Introduction

The Hazelnut is a deciduous tree found throughout most of Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. It typically makes a broad mass of stems about 4–6m high. There are about fifteen varieties of hazelnut, with Whiteheart being the most commonly grown in New Zealand. Hazelnuts are rich in unsaturated fats (about 80% of the oil) and low in saturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Growing Hazelnuts

Propagation:

Grafted seedlings.

Plant spacing:

5 x 3m (depends on site).

Trees/ha:

800

Yields/ha:

3.5 tonnes/ha (nuts in shell)

Time to first harvest:

4–6 years (from grafted trees)

Time to full production:

10–12 years

Training and pruning:

Train trees on a single trunk or as an open centre vase-shaped tree.

Time of flowering:

Spring

Time to maturity:

Early to mid autumn

Crop protection:

Protection from wind and frost is needed. Frost protection in the early years is especially important.

Soil type:

The shallow rooting habit means the tree will grow satisfactorily in shallow soils. Hazelnuts are also tolerant of clay, but they prefer sandy soils.

Fertiliser requirements:

Fertile soils are needed. Applications of NPK fertiliser are required. Boron deficiency can be a problem and trees will need supplementary applications when fruiting.

Weed control:

Weeds at the base of the trees need to be controlled. Pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicides can be used.

Pest/Diseases:

Aphids, Big Bud Mite, rats, possums, rabbits.

Harvesting:

Commercial hazelnut orchards use vacuum harvesters to collect the nuts from the ground. Clean, dry ground is required to collect the nuts successfully. The ground should also be free of fallen leaves as these make harvesting more difficult.

Marketing:

There is a small local market for hazelnuts. An export market exists for Australia and some parts of Europe.

Further Information

Chestnuts and Hazelnuts: An overview of the status of their production and research in New Zealand by Dr David L McNeill.

A Southern Nut Growers group also offers advice and information.