Practical Permaculture – Nuts About Hazelnuts

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I feel like I could write a bit more on the subject of hazelnuts, I am working on a rather large writing project that I hope to have completed soon. In the meantime here is a little information on hazelnuts trees. I recently received three trees from the Arbor Day people and got excited, this article is the result… Enjoy…

So we all know that a hazelnut is the nut of the hazel tree, the hazel is a deciduous tree or large shrub native to the northern hemisphere. The flowers are produced very early in the spring before the leaves, and are monoecious, with single-sex catkins. The seeds are nuts, surrounded by a husk which partly encloses the nut.

Cultivation tips..

Hazels prefer full sunlight but will tolerate deep shade, nut production will be reduced proportionately to light reduction. Most species prefer a medium soil moisture, and a neutral soil. Hazel trees are one of the few trees that can tolerate juglone, which is a natural herbicide produced by black walnuts… Hazelnuts could effectively be used as a buffer between walnut trees and the garden, hazelnuts in general create a good dividing line between the garden and the wild area… Say the transition from zone 3 to 4… Or zone 4 to 5…

A hazelnut left to its own devices will typically form a medium to large shrub due to the rapidly growing suckers produced from the base of the plant, cutting back the sucker growth on a regular basis will prevent suckering and assist in the creation of a tree form. Hazel trees can form extensive root structures, these roots will send up sucker plants around the original plant and aid in easy propagation. Hazelnuts typically produce after 3 or 4 years, their useful life is typically 40 to 50 years.

A common question I am asked is what plants could be used in a permaculture guild using hazelnut as the primary tree, hazelnuts have an odd growth habit to be used as the primary tree. Instead, choose a taller tree as your primary element, use hazelnut as your understory tree, and plant your garden in a circle around your newly created guild. In the wild, hazelnut trees are not regularly observed with anything but the hardiest of plants growing underneath them. This does not mean it is impossible, just not something I would personally recommend… I have heard of people growing shrooms underneath them, but that is not in my field of expertise… Though I can attest to the shade created underneath these trees…

peace – chriscondello

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3 thoughts on “Practical Permaculture – Nuts About Hazelnuts

  1. […] Hazelnut These nuts are far more popular in Europe than the U.S. However, look for Nutella (a chocolate nut spread) or hazelnut filled chocolate to really enjoy them. […]

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  2. Xenia says:

    ‘ve just discovered your website/blog and wish to thank you for all the useful information. I’ve been wondering about something: I’ve inherited a piece of land which has nothing but bushes of hazelnut trees on it. The locals say it won’t be worth for anything unless the hazelnuts are cut down and even the roots pulled out. It seems like a sacrilege to me, since hazelnut is a natural plant there, and has apparently deep roots, which means that the piece of land has pontential, some others nearby are shallow (would support only plum trees and such).
    I am looking around for ideas different than those of the locals – you see they cut out all their walnut trees in order to sell the wood (my country was going through some sad times 20 yrs ago…) so the advice I got from the locals is to pull out the hazelnuts and grow walnuts to sell for wood after some 20 yrs. I know that you’ll likely have several ideas on what could be done instead, but do not wish to waste too much of your precious time, I am looking for alternatives that will be kind to the soil, to the existing plants, birds, insects…

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  3. bcumings1973 says:

    Thanks for the information. I’m planting hazelnuts in a few weeks. I hope to have a crop next year, as it’s a 2 year old tree. I love them.

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