This is not the complete hazelnut handbook; getting into HTTP format takes extra time. We are also in the process of transferring the text and illustrations into PDF format, which will ultimately make it easier to use. The rest of it will follow as soon as we can. The idea is to keep updating the handbook each year, and to publish it on this website as updates are written. I'll try, as we go along, to put dates on the labels, so you can find new information without too much digging; but be aware that even the older sections are constantly being re-written, as we eliminate errors and add what we've learned.

Hybrid Hazelnut Handbook

By: Philip A. Rutter

Second Edition Feb , 2005 (draft)


This document is intended as educational material and may be copied, distributed, and extracted freely, so long as origins and attributions are retained and stated.

Photos and graphics are copyrighted by Badgersett Research Corporation, and may not be copied or redistributed without accompanying text, without express written permission of the author.

				Philip A. Rutter
				Badgersett Research Corporation
				RR 1, Box 141
				Canton, MN 55922

			Forwards	4

			Why Hybrid Hazelnuts?	6

			Dimensions	9
			Crop Basics	10

			Establishing New Plantings	12

					Nursery Stock Types
					Ground Preparation
			Recommended Uses: Types of Plantings	24


			Harvest & Post-Harvest

			Present World Market	28


			Economics	30

			About the authors

** Note: This version of the Hazelnut Handbook is a
 first installment and will be added to.  Stay tuned (Perry 2-2-02)

Forward to First Edition - 2002

Hybrid hazelnuts have been under development in the Upper Midwest of the USA since the 1930's, though progress and attention to the work has been sporadic, unofficial, and fragmented. In the late 1970's, the senior author began collecting the products of previous workers' breeding, including Carl Weschcke, Jack Gellatly, George Slate, and Cecil Farris. Following a decade of initial testing, major new plantings were made of crosses among these various lines, and a new round of intensive selection and breeding was undertaken at Badgersett Research Farm.

At this point, in the year 2001, the indications seem clear to many different individuals and agencies that the developing hybrids do indeed contain the characteristics necessary for the foundation of a genuine hazelnut industry for the region.

Besides the full commitment of Badgersett Research Corporation to this new industry, individuals, RC&D's, and SWCD's in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, and Nebraska have begun making plantings of hybrid bush hazels that are intended not to demonstrate or test, but to produce nuts as a crop. The University of Minnesota has established test plantings on its field stations across the state, the National Arbor Day Foundation has planted 9 acres directly in front of its Lied Conference Center, and the US Army has thousands of plants being established at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Individuals and institutions in 40 additional states, from Maine and Alaska to Texas have started small test plantings.

While the crop now has real momentum and a committed core group of growers, it is nonetheless still in what can only be described as an "embryonic" state. We do not yet have tons of annual production (though the plants for that are already in the ground), and a number of processes remain to be moved from the experimental state to the commercial.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, these new hybrid bush hazels are significantly different from the hazels currently used in world hazel production.

Fortunately, because these plants are immensely more cold hardy, more disease resistant, and because they are bushes, not the trees Oregon and Italy rely on. Big trees require perpetual pruning and cannot ever be as productive as good bushes can- in all crops, growers now change to bush forms (sometimes just called "dwarfs" if derived from tree forms) as quickly as breeders can provide the necessary genetics.

Unfortunately, because most of the accumulated wisdom and information on how to grow hazelnuts, based on those trees, is proving near useless in dealing with these hybrids.

Hence this handbook; which is intended to give the reader a solid basic grounding in all the factors involved in commercial hazel production, from plant establishment and maintenance to marketing. In addition to this handbook, an electronic version with more extensive discussion and photographs, will be maintained as part of the Badgersett Research Corporation Web site, at

Oh, yeah; "hazelnuts" and "filberts" are the same thing, in case you were wondering.

Handbook Format-

Where possible and appropriate in this handbook, a section will begin with a quick synopsis of the entire topic, followed by a more detailed treatment. Our hope is this will facilitate actually finding the information you are looking for...