Thursday 18 February 2021

Hazel tree trim


This is the hazel tree in the allotment. It was there before we took on the allotment although at one point was a lot bigger until a chunk was cut off it when the adjacent allotment was cleared between rentals. For the past three or four years it has been giving us a reasonable number of hazelnuts although it does seem that a local mouse has been helping itself to a few as when we moved a compost bin a while ago we found a large number of hazelnut shells with small holes in them!

As you can see there are a lot of catkins on the tree this year, so I had to take a bit of care when doing the annual pruning of top growth and a bit of thinning out. 

I have some Darlac telescopic pruners which are one of the best tool buys I have ever made! Extending over three metres, I can stand safely on the ground whilst chopping branches way above my head simple by lining up the cutters and pulling a cord. The cutter can be used to grap branches to bring them safely down to the ground. 

Hazel is a very strong wood and often very straight so the offcuts are going to be used for bean poles and for propping other things up as they grow. I have sorted the branches into lengths with the longest poles nearest the camera and trimmings suitable for supporting peas behind them. In the photo there is the old swing frame that we use for growing beans up although poles in between the metal uprights are useful to support more beans around the edge. 

I didn't realise until yesterday that cobnuts are actually a type of hazelnut! Ours are just standard hazelnuts, but cobnuts are a variety that was first bred by a Mr Lambert at Goudhurst in Kent. Kentish cobnuts are in decline as a cultivated crop and only 250 acres are still grown. I must admit that I hope that, albeit through necessity due to Brexit, more of our orchards and local production of fruit and nuts is restored over the next few years. That being said, the labour to cultivate and harvest this produce is also a problem due to Brexit. 

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