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23 April 2020 Performance of hazelnut cultivars and selections in southern Ontario
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The global demand for hazelnuts is increasing steadily, driven by increasing use by chocolate companies, pharmaceuticals, health products, and others. North America only produces 5% of the world crop, of which 99% is produced in Oregon (OR, USA). Most available cultivars are adapted to areas with mild winters and thus do not perform well in Ontario (ON, Canada). Our objective was to identify genotypes capable of supporting the newly formed hazelnut industry in southern Ontario. In the last several decades, selections have been identified in ON, New York (NY, USA), and Michigan (MI, USA) that may be better adapted in ON than cultivars from Europe and OR. To test our hypothesis that these new selections would outperform cultivars from Europe and OR in southern Ontario, two trials were performed to evaluate yield, nut quality, and winter hardiness. As hypothesized, selections from ON and NY such as ‘Gene’, ‘Alex’, and ‘Slate’ were winter hardy and highest yielding, followed by ‘Butler’ and ‘Gamma’ from OR; however, these selections did not perform well in other assessed parameters such as nut quality and catkin survivability. Possible explanations for the poor performance of the European and OR cultivars include (i) longer time needed to acclimatize and enter production phase relative to selections from ON, NY, and MI, and (ii) cold susceptibility during the initial establishment phase. The need to allocate resources towards survival probably delays the ability of the European and OR cultivars to enter the production phase. In conclusion, hazelnut cultivars brought from regions with a different climate need to be tested for cold hardiness.

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Toktam Taghavi, Adam Dale, John M. Kelly, Dragan Galic, and Alireza Rahemi "Performance of hazelnut cultivars and selections in southern Ontario," Canadian Journal of Plant Science 100(5), 537-548, (23 April 2020).
Received: 15 June 2019; Accepted: 27 March 2020; Published: 23 April 2020

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