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Fall favorites are delicious raw, roasted and ground.
Hazelnuts or American filberts yield small, edible egg-shaped nuts, around 1/2 inch long, enclosed in brown husks. Nuts mature and drop to the ground in late summer to early fall. Hazelnuts are relished by wildlife and are superb raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. The multi-stemmed tree or shrub is ornamental, with yellow catkins in spring, crisp green leaves in summer and vibrant red to yellow fall foliage. Harvest is often 2 to 3 years from planting. Plants are totally resistant to Eastern Filbert Blight. Includes two varieties for cross-pollination.
Plants often do not get over 15 feet, and tend to spread out as an ornamental hedge, when suckers grow freely forming multi-stems. Male flowers are yellowish, in catkins to 3” long, appearing early spring. Nuts are ½ inch across, enclosed in husks, ripening in September. Fall foliage is very showy yellow to coppery reds.
Plants are not self-fertile, and will not produce nuts unless pollinated by another tree. Your site should have space for at least 2 mature trees, spaced around 20 feet apart, close enough for cross-pollination. Each tree can grow to 10 feet tall, with a crown 12-15 feet across.
Plants thrive in full sun, in moderate to well-drained soils. Dig a hole twice as large as the root ball. Plant at the same level as the crown, fill in the hole, and tamp down to get rid of air pockets. Water thoroughly, and keep the soil moist, especially during dry or hot weather.
Hazelnuts tend to sucker. Trim away extra sprouts as they emerge at the base, and maintain a central trunk. Mature trees are more drought tolerant, but water once a week during dry spells. The plants we offer are bred for resistance to Eastern Filbert Blight, a problem that can kill off susceptible trees.
Harvest hazelnuts after their husks have dried, split and dropped from the tree. Fallen nuts can be raked and cleaned off. If picking earlier, gently pop off the husks encasing the nuts. Ripening occurs late fall. Harvest regularly, before squirrels and birds do.
Dry the nuts before storing. Spread the nuts out in a warm and well-ventilated spot. This takes several days; the nutmeats turn dark when dry. Check by cracking nuts in the shell. Dry nuts can keep up to 2 years frozen, or for a year in a refrigerator. Un-roasted nuts store better. Keep them in a jar or plastic container, covered tight enough to keep out moths. Check stored nuts for mold.