COBNUT

Cobnuts and filberts are varieties of the hazel nut found in hedgerows. Filberts are smaller than cobnuts, less vigorous, the husk completely enclosing the nut — with cobnuts the husk is shorter than the nut. All Hallow’s Eve (October 31st) was at one time called Nutcrack Eve, by reason of the cracking of nuts, accompanied by fortune-telling, which took place on that day.

Nut trees take some years before they come into bearing. See also WALNUT.

Cultivation. Nuts often do quite well on rough, stony land. Type of soil is not really important, provided rich ground is avoided. On rich land nuts may make excessive growth at the expense of cropping. If they are grown as hedges an annual mulch of compost or farmyard manure will be found beneficial. A sunny aspect is desirable together with some shelter from north and north-east winds, so that pollination is helped in February when the catkins are in blossom.

Cobnuts and filberts flower in February, depending to some extent on wind for the dispersal of pollen and the resulting fertilisation of the nuts. In wet weather, pollination is usually insufficient to ensure a good crop. The long yellow catkins, borne chiefly on the previous year’s wood, are the male flowers. The female flowers are much smaller, of a reddish tone, and are also carried mainly on the last year’s wood. It is thus very important not to begin pruning until the male blossoms have shed their pollen, or the female blossoms may not be fertilised. Nut trees should be pruned in early March, when the male flowers are shedding their pollen. Pruning at this time helps to distribute the pollen from the male catkins to the female flowers. A general thinning and removal of strong growth are recommended. When grown as hedges, it is only necessary to remove superfluous branches.

How to Pick Nuts. Nuts should be gathered only when absolutely ripe. The actual time varies according to variety, filberts being ready at the end of August, and cobnuts some weeks later. They are ripe when the husks are hard and brown. If it is desired to store them, gathering should be deferred until they fall naturally. In either case the nuts must be absolutely dry before eating and should be spread out in a dry place before eating or storing.

Nuts intended for storing should be packed in layers in stone or earthenware jars, boxes or tins, covering each layer with salt or sand. It is advisable to stopper ,thc jars. Properly stored nuts should keep until March.

Choice of Varieties:.

Cobnuts. Cosford Cob, Pearson’s Prolific, Webb’s Prize Cob. Filberts. Duke of Edinburgh. Kentish Cob or Lambert’s Filbert.

Pests of Nuts.

Nut Weevil. Symptoms: This pest is a greater menace to filberts than to cobnuts. The female bores into the side of the nutlets in May, and lays an egg in the hole. The grub emerges in June and feeds on the kernel, which is often completely destroyed.

Control: The nut weevil has always been a very difficult insect to destroy, but a 5 per cent Pyrethrin dust is usually effective. Apply during late May and again 3 weeks later. There are no diseases of importance which attack nuts.

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