Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3rd in a Series - Hazelnut (Corylus americana)

Hazelnut, one of several related large shrubs known for their tasty nuts that provide food for humans or wildlife, is found throughout Ohio along roadsides, in fields, at the edges of forest, and in fencerows, in dry or moist sites. Also known as American Filbert or Hazel, it develops a broad, rounded, strongly suckering growth habit with age. Hybrids have been developed with European Filbert that combine its superior nut quality and yield with the cold hardiness of Hazelnut.

Hazelnut will reach dimensions of 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide, becoming arching and spreading with age, but new vertical suckers keep its middle interior canopy dense. As a member of the Birch Family, it is related to the Alders, Birches, Hornbeams, and Hophornbeams, in addition to other Hazelnuts and Filberts.  Hazelnut leaves are alternate, serrated, short-petioled, and normally broadly ovate to broadly elliptical.   It has small immature green catkins (male flowers) in summer, often with a miniature reddish-brown female flower nearby.   A few of the female flowers give rise to fruits wrapped in an outer, papery husk that covers one inner nut that serves as a food source for many mammals, maturing in early autumn.

Planting Requirements - Hazelnut is very adaptable to moist or dry, reasonably well-drained soils of variable pH and variable soil quality. It is found in zones 4 to 9, in full sun to partial shade (best nut production occurs in full sun).

Potential Problems - Hazelnut has several diseases and pests that may affect its bark or foliage, but none are usually serious.

The Hazelnut is one of 6 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2015 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District.  Other seedlings include White Pine, Chinquapin Oak, Black Walnut, Red Bud, and Flowering Dogwood. Also available this year are 2 varieties of standard pear trees; Potomac and Crispie. The sale will include Sierra Blueberries and Triple Crown thornless Blackberries.  We will offer two cover crop seed mixes for gardeners; a Fall Cover mix, and new this year, a mix that can be interseeded into a producing vegetable garden in late summer.  And as usual, the district has high quality all cedar birdfeeders and houses for sale.  For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-435-0408.

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