There's often curiosity about the origins of hazelnuts- whether they emerge from the sprawling branches of trees or the dense foliage of bushes. The answer lies in the fascinating journey from planting to harvest, a process that reveals not only their source but also the timeline for their production. Let's explore the unique growth habits of hazelnuts and shed light on whether they originate from trees or bushes.
Hazelnuts grow on trees, specifically the Corylus species, which can also form large shrubs. They mature slowly, taking 3 to 5 years to start producing nuts after planting, and can reach full production in 7 to 10 years, depending on the variety and growing conditions.
The European hazelnut grows tall like a tree, but the American hazelnut likes to spread out more, kind of like a big bush. This makes us curious about other kinds of hazelnuts. Let's find out together if they grow up high as trees or stay low like bushes.
Actually, hazelnuts come from the genus Corylus, which can grow as either trees or shrubs. Your hazel plant will typically develop into a large multi-stemmed shrub, but with a little patience and the right conditions, it can form a small tree.
Depending on the particular species and the environmental conditions, you might see hazelnuts growing on a plant that fits the description of a tree.
Here are some hazelnut facts for you:
It's fascinating to note that your hazelnut plant may start off looking more like a bush but can be trained over time to take on a more treelike form.
This involves careful pruning to encourage a central leader or main trunk. With time, your efforts can result in a hazelnut tree that not only provides delicious nuts but also serves as an attractive feature in your garden.
|European hazel, Common hazel
|Europe, Western Asia
|Eastern United States
|Shrub, can be tree-like
|Southeast Europe, Asia Minor
|Filbert, Giant hazel
|Southeast Europe, Turkey
|Shrub, can be tree-like
|Corylus avellana 'Contorta'
|Cultivar (origin from C. avellana)
The European hazelnut is perhaps the most well-known species, primarily cultivated for its nuts. It is characterized by its bushy shrub form, making it accessible for nut harvesting.
Its wide native range across Europe and Western Asia indicates its adaptability to various environmental conditions.
Native to the eastern United States, this species typically grows as a multi-stemmed shrub. It is valued both for its nuts and as a wildlife habitat, offering food and protection for various animal species.
The ability of C. americana to occasionally adopt a tree-like form demonstrates its versatility in growth habits.
Known for its tall stature, the Turkish hazel stands out as a true tree form within the genus. Its native range in Southeast Europe and Asia Minor contributes to its preference for climates found in these regions.
Corylus colurna is often used in urban landscaping due to its resilience and attractive structure.
Hazelnuts are relatively fast growers. The trees typically mature to produce nuts within 2 to 5 years after planting. As they develop, your hazelnuts will grow up to 2 feet per year.
These growth rates depend on the conditions provided for the hazelnut trees or bushes, including sunlight, soil quality, and water.
Once established, hazelnut trees can yield significantly, some producing up to 2,000–3,000 pounds of nuts per acre. You can look forward to this annual harvest for many years, as a well-maintained hazelnut tree can remain productive for up to 50 years.
|Slower initial growth
|Time to maturity
|Produces nuts in 3-5 years
|Produces nuts in 4-6 years
|Slightly lower per plant
|Higher per tree
|Easier by hand
|Suited for mechanical harvesting
|More frequent pruning
|Less frequent pruning
Hazelnut trees have specific climate preferences and grow best within certain geographical regions and USDA Hardiness Zones.
Hazelnuts favor a temperate climate, traditionally thriving in regions of Europe, North America, and parts of Asia. Your success with hazelnuts will greatly depend on matching the tree to a suitable climate that mimics its natural habitat.
Hazelnuts are hardy in a range of USDA Zones. Specifically, they perform well in zones 4 through 9, with some varieties more suited to the cooler end of this spectrum (zones 4-6), and others preferring the warmer range (zones 7-9).
Choose a variety that matches your local conditions to ensure healthy growth and bountiful harvests.
|Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones
|Adaptable to a wide range, but thrives in the cooler end.
|Performs well across a broad spectrum, with a preference for cooler climates.
|Better suited for zones in the middle of the spectrum, indicating a balance between cool and moderate temperatures.
|Prefers cooler climates similar to the European hazelnut.
|Developed to enhance disease resistance and climate adaptability, with some varieties favoring warmer zones.
Hazelnuts, also known as cobnuts or filberts depending on their species and region, thrive in very specific growing conditions, which are crucial for their development and nut production. Here’s a more detailed discussion of where hazelnuts grow best, focusing on these key requirements.
Hazelnuts require a temperate climate with distinct seasons, including a cold period to break dormancy and a warm summer for nut development.
The cold period is essential as it triggers the hazelnut trees to end their dormancy phase and start the new growing season. This chilling requirement varies among species and cultivars but is generally between 800 to 1,200 chilling hours below 7°C (45°F).
However, they are sensitive to extreme cold, particularly when temperatures drop below -20°C (-4°F), which can damage the trees. Moreover, hazelnuts need an adequate growing season free from early fall frosts, as these can damage the nuts and impact yield.
While hazelnuts are adaptable to various soil types, they grow best in deep, well-drained soils that are fertile and have a slight acidity. The ideal pH range for hazelnut trees is between 6.0 and 6.5.
Proper soil preparation before planting is crucial to ensure that the soil meets these conditions. This can involve adjusting the pH, improving soil structure and fertility by adding organic matter, and ensuring good drainage to prevent waterlogging, which hazelnuts do not tolerate well.
Hazelnut trees require consistent moisture for optimal growth, especially during the growing season. However, they do not tolerate standing water, so irrigation practices should ensure that water is available but not excessive.
Drip irrigation systems are often used in commercial orchards to provide water directly to the root zone of the trees, minimizing water waste and reducing the risk of fungal diseases that can occur with overhead watering.
Full sunlight is essential for hazelnut trees to produce a good yield. They should be planted in locations where they can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
Good airflow is also crucial to minimize the risk of fungal diseases. Planting trees with adequate spacing and in locations that receive good air circulation can help in preventing issues such as Eastern Filbert Blight, which is a significant concern in hazelnut production.
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