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Updated 7th October 2017

Growing cobnuts in Ireland: An examination of the commercial potential of cobnuts

New updated and revised version out shortly. Included in the updated version of the 2014 document is useful cultural information for growers. From orchards examined by Fruit and Nut during the period 2014-2017, it is clear that poor or haphazard maintenance is a reoccurring theme. The new document places much more emphasis on site maintenance, particularly ground cover control. The completed document will be available later this month.

Latest research: Why cobnuts sometimes have very poor crops

On-going research from Fruit and Nut has determined that mild winters are causing cobnuts to produce male flowers earlier in the year. In some cases the male flowers are finishing before the female flowers emerge. Given the reality of global warming (and in Ireland's case milder winters), this trend is likely to become more pronounced. For the cobnut grower, the best remedial action is to planting at least one variety with late male flowers (for example Cosford). The nursery is working on developing a new very late flowering variety by crossing a particularly late flowering wild hazel (found growing close to the nursery) with Cosford.

The Future is Trees project - update

The nursery has been contacted by a number of landowners in relation to this project. So far, all the sites offered have been unsuitable, the main reason being that they were situated too far from Westport. In several cases, the terms of the lease offered was non-viable (the period of lease was too short). For the project to be viable, the minimum period of lease is 50 years. Further details can be found here

Seed grown chestnuts, walnuts and heartnuts a waste of time

We hear an increasing number of stories from people who planted seed grown chestnuts, walnuts and heartnuts, who are disappointed with the small or nonexistent yields. Our view is that as far as nut production is concerned, seed grown trees of these species are a complete waste of time. Yes in theory they can produce, but most often they don't. For successful nut production, we strongly advise using grafted or stooled trees of varieties proven in Irish conditions.

However, seed grown trees of some nut species do succeed: for example pinenuts and Monkey Puzzle trees.

New lines 2017/18

American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Long cultivated for its tart red berries, popular in cranberry sauce, the American cranberry requires moist, free draining acidic ground to do well. Providing those conditions are met, it is very easy to grow. Commercial producers construct special cranberry beds that can be briefly flooded several times a year. This helps reduce certain pests (generally only a problem in large scale production) and also facilitates harvest. However, for best results, the water table should be maintained for the rest of the year at 25-40cm below the ground surface. The American cranberry does not thrive on waterlogged or very dry ground. The ideal pH is 4-5.

We offer the variety Pilgrim, a late high yielding variety with purple-red berries, popular in the United States since the 1960s and now grown commercially in Europe. More details to follow.

Cowberry/Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

Closely related to the cranberry, the cowberry is native to many European countries including Ireland. It is cultivated on a large scale in many countries, notably Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands. The berry is similar to the cranberry but sweeter and less astringent. Unlike the cranberry it does not require flooding. It prefers drier, well drained acid land but is much more tolerant of wind than the cranberry and probably will do well in Atlantic coastal regions. To the best of our knowledge it is not cultivated in Ireland.

We offer the following varieties:

Koralle. Light red berries, highly productive and reliable cropper. Slightly fussy in its soil requirements (requires very well drained soil)

Red Pearl. Dark red berries, more tolerant of less than ideal soil conditions but yields can be more variable.

Both varieties are highly ornamental. More details to follow.


Stock availability 2017/18

Nut trees

Buartnuts, hickory and hican are sold out for 2017/18. Heartnuts are also likely to sell out. To avoid disappointment, we advise ordering asap.

Fruit trees

Some cider varieties are also selling out for 2017/18. Brown's on MM106 is now sold out.

Most plums, damsons and cherries are now sold out for 2017/18