Hazelnut Trees: How To Grow And Care


The Hazelnut also referred to as Cobnut, Filbert or Spanish Nut is a type of nut that comes from the Corylus tree (Hazel). It is mostly cultivated in Turkey, Italy, Spain and United States. Hazelnuts have a sweet flavor and can be eaten raw, roasted or grounded into a paste.

Halzenuts (Filbert Fruits)

Hazelnut trees grow only 10 to 20 feet tall with a spread of 15 feet. The tree adapts to almost any soil as long as it is well-drained but performs best in soil with plenty of dead organic matter. Hazelnuts ripen during September. The actual time of ripening varies from year to year and depends on late-summer warmth. You can expect the first hazelnuts to fall around early-to-mid September. The best time to harvest is when nut is easy to remove from the husk.

Hazelnut trees does not regularly suffer from diseases or pests, however, you only need to protect them from wildlife especially when fruits begin to form, ensure your pots or beds are weed-free and above all feed regularly and water during dry seasons.

Plant Profile

Botanical NameCorylus avellana, Corylus maxima
Common NameHazel, Hazelnut, Cobnut, Filbert, Spanish Nut, Pontic Nut, Lombardy Nut
Type of PlantDeciduous
Growth RateModerate, Fast
Light RequirementPartial or full sunlight
NativeChicago area, Illinois, North America
Hardiness USDAZone 4-8
SoilMoist but well-drained
Soil PHAcid
Harvest TimeAugust-October
Mature Height15-18 ft
TolerancesOccasional drought, alkaline soil
Flower ColorYellow
Shape or FormMulti-stemmed, Round, thicket forming
Disease, Pests And ProblemsJapanese beetles, scale insects, filbert blight

How To Care For Hazelnut Tree

Hazelnut Tree Growing Requirements, Maintenance, and More


Hazelnuts can still grow very well in a partially shaded to a fully shaded area with moist, loamy or sandy soil. For most vigorous growth and maximum yields of nuts, grow the hazelnut tree in an area that receives maximum full sunlight, that is, an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.  The shadier the location, the few fruits the tree will produce.


Hazelnuts grow effectively in areas with moist, loamy or sandy soil. Avoid planting hazelnuts in low lying areas where soils are generally clay or waterlogged. Soils that are waterlogged are known to hinder circulation of oxygen around the root and in the long-run the plant may become susceptible to root and stem rot and eventually the death of your plant. More importantly, hazelnut tree planted in wetter sites will have slower growth and lower nut yields.

If your garden is made up of heavy clay soil or soils with poor drainage, you will need to amend it with dead organic matter such as compost or manure together with sand and small quantities of vermiculite, peat moss or perlite. Manure and compost will help to improve the nutrient content of the soil whereas perlite, vermiculite or peat moss will help to enhance effective drainage and circulation of oxygen.

Also Read: Different Types of Walnut Trees For Your Home

Soil Acidity

PH is also a very important factor as far growing hazelnuts is concerned. Hazelnut tree grows best in soils with mildly acidic to neutral PH range. The ideal PH should be between in the range of 6.0-7.0. If your garden soil PH is lower than 6.0, it should be amended with lime or acid neutralizers to raise the PH whereas if the soil PH is higher than 7.0, you will need to amend it with acidifiers or sulfur so as to lower the PH.


Often, growing hazelnut tree in a moist, well drained soil amended with compost or manure and in an area that receives maximum sunlight is all that is important in growing hazelnut tree. Generally, as long as the hazelnut tree appears healthy, fertilizer application is unnecessary. Fertilizer application is most often necessary in cases whereby the nut production is decreasing. In this case, you will need to apply a slow-release 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer to your hazelnut tree in early spring.


Watering a plant especially in its initial stages of growth is absolutely necessary as it helps the plant to acclimate to its current environment. Though hazelnut is somewhat drought tolerant, newly planted hazelnut tree require regular watering at least once a week for the first two years. Once the plant is fully established, the water requirements for the plant drastically reduce or sometimes watering becomes unnecessary unless the plant is grown in containers.

For container growing hazelnut tree, water the plant at least once per week and twice per week during the dry hot summer season. Always avoid overwatering as it is known to cause waterlogged a factor that might threaten the vibrancy and general health of your plant.


