In addition to nuts, hazel produces woody stems that are particularly useful in the garden. Pea sticks (as they are known) make great supports for peas, which is how they got their name, as well as for annual climbing flowers and a range of other tall vegetables. Longer hazel poles can be made into rustic obelisks and sturdy frames for runner beans.
When to start: Winter.
At their best: Summer.
Time to complete: 2 hours.
You will need: A mature hazel plant, pruning tool, such as loppers or a pruning saw.
Grow pea sticks
Allow your hazel tree to grow unpruned for three or four years. The most useful pea sticks are those stems with shrubby, branching growth, which will be well developed on a mature plant. Then, in winter, simply thin out your hazel plant, take the stems you need, and leave the rest to grow and produce nuts. Store the stems in a cool, airy place until you need them in late spring or summer.
Grow hazel poles
For long, straight poles cut all the stems of an established hazel plant to the ground in winter. New growth forms poles, which will be ready to harvest in five years. Grow several plants to get a regular harvest.