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Cobnut & Filbert Bushes


Cobnut and filbert bushes need a fertile neutral soil to crop well (a pH of 6.0-7.5 is ideal) in full sun or partial shade.
Plant your bushes as soon as possible after receipt, allowing sufficient space for them to grow. Cobnuts and filberts will form small multi-stemmed bushes and should be spaced 4.5m (15ft) apart. Should weather conditions be adverse (i.e. if the ground is frozen or too wet to plant), then the bushes should be temporarily heeled in until conditions improve. Dig a hole or shallow trench, lay the bushes at an oblique angle and cover the roots loosely with sufficient soil or compost so that no roots are exposed to the air.
Improve the soil structure by thorough digging before planting, ideally to a depth of about 45cm (18in) - two spades deep. Mix in plenty of well-rotted manure or compost.
Soak the root system in water for 1-2 hours. Dig a hole comfortably large enough to take the root system (so the roots can be evenly spread out), ensuring the top of the root system is level with the surrounding soil or up to 2.5cm (1in) deeper. Apply rootgrow™ mycorrhizal fungi directly to the roots before planting - this will help the bush to establish quickly. Tread firmly and water-in thoroughly.


Keep the soil around the bush moist throughout the first growing season. In later years only water during prolonged dry spells, drenching thoroughly no more than once a week.

Weeding & Mulching

Keep the area around the bush free of weeds, particularly during the first year. An annual mulch of well rotted compost will greatly improve moisture retention and soil structure, and help suppress unwanted weeds.


Cobnuts should be restricted to a height of 1.8-2.4m (6-8ft). No regular pruning is necessary, just trim or cut back hard to control the size or shape as required. In August, vigorous lateral growth can be controlled by ‘brutting’. This involves breaking off strong lateral growths by hand to half of their length and leaving them hanging. This will control the vigour and allow the air and light into the centre of the bush to ripen the fruit buds. The ‘brutted’ branches are normally cut back to 3 or 4 buds in February.


Most garden soils contain sufficient nutrients for a bush to grow healthily, though a high potash top-dressing (such as Fruit Feed) during the spring can be beneficial. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers (such as chicken manure) which stimulate shoot growth rather than flower bud and fruit formation.


Harvest when the husks begin to yellow in autumn. Once dried the nuts will keep for months.

Pests & Diseases

Cobnuts and filberts are generally trouble free. Netting may be required to protect your crop from squirrels.

Further Information

For further information refer to RHS Growing Fruit by Harry Baker. Useful information can also be found on the RHS website.