Hazelnut plants often send up many shoot from the base of the plant, which are commonly described as suckering. Though many gardeners prefer not to prune the hazelnut tree and just maintain it as a large shrub, removing the suckering from your hazelnut tree is important in keeping the stems clear, promoting air circulation within the tree leaves and reducing the cases of mildew and leaf fungal diseases. Also, the overgrowing suckers use the plants energy that could be used in fruit and flower production.

Trim away the overgrowing suckering growth or low sprouts as they develop to not only make the plant resume a tree shape but also maximize nut production. The suckers abundantly growing around the base of the tree may be cut off at ground level with loppers or anvil pruners; or harvested by cutting through the connecting root with a spade and carefully transplanting it to a new area in your garden.

It is also important to note that, severe or excessive pruning may not be good for the overall grow of hazelnut tree, therefore prune only a few parts of the plant at most twice per year. Prune when your plant enters the dormant state, from December to mid-February.


Mulching is generally an organic material spread on the soil surface. Mulching helps to control weed growth, conserves soil moisture and provides nutrients to the plant as the mulch decomposes. More importantly, it helps in temperature regulation and thus protecting the plant roots against effects of cold or heat. It also helps to keep fungal spores and other disease organisms from splashing from the soil onto the tree.

To effectively mulch your Hazelnut tree, scrape the area around the base of the tree to get rid of any excess weed, grass, dirt and rocks, then, apply at least a five-inch layer of organic mulch over the scraped area. Organic mulches such as shredded or ground bark, pine straw, compost, wood chips or cottonseed hulls are the best to use in this regard because they also breakdown over time and provide nutrients to your plant.

How To Propagate Hazelnut From Seeds

Hazelnuts are commonly propagated using layering technique. However, they can grow effectively well from fresh seed gathered in late summer. More importantly, hazelnut seeds germinate best if sown in autumn and chilled for several months to break their dormancy. Fungal diseases are usually a threat to the germination of hazelnut seeds and in this regard, the seeds must be kept under moist, airy conditions. Here is how to propagate hazelnut from seeds:

  • Collect hazelnuts during late summer after the shells turn solid, light reddish-brown color. During collection, it is better to pick the hazelnuts directly from the tree other than falling them off to ground so as to avoid cases of damage.
  • After collecting the hazelnuts, separate the nuts with damage and those that are displaying signs of rot from the rest.
  • By use of a fine-grain rasp to weaken the thick outer hull by rubbing it on all sides of each hazelnut. Rub gently until a pale patch forms, avoid rubbing through the hull as this can badly damage the seed and make it not to germinate.
  • Place the nuts in a container of cold water for at least 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours remove any nut that is floating on the surface. Such nuts normally have a low chance of germination. Only sow the hazelnuts that are at the bottom of the container.
  • Sow the hazelnuts in a relatively big planter or container filled with a mixture of sand, compost manure and perlite or vermiculite. Sow them at a depth of between 2 to 2 ½ inches or to any depth that is twice equal the diameter of the nut.
  • During sowing of the nut, make sure that the end that is slightly more pointed points down whereas the other end that looks almost flat with a lighter color should point up.
  • Cover the seed and firmly tamp down the soil. You will also need to water the soil
  • Place the planter or container inside a large transparent plastic bag and place the container in a cold place for two to four month. Avoid sealing the container.
  • Check them occasionally to make sure that the sand does not dry out completely because this can make the seed to resume dormancy and fail to germinate.
  • After at least 2 month, remove the plastic bag and move the container to a warm, bright, shaded location and begin watching out for any sprouting.
  • After all the nuts have germinated, plant them in your prepared garden bed in the fall.

Also Read: Different Types of Trees With Winter Berries

Harvesting And Storing Hazelnuts


Generally, the best time to harvest hazelnuts is September and October. The nuts grow as clusters referred to as burrs and begin to form as leaves grow.  They are ready to harvest in the autumn once the leaves and burrs begin to turn brown or when the fruits begin to detach from the branch and falls to the ground. If you harvest the nuts before September, they won’t be ripe enough and won’t taste good either.

Take the nuts directly from the tree rather than picking them up off the ground. When harvesting directly on the tree, pop off the husks encasing the nuts. Separate the damaged or nuts that show signs of rot from the good nuts. Then, you will need to place the good nuts in a warm and well ventilated location. Make sure the nuts are well spread in this place.

Alternatively, you can put hazelnuts in crates and dry them in the sun for a week and afterwards place them in a safe place that receives direct sunlight. This will finish the drying out process. Usually, the nutmeat turns dark when dry. You can check for this by cracking at least one of the nuts. Dry nuts can keep up to 2 years frozen or for a year in a refrigerator.

