How Many Hazelnut Trees Should You Plant per Acre?

Written by Jim Belt in Tree Farming

Did you know that planting density is one of the most important factors in maximizing hazelnut yields? Getting the tree spacing just right can make or break your crop. In this article, we'll cut through the confusion and provide research-backed recommendations for hazelnut tree spacing, whether you have a small backyard patch or a large commercial farm.

For hazelnut trees, the standard recommended planting density is 108 trees per acre. Trees are typically spaced 20 feet apart in a grid pattern, allowing 108 trees to fit in an acre. Densities up to 270 trees per acre have been used, but 108 trees is cited as the optimal density.

While conventional wisdom may suggest packing in as many trees as possible, the ideal density for hazelnuts actually involves leaving more space between each tree. Find out the planting density that research has proven time and again maximizes yields. It may just change the way you think about farm planning.


  • For small hazelnut farms, the standard recommended density is 108 trees per acre.
  • Trees are typically spaced 20 feet apart in a grid pattern, allowing 108 trees to fit in an acre.
  • While densities up to 270 trees per acre have been used, 108 trees per acre is most often cited as the optimal density for commercial hazelnut production.

Optimal Number of Hazelnut Trees per Acre

Tree density in small-scale hazelnut farms

You can achieve an ideal tree density by planting around 270 to 300 trees per acre. The recommended spacing for these hazelnut trees is 15–18 feet between trees within a row and 20 feet between rows. This spacing allows for sufficient light and air circulation for each tree and helps maintain a healthy environment for growth. To make it simpler, consider using a tree spacing calculator to determine the perfect spacing and number of trees for your farm.

Tree density in medium-sized hazelnut farms

When it comes to medium-sized hazelnut farms, increased acreage can accommodate more trees. Maintaining a balance between tree density and farm organization is crucial. Opt for approximately 400 to 500 trees per acre for medium-sized farms. The ideal tree spacing for these farms is around 12–15 feet between trees and 18–20 feet between rows.

Tree density in large-scale hazelnut farms

For large-scale hazelnut farms, you can plant up to 600–700 trees per acre. It's advised to maintain tighter spacing between trees and rows, typically 10–12 feet within rows and 16–18 feet between rows. Remember to account for the machinery needed for harvesting and growing, which may require wider rows or more consolidated tree spacing.

Hazelnut trees can have a production lifespan of over 80 years, so investing time and effort in proper planning is well worth it in the long run.

The Species of Hazelnut Tree Affects the Number of Trees per Acre

Hazelnut trees come in various species and varieties, including European hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), hybrid hazelnuts, and even interspecific hybrids. In this section, we'll explore how tree spacing calculators, disease resistance, and growth habits can shape the ideal planting density.

Tree spacing calculator

It's essential to determine the optimal spacing between trees to maximize yield while minimizing disease risks. Many factors determine this spacing:

  • Tree size
  • Disease resistance
  • Growth habit

Here are some examples of popular hazelnut tree varieties and their suggested spacing:

Disease resistance

Disease resistance is a critical factor in hazelnut tree selection, as it impacts the tree's overall health, yield, and planting density. Some prevalent diseases affecting hazelnut trees:

  • Eastern filbert blight
  • Bacterial blight

Hybrid hazelnuts tend to have better disease resistance due to their genetic diversity, which allows for closer spacing and a higher density per acre.

Growth habit

Lastly, the growth habits of your hazelnut tree species affect their spacing and density per acre:

  • Bush form: Allows for higher planting density, as the trees are shorter and less prone to shading each other, reducing space competition.
  • Single-stem form: Requires more spacing to prevent overcrowding and shading, leading to lower planting density per acre.

Tree Spacing Determines the Number of Hazelnut Trees in an Acre

In this section, we will discuss the importance of row spacing and tree spacing within rows.

Row spacing on your hazelnut farm

Row spacing refers to the distance between each row of hazelnut trees. This distance is essential for several reasons:

  • It allows for proper sunlight exposure.
  • It provides ample space for machinery to navigate your farm.
  • It enables adequate airflow between trees to prevent diseases.

It's important to consider the type of machinery used in your operation when selecting row spacing. A tree spacing calculator can make this decision easier, adjusting for various factors like machinery size and terrain.

Tree spacing within rows

Tree spacing within rows refers to the distance between individual hazelnut trees in each row. This spacing also plays a crucial role in your trees' health and productivity. Proper spacing between trees ensures:

  • Optimal nutrient availability
  • Reduced competition for light and water
  • Enhanced pollination and fruit set

Here's an example table of tree spacing scenarios:

Tree Spacing (feet) Trees per Acre
10 x 10 435
12 x 12 302
15 x 15 193

To find the ideal tree spacing for your hazelnut farm, use a tree spacing calculator to experiment with different scenarios and balance productivity with tree health. In all cases, make sure to follow the recommendations for your specific hazelnut variety and locale.

Planting Considerations When Planning for a Hazelnut Farm

Choose the right planting site

When planning your hazelnut farm, pay attention to the location of your planting site. Hazelnut trees thrive in hardiness zones 4–9. Keep in mind that you must have at least two different trees, one as a pollinator and another as a producer, located about 65 feet apart for successful cross-pollination.

Ensure the correct soil type and provide proper fertilization

  • Soil type: Hazelnut trees can be grown in a variety of soil types, but they prefer well-drained soils.
  • Fertilization: Consult your local natural resources conservation service (NRCS) for guidance on appropriate fertilizer rates for your site.

Provide adequate water source and good drainage

Hazelnut trees require adequate water and a good drainage system. It is critical to develop a proper irrigation system that meets the needs of your trees while preserving water resources. Limited supplemental irrigation is recommended in the northeastern United States.

Consider the sun exposure and climate of the planting site

  • Sun exposure: Choose a location that provides ample sunlight for optimum growth of your hazelnut trees. Some varieties, like the Barcelona, prefer a little shade in hot, sunny areas.
  • Climate: Remember that hazelnut trees can be sensitive to extreme temperatures. Adapt your planting schedule to the climate of your region, and consider surrounding your trees with evergreens to provide a windbreak if necessary.

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