The Q&A Archives: Contorted Filbert Tree

Question: What kind of information can you give me about this tree? The tag says plant in the sun, my tree book says sun or shade. How to prepare the nuts for eating. Care, etc. Thank you.

Answer: Contorted Filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta' will grow in full sun to part shade. If you live in an area such as the desert southwest where summers are hot and sunshine is intense, you might want to plant it where it will get some protection from the afternoon sunshine. Otherwise, full sun is just fine. Grown mainly for the ornamental value of winter catkins and bare stems, it does occasionally produce edible nuts. They require cross pollination so two different varieties need to be planted. They bloom earlier than most plants, with the male catkins appearing about mid-March. The female flowers are inconspicuous, but follow the male flowers.

Hazelnuts can be grown in about any soil type. Like most plants, they prefer a well drained, rich soil.

The nuts are few and far between so most gardeners just leave them hanging on the branches to add even more winter interest. However, if you want to harvest them, gather filberts as they fall. Separate the nuts with no kernels from the good nuts by putting them in water and removing the ones that float. Discard any nuts with holes in the shells; these are insect-infested. After drying them for a few days, store the filberts in a cool, dry place.

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