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How to Start Hazelnut Farming in the USA: A Step-By-Step Production Guide to Planting to Harvest

Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) belongs to the family Betulaceae. Hazelnut farming is a lucrative agricultural venture gaining popularity in the United States. It presents an opportunity for farmers to diversify their crops and cash in on the growing demand for Hazelnuts.

How to Start Hazelnut Farming in the USA

How to Start Hazelnut Farming in the USA

What are Hazelnuts?

  • Hazelnuts are a form of nut that grows on the Hazel tree. They have a hard outer shell with an edible kernel inside. Hazelnuts are native to Europe and Asia but are now produced in many parts of the world, including the United States.
  • Hazelnuts are small, nutrient-dense nuts that pack a powerful punch regarding their health benefits. Growing Hazelnuts requires patience and dedication since the trees take several years to mature fully. However, once they start producing nuts regularly, you can expect a bountiful yearly harvest for decades.
  • Choosing suitable conditions based on your region’s climate and soil type is crucial to growing Hazelnuts successfully. Some regions may be better suited due to temperature fluctuations or rainfall patterns.

Soil and Climate Requirement for Hazelnut Production in the USA

  • Hazelnuts prefer a temperate climate with moderate rainfall and well-drained soil. They grow best in regions with long, hot summers and cool winters. Hazelnut trees are sensitive to frost during the flowering stage, which makes it important to select planting sites that offer protection from cold winds.
  • Soil fertility is also important when planting Hazelnut trees, as they require adequate nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other micronutrients to reach their full potential.
  • It’s advisable to conduct a soil test before planting your Hazelnuts to identify any deficiencies or imbalances in the nutrient content of your soil. This helps you decide on fertilization strategies and ensure optimal tree health over time.
  • Selecting appropriate sites with suitable climatic conditions and ensuring proper soil fertility management will greatly maximize yields when growing Hazelnuts commercially or for personal use.

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Hazelnut Plant

Who Produces the Most Hazelnuts in the USA?

Oregon is undoubtedly the leader in Hazelnut farming in the USA. This state produces 99 percent of all Hazelnuts grown in the country. It’s no surprise that Oregon has become famous for its Hazelnut production over time. Between 800 and 1,000 farmers grow these nuts here, significantly contributing to the nation’s agricultural industry. And while Washington does produce some Hazelnuts, too (accounting for only around 1% of total US production), they’re mainly grown south of the border.

Requirements to Start a Hazelnut Farm in the USA

  1. Choose the right location: Hazelnuts thrive in areas with mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and well-draining soil. Consider getting your soil tested before planting.
  2. Determine the size of your farm: Decide how many acres you want to dedicate to Hazelnut farming and what varieties you want to grow.
  3. Obtain necessary permits: Check with local authorities on zoning regulations and obtain any permits for land use or water rights.
  4. Plan your budget: Determine your financial capacity for starting and maintaining the farm, including equipment, labor costs, irrigation systems, fertilizers, etc.
  5. Purchase quality trees from reputable sources: Nurseries specializing in nut trees are good places to buy seedlings or established trees that have already been grafted onto rootstock.
  6. Planting and caring for young trees is crucial: Make sure they receive enough water, especially during hot summer months; prune them regularly; apply mulch around the base of each tree for weed suppression as well as moisture retention.

Hazelnut Varieties in the USA

  • Hazelnuts come in different varieties, and each type has its unique characteristics. The United States has several Hazelnut varieties, including Barcelona, Ennis, Jefferson, Dorris, Yamhill, Lewis McDonald, and Wepster.
  • Barcelona is a popular variety with excellent flavor and high yields. It’s the most commonly grown Hazelnut in Europe but also grows well in the United States.
  • Ennis is another widely grown variety that ripens earlier than other types of Hazelnuts. Its nut size is medium to large and produces good yields.
  • Jefferson is known for resisting Eastern Filbert Blight disease while producing high-quality nuts with exceptional flavor.
  • Dorris is an early-maturing variety with small-sized nuts but offers excellent productivity.
  • Yamhill boasts large kernels, making it a favorite among commercial growers for being easy to shell.
  • Lewis McDonald has been recognized as one of the best-tasting Hazelnuts globally due to its flavorful taste.
  • Each Hazelnut variety offers farmers different benefits, such as resistance against various diseases or pests, larger nut sizes, or even better yield capacity per tree – ultimately providing consumers with more options when purchasing their products.