Moreover, hazelnuts can be dried by roasting, however, un-roasted nuts store better. You only need to cover them tight in a jar or plastic container to keep moth and flies away. It is also important to occasionally check stored nuts for molds.

Also Read: Hickory Trees For Landscaping Your Home

Different Types Of Hazelnut

  • Hybrid Hazelnut
  • Beaked Hazelnut
  • American Hazelnut
  • European Hazelnut

Varieties Of Hazelnut

  • Barcelona: Barcelona is the principal hazelnut variety grown in Pacific Northwest, accounting for more than 60% of acreage in Oregon. It is used in both the kernel market and the in-shell market, which favors its round shape and superior flavor. Barcelona does well in climates that are mild to average.
  • Ennis: This cultivar comes from the Oregon State University and as a tree; it has medium growth, medium-open behavior and can be formed as a tree. It has a large production of nuts. The fruit of the Ennis variety is large and oval in shape.
  • McDonald: MacDonald is a new hazelnut cultivar for the blanched kernel market. It was developed by Oregon Agri-cultural Experimental Station. They are characterized by small nuts, high level resistance to eastern filbert blight and is typically harvested by the end of September. The macDonald hazelnut tree has a growth habit that is similar to Jefferson with an open, upright canopy allowing for light penetration and better air circulation.
  • Negret: This variety grows small fruits in groups of 3 or 4 with a hard shell. It is am old variety originating from Spain.
  • Wepster: Wepster variety was developed by Oregon State University. The cultivar has high nut yield, small nut size, early nut maturity, very good kernel quality and high tree vigor. It is also resistant to bud mites, EFB and low incidences of kernel molds.
  • Lewis: The Lewis variety was developed at Oregon State University. It is grown mainly for its kernels. It is resistant to eastern filbert blight and bug mite. Its tree has soft and fuzzy foliage and produces more nuts than Barcelona variety.
  • Dorris: This hazelnut cultivar was developed at Oregon State in United States. Dorris displays versatility as a dual-purpose cultivar, has high gross yields, high nut yield efficiency and excellent resistance to blight.
  • Yamhill: The fruit of the Yamhill variety is spherical in shape, small in size and brown in color. It has little resistance to bud-mite and has a lot of nut-fiber content. The kernel is tasty and a 49% percentage of nut to kernel ratio. It is mainly used in industry and confectionary.
  • Jefferson: Jefferson variety was released in January 2009 at Oregon State University. Its tree is compact and attractive in the yard and landscape. This variety combines high resistance to eastern filbert blight caused by fungus and bug-mite. This disease-resistant variety feature striking, long yellow, male catkins that form in late fall and large delicious nutritious nuts that are ready to harvest in September. Its high productivity is making Jefferson very popular with commercial growers.

Pests And Diseases That Affect Hazelnut Tree


Aphids are sap-sucking bugs, they can cause your hazelnut tree to experience stunted grow with curled or distorted leaves. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants especially in temperate regions. Other than affecting the plant’s health by sucking sap, they act as vectors for plant diseases and make the plant to have unsightly look with deposits of honeydew and the subsequent growth of sooty moulds.

Scales Insects

Scale insects are small, oval and flat bugs with a protective tan to brown shell-like covering (Scale). These sap-sucking bugs attach themselves to the twigs, leaves, branches and fruits of your hazelnut tree and if not controlled can cause a lot of damage.

As these bugs feed on the sap of the hazelnut, they excrete tiny droplets of a sugary liquid referred to as honeydew. The droplets of honeydew fall and accumulate on foliage below, this usually causes the foliage to have unsightly look and feel sticky.

To get rid of scale insects, prune your hazelnut tree and dispose of infested branches, twigs and leaves then spray the entire plant with organic pesticides like insecticidal soaps or botanical insecticides to kill the scale insect larvae.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spot is caused by parasitic fungi or bacteria; the disease can develops on hazelnut tree leaves particularly under humid conditions by producing round blemishes or tan spots. When many spots are present, they can grow together and become a blight or blotch. Leaf spot can occur in young as well as mature hazelnuts. Leaf spot weakens the hazelnut tree by interrupting photosynthesis.

