Hazel nuts (or Cobnuts) make an easy and low-maintenance addition to any orchard. We can advise on the most suitable hazel varieties for your garden.
Hazelnuts are an important natural source of healthy proteins and fats, and hazel bushes make an easy and low-maintenance addition to any orchard.
There are two closely related species, Corylus avellana, which is the common hazel or cobnut native to the UK, and Corylus maxima, also known as the Filbert. The main difference is in the length of the husk surrounding the nut - hazels have a short husk whereas filberts have a long husk which surrounds and encloses the nut.
Some hazel varieties are also known as cobnuts, alternatively cobnuts are sometimes considered to be hazel nuts that are eaten fresh rather than being dried. In practie the terms can be used interchangeably.
Hazels are generally easy to grow, and low maintenance. They do best on average soils - and it is best not to feed them as this just encourages leaf growth rather than fruiting. Plant them in full sun if you can - but partial shade is not a problem, and hazels should produce a crop even if the summer weather is poor.
Hazels are one of the few orchard fruit species that will tolerate damp wet ground, so if your planting area is too wet for apples or plums, you might consider hazels instead.
The only complication is pollination. Hazels are wind-pollinated, so planting them together is a good idea, as none are really self-fertile.
More information on growing hazelnut trees.