Once you hear the word hazelnut you may drift off to your happy place daydreaming about hazelnut coffee or delectable chocolate and hazelnut truffles. Hazelnuts are known to be a culinary delight with their sweet and nutty flavor but they also make for an attractive tree among landscapes with their lush green leaves. Hazelnut trees are low maintenance and provide the gift of buckets and buckets of fresh irresistible nuts.
Hazelnut trees are tough trees that can be planted all year, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. If you plant your tree during the summer, especially during a heat wave of drought then give your tree extra water. The best time to plant is in the fall, six weeks before the first frost so your tree can get rooted into the ground before winter, or in the spring six weeks after the final frost, giving it time to become established before summer heat sets in. Keep in mind that planting during the summer still gives your tree enough time to get rooted in before the winter.
When deciding where to plant your Hazelnut trees look for an area that receives full sunlight, because this is where hazelnuts will grow best. These nutty trees can tolerate partial shade, and you’ll still receive an abundant harvest year after year if your tree gets at least six hours of sunlight a day. Avoid planting your tree in areas of your yard that are prone to flooding or that collects standing water or large puddles for extended periods of time.
Once you have the perfect location scouted out, dig a hole that’s just as deep as the root ball, and three times as wide. Then take a shovel or pitchfork and scrape around the sides of the hole to loosen the dirt up. Next, remove any debris like grass, dirt clumps, or rocks from the hole, and place your tree in it. Make sure that your tree is straight at a 90 degree angle, and that the root collar is level with the surrounding ground. Then slowly back fill your hole and gently tamp the soil down. Once the planting process is complete give your tree a long slow drink of water.
Keep the soil for your hazelnut tree moist, not over saturated. Feel your soil every few days, once it feels like it’s close to drying out give your tree a slow drink of water by holding a hose to its base and counting to 30 seconds.
Hazelnut trees don’t require fertilizer often. We suggest waiting two to three years before fertilizing them. To give your tree a boost for healthy growth in the summer feed it some well-balanced organic fertilizer like formula 10-10-10 in the late winter or early spring.
Hazelnut trees are not self-pollinating. They will need to cross pollinate with another variety in order to produce nuts. The Jefferson Filbert Hazelnut and the Theta Filbert Hazelnut make excellent pollination partners for each other.
The best time to prune is in the late winter or early spring when your tree is still dormant. Be sure to remove any dead, damaged, or broken branches. Look for any crisscrossing or rubbing branches, to prune them before they break on their own. When thinning your tree out to allow more air flow and sunlight to the center of your tree be sure to plan ahead and look at your tree to decide what to prune before starting, this will ensure that you don’t over prune your tree. Look for branches sticking straight upwards, these are non-fruit bearing branches that can easily be removed. Before pruning make sure that you have a sharp and sterile pair of hand pruners or loppers.
Weeds will compete with young trees for nutrients, so if you see any within 2 to 3 feet of the base of your tree it would be best to remove them. Remove them by taking a firm grasp on them and then pull them upwards out of the ground in a twisting motion. By spreading a layer of mulch around your tree that’s 2 to 3 inches thick it will prevent weeds from growing, and help the soil retain moisture.