We have a grove of hazelnut trees growing on our land. They're at least 20 years old. They've been growing on this land since I was a kid. My father used to harvest them, but he's gone now, so I'm left to figure out what's what. Last fall/harvest, I picked them off the ground, as soon as I noticed them falling. I dried them in a dehydrator. When I started to open them up, one by one, I found that every one I opened was empty. I opened at least 30 nuts, and every single one was an empty shell. I've read that hazelnut trees can do this, but I don't know why -- some kind of mold? Or did I do something else wrong? Should I open the shells before drying? What causes empty shells? Will the trees ever produce nuts again? I hope this next harvest will be better.
Just today (August 7), I took a premature nut off the tree and broke it open. I was curious. It certainly has a nut growing there. Is this a good sign? Or will the shells be empty again after the harvest?