Drought resistant Turkish hazelnut cultivated in Kastamonu

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Şemsettin Kulaç, a faculty member in the Department of Forest Engineering, Silviculture Division at Düzce University, who conducts research at the Turkish Hazelnut Seedling Plantation (afforestation or planting area), where Turkish hazelnut seedlings are grown on a 10-acre plot by the Kastamonu Regional Directorate of Forestry, told AA correspondent that Turkish hazelnuts can reach a height of 30 meters with a single trunk and a diameter of 2 meters and can live for a thousand years.

Kulaç emphasized that the fruits of these hazelnuts are not round, their shells are smaller and harder to crack, but they are oilier inside.

Stressing the need for Turkish hazelnut seeds, Kulaç said, “We need the seeds of these hazelnut trees, which we see as saving our commercial hazelnuts. Therefore, the number of such plantations needs to be increased. We will take cuttings from here and establish grafted orchards. We will start to collect seeds from grafted orchards in a short time. With these orchards, we will protect genetic resources.”

Kulaç stated that hazelnuts, covering an area of 780 thousand hectares in Turkey, constitute one of the most important sources of income in agriculture and pointed out that hazelnut orchards are drying up in many places due to global climate change.

Emphasizing that the roots of commercial hazelnut trees in Turkey can only reach a depth of 50-60 centimeters, Kulaç said:

“When it doesn’t rain for a month or two, the top 50-60 centimeters of the soil dries up. When it dries up, the hazelnut cannot reach water. Therefore, we face both yield loss and the problem of not being able to fill the fruit. Here, Turkish hazelnut comes into play. Turkish hazelnut has a taproot system. We use it as rootstock and graft commercial hazelnuts onto it to safeguard their future. We can say that Turkish hazelnuts will save the future of commercial hazelnuts. Turkish hazelnuts, with their deep roots, are less affected by drought compared to commercial hazelnuts. We believe that by utilizing the trees of this hazelnut, we can contribute to commercial hazelnuts both in terms of oil and other nutritional values.”

Turkish hazelnut tree found with a diameter of 120 centimeters and a height of 25 meters Kastamonu Regional Director of Forestry Fahri Sönmezoğlu stated that they cultivate trees of different species.

Emphasizing their special attention to Turkish hazelnuts, Sönmezoğlu said, “Our colleagues identified hazelnut trees with a diameter of 120 centimeters and a height of 25 meters in the villages of Tunuslar and Müsellim within our Regional Directorate in 2011. The seeds collected from these magnificent Turkish hazelnuts were cultivated in nurseries in Daday, Gölköy, and Taşköprü to carry the trees into the future. In Daday, we have Turkish hazelnut seedlings that have reached the age of 10 in the area we are in.”

Stressing the high demand for Turkish hazelnut seedlings, Sönmezoğlu said:

“To meet these demands, we try to grow hazelnuts by obtaining seeds from hazelnut trees in the vicinity, but we face problems with seeds because they do not produce abundantly every year. Through the orchard we established, we will also solve the problem of hazelnut seeds. The demand for Turkish hazelnuts in the market is in the millions. Within our means, we have grown Turkish hazelnut seedlings from 50 thousand to sometimes 100 thousand or even 200 thousand in some years. If we can reach a sufficient seed source, we can reach a production figure of 500 thousand in our 3 nurseries.”

source: prepared by Melisa Beğiç

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