Hazelnut Grove at Blackberry Blossom Farm
Our next big project on the farm is to
establish a hazelnut grove for a future U-Pick.This
project was prompted by joining a new research project at the Arbor Day
Society. These folks have developed a hybrid hazelnut bush which grows to only
10-15 diameter and about the same height which should be ideal for
My wife Janice thought it would be fun to create a circular
layout for the trees, so I put on my nerd hat again and came up with
the following layout.
The trees on the inside ring are placed on the compass points 15 ft. from the center.
This resulted in a distance between trees of 21.27 ft. I used two tapes
and measured this distance from two trees to locate the next ring. I
continued measuring and staking from two trees until all twenty tree
were located and staked.
This area is just south of the red raspberry patch. That's my dog
Tucker overseeing the layout process.
After laying out the grove, I gathered my girls for a little hole digging party.
When we start a project like this which involves
digging holes, we always find at least one hole location protected by a huge rock.
This project, of course was no exception.
This is the very last hole we attempted to dig.
To paraphase Forest Gump "Sometimes there aren't enough rocks but
sometimes the rocks are just too big"
We had to move the last hole a liitle bit which of course screwed up my
perfect geometric alignment, but I'll let future visitors to the farm
find the error!
The planting instructions called for soaking the
trees for 3-6 hours before planting. It took us about 3 hours to layout the grove and dig
the holes so the trees were ready to plant when we finished.
I didn't plant the trees right away because I needed something to
protect them from a wondering deer herd which frequently graze in our
fields. The last thing I wanted to do was provide them some more juicy
morsels to devour. I had a roll of 5 ft. wide fence wire so I used that to make
2 1/2 ft. tall cages to place over the young trees. When the cages were
finished, I planted the trees. The weather was unseasonable warm that
week so I didn't get the trees mulched until a couple of days
later. A cold front passed through the day after I chipped enough mulch
to protect the trees. The temperature dropped to 4 degrees that
These cages are struck into the ground about 2 inches.
My success growing "hazelnuts" has been every similar to my red raspberries. "Not Great!"
I am hoping the same conditions (drought followed by record rainfall and a cool summer)
are what has seem to stunt the growth of my new hazelnut trees. I haven't had any "deer"
problems with these trees because I still have the wire cages over them. Just like the raspberries,
I have lost some of the trees but many are still hanging on. Maybe I'll get a clearer idea of how they are really doing
after a couple of "normal" years.