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January 12, 2021 3 min read

Do deer eat hazelnuts? What other pests eat hazelnuts? These questions may come to mind if you plan on cultivating a hazelnut orchard. This article talks about the relationship between deer and hazelnuts. We all love hazelnuts for its super distinct and savory taste in our baked goodies and candies. What’s more, cultivating hazelnuts can be easy.

Some hazelnut species are disease resistant, hardy, and can tolerate a great many growing conditions. However, there is a small issue you should be aware of when cultivating hazelnuts – pests. It is ideal to understand what pests you might deal with to prepare effectively against their attack. Because deer are voracious eaters, it is typical for one of your questions to be – do deer eat hazelnuts?

Deer and Hazelnut plants

The shortest answer is that they do. Hazelnuts provide high-quality protein and other nutrients, making it richer than even beechnuts and acorns. Therefore, deer are crazy about these nuts. Other pests you might deal with include turkey, squirrels, woodpeckers, pheasants, domestic goats, moose, and lots more. Deer will not only eat the catkins of hazelnuts but its twigs and leaves. If your hazelnut plants are young or less than five years old, then you must act fast to prevent this from happening. Once the hazelnuts trees become large enough, it might not be bothered easily by the browsing of animals like deer. Here are some methods you can consider to protect your young hazelnut plants.


Fencing is perhaps one of the best ways to keep your hazelnuts out of the reach of deer. They are expensive because you need to design, install, and maintain them. However, they must be high enough to prevent deer from entering. Consider using a double parallel fence of about 4 – 6ft with a few feet in between. You can also erect a tall fence (using any material of your choice) of about 8 to 10 feet. This is perhaps the best way to protect your hazelnuts from deer.

Individual tree protection

Individual tree protection methods using deer netting, tree shelters, wire mesh, spiral wraps, and lots more are great to deter deer from feasting on your young trees. Many of these barriers will require annual maintenance but will be worth it in the long run. Ensure that the barrier you put up is about 6 feet, so as the plant grows past the reach of the deer, you can confidently sit back.


You can also purchase commercial repellents or make your own. Bar soap or shafts of human hair can be useful. Folks also swear by rotten egg and pepper solutions so that you can try them out. There are also commercial varieties that can work well during the growing season. However, it would help if you reapplied on different occasions, especially after it rains or watering your plants. We also recommend alternating between repellents to prevent deer from becoming comfortable with them. By switching, you can keep them confused and out of your fields.

Concluding thoughts

Do deer eat hazelnuts? Yes, they do. They can eat nuts, twigs, and shoots, causing undue damage to young hazelnut trees. To deter deer from your fields, install a fence, use repellents, and implement a diligent strategy that can keep deer away from your trees. With the right plan, you can prevent or reduce the chances of deer damage to enjoy higher yields through your hazelnuts.

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