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Tips on Growing Walnut Trees

Wood from walnut trees is used for producing fine furniture and their nuts are delicious and highly nutritious. They are beautiful trees that provide a lot of shade thanks to their large, arching branches.

How Walnut Trees Are Grown

Most walnut trees in the United States grow up to a height of 50 feet and are of similar width. Nuts and shade are the most common reasons for growing walnut trees, with English and Persian black varieties the most popular in the U.S. A fully mature tree is capable of producing between 50 and 80 pounds of walnuts yearly. With large, delicious nuts, the Persian walnut tree is the most common in California. Several cultivars exist, including Chandler, Ashley, Pedro, Howard, Hartley, Serr Vina, Tehama and Sunland. In late spring, all of these cultivars leaf out, avoiding the walnut blight. Adapted to climates in the Mediterranean, Persian walnuts may not be the best choice for every area. Early ripening varieties of walnuts need 140 to 150 days annually with temperatures of -2 and -6 C (27 and 29 F).
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How to Plant the Trees
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After choosing the type of walnut, it is time to plant the tree. To avoid competition for water and nutrients with weeds, grass and other plants, till approximately 12 square feet up to a depth of about 10 inches. Dig a hole roughly 1 or 2 inches wider than your seedling’s root ball. Put your walnut seedling in the hole you dug up to a similar depth to the pot or bury its roots between 1 and 2 inches beneath the ground. After you fill in the hole, you should tamp down to ensure that there are no air pockets left around the seedling’s roots. Next, water the walnut plant, moistening the soil without soaking it.

Care for Walnut Trees

The extensive network of roots on a walnut tree means that the seedling does not require constant watering unless the top couple of inches of soil have dried out. As the tree matures, it is only necessary to prune damaged or dead limbs. Each spring, add mulch as required.

Harvest of Walnuts

A walnut grower must be patient. Until they are roughly 10 years old, walnut trees do not produce any nuts, and their peak only comes at about 30 years of age. How will you know when to begin harvesting your nuts? A light tan color tells you that Persian walnuts are ready to be harvested. A limb shaker that has a window for collection of nuts is the most common harvesting tool used by commercial walnut producers depending on the tree’s size. However, a home grower can simply shake the tree branches and collect fallen nuts.