Zone 2 Hardy Hybrid Hazelnuts
History: Starting in the in the 40s, Les Kerr of the Forestry farm (Saskatoon) intercrossed wild prairie hardy American Hazelnuts (Corylus americana, believed to be collected from Manitoba) with cultivated European Hazelnuts (Corylus avellana) and bred them until the early 1980s. The University of Saskatchewan took over his breeding program in the mid 1980s and began collecting his better selections from many sites throughout Saskatchewan. In the late 1980s, Rick Sawatzky (of the U of S) began crossing these selections with pollen from Oregon State University (Corylus avellana) with a goal of increasing nut size and quality.
We have not released any cultivars to the general public, but over 5000 hazelnut seedlings have been distributed as part of our hazelnut cooperative testing program.