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Thread: Want to grow my own walnut trees

  1. #1
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    Want to grow my own walnut trees

    So I picked a couple of walnuts off the ground when I visited one of those swanky colonial president estates in VA last summer. Any chance if I just stick these in the ground that I can grow a couple of huge walnut trees just like James Madison? I read somewhere to let the walnuts freeze through the winter and plant them in the spring. Well it's finally spring here! Any thoughts on getting these to grow?
    Last edited by Leigh Betsch; 05-24-2011 at 10:09 PM.
    The Plane Anarchist

  2. #2
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    Most walnut trees are actually two trees. A black walnut for the roots and an English walnut for the nuts. The first few feet of the tree will have a rough bark and then above the graft the bark is smooth.

    I am not sure if the same holds true in the east, but that is how it was done in California.

    We had a black walnut tree in our back yard with a story told by my mother about how my dad brought home a bag of walnuts a customer gave him. My mom cracked a few, but black walnuts are a lot of work for a little reward. She had my oldest brother dump the bag out in the back yard. A couple of trees grew up out of the pile and ended up growing together. The tree is still there and one of the biggest in the neighborhood.

    Every year nuts fall off of it if the squirrels don't get them first. The squirrels also bury a few all about. We were always pulling a few of the sprouts out of the ground and so were our neighbors.

    I have seen an area in Berkeley, CA where people didn't thin the trees and there are black walnut trees growing all over the area. Lots of squirrels also live there.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
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    I have a dozen black walnut trees in my yard, some are very old. In 1972 we had a couple that were about four foot tall that are over twenty feet now.
    The squirrels here won't touch the walnuts until late Winter when they are hungry and all other food is exhausted but they will get them all every year.
    In the past I used to throw the nuts in a burn pile, one Spring I must have had a hundred tiny walnut trees growing in the pile, not that I needed any
    Plant walnut trees away from any other tree or plant, they emit something that pretty much kills other plants.
    My walnut trees are my gauge that tells me when the last frost is behind us, our walnut trees won't ever bud until the cold mornings are history.

    I'm willing to bet that your walnuts, if planted in the right soil conditions, will grow.
    .

  4. #4
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    Juglone is the name of the poison that is produced by Black Walnut trees. Below is some interesting information from the Purdue University's agriculture website about the poison in Black Walnut trees.

    Bill

    Black walnut forms a deep taproot, wide-spreading lateral roots, and has been cultivated since 1686. A toxic chemical ‘juglone’ (5-hydroxy-1, 4-naphthoquinone), naturally occurring in the leaves, buds, bark, nut husks, and roots of black walnut, is a highly selective, cell permeable, irreversible inhibitor of the parvulin family of peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerases (PPIases) and functions by covalently modifying sullfhydryl groups in the target enzymes (Henning et al. 1998; Chao et al. 2001). Certain plants, especially tomato, apple, and several conifer species, are adversely affected (allelopathy; foliar yellowing, wilting, and even death) by being grown near the roots of black walnut trees (Goodell 1984; Dana and Lerner 1994). Horses can contract acute laminitis, an inflammation of the foot, when black walnut wood chips or sawdust is used
    for stall bedding or stables, and paddocks are located too close to walnut trees (Galey et al. 1991).
    Historically, the bark of black walnut was used by several Native Americans, including the Cherokee, Delaware, Iroquois, and Meskwaki, in tea as a cathartic, emetic, or disease remedy agent, and chewed or applied for toothaches, snake bites, and headaches (Moerman 1998; Moerman 2003). Caution: the bark should be used cautiously in medicine because it is poisonous. The Cherokee, Chippewa, and Meskwaki also used the bark to make a dark brown or black dye (Moerman 1998; Moerman 2003). The Comanche pulverized the leaves of black walnut for treatment of ringworm, the Cherokee used leaves to make a green dye, and the Delaware used the leaves as an insecticide to dispel fleas.

