How to Grow Hazelnut from Seed: A Step-by-step Guide for Planting to Harvesting

Growing your hazelnuts can be a rewarding and delicious endeavor. Growing hazelnuts from seed can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Not only do you get to enjoy the delicious nuts that your tree produces, but you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you nurtured it from a tiny seedling. How fast do Hazelnut trees grow? In general, hazelnut trees have a moderate growth rate compared to other fruit-bearing trees.

How to Grow Hazelnut from Seed A Step by step Guide for Planting to Harvesting1

They typically reach about 8 to 12 feet in height within five years after planting. However, it’s important to note that their growth can be influenced by environmental conditions such as soil quality and moisture levels. Remember, patience is key when growing hazelnut trees. It may take a few years before they start producing significant quantities of nuts.

But with proper care and attention, your efforts will surely pay off in abundance. With some dedication and love for gardening, your hazelnut trees will soon thrive in your backyard. Whether you’re an avid gardener or simply looking to add beauty and functionality to your landscape, growing hazelnuts is an excellent choice. 

How to Grow Hazelnut from Seed

Understanding the Hazelnut Plant and Its Requirements  

Climate Hazelnuts thrive in temperate climates with mild winters and moderate summers. 
Soil Well-draining soil with a pH range between 6 and 7 is ideal for hazelnut cultivation. 
Sunlight Hazelnut plants require full sun exposure for optimal growth and nut production. 
Watering Adequate watering is necessary during the growing season, especially during dry spells. 
Nutrient Needs Hazelnuts benefit from regular fertilization to ensure healthy growth and fruit development. 
Pollination Most hazelnut varieties are wind-pollinated; however, some may require cross-pollination for better yields.  

Selecting and Preparing Hazelnut Seeds for Planting 

Selecting and preparing hazelnut seeds for planting is important in growing your hazelnut trees. Choosing healthy, viable seeds with the best chance of germination and growth is essential. When selecting hazelnut seeds, look for plump, firm, and free from any signs of damage or disease. Avoid faded or discolored seeds, as they may not be viable.

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Freshly harvested seeds tend to have a higher success rate than older ones. Before planting the seeds, giving them a period of stratification is recommended. This process mimics natural conditions during winter dormancy and helps break seed dormancy. Simply place the seeds in a damp paper towel or sphagnum moss inside a plastic bag and refrigerate them for about 2-3 months.  

Choosing the Right Location for Hazelnut Seedlings 

Choosing the right location for hazelnut seedlings is crucial to their long-term growth and productivity. Hazelnut trees thrive in well-drained soil with ample sunlight, so finding a spot that meets these requirements is important. First, consider the sunlight your chosen location receives throughout the day. Hazelnuts need at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to produce healthy crops. Look for a spot in your garden or orchard that is not shaded by buildings or tall trees. 

Next, assess the soil quality and drainage in the area. Hazelnuts prefer loamy soil with good drainage to prevent waterlogged roots and fungal diseases. You may need to amend it with organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure. In addition to sun exposure and soil conditions, consider the proximity of other plants and structures. Avoid planting hazelnut seedlings too close together or near large structures that could cast shade on them as they grow.  

Preparing the Soil for Hazelnut Seed Planting 

Before planting, clear the area of any weeds or grasses that could compete with the young hazelnut seedlings for nutrients and water. Ensure that no large rocks or debris in the vicinity could impede root development. Next, loosen the top few inches of soil using a garden fork or tiller. Avoid excessive tilling as it can disturb beneficial microorganisms in the soil. Once you have prepared the site, consider adding organic matter to enrich the soil’s fertility and structure.

Organic matter helps retain moisture and improves nutrient availability over time. After incorporating organic matter into the topsoil, level off any uneven areas using a rake so that water distribution remains consistent throughout your orchard space. To start growing Hazelnuts in containers, choose a container at least 18 inches deep with drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the container with well-draining soil mixed with organic compost. Place your chosen variety of Hazelnut tree saplings into the container and ensure it is positioned upright. 

Planting Hazelnut Seeds: Step-by-Step Instructions 

Hazelnut seed propagation is an exciting and rewarding way to grow these delicious nuts in your backyard. While it may take some time and patience, the process can be quite straightforward if you follow the right steps. First, choose a suitable location for planting your hazelnut seeds. Look for an area with full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. Hazelnuts prefer slightly acidic soil, so if needed, amend the soil with organic matter or sulfur to achieve the optimal pH level.

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Hazelnuts ripen on a tree branch in farm garden

Create small holes in the ground about 2 inches deep. Space the holes at least 4 feet apart to allow room for mature hazelnut trees’ canopy spread. Place one hazelnut seed in each hole with a pointed end facing up and cover it lightly with soil. Water the newly planted seeds thoroughly. Keep the soil moist throughout germination and early growth stages. As your hazelnut seedlings emerge, provide regular watering sessions during dry periods.

Apply mulch around each seedling to retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and protect their delicate roots from temperature fluctuations. Monitor your young hazel tree closely for signs of pests or diseases. If necessary, apply appropriate organic insecticides or fungicides following label instructions. Can you grow Hazelnuts from cuttings? Growing Hazelnuts from cuttings is a common method many gardeners use to propagate these delicious nuts. Taking cuttings from existing Hazelnut trees allows you to clone the exact traits and characteristics of the parent plant.  

Providing Adequate Water and Nutrients for Hazelnut Seedlings 

Water is essential for the growth and development of hazelnut seedlings. During the first year, it is important to maintain moisture in the soil. Regular watering should be done, especially during dry spells or hot weather. However, you should avoid overwatering as it can cause root rot. Regarding nutrients, hazelnuts require a well-balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This will promote healthy leaf and root development.

