Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Permaculture Plants: Hazelnuts (aka Filberts)

One of the world's most popular nuts... the Hazelnut

Common Name: Hazel, Hazelnuts, Filberts
Scientific Name: Corylus species
Family: Betulaceae (the Birch family) or Corylaceae (the Hazel family) depending on the botanist

Fresh Hazelnuts. This variety in England is called the Kentish Cobnut.

Common Species:
  • American Hazel (Corylus americana) – large shrub
  • European Filbert or Common Hazel (Corylus avellana) – large shrub
  • Chinese Tree Hazel (Corylus chinensis) – large tree
  • Turkish Tree Hazel (Corylus columa) – large tree
  • Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta) – large shrub
  • California Hazel (Corylus cornuta californica) - tree
  • Himalayan Hazel (Corylus ferox) - tree
  • Asian or Siberian Filbert (Corylus heterophylia) – large shrub
  • Common Filbert (Corylus maxima) – large shrub
  • Asian Beaked Hazel (Corylus sieboldiana) – large shrub
  • Tibetan Hazel (Corylus tibetica) - tree
  • Trazel (Corylus x columoides) – large tree (hybrid of European Filbert and Turkish Tree Hazel)
  • Filazel/Hazelbert (Corylus x hybrids) – large shrub
  • Chinese Trazel (Corylus x vilmorini) – large tree

Harvesting Hazelnuts
Seed (Left), Seed in Husk (Center), Seeds in a bunch from the tree (Right)

Description:
The Hazels are a group of deciduous large shrubs to large trees that are best known for their edible nuts. They are also fantastic windbreak and living fence plants – they were the traditional boundary markers in England. They provide pollen, food, and shelter for wildlife, and their wood has a large number of uses. These are great plants to blur the boundary from wild to garden.

European Filbert or Common Hazel (Corylus avellana)

History:
The Hazels are a genus of plants containing 14-18 species that are native to the northern temperate climates of the globe. Every species produces edible nuts, but some are larger and tastier than others especially the cultivars that have been developed in recent years.

Trivia:
See my previous articles on "What's in a name? Hazelnuts vs. Filberts vs. Cobnuts" and "Eastern Filbert Blight"

Hazelnuts are used in a wide range of food and drink.
Here is the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar ale

USING THIS PLANT
Primary Uses:
  • Edible nuts – raw, dried, or cooked; the more developed varieties/hybrids have a better flavor
  • Oil can be pressed/expelled from the nuts
  • Dried nuts can be ground into flour

Secondary Uses:
  • General insect pollen plant
  • Nut is a wildlife food of mammals and birds
  • Shrub forms provide shelter for wildlife
  • Windbreak
  • Edible hedge plant
  • Most species can be coppiced (every 6-15+ years)
  • Wood can be used for stakes, rods, thatching, fences, tools, handles, firewood, charcoal, etc.

Yield: 11-25 lbs (5-11 kg) depending on the size of the plant
Harvesting: Late Summer through early Autumn (late August – October). Nuts are either harvested from the ground or with nets while the tree is shaken.
Storage: Dried nuts will store for many years

The female (small and pink) and male (long and pale) catkins (flower clusters) on a Hazel

DESIGNING WITH THIS PLANT
USDA Hardiness Zone:
  • American Hazel (Corylus americana) – Zone 3
  • European Filbert or Common Hazel (Corylus avellana) – Zone 4
  • Chinese Tree Hazel (Corylus chinensis) – Zone 7
  • Turkish Tree Hazel (Corylus columa) – Zone 5
  • Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta) – Zone 3
  • California Hazel (Corylus cornuta californica) - Zone 4
  • Himalayan Hazel (Corylus ferox) - Zone 8
  • Asian or Siberian Filbert (Corylus heterophylia) – Zone 5
  • Common Filbert (Corylus maxima) – Zone 5
  • Asian Beaked Hazel (Corylus sieboldiana) – Zone 6
  • Tibetan Hazel (Corylus tibetica) - Zone 7
  • Trazel (Corylus x columoides) – Zone 5
  • Filazel/Hazelbert (Corylus x hybrids) – Zone 3
  • Chinese Trazel (Corylus x vilmorini) – Zone 5

AHS Heat Zone: 3-9
Chill Requirement: less than 100 up to 1,700 hours/units depending on the species and variety

Plant Type: Medium to large-sized Shrubs; Medium to very large-sized Trees
Leaf Type: Deciduous
Forest Garden Use: Canopy Layer, Sub-Canopy (Understory) Layer, Shrub Layer
Cultivars/Varieties: Many species and varieties available.

