This is found native in about all parts of the Union, in timber openings and borders where the soil is shaded and where the leaf-mould deposits of years have not been disturbed. Some of the varieties as found wild bear nuts nearly as large as the ordinary filbert and better in quality. In the prairie States the select varieties have been cultivated in a small way, planted in rows only two feet apart with five-foot spaces between the rows. Growth is started by cultivation in the early part of the season, followed by mulching with leaves after the first of July, which is cultivated in the soil the next spring. After the plants attain bearing size, the mulching is continuous winter and summer, clipping the weeds that come through the mulch. With this treatment and proper pruning good crops, as large nearly as filberts, have been harvested. Beyond all doubt a few years of culture and selection will give native varieties as large as the best filberts and better in quality, but in our climate it will be necessary to follow nature's methods by shading the soil between the rows and providing an ample stock of fresh humus in the soil. At the West, with this system, no diseases or insects have as yet troubled the plant, except the weevil.
In starting from select varieties it will not be best to grow seedlings, as they vary exceedingly. But seedlings may be grown and budded or grafted. No plant yet tested has proven easier to bud or graft than the hazel or filbert. But, like the rose, the sprouts from the wild stock are apt to spring up and give trouble. Hence the best plan is to grow the plants from cuttings put out in the fall as soon as the leaves drop. The cuttings root with about as much certainty as the currant if mulched as directed in (58. Fall-planting of Cuttings).
When the plantation is established, partially or wholly rooted suckers will be freely produced, with the mulching system, for sale or the extension of the plantation.
The pruning of the hazel-nut is identical with that of the filbert. The catkins that appear on the new wood in pairs only bear staminate flowers. The pistillate flowers come from rounded buds, also on the new wood, but not on the same shoot usually (Fig. 82). The pruning consists in shortening the wood of the preceding year's growth in the spring when the pistillate flowers appear. Strong shoots are headed back to favor the starting of laterals for next year's bearing, and the old wood that has borne nuts should be cut out. This must be repeated each spring.