In case you missed it: How to Start Apricot Farming in the USA: A Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners

Hazelnut Farming

A Step-By-Step Process to Planting and Harvesting Hazelnuts

  1. Firstly, choose a suitable location with well-draining soil and partial shade. Hazelnut trees thrive in cooler climates with mild summers.
  2. Next, prepare the soil by removing all weeds and debris. Dig holes twice the size of your Hazelnut tree’s root ball and fill them with well-composted organic matter.
  3. Now, plant your tree at the same depth it was previously growing in its container. Water thoroughly after planting to ensure the roots have enough moisture to establish in their new environment.
  4. During the first year of growth, prune any damaged or diseased branches as necessary. In subsequent years, prune during winter dormancy to maintain shape and encourage fruit production.
  5. When it comes time for harvest season (usually September-October), look for mature nuts that have fallen from the tree naturally or use hand-held tools to gently shake branches until ripe nuts fall into collection bins below.

Hazelnut Growing Conditions in the USA

  • Hazelnuts are a popular nut that is grown in the United States. To grow Hazelnuts, it’s important to understand the ideal growing conditions for this plant. Hazelnut trees require specific environmental conditions to thrive, including temperature and soil quality.
  • Hazelnut trees prefer moderate temperatures with mild winters and warm summers. The optimal temperature range for growth is between 15°C-27°C. This temperate climate can be found in many regions across the USA, including Pacific Northwest states like Oregon, Washington, and California.
  • In addition to favorable temperatures, Hazelnuts require well-draining soils with good water-holding capacity. Ideally, the soil should have pH levels between 6-7, making them slightly acidic or neutral.
  • Another vital factor when considering Hazelnut farming is choosing an appropriate site where you will plant your seedlings or established trees since they need adequate sunlight and protection from strong winds.

Tips for Getting More Production in Hazelnut Farming in the USA

  • Hazelnuts are a delicious and nutritious crop in the USA. Choosing the right variety of Hazelnut for your climate and soil conditions is essential. Some varieties are better suited to colder climates, while others thrive in warmer regions.
  • Ensure you plant your trees in an area with good drainage and plenty of sunlight. Hazelnuts need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily to produce more yield.
  • Prune your Hazelnut trees regularly to promote healthy growth and fruit production. Pruning also helps prevent disease by allowing air and light into the tree canopy.
  • Fertilize your trees with nitrogen-rich fertilizer every spring after new growth appears. This will provide the important nutrients for healthy tree growth and nut production.
  • Using netting or other physical barriers, protect your trees from pests such as squirrels or birds. These pests can quickly decimate a Hazelnut crop if left unchecked.
  • It is essential to provide enough water for young trees in their first few years as they establish roots deep into the soil layers where moisture levels remain consistent throughout dry periods.
  • Keep your eye out for pest infestations, such as aphids or mites, that can harm the tree’s health if left untreated over time by using organic pesticides only when needed – avoiding chemical treatment.

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Feeding and Watering Requirement for Hazelnut Farming in the USA

Your Hazelnut trees need to be well-fed and watered regularly if they are going to produce a good harvest. A balanced fertilizer is recommended, with regular applications throughout the year. Ensure your Hazelnuts get at least an inch of water per week during the planting season. However, be careful not to overwater the trees, which can lead to root rot.

