Hazelnut and Soil Drainage

I’m doing some planning to plant some hazelnut trees. Probably from 8 to 12 trees. I understand that all trees like soil that is well drained.

But I get a large area that is at the low side of my property. There is no standing water. But water over there would drain the last. All grass and landscape trees grow well there, no issue. So I just wonder if hazelnut or other nut or fruit trees can tolerate some wet soil.

Here is the area of my property that I’d like to plant. The photo is facing West. The North side is high ground. The photo is taking on a large (180’ long) berm that I grow fig, jujube and persimmon, all heat seeking and drought tolerate fruit trees. Rain water drains from right (North) to left (South) and passing the berm to neighbor’s yard. Water then drain into a stream in the wooded area on the far left. At the end of the berm to the row of landscape tree is about 85’ long. At 15’ spacing, I can plant 5-6 hazelnut trees there and at least 2-3 rows. The property line runs to the left of this photo. My neighbor’s yard is in lower ground.

As long as it is not standing you should be fine. If you are concerned you could always dig some trenches to funnel it out faster. While using the dug dirt to elevate the trees themselves. But I doubt you need it. When the river here floods tree roots are under water for days and not many of them are dying. I have been packing in the hazelnuts myself. You can put them pretty close like a hedge. Hoping to finish mine this winter.

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Yes. I seem to remember some hazelnut grows in the wild and some are even close to water.

Just in general, what fruit or nuts trees absolutely can’t tolerate wet feet, or prefer dry soil? And what trees like more moist soil? I know fig and some wine grapes like dry soil.

Unless you get a swamp or a desert you most likely will have no problems with anything. The initial planting when the soil is disturbed is when you need to worry about water. Water fills the hole like a bowl. That is why many people plant on a small mound to help prevent that. Once they are established they should be fine through most problems.


It all depends on what you consider a swamp. My soil profile is 12" of “somewhat poorly draining” silt-loam sitting on top of poorly draining silty clay. The land is at about 3% slope. It does not have a hydric soil rating, so it is not considered a wetland, but every peach that I’ve planted in native soil at ground level has died, and every one that I’ve planted in a mound has thrived. This is probably a somewhat typical soil profile in much of the eastern part of the country.

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So this goes back to the question, what fruit and nut trees can tolerate wet soil. This is why I keep the berm for some of the trees I think like dry soil. I seem to remember that some nut trees are more tolerate than fruit trees on wet soil. Some wild seedlings even grow near streams.

The only real way you will know what works or not is to try. None of us will be able to tell you because there are just too many unknowns. There is always potential for issue, but I always side on just do it and find out.

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Apples and pears tolerate wet soil better than other fruit trees, and I assume some of their rootstocks are better than others. My plums on marianna 2624 have done okay on the same wet sites that have killed peaches and cherries.


My opinion is that if you have no standing water your hazels will grow well. Your only talking about a few trees so you could raise the soil level where your planting hole will be. You could get lucky and find out that hazels grow better because of the natural addition water available at the lower site. If it were me I would give it a try. A side note is that hazels air layer pretty easily for replanting if some fail. I air layered 8 Jefferson this year in 2 liter bottles.

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I have one 40-year-old and eleven 6-year-old hazels growing on the wettest section of my property. There is standing water for about 10 days each winter in zone 7b. The trees are not growing on mounds. In that same area, two peaches have died and three cherries are barely hanging on. For me, hazels are the best tree crop for wet land.


Thanks. There is nothing like your first hand experience.

This seems to be my impression. I’ve heard of this somewhere. TY.

In the Puget Sound lowlands;
Hazelnuts grow wild.
They prefer good drainage.
Usually found on hillside soils
Not the bottom lands.
You could try raised beds or berms.
Create small mounds to get the trees up a bit higher.

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