Nuts are nutritional, containing fiber, protein and monosaturated fat. They are flexible as a food source, as they can be eaten raw, roasted, salted, or chopped then added to your favourite bread or salad recipe. They are easily stored if they are dry and sealed for freshness, and cold hardy varieties are easy to grow in Southwest BC. If you are contemplating planting a nut tree for back yard aesthetics (they are gorgeous to look at) or as a reliable food source, try a chestnut, hazel nut, or one of the hard-shelled nut varieties.
Chestnut trees are adaptable to many types of soil, even rocky soil, and need full sun to thrive. They grow up to 25 meters and are hardy to zone 4. Chestnuts are easily stored in your fridge in a breathable container. They stay just-picked fresh for a month and can be frozen with or without being roasted. Try baking them in your favourite chocolate brownie recipe. They are also great in stuffing.
Hazel Nuts, also called filberts, are ready to eat once they’ve fallen from the bush. They can be shelled and roasted in an open oven and are one of the easiest nut trees to grow and care for if you can get them past the challenge of a fungus infection called filbert blight. Disease resistant varieties are now available on the market. There’s a growing demand for hazelnuts grown locally in BC, so if you’re interested in planting a cash crop, this may be a good choice. They are an attractive species for backyard pleasure planting or as a privacy hedge. They are hardy to zone 3.
Hard Shelled Nuts: Butternuts, heartnuts and buartnuts are all considered hard shelled nuts. They fall from trees encased in their green husk, and that’s the time for harvest. After washing, they are laid out to dry and then cracked along their seam for eating. Butternuts live up to their name, with a flavour to rival fresh butter, and buartnuts have a mild peppery aftertaste. Consider a fast-growing hybrid walnut tree, disease resistant and productive in zones 3 and 4. The shells are very hard, so if you plan on harvesting, you’ll need something stronger than a nutcracker to release them from the shell. Hard shelled nut trees need well drained soil and a lot of sun. They grow to 30 meters at maturity and flower in May. Harvest season is mid-September to early October.
Our passion is planning, planting, and the maintenance of urban forests in Southwest BC. If planting a grove of nut trees is in your plans, call us to get started. Our consultations fine-tune landscaping plans, and we can help you with the transport, planting, and general maintenance of your trees for crop health. Contact Twin Rivers Tree Service and Landscaping in Kamloops (250) 851-1121, Sechelt/Gibsons (604) 989-0588 or Abbotsford (604) 989-0588.