Why plant Audubon® Native American Filbert?
You may think that American Filbert would be a fine bird-attracting plant by virtue of its tasty nuts. And you would not be wrong—Blue Jays, woodpeckers, bobwhites, pheasants, Ruffed Grouse and turkeys do love them. But for songbirds, American Filbert offers something even better—in the form of caterpillars! According to entomologist and nature writer Douglas Tallamy, no food is more valuable to songbirds and their rapidly growing chicks than caterpillars, and American Filbert, he says, supplies around 130 species of them. Filberts, with their thickety growth habit, also provide protection from predators while the birds are foraging. A bird bonanza!
Native throughout the Midwest, Northeast, and Upper Southeast, American Filbert, a.k.a. American Hazelnut, is a common sight in much of the East. It grows in moist prairies and along streams, as well as on drier hillside sites and at the edge of woodlands. Throughout history, people have relished the nuts—when they can get to them before the birds and squirrels do! This nifty native has had a variety of other roles for humans, too. The Ojibwe once used the straight-growing branches as drumsticks. The wood has also been turned into charcoal for artists’ pencils.
How to use Audubon® Native American Filbert in the landscape?
Among the many caterpillars that American Filbert hosts are several large moth species that are truly spectacular, such as the Luna, Polyphemus, Cecropia, and Io moths. If they don’t end up as bird food, they make amazing backyard visitors.
Hardiness Zone: 4-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native American Filbert
American Filbert will produce the most nuts and the brightest fall foliage (often a wonderful pumpkin-orange color) in full sun, although it also grows happily in part shade. It is not fussy about soils and can thrive in wet or dry conditions. American Filbert is a medium to fast grower, and it spreads by sending up suckers around the parent plant. You can remove these for a cleaner look, but birders will want to leave them in place for habitat. Invasive Japanese beetles can be a problem. Where infestations are heavy, they can skeletonize the leaves, though this will not kill the plant.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.