A first for us–nut trees! Hazelnuts’ original (pre-1492) range definitely included the Ozarks. Though I seldom see them in the wild, I have had some American hazelnuts here on my farm for many years. They’re beautiful, no-maintenance bushes that yield small, but round kernels easy to shell and eat.
The seedlings we’re offering are 3-4′ tall with very well developed, branched root systems. They are a few generations down the line but still from the breeding efforts of Phillip Rutter, et al (Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts), who have done the world a great service by creating these “neohybrid” hazels, the result of crosses between the American hazelnut, the beaked hazelnut, and the European filbert, all in the genus Corylus.
SPACING. They can be grown as multi-stemmed bushes/hedges or as a single trunk tree. If you want the bush/hedge form, plant the new trees about 3′ apart and simply allow the shoots from the roots to grow along with the others. If you go this route, the bush/hedge will usually top out around 8-12′ tall. If you want the tree form, plant the trees about 8-15′ apart, and simply cut off all the shoots that come up from the roots in order to favor a single trunk. This will result in a tree about 14-15′ tall.
Hazels can tolerate a wide variety of soils, but a sandy loam would be ideal. Soil pH is not crucial either, with a range of 5.5-7.0 acceptable, and 6.0 probably ideal. They are drought tolerant, but regular watering will help them become established.
At least two trees are necessary for cross pollination. They are wind pollinated, so another thing not to worry about!
Easy to grow and easy to shell, I think we’ve finally found a nut crop for our homestead, nursery and orchard.