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Hazelnuts are a delicious nut with a sweet and nutty flavor that can be used in many different recipes, from sweet to savory. Growing your own hazelnuts can be a rewarding experience, and the Hazelnut tree (Corylus avellana) is a great choice for the UK climate.
Hazelnuts prefer a sunny location and well-drained soil, and are relatively easy to grow. They can be planted in the autumn or winter, when the soil is still moist and warm, or in the spring when the danger of frost has passed. The trees can grow up to 4-5 meters tall and can have a spread of up to 3-4 meters. It is recommended to plant them around 4 meters apart.
Hazelnuts will produce nuts after around 3-4 years, and the harvest season is usually from mid-September to mid-October. When the nuts have fully ripened, the husks will turn brown and start to open. The nuts can then be collected and dried for a week before being stored.
Feeding is not essential, but it can help to improve the growth and productivity of the tree. A general-purpose fertiliser can be applied in the spring and again in the summer, and a mulch of well-rotted manure or compost can be applied in the autumn. Hazelnuts can also benefit from regular pruning to promote good airflow and remove any dead or diseased wood.