Mostly leaf spot fungi infect trees early in the spring just as the leaves are unfolding. If your hazelnut tree is showing signs of leaf spot, proper fungicide must be applied as a protectant before the fungus spreads on all the tree leaves.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is one of the most widespread and easily identifiable plant fungal diseases. Powdery mildew causes whitish-gray powdery mold or felt like patches on leaves or nuts of hazelnut tree.  The lower leaves are the most affected, but the mildew can appear on any above-ground part of the plant.

Conditions that favor mildew formation include dry foliage, high humidity, low light and moderate temperatures. Usually, as the mildew continues, the spots get larger and denser as large numbers of spores are formed and the mildew may spread up and down the length of the plant. standard fungicides are often an effective way to manage powdery mildew disease on hazelnut trees.

Other Diseases And Pests

  • Eastern Filbert Blight
  • Leaf Scorch
  • Canker
  • Sooty mold
  • Hazelnut Mosaic
  • Tent Caterpillars
  • Filbertworm
  • Spider mites
  • Japanese Beetles
  • Leafhoppers
  • Anthracnose

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

How Do Hazelnut Tree Flowers Look Like?

Hazelnut trees bloom with both male and female flower. The male flowers are elongated and yellow while the female flowers are small and red.

Can you Eat Raw Hazelnuts?

Fresh green Hazelnuts can be eaten when raw straight from the tree, provided you can break the nut open. A hazelnut is ripe when its fuzzy outer husk splits and exposes its hard shell, which must be cracked open to obtain the edible kernel or nut meat. Whereas the nut meat itself tastes sweeter, the outer covering skin somehow tastes bitter.

Why Is Roasting Hazelnuts Is Necessary?

The roasting process intensifies the nut’s natural sweetness. According to the USDA, roasted hazelnuts are slightly higher in thiamine and potassium while raw hazelnuts are a slightly better source of foliate and vitamin C.

Why Do Hazelnuts Go Bad Easily?

Like almost all nuts, they have a high fat content and this why they go bad easily.

Is Hazelnut A tree Or a bush?

Hazelnuts are generally grown as a bushy shrub and can be kept to a very manageable size by pruning.

Is Hazelnut Tree Self-pollinating?

Although hazelnut trees are monoecious type of plants (both the male and female flowers exist on the same tree), they are self-incompatible, meaning a tree can’t set nuts with its own pollen.

Are Hazelnuts Poisonous To Dogs?

Hazelnuts are not toxic to dogs and your dog won’t experience any health problem if it eats uncoated hazelnuts. However, it is not recommended to give your dog hazelnuts, because just like nuts of any kind, they can cause stomach upset or cause an intestinal obstruction that can eventually result to serious digestive issues.

Where Do Hazelnut Tree Grow Best?

Hazelnut trees are native to the eastern half North American from Louisiana to Georgia in the South to Manitoba and Quebec in the North. The native hazelnut trees (Corylus Americana) are hardy, disease resistant and are very tolerant to a wide range of growing conditions.

How Long Does It Take For A Hazelnut Tree To Produce Fruit?

Often hazelnut tree begin to produce fruits within two to five years of planting the tree. When the tree begins to produce fruits, the first fruits are usually small in size but as the tree continues to mature, the size of the nuts too increase. A mature hazelnut tree can produce up to 25 pounds of nuts in a single year.

Do Hazelnuts Tree Need A lot Of Water?

Mature hazelnut trees can tolerate moderate periods of drought but this doesn’t mean they will be productive. Usually, the water requirement needs of hazelnut trees are directly proportional to the canopy size (the number of leaves).

What Is The Recommended Hazelnut Tree Spacing?

The height of mature hazelnut is usually between three to 10 feet, but can reach 15 feet and spread five to 8 feet wide. In your garden, space the hazelnut tree within rows and 16 feet between rows for farmstead and feedlot windbreak plantings.

Why Is My Hazelnut Tree Not Producing Fruit?

A newly planted hazelnut tree does not start producing fruits until the tree becomes established. If a hazelnut tree is older than five years and has yet to produce nuts, the tree is most likely missing its mate.  Hazelnut trees require cross pollination from a different hazelnut cultivar to produce a nut crop. It is usually recommended to grow two hazelnut trees with significant genetic variations, one to act as a pollinator and the other as the nut producer.

What Animals Like To Eat Hazelnuts?

Hazelnuts are mostly eaten by squirrels, deer, turkey, woodpeckers, rats, mice, pheasants and other animals. Therefore when planted care must be taken to prevent these animals.

What Is The Health Benefits Of Eating Hazelnuts?

According to Linus Pauling Institute, Eating hazelnuts on a regular basis is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.