Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hazel Tubelings: Shipping, and Sold Out

The good news: we start shipping this week, at the beginning of the order/shipping/pick-up queue. We've got some hazels ready to go, and chestnuts not far behind. Keep in mind that this does not mean that we are ready to ship all of our outstanding orders; many of the plants for our currently outstanding orders will not be ready until July.

The less good news: we're sold out of hazel plants for the year. If your order has already been received and processed, there is a good chance that we will be able to fulfill even the most recent orders; however new orders and email orders not yet processed will most likely not be able to ship until next year.
We are particularly low on Large-select and Xtra Large-select material; I'm afraid that there's a good chance that some of the orders we've already taken for these classes of plants may not be filled this year. For those of you in this boat, you will have the option to convert your order to another class with higher availability, postpone it until next year, or take a refund.

We are essentially sold out of Chestnuts as well, but there may be a little wiggle-room for All-Purpose and Nut-type trees. Due to less stringent germination requirements, outstanding chestnut orders will likely all be ready to ship by late June/ early July.

Why are we sold out? Mostly, it boils down to: insufficient hazel harvest labor, extraordinarily bad weather for chestnut harvest, and the compounding effect those had on the timely processing of the hazel seed harvest.

This picture is of Philip harvesting chestnuts at 9 PM on October 10; we scrambled that day to get all we could in before the freeze that night. I was able to keep harvesting until about 2:30 AM, when the crop remaining had frozen; the greenhouse thermometer said it got down to 17.8° F that night. Harvest had already been slowed substantially by a poorly timed windstorm and wet weather; this very early freeze claimed more than 95% of the overall chestnut harvest. We did, nevertheless, manage to get enough in to cover the orders we've currently got in the database.

We don't like being sold out this early in the season, and we apologize– but that's the way it is. Orders can still be placed for next season, and this will effectively mark the beginning of the delivery queue for the 2011 planting season. This means: if you want plants for next May-June delivery, it might be a good idea to place those orders now. We do expect availability to be very substantially improved, as it has already been this year compared to last.

Regarding the timing of shipping, this year the hazel pipeline is a little slow, but the plants we'll be delivering are very strong and healthy. Badgersett is a sustainability-first business; heat and power in the greenhouses comes from the sun, and that's it. This means that nearly all stages of plant production, including post-harvest processing, stratification, germination and actual plant growth, depend on the weather. We do what we can to get plants ready as quickly as possible, but the bottom line is that the plants are ready when they are ready, and not before. We will only ship plants worthy of our guarantees, and often this means that they will ship later than your requested ship date.

It should also be kept in mind that we have a long queue of orders; currently we have some orders made in 2008 that are ready for completion of shipping this year. Orders made in January are likely to ship before mid-July, and possibly even in June. Most orders made in April of this year won't come to the head of the queue until our second flush of plants is ready in July.

This information has been available in a shorter, less specific form in our FAQ, which does state that you can contact us for your order status and get a fairly short turn-around. That is unfortunately not the case right now. We are more focussed on the quality of the tubelings than on responding to order inquiries right now. We're sorry that we have been slow in responding, but we are convinced that plants of the highest quality will make everybody much happier in the long run. We sincerely appreciate your patience!


  1. It looks like we might not start shipping until next week. Reasons: 1) box shipment came in late. 2) Philip got a stomach bug bad enough for the emergency room. 3) Meg and Elly then caught that stomach bug. 4) Ryan's nose lost an argument with a wrench. 5) Brandon (me) is on the road for a trip visiting growers.

    I am at least as aggravated about this as you are- but we'll start getting them shipped soon.

  2. Wow -- Thanks for my Nut-Type Chestnuts tubeling order!! I started planting right away but then I just got this clarification:

    "Chestnuts have both male and female flowers on the same tree but are not self-fertile. At least 2 trees are necessary to make nuts, and they should be no more than 200 feet apart for efficient pollination. For a grove planting we recommend 10 foot spacing."

    So I was going to plant my trees in our 10 acres of woods -- where ever there was a space in the canopy for sun, with a clearing in the forest. I have been clearing out all the buckthorn trees, etc.

    But now I realize I better make sure that at least a few of the trees are fairly close together so that nuts are produced!!

    This is obviously a very critical point so maybe you all want to clarify this for others who might not think that doing grove planting is necessary?

    Please confirm that this is the case and please advise me as to how important this is -- how many trees should be grown nearby, how close, to ensure fertilization so nuts will be produced!

    I noticed you state this "self-fertilization" issue in your information for the hazelnuts but not for the chestnuts.

    Pollination: Wind; will not self-pollinate.

    I will be happy to plant to ensure that the nuts are produced -- still I just thought this was a critical detail which should be better clarified for the newly initiated.

    Thanks again -- the tubelings are awesome!

  3. Spiraldance- yike. You have indeed found a great glaring hole in our available information. I'm afraid it's because chestnut pollination was one of my earliest research focuses; I was the one who finally; after 3 years of abysmal failures in controlled pollination, finally figured it out. The "Chestnut Pollinator's Handbook" I put out is still the basis of most of the pollinations done by TACF.

    So far back there, and so much second nature- to US - I just forgot to lay it out. That and our making the assumption that most folks growing our hybrids are going to be planting them in orchard type situations-

    Quick basics (and yeah, we could use a whole post) - chestnuts are both wind AND insect pollinated; and quite bad at both. The reason being, wild chestnuts all over the world tend to exist in forests that are half chestnut, at least; they've never had to be good at it.

    Rule of thumb for most chestnut orchardists- if a chestnut tree is more than 50 feet from any others; its nut set will be VERY significantly reduced.

    For your specific situation; I'd pretty strongly recommend planting at least 3 chestnut trees per site; around 15 feet apart; or 20 if you have the room.

    You CAN actually plant two trees essentially in one hole. You should wind up with what looks like a "double trunked" tree. Even so- it would often happen, due to variations in timing of pollen shed, that a setup like that would result in one tree that usually has a good crop, and one that doesn't.

    Think of them as a "herd animal". They are just not designed to be loners.

    And I'm glad you asked before planting! :-)

  4. Well with determination our 10 acre forest will be "half-chestnut" as well! haha. Thanks so much.