Hazelnut Planting Layout

I’m going to re-arrange my hazelnut planting this spring.

Right now, I have two groups of hazelnut seedlings and plants. One group is the American hybrids, like Oikos or Badgersett etc. They will be trained as bush. I’m thinking of spacing of 10’ to 12’. 15’ between rows.

The second group is OSU EFB resistant types related to “Sacajawea”, other OSU hybrids and the “Beast”, which is a hybrid of C. americana x C. avellana. I like to train them to be tree shape. Thinking of spacing 20-25’.

Now some practical questions:

  1. I believe those two groups are not much related pollen-wise. But there would be benefits, not harm if they are planted together. Otherwise, I can plant the first group near the edge of my woods and plant the second group in open land.
  2. I plan to plant the short bushy American hybrids in front of the taller tree shape OSU types. Rows run from East to West.
  3. With at least 10’ spacing, I believe I leave enough room for lawn tractor to mow the lawn.
  4. For animals, I would install the smooth tree guards to fend of the squirrels etc. The American hybrids will be left not protected other than deer barriers in early years. Not sure if they are good or bad to protect my main OSU crops.

I really like to see how the OSU hybrids can behave over years. If they are really EFB resistant and the American hybrids do not produce large nuts, I may cut down or transplant the American hybrids. They layer easily.

Not sure if I’m missing anything. I plan to grow to about 20 OSU hybrids and maybe 5-10 pollenizers like Beast. Beast can produce nuts of good size.

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I have 10 OSU hazelnut varieties spaced about 20’ apart. Even with that spacing, I’ve had to prune branches to keep trees from growing into each other. Here the saplings are definitely deer candy when young and so a wire fence is necessary. Even so, a few of mine got munched by deer (pushing over fence) and ended up growing with several crooks in trunk. That makes it hard to cover trunk with metal dryer vent tubes when you’re trying to deter squirrels. So, ideally, it would be good to train to a straight trunk.
Once trees had about a 5’ trunk, the deer were not interested in pulling down branches, like they would do for fruit trees. The deer pressure is then off …and you’re facing ubiquitous squirrel pressure for the next 20 years!

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I installed large tomato cages made from concrete wires. But the opening is too large and deer can still damage seedlings. So I installed 2’ plastic mess row or chicken wire. I’ll see what is more effective. Thought about tree tubes. But they are not cheap and they do not last as long as the metal wires.

I think the PNW climate may be milder than ours. Some hazelnut farms in Oregon plant trees with 15’ spacing. Then they thin older trees to 30’ spacing. So it seems 25-30 spacing is good for mature trees. Assume EFB won’t kill them before that.

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How long did it take you to get that five foot trunk? Mine are deer candy and they are mangling up my cages.

It took about 4-5 years from a 2’ whip… I kept pinching off side branches and only allowing apical shoot to grow. No pleasure to take in the aesthetics of the structure! Even when branching starts at 5 feet, you have to protect the tender side shoots until stiff and unappealing.

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I think we’ll have to continue to protect the young trees when they reach 5’. Our deer damages young trees every autumn season by rubbing the antlers.

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Yes, that’s right, spiral plastic tree tubes around trunk still necessary.

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