transplanting hazelnuts

remember these hazelnuts?  the ones i tried to unload on all ya’ll?  hardly any takers, but i’m guessing thats cause the size is too small and you didn’t have enough time to plan ahead.  next year for certain.

part of the problem i think is that these trees are still such little guys, and that there will be more of a market for them when they get bigger.  at the very least, i want to grow these trees a bit bigger before they get planted around the neighborhood.

so in keeping with that, this past weekend i transplanted over a hundred hazelnut trees to a new location where they can grow big and strong over the next few years.  after about a year of growth they are looking pretty good, between 6 and 12 inches tall.  the first task is getting the bucket that i’d sunk down in the soil out of ground.  the hazels didn’t really want to come out as their deep tap roots had grown the depth of the bucket and though the wire mesh i had put on the bottom to keep critters out.  that made removing them difficult, but aslo made me happy they had grown such robust root systems.  next step was getting the plants out of the bucket.  i thought of digging them one at a time out, but decided it would be much easier to get the whole mess of trees out and then divide them.  this was accomplished with water.i saturated the trees, making them in better shape for transplanting, but also making it so i could easily slip the root ball out of the bucket. with the roots now exposed, i worked pretty quickly to divide the roots.  as they are long and tangled, i had to work carefully to try to disturb them as little as possible, and wrapped them in wet burlap as i went. then time for the transplanting.  the soil in our garden is among the worst i’ve ever worked, terrible texture, low organic matter, full of clay, rocks and debris, compacted and heavy.  but its ours and i’m thankful, and seeing as stubborn as s and i can be, we manage to grow a good amount of food out of it.  trying to dig holes deep enough to accommodate the hazelnuts deep root structure was a challenge, taking me over 3 hours to transplant all them.  the holes were dug deep, the roots carefully placed, a shovel full of compost in each hole, and soil packed around them with care.  this was repeated over a hundred times.  watering in is one of the most crucial aspects of any transplanting operation, and one that often goes overlooked or at least under appreciated.  i really soak the plants, watering the beds several times over.  it looks like a muddy mess, but it means the plants have enough water, and that the soil will have settled well around the roots, getting rid of any air pockets which would dry out the roots.  i proudly surveyed my hazelnut trees before putting some loosely fitting row cover on them.  the hazels are plenty used to cold weather, i was not trying to protect them from that, but the wind was picking up, and considering how stressful transplanting is, i didn’t want them loosing any more water than needed, and it was very windy.

after a couple of days the row cover was removed, and they all looked like they had made it though the transplanting very well.  in another year or two they should be much larger, easier to transplant into gardens where otherwise their small size might make them vulnerable to trampling.


4 responses to “transplanting hazelnuts

  1. not sure when these babies will bear hazelnuts… but when they do, I’ve got an easy recipe for homemade nutella. yum.

  2. They look great! I have some potential homes over here on the westside when they get up to size. Trampling isn’t so much the problem over here as much as the deer. Different problems in different places I suppose?

  3. I get 6-12 volunteer hazelnuts a year in my front yard thanks to the squirrels. I keep trying to transplant them to the backyard and let them take over space I’m not interested in actively caretaking. The problem is that, while they thrive in the hedge and grass where they come up, they don’t seem to transplant well. My latest attempt had them drop leaves almost immediately. They also die upon pruning back too far.

    • not sure what is going wrong, i have not had a lot of trouble transplanting my hazels – in fact i didn’t lose a single one this year. i would say make sure you get the soil very moist before digging them up, try to keep root ball in tact as much as possible – dig deeply as the hazels have deep roots, keep them moist while tranplanting, water them in really well, and make sure you keep them well watered for the first few months.

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