  5. #5
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    The hulls, after they turn soft and brown, make a good walnut stain. Also trappers around here boil their traps with walnut hulls to remove any odor from them.

  6. #6
    We had a volunteer black walnut sprout in our back yard a number of years ago. I have no idea how it got there as the closest tree I know of is several miles away. I have several hundred Red Oaks sprouting from acorns off our tree. The lawn mower will take care of most of them. I did give a bag of sprouting acorns to a friend earlier this spring. For acorns, they just lay on the ground under the snow and most all of them sprout in the spring. If you refrigerate your walnuts for a few weeks they should think it is spring, unless they were stored in a cold location all winter.

    Let's hope you hang around long enough to harvest the lumber from those tress.
    Lee Schierer - McKean, PA

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Contribute

  7. #7
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    There are dozens of walnut trees growing behind my parents property where the farmer that owns the land started to clear out some brush and trees but never finished. One of the trees was a walnut and the walnuts he knocked out sprouted on their own.


  8. #8
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    If it is like other fruit and nut trees a grafted tree will grow much faster than one grown from seed.

  9. #9
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    The walnuts may likely sprout. Keep in mind that walnuts prefer a rich, well drained site and I do not recommend walnuts as a yard tree. As previously mentioned, the juglanic acid will poison any grass growing around a walnut. In addition, walnuts are very late to leaf out and very early to drop leaves so except for a woodworker, the trees may not be a welcomed yard tree.

    FYI - about 15 years ago I helped my dad cut up some blown down walnut tree for a couple of weeks off one of the Virginia Presidental Estates in Charles City County (I believe it was Sherwood Forest - home of John Tyler). We set up on the estate and cut some 30"+ diameter walnut tree with my dad's Woodmizer.
    If you first don't succeed, TRY, TRY AGAIN...

  10. #10
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    Well I was gonna stick them in the ground along the side of my front yard. Lee you've seen the place, I could use a tree or two out front! But based on what I've learned here I think I have the perfect spot out back. I could make a little walnut grove of 5 or six trees.
    I assume that I don't need to un-husk them, just plant them as they fell off the tree, add some water and presto in about 50 years some woodworker will be making a glorious new presidential desk!
    The Plane Anarchist

  11. #11
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    Toss em in the rain gutter.
    I have a whole forrest of maple trees growing in mine right now :O !

  12. #12
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    Ok I went out to plant my walnut grove tonight but I realized that the spot I have picked out is still pretty soggy after the spring rains. It's a low spot on my property. So my question is "Do walnut trees do well in a low spot, or do they like a drier place?" the low spot doesn't have standing water very often but it can be muddy quite often in a normal year. I could move to higher ground but that might be a bit too arid for an easterly species. Any thoughts? Maybe I should call the Ag extension office tomorrow.
    The Plane Anarchist

  13. #13
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    At my uncles farm in lower Michigan, which has soil a lot like you have out there, they are growing everywhere. Down along the creek, and at the top of the hills and everywhere in between, so I don't think it is critical.

    Larry

  14. #14
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    Bits and pieces from the internet in regards to the growing conditions for Juglans nigra..........

    Black walnut is sensitive to soil conditions and develops best on deep, well-drained, nearly neutral soils that are generally moist and fertile. Walnut grows best on sandy loam, loam, or silt loam textured soils but also grows well on silty clay loam soils. Soils with these textures hold a large amount of water that is available to the tree during dry periods of the growing season.
    Walnut is common on limestone soils and grows especially well on deep loams, loess soils, and fertile alluvial deposits. It also grows well on good agricultural soils that do not have fragipans. Walnut grows slowly on wet bottom land and on sandy or dry ridges and slopes. Throughout its range, walnut generally reaches its greatest size and value along streams and on the lower portion of north- or east-facing slopes. This is particularly true near the limits of its natural range.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the input. They are going in the ground tonight, if it's not raining, again.
    The Plane Anarchist

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