Practical Permaculture – Nuts About Hazelnuts


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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