New fungal disease infecting fliberts and hazelnuts

Credit: Flickr / ingridtaylar

Q: We have three mature hazelnut trees that are at least 30 years old. Up until the cold winter of 2009, they were very lush and produced lots of hazelnuts. This past summer, however, we noticed large, dead sections on the tree with dried-looking leaves and stems. About half of the tree looks like this. We also had very few nuts from the trees. Is this the result of cold weather, heat or drought or disease? Could the trees just be getting old? Will they recover or are there any remedies?

We live in the Langley/Aldergrove area.

Thanks for any advice.

The problem could be “Eastern Filbert Blight” (Anisogramma anomala) – a new fungal disease recently introduced into the Abbotsford area. I strongly urge you to submit samples to the provincial diagnostic lab for proper verification. This disease is highly infectious to “Filberts and Hazelnuts” (Corylus cv.), causing black, raised fungal bodies (“stromata”) along the branch in cankers. These cankers expand from year to year, girdling branches and eventually killing trees within 5 to 12 years.