The standard 20 × 20 foot (6 × 6 meters) square with 108 trees per acre (267 trees per hectare) is adapted to a variety of soils and situations. Hazelnuts start producing in three to six years. The harvesting of nuts can be done by hand or by machine. Some producers are currently using mechanical blueberry pickers.
Researchers are evaluating specialized equipment for harvesting. Post-harvest peeling equipment is also required. The USDA and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) classify hazelnuts as a kind of coastal buffer zone, which acts as a natural biofilter that protects aquatic environments from excessive sedimentation, contaminated surface runoff and erosion. Taken together, their characteristics make American hazelnuts not only produce less than their European relatives, but the meat is more difficult to harvest.
Discover how hazelnuts require less water, sequester more carbon, and reduce soil erosion and nitrogen pollution. Finally, leftover hazelnuts can be ground to obtain a high-quality, gluten-free meal for humans or animals. Hybrid hazelnuts can produce nuts in standard agricultural areas or on mountainous, sloping or marginal soils that generally cannot support most other crops. One of the most interesting aspects of hybrid hazelnut production is their potential environmental benefits as an agricultural crop.
However, these attempts always failed before developing commercially viable trees, and commercial hazelnut production in the United States, which began in the late 19th century, was limited to Washington and Oregon. Hazelnuts won because, on the one hand, labor needs seemed more compatible with the family's work of producing dairy products and growing 1,400 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, winter wheat and a cover crop of rye as fodder. Ambitious hazelnut producers have repeatedly tried to grow the prized European hazelnut (Corylus avellana) on the east coast of North America and have met with defeat. Hovel planted hazelnuts along with blueberries and evergreens on 6 acres of a 40-acre mountainous field.
He plans to expand plantations annually as he gains experience growing and eventually harvesting hazelnuts. However, the company has to buy more than 90 percent of its hazelnuts in Europe, because, since colonial times, American attempts to grow enough hazelnuts to compete with European production have failed miserably. Only after the EFB fungus crept into southwestern Washington in the 1960s and, later, into Oregon's Willamette Valley, did the Great American Hazelnut Hunt really begin. The goal of the UMHDI is to develop hazelnut germplasm that is acclimated to the growing conditions of the Upper Midwest and with a predictable yield that can support profitable commercial production.
Their root systems could also prevent nutrients from leaking into groundwater when hazelnuts are planted in well protection areas and riverine buffer zones.