Hazelnuts are deciduous shrubs that can be raised as small-sized trees. Also sometimes called the "American filbert," this nut-producing plant is found growing naturally in thickets, prairies and moist woodland valleys throughout North America. Once hazelnut trees are mature, in about six years, they begin producing 1/2-inch-long oval-shaped nuts in mid- to late summer. You can plant hazelnut trees either in the fall or in early spring.
Locate a proper planting site for the hazelnut trees. To thrive, hazelnut trees need full sun and fast-draining soil. It's a good idea to test the drainage ability of the soil before you plant. To do this, dig a hole, 6 inches deep and wide. Pour water into the hole until it is full. Ideally the water should be fully drained away in two to three hours. If the water is still standing in the hole 12 hours later, you should consider planting elsewhere.
Measure out a 3-foot-square section for each hazelnut tree you are going to plant. Cultivate this section of soil using a fork, spade or a rototiller. All garden litter should be removed from the soil, such as rocks, large clods of dirt or rotting vegetation.
Amend the soil in the planting site if you live in arid, hot southern climates or if the soil has less than ideal drainage. Spread out over the topsoil a 2- to 3-inch layer of aged compost or steer manure. Work the mixture into the soil to a depth of 12 to 18 inches.
Mix together approximately 1/2 cup of a starter-solution plant food with 10 gallons of water. Pour this mixture out into a metal or plastic tub.
Set the hazelnut saplings into the tub to soak in the starter solution and water mixture until you are ready to plant each sapling. If you are planting from bare-root stock, make sure you remove the wrapping from around the root system before you place them in the tub.
Dig planting holes for the hazelnut saplings that are twice the width of their planting containers and about 3 to 4 inches deeper. Each hole should be about 8 feet apart. For bare-root stock, the hole should be wide enough to easily accommodate the root system.
Measure out about 1/4 cup of bone-meal. Place the bone-meal into the bottom of the planting hole. Scoop in about 3 to 4 inches of the topsoil and organic matter mixture over top of the bone-meal. Do this with every planting hole.
Plant a hazelnut tree into a planting hole. If planting bare-root stock, create a 6- to 8-inch-high mound of soil in the hole before you place the tree into the hole. Spread out the roots across the mound. Backfill the hole slowly with soil until it is about two-thirds full.
Pour a 5-gallon bucket full of water into the hole and finish filling the hole with soil once the water has settled back.