
Chapin said that tissue culture propagations have greatly helped the Oregon hazelnut industry fight EFB. "The industry had been in a panic. We were losing orchards because of the disease, and we needed to go fast. It was very critical."