Applying the fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins is recommended. Mulching around the base of each seedling can retain moisture in the soil. Organic materials make excellent mulch options. Monitoring water levels and nutrient deficiencies ensures optimal growth for your hazelnut seedlings. Adjustments may need to be made depending on specific environmental conditions or soil composition. 

Protecting Hazelnut Seedlings from Pests and Diseases 

One of the key challenges in growing hazelnuts from seed is protecting the delicate seedlings from pests and diseases. These tiny plants, including aphids, caterpillars, and weevils, are vulnerable to insects. Diseases such as powdery mildew and bacterial blight can also threaten their health. To safeguard your hazelnut seedlings, it’s important to employ preventive measures immediately. Keep a close eye on your plants for any signs of pest infestation or disease development.

Regularly inspect the leaves for discoloration or unusual growth patterns. Implementing good cultural practices can also help deter pests and diseases. Ensure proper spacing between each seedling to allow for adequate airflow and reduce humidity levels that favor disease development. Another effective method is using organic insecticides or fungicides when necessary.  

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Ripe hazelnuts

In addition to preventive measures and treatment options, maintaining overall plant health is crucial in preventing pests and diseases. Provide your hazelnut seedlings with optimal growing conditions by ensuring they receive sufficient sunlight; water them regularly but avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. 

Pruning and Training Hazelnut Trees for Optimal Growth 

Pruning and training hazelnut trees is essential to ensure their optimal growth and productivity. By properly pruning the trees, you can shape them, promote air circulation, and encourage the development of strong branches. It’s important to prune hazelnut trees during their dormant season before new growth starts. This allows you to see the overall structure of the tree more clearly. Thin-out crowded branches improve light penetration into the canopy and reduce competition among branches. 

Next, consider shaping your hazelnut tree into a central leader system or an open vase shape. The central leader system features one main vertical trunk with side branches growing off regularly. This promotes upward growth and facilitates harvesting. On the other hand, an open vase shape involves removing the central leader and encouraging multiple upright stems to emerge from ground level. This shape allows easier access during harvest but requires more attention to maintain balance between stems. 

Managing Weeds in a Hazelnut Orchard 

Managing weeds in a hazelnut orchard is essential for the health and productivity of the trees. Weeds can compete with hazelnut seedlings for water, nutrients, and sunlight, hindering their growth. To effectively manage weeds, it is important to employ various strategies. One effective method is mulching. Applying organic mulch around the base of hazelnut trees helps suppress weed growth by smothering them and preventing access to sunlight. Additionally, mulch retains moisture in the soil and improves its fertility. 

Regular mowing or hand-pulling of weeds can also help keep them under control. Removing weeds before they flower and producing seeds to prevent further spread is important. Using herbicides sparingly and selectively can be another option for managing stubborn or invasive weeds. However, caution must be exercised when using chemicals near hazelnut trees to avoid damaging their roots or causing harm to beneficial insects. 

Recognizing Signs of Maturity in Hazelnut Trees 

One of the first signs of maturity in hazelnut trees is the development of catkins. These are long, drooping clusters of flowers that appear on the branches in early spring. The presence of catkins indicates that your tree can produce both male and female flowers necessary for pollination. Another indicator of maturity is the growth and development of nuts. When hazelnuts reach their mature stage, they will change color from green to brown or tan, depending on the variety. Additionally, mature nuts will feel firm and solid when gently squeezed. 

Harvesting Hazelnuts: When and How to Collect the Nuts 

Timing is key when harvesting hazelnuts. The nuts are ready for picking when they fall naturally from the tree or if their husks have started turning brown and drying out. This usually occurs in late summer or early autumn, depending on your location. To collect the nuts, use a tarp or basket to gather them from beneath the trees.

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Ripe hazelnuts on branch in farm

Avoid shaking or knocking them off the branches, which can cause damage. It’s important to handle them gently to prevent any bruising. After collecting your hazelnuts, remove any debris, such as leaves or twigs, and discard damaged or moldy nuts. Once cleaned, spread them out in a well-ventilated area for further drying. This will help reduce moisture content and prevent spoilage. 

Common Challenges and Troubleshooting Tips for Growing Hazelnuts from Seed  

Challenges  Troubleshooting tips 
Poor germination rate Try soaking them in water for 24 hours before planting.  
Nutrient deficiencies Hazelnut trees require a balanced supply of nutrients to thrive. Amend the soil with organic fertilizers. 
Pest infestation Common pests that affect hazelnut trees include aphids, caterpillars, and mites. Use insecticidal soaps or natural predators like ladybugs to control these pests. 
Disease susceptibility Plant disease-resistant varieties and ensure good air circulation around the trees by proper pruning. 
Water stress Overwatering or underwatering can cause stunted growth or root rot in hazelnut trees. Monitor soil moisture levels regularly and provide adequate irrigation based on weather conditions. 


Growing hazelnuts from seed can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Each step requires patience and attention to detail, from planting the right seeds to caring for your plants and harvesting the nuts. Caring for your hazelnut tree by providing adequate water, sunlight, and protection against pests will help it thrive. 

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Unripe hazelnuts on a tree branch

Once your hazelnut tree reaches maturity, you’ll be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest. Harvesting the nuts when fully ripe and properly storing them will ensure their freshness for months. While growing hazelnuts may require patience and dedication, the rewards are well worth it. You will have access to fresh, delicious nuts throughout the year and contribute towards sustainability by reducing reliance on commercially grown crops. 


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