How long for black walnut trees to mature


Black Walnut Tree: A Complete Care Guide

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This is a tree with a rich history in North America.  Its wood has a deep, lustrous, and elegant color that is dimensionally stable and not prone to splitting as it dries.  Therefore, it is a prized hardwood.

The wood was preferred for making cabinets, furniture, and gunstock, so by the 1960s, few of this species were still around. Efforts were made to restore these magnificent trees, but progress has been slow. It takes 12 to 15 years before the tree produces any nuts and 40 to 60 years of constant care for it to fully mature.

But don’t let these numbers scare you off. Your hard work in caring for this woody plant will pay off as it matures into a majestic addition to your yard. Here, you will find a complete guide for planting and caring for one of the most illustrious trees of North America.

What You’ll Learn

The black walnut (Juglans nigra) is formally known as the eastern black walnut.   It is a species of deciduous tree in the Juglandaceae, or walnut, family.  It is native to a wide area of North America that extends from southern Ontario to southeast South Dakota and central Texas. 

Black walnut trees have a distinctively spicy odor that emanates from most parts of the tree.  Its growth habit differs between trees grown in open areas and those grown in forests.  Specimens growing in woodlands that face competition for sunlight grow a tall, straight trunk that reaches heights between 100 and 130 feet.  Those grown in open areas will have a shorter trunk with a broader crown.  The tree has a yearly growth rate between 12 and 24 inches.

The large, dark green leaves grow alternately on the stem to a length of 1 to 2 feet.  Each stem has 15 to 23 leaflets, including a terminal leaflet on each stem.  The leaflets are largest towards the center of the stem.  In that location, they grow to be between 2 and 4 inches long and ½ to 2 ½ inches wide.  The leaflets have a serrated edge and grow from a rounded base out to a pointed tip.

Walnuts, the fruit of the tree, ripen during the summer and autumn into a spherical nut with a greenish-brown, flesh-like husk encompassing a corrugated brown nut.  Mature nuts will fall to the ground around October and produce relatively small seeds.

This particular species has a massive taproot that grows deep into the soil.  The roots also spread out broadly. When planting saplings in an area, they will require spacing.  The taproot will make it difficult to transplant the tree once it has grown beyond the size of a sapling, so keep this in mind before you plant.

One key feature of the root system is that it is allelopathic.  This means that it secretes the chemical juglone into the soil, which is toxic to certain plants’ species.  Some of the juglone-susceptible plants include tomatoes, potatoes, peas, peppers, cabbage, apples, blueberries, blackberries, azaleas, and rhododendron.

So, before you plant new trees or plant others close to them, do your research to make sure all the plants get along.

Care Guide

Here is what you need to be aware of when caring for your new black walnut trees.

Sun Requirements

Juglans nigra is a tree that demands sunlight for proper growth.  It requires at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight every day.  Avoid locations where frost collects, and choose a planting site that is sheltered from the wind.  A tall tree like this one is susceptible to being snapped by high winds.

Soil Requirements

This species requires deep soil first and foremost.  Its massive taproot requires soil unburdened by bedrock or other impermeable features for at least 5 feet.  You must perform a test with a special soil penetrating tool to ensure that the roots will have enough room. 

Aside from the prescribed depth, black walnut grows best in sandy loam soil that is well-drained and rich in nutrients.  It tolerates a wide range of pH levels, from 5.0 to 8.0.  For optimal growth, the tree prefers slightly acidic soil ranging from 6. 0 to 6.5. It’s worth mentioning that the tree is sensitive to elevated levels of sodium, chlorine, and boron.

This species does not fare well in areas surrounded by hills, as they are prone to frost and tend not to drain easily.  Stagnant water can be a death sentence for most root systems, and the black walnut is no different.

The young roots of newly planted saplings are very sensitive.  Before planting, you’ll have to plow to a depth between 20 and 30 inches to remove any perennial weed roots that might compete for nutrients and to fluff up the soil.  Perform a soil test to determine not only the pH level but also the nutrient content.  If it is low, you must add organic matter, like compost or manure, before planting.

Water Requirements

With this woody plant, watering is an involved task, as it does not do well during dry periods.  There are two rules of thumb that you’ll need to keep in mind to support healthy growth.

The first rule of thumb is that it needs 50 inches of irrigation through the course of one year.   If you calculate that this comes to about 1 inch of water a week, be aware of the second rule.

That rule states that it should receive 50% of the annual irrigation requirement during the summer months (June, July, and August).  That means that for those 12 weeks, your plant will require a little above 2 inches of water per week.

This might sound complicated, but remember that outside of the summer months, your walnut grove will only need about 25 inches of water spread out over 40 weeks. Natural irrigation should take care of this.  If you need to supplement with your garden hose, water the soil outward from the trunk to the drip edge of the canopy. Ideally, water to a depth of 3 to 6 feet.

Fertilizer

Black walnut will benefit from two applications of very different fertilizers through the course of the year.

In early spring, give the plant a nitrogen boost with an application of ammonium sulfate.  Ammonium sulfate generally comes with an NPK ratio of 21-0-0.   Apply 9 pounds of ammonium sulfate per 1,000 square feet.  Divide those numbers accordingly if you do not have 1,000 square feet of trees to cover.  For example, if you only have 100 square feet of area to cover, apply 14.5 ounces of ammonium sulfate.  Do not spread the ammonium sulfate up to the trunk.  Use a mark 1 ½ feet from the base of your black walnut as your starting point.

The second round of black walnut fertilization takes place during the summer.  Using a well-balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 15-15-15, provide every tree with 4 ounces of product.  As with the ammonium sulfate, spread the fertilizer evenly from the drip edge to 1 ½ foot from the base of the trunk.

As always, don’t forget to water the fertilizer into the soil.  You want the fertilizer to reach the roots below the ground.

Growing Tips

Here are some pointers for you to keep in mind to ensure that your black walnuts are around for future generations.

Propagation

If you’re planning on planting black walnuts, it’s best if you buy a young tree or purchase a seedling that has already been germinated.   The roots of black walnuts are sensitive and fragile while they’re young.  And sprouting from seed is not always easy.

However, if you do wish to plant your seeds, follow these steps:

  1. Gather the nuts and remove the husks.
  2. Gather six nuts that have been dehusked to plant.
  3. Plant them 4 inches apart in a cluster 4 to 5 inches deep in the soil.
  4. Cover the planting area with a cloth and pin it to the ground to prevent wildlife from digging the nuts up.
  5. Place a layer of mulch, straw, or leