What nuts to plant?
Beaked Hazel (Corylus Cornuta) Zone 2
This native shrub will not grow larger than eight feet making it ideal for smaller yards. Shrubs require a spacing of six feet. Beaked hazel will grow naturally in shade, however, if you want high yields of nuts plant them in full sun. Two shrubs are required for cross pollination and will yield fruit after four years.
Butternut (Juglans cinerea) Zone 2, Zone 3 required for fruit production
A native to Canada this is the most, cold resistant of all walnut trees. The white walnut, as it is also known, is a fast-growing tree with a relatively short lifespan, rarely reaching 75 years. Trees require full sun and space to survive. They are susceptible to a fungal disease ‘Butternut Canker’, visible by branch death in the lower crown that leads to tree death. Trees are best planted away from any wooded areas or other butternut trees. The species is in decline and worthwhile planting. The nuts are far superior to those that you find in stores. Trees are self-fertile but produce better with cross-pollination. Crops can generally be expected after a period of six to eight years.
Black walnut ( Juglans nigra) Zone 3, Zone 4 required for fruit production
This fast-growing hardwood is a gorgeous landscape tree and produces delicious walnuts with extremely hard shells. Black walnuts require a sunny location and well-drained soil; clay is favoured. It will bear fruit in eight to 10 years and though selffertile does better with cross-pollination. Trees can reach heights of 100 feet and require 30 foot spacing.
A member of the Juglans family, the roots produce juglone, a substance that is toxic to various plants including apple trees, tomatoes, potatoes, blueberries, lilac, red pine and others, so do your research before planting.
Korean Pine (Pinus koraiensis) Zone 2
Pine nut trees require semi-shade, especially for the first two years to prevent the sun from burning their bark. Trees grow well even in poor soil and require little maintenance. Although slow growing for their first five years mature trees can grow to 100 feet and should be spaced 27 feet apart. Korean Pines take 10 to 20 years to bear fruit. Trees are selffertile but do benefit from cross-pollination.
Buartnut (Juglans cinerea x Juglans spp) Zone 4
This is a fast-growing hybrid walnut tree which can reach a height of 260 feet at maturity. Trees should be spaced 65 feet apart in full sun. You will need two trees for crosspollination and can expect your first crop in six to eight years on average.
Hazelbert (Corylus americana x Corylus avellane) Zone 3
A hardy shrub that produces large hazelnuts, double the size of the beaked hazel. Two bushes are required for cross-pollination and it will not cross pollinate with the beaked hazel. Hazelberts will reach a mature height of 12 feet and will bear fruit after three to five years. They will need to be spaced six feet apart and planted in full sun. If you have room for only one bush, you can place two in the same planting hole.
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) Zone 3, Zone 4 required for fruit production
Another native plant to Canada, shagbark hickories are rare as they were over harvested for tool making and fire wood. Trees can reach heights of 82 feet and require a spread of 30 feet. This tree can live for over 200 years. Their roots are extremely long and strong, therefore be conscious of buildings when planting. Nuts have a taste similar to pecans. It will grow in shade but needs full sun to thrive. The plant is self-fertile and nut production takes 10 years to begin.
White oak (Quercus alba) Zone 4
Native to North America this hardwood, also known as Stave Oak, produces edible sweet acorns. White oaks are an endangered species due to over cultivation for use in ship construction and flooring. Trees are slow growing and can live up to 450 years. Self-fertile, the white oak will thrive in sun or shade, a rarity in nut bearing trees. Nuts are bitter when raw due to tannins which require the fruit to be cooked prior to consumption (generally by boiling them in water several times, using fresh water every time). Trees should be planted 33 feet apart. They take up to 40 years to bear fruit.
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) Zone 3
A versatile, native tree that can reach a ripe old age of 400. Bur oaks can grow up to 65 feet with an equal spread, they require spacing of 32 feet and produce large, mild tasting acorns. Trees are smaller the further north they are planted. It is a wide spread tree due to its ability to thrive in many environments. Bur oaks are excellent for shade, shelterbelts and urban plantings. They prefer full sun and take 40 years before they will bear fruit. Though mild it is still recommend to boil out tannins.
Black walnut tree.
Butternut tree young foliage and catkins.
Beaked Hazel fruit.