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Hazelnut growers hit hard by winter storm

Grower Garry Rodakowski's farm is near Vida, he said he has 6,000 trees and said half of them were damaged by the storm.

Posted: Mar 5, 2019 7:10 PM
Updated: Mar 5, 2019 7:14 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- Hazelnut growers are dealing with the fallout after last week's historic winter storm.

Grower Garry Rodakowski's farm is near Vida. He said he has 6,000 trees and said half of them were damaged by the storm. He's been working on clearing broken branches with a chainsaw but said it could take him months to clear the debris. He's been growing hazelnuts for 50 years and said this is one of the worst storms mother nature has ever thrown his way.

"I'm getting older and makes it harder for me to do ... the trees are getting older and it's harder on them too," Rodakowski said. "So between the combination of the trees and myself, it's going to be a tough one."

Rodakowski said the storm is forcing him to push back on spraying to fight off Eastern Filbert Blight, a disease that can kill the trees.

"I know I won't be able to get to it," Rodakowski said. "I will possibly look at aerial application, but it's very expensive."

Right now Rodakowski is not sure if he'll be able to fertilize his trees in April, but he said he's staying resilient and with a little help from mother nature he'll bounce back.

"Farming weather is part of what you deal with. You can't control it," Rodakowski said.

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