Pruning Hazelnut Trees for More Production

  • Pruning is crucial to Hazelnut farming, ensuring the trees remain healthy and productive. It involves removing old, diseased, or dead branches to maintain the tree’s shape and improve production efficiency.
  • Hazelnut trees require pruning in their early years to establish strong frameworks supporting future growth. During this period, it is essential to prune heavily to ensure only a few sturdy stems grow from the tree’s base.
  • In subsequent years, Hazelnut farmers should focus on thinning out crowded areas by removing weak or crossing branches. This process allows more light and air circulation throughout the canopy while encouraging fruiting wood development. It’s advisable to carry out pruning during winter when most Hazelnuts are dormant. Pruning at this time minimizes damage caused by broken branches as well as reduces the spread of diseases like eastern filbert blight.
  • Effective pruning requires sharp tools such as loppers and hand saws for cutting thick branches cleanly without tearing away bark tissue. Hazelnut farmers must also sanitize their equipment regularly with alcohol or bleach solutions between cuts to prevent infection spread.
  • Proper pruning practices are critical for maintaining healthy Hazelnut trees that produce maximum yearly yields. Hazelnut farmers must learn how and when to prune effectively while adhering to local regulations governing farm operations in their regions.

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Hazelnut Harvest

Pests and Diseases Management for Hazelnut Farming in the USA

  • Some of the most common insect pests include filbert worms, spider mites, and aphids. Filbertworms can cause significant damage to Hazelnuts by burrowing into the nuts and feeding on them from the inside. Spider mites can cause stunted growth, defoliation, and lower nut yields if not controlled.
  • Aphids are another pest that can be challenging for Hazelnut farmers as they excrete honeydew which attracts ants while also causing sooty mold to grow on leaves. However, effective control measures such as releasing natural predators like ladybugs or lacewings have successfully managed these pests.
  • Diseases such as Eastern Filbert Blight (EFB) pose a significant threat to Hazelnut farming in America’s Pacific Northwest region, where almost all commercial production occurs. EFB is caused by a fungus that infects trees through wounds or pruning cuts, leading to branch dieback, reduced nut quality, and yield loss.
  • Other diseases affecting Hazelnuts include bacterial blight, which causes leaf spots; powdery mildew, which affects foliage; crown rot caused by soil-borne fungi; Phytophthora root rot which primarily affects young trees.
  • Hazelnut farmers must be vigilant when monitoring their orchards for potential pest infestations or signs of disease development. By implementing proper cultural practices like good sanitation methods by removing infected plant debris regularly and using appropriate fungicides during high-risk periods of infection pressure, growers may effectively reduce risks associated with these hazards.

When and How to Harvest Your Hazelnuts in the USA?

Harvesting is a crucial part of the process, as this will determine the quality and yield of your crop. The right timing for harvesting is essential to ensure optimal results. You’ll want to observe your trees, looking for signs that the nuts are ready to harvest. Hazelnut harvesting typically begins in usually September-October. When it comes time to harvest your Hazelnuts, you have two options: handpicking or mechanical shaking. Handpicking involves picking one nut at a time by hand and is best suited for small orchards or backyard growers.

Mechanical shaking involves using specialized equipment that vibrates the tree, causing ripe nuts to fall onto nets laid out underneath. Once harvested, it’s essential to dry your Hazelnuts properly before storage – this helps prevent mold growth and extends their shelf life. Spread them out in a well-ventilated area until they reach a moisture content of 7% or less. Proper timing and techniques are crucial when it comes to harvesting Hazelnuts successfully.

In case you missed it: How to Grow Winter Squash and Summer Squash in the USA: Soil, Propagation, Planting, Care, and Farming Tips

Hazelnut Plant


Hazelnut farming involves the cultivation of Hazel trees to produce nuts that are sold for various purposes. Growing these trees and harvesting their nuts can be exciting but requires hard work and dedication. Hazelnuts are a versatile and nutritious nut that’s enjoyed by people all over the world.


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