The hazelnuts that were planted in 2012 were challenged by drought conditions that year, but many survived, though some died back and are slowly recovering.
Here is one of the 2012 hazels
And here are some of the 2014 hazels (around 2500 all told). They had a well timed rain after planting, and are doing well. I don't mulch or use herbicides, but do mow next to the trees the first two years. These trees get little coddling, but the overall input costs are low as well.
And here are a couple of the brand new 2016 hazels, planted about two weeks ago.
All of these hazels were planted with a tree planter kind of like this one: http://kelcomaine.com/tp300.cfm pulled behind a tractor .
Unfortunately, we had a late hard frost that hit just as the nut trees were at their most sensitive. It also knocked all the sumacs back on their heels. Here is one of our chestnuts, not sure if they will recover. Interestingly, the hazels had leafed out earlier, and were past the critical stage, and were not affected.
Even many of the large established hickories and oaks in our woods were hit hard. We'll see if these small ones have enough reserves left to recover, otherwise we'll be doing a lot of replanting.
Bonus photo- Our feral chives patch in bloom, that was already thriving when we moved here. Comes back strong every year.