Welcome to Z’s Nutty Ridge Nursery


We have been growing nut trees since 1993. We select the best nuts on the hardiest trees and cross breed for superior performance disease resistance and nut quality. We will propagate known cultivars of hazelnut and chestnut that meet our criteria and our own selections. We are located in the geographical center of New York State, in Cortland County, known as “Upstate New York”. We are USDA zone 5a at a very windy 1800 ft. elevation.


We currently sell seedling trees and are starting to sell layered hazelnuts of known quality. Seedling trees are nuts planted from a known good parent that is sprouted and grown one season in our greenhouse. Seedling trees won’t be identical to the parent but will often share similar characteristics. The seedlings are sold in the summer or are planted out for a second growing season and then sold. Layered selections are identical to the parent tree and are known as a “clone”. Layering has been done for thousands of years on any tree that will produce “suckers” or re-sprout after the tree has been cut down. The suckers or sprouts are encouraged to grow roots and then divided.

We have planted many thousands of trees from many nurseries that claimed that their trees were superior in some manner or characteristic that justified us buying them. The overwhelming majority of the trees we bought weren’t hardy, disease prone, or died. The trees that survived and thrived with good quality nuts we propagate or cross breed for further enhancements. Breeding of hybrid hazelnuts has been ongoing since 1921’.
Hazelnut trees are native to our region. The hazelnut hybrids are crosses of hardy native disease resistant hazels with the large tasty European hazelnuts. European hazelnuts aren’t disease resistant or very hardy. The goal that we and other have been striving for is a native type hazel tree with European sized nuts. This is why we say…

“Hazelnuts are a new crop 94 years in the making.”


We also tissue culture chestnut trees thanks to our relationship with State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) located in Syracuse, NY. Tissue culture is another form of cloning like layering where you create identical copies of the parent tree using cuttings from the parent tree. The cuttings are carefully nurtured in a sterile environment and when large enough are encouraged to grow roots and planted out.

“Buy a Tree Save a Tree”

When you buy a cloned chestnut tree from us you will also help to restore the American chestnut tree to its original stature in our forest as an important forage crop for the wildlife and us humans. It was also was the main timber tree used for construction as its straight grain timber was rot resistant. The American chestnut trees were towering giants and are often referred to as the “Redwood of the East”. SUNY ESF in conjunction with The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) has been studying how to best restore the American chestnut to its original stature in our forests before the Chestnut blight killed our native trees. This research in the American chestnut at SUNY ESF has been ongoing for over 25 years under the leadership of Dr. Powell and Dr. Maynard.

Like the hazelnut, the chestnut is an important crop for most of the world. The trees selected for cloning are trees that have gained stature for nut quality and ability to produce marketable nuts consistently.

As you can see improving trees is a lifetime of effort. Annual grain and vegetable crops get two or three generations per year where nut trees take 4 to 7 years per generation and need testing for over ten years to validate the desired traits.

The information contained on this web site is general in nature to give a good overview of what is needed to grow a healthy tree. Please see specific references given for greater detail on a given subject and keep in mind that there may be some variations for your area.