2012 Season is approaching

The past month has seen the first crop of hazelnuts produced, and the discovery of 12 new producing trees in early April with near surface/exposed truffle.  Observations of what’s causing truffle damage, and trials to prevent it are under way.
Two surface trufflesCan you say “Exposed!”  Proud of the surface by nearly an inch, this one has no damage.  I covered it with a mound of soil and some feverfew leaves to scare the slaters. It’s still safe after a month.

Sometimes a truffle forms too close to the surface, and can even protude above ground once they grow to full size in January/February.  This is the perfect confirmation of a newly producing tree, but otherwise is not very desirable.  Exposure like this means they are likely to become damage by attack from insects, dry out or even rot.

Surface black winter truffle, attacked by pests 1_3Surface black winter truffle, attacked by pests 2_3The initial damage was caused by slaters and slugs.  Truffles seem to skin over and heal this type of damage, no worse than a blemish on an apple.


Surface black winter truffle, attacked by pests 3_3But visible inside (at the knife point ~1mm size) are small grey bugs, these swarm and burrow into the surface. They don’t eat much but the truffle seems unable to cope with this damage, rot often seems to results from this, possible due to attraction of whatever lays maggots in field mushrooms. This particular truffle later turned soft and was removed.


I’m observing, noting, experimenting to determine the multiple causes of damage and rot, details of which would be a bit boring in a blog, and it will be a while before I can draw conclusions and form avenues for proper scientific study. However it has resulted in some successful prevention methods being discovered, such as using leaves from insect repelling plants such as Feverfew to deter slater activity near exposed truffles after covering with more soil.


bluetongue lizard

I will need to have a talk with the insect control team, they have been a bit lazy it seems, probably too many snails and late nights.
One of the benefits of a rabbit/fox deterrent fence is the truffiére provides a haven for blue tongue lizards.