In Piedmont, the hazelnut cultivation is characterized by a constant and significant increase in the total area planted with hazelnut trees (from 12,142 ha in 2010 to about 20,000 ha in 2017). This constant increase has led many farms to become a nursery, thanks to the possibility of using their hazelnut plants as material of propagation (suckers). At the same time, to meet the demands of the market, numerous nurseries have diversified or modified their activity, directing it to the production of hazelnut plants. Therefore, considering the growing demand for multiplication material of quality and the specific requirements of the market, the nursery sector must offer certified material, from the phytosanitary point of view, and innovative products such as non-suckering rootstocks.
The aim of this research is to contribute to the development of a modern and specialized hazelnut nursery sector in Piedmont, particularly in the Cuneo Province. The project aims to introduce innovations, both process and product: i) develop highly sensitive molecular diagnostic tools for the specific or multiple diagnosis of viruses, in particular those reported by the D.M. 06/12/2016, for the phytosanitary certification of nursery material and for early identification of new/emerging viral agents; ii) evaluate, from the physiological and molecular point of view, the effect of non-suckering rootstocks (‘Dundee’ and ‘Newberg’) on the ‘Tonda Gentile Trilobata’ (TGT) and ‘Tonda di Giffoni’ cultivars, in order to introduce the use of grafted plants also in hazelnut cultivation.