Pollination: Many of the hybrids and improved varieties are self-fertile, but the undeveloped species require cross-pollination from at least one other variety/cultivar. All varieties will benefit (i.e. produce more nuts) when allowed to cross-pollinate. Note that many Corylus species will cross-pollinate with other varieties and species. Check with your supplier for more specific information since there are so many species and varieties and hybrids. Pollinated by wind.
Flowering: Early Spring through Summer

Life Span:
Years to Begin Bearing: 3-4 years
Years of Useful Life: 40-50 years, but likely much more for the larger tree species; also considering the suckering nature of the shrub species, new shoots will develop into plants to replace older plants thereby making the thicket’s lifespan indefinite.

A large Hazelnut

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS PLANT
Size:
  • American Hazel (Corylus americana) – 6-12 feet (1.8-3.5 meters) tall and 6-20 feet (1.8-6 meters) wide
  • European Filbert or Common Hazel (Corylus avellana) – 12-25 feet (3.5-7.5 meters) tall and 25 feet (7.5 meters) wide
  • Chinese Tree Hazel (Corylus chinensis) – 120 feet (36 meters) tall and 75 feet (22 meters) wide
  • Turkish Tree Hazel (Corylus columa) – 80 feet (24 meters) tall and 30 feet (9 meters) wide
  • Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta) – 6-12 feet (1.8-3.5 meters) tall and wide
  • California Hazel (Corylus cornuta californica) - 26 feet (8 meters) tall
  • Himalayan Hazel (Corylus ferox) - 33 feet (10 meters) tall
  • Asian or Siberian Filbert (Corylus heterophylia) – 23 feet (7 meters) tall
  • Common Filbert (Corylus maxima) – 19 feet (6 meters) tall and 16 feet (5 meters) wide
  • Asian Beaked Hazel (Corylus sieboldiana) – 16 feet (5 meters) tall
  • Tibetan Hazel (Corylus tibetica) - 50 feet (15 meters) tall
  • Trazel (Corylus x columoides) – 60 feet (18 meters) tall and 40 feet (12 meters) wide
  • Filazel/Hazelbert (Corylus x hybrids) – 12-15 feet (3.5-4.5 meters) tall and 12-20 feet (3.5-6 meters) wide
  • Chinese Trazel (Corylus x vilmorini) – 82 feet (25 meters) tall

Roots: All the shrub forms have fibrous, suckering roots that will send up new shoots to form a clumping thicket
Growth Rate: Medium to Medium-Fast


Hedgerows, often of Hazels, were traditionally used as boundary markers in Britain.


GROWING CONDITIONS FOR THIS PLANT
Light: Prefers full sun
Shade: Tolerates deep shade, but nut production is reduced proportionate to light reduction
Moisture: Medium soil moisture preferred
pH: most species prefer fairly neutral to alkaline soil (6.1 - 7.5)

Special Considerations for Growing:
Tolerates juglone (natural growth inhibitor produced by Black Walnut and its relatives). Consider using this tree as a buffer between your walnuts and other plantings.

Propagation: Stool layering is common. Can divide suckers in early Spring. Usually grafted. Seeds need at 16-20 weeks stratification for germination.

Maintenance:
Minimal. May need to cut back the shoots from suckering roots if you do not want a thicket or hedge.

Concerns:
Some people have seasonal allergies to the pollen


10 comments:

  1. We planted a couple of American Hazels this spring. How would you suggest incorporating the nuts into a beer?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm looking at planting a few hazelnuts and want to do so in guilds. What do you recommend to plant with them?

    ReplyDelete
  3. How can a mono crop filbert orchard be guided toward multi-species, stacking, permaculture methodologies? Current practice is for sweeping fallen nuts for harvest, meaning orchard floor needs to be clean and clear of other plants.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would suggest culinary and medicinal herbs. Many of them are self-seeding annuals. Most herbs would be cut down to harvest long before nut harvest time so raking or sweeping wont hurt anything and they wont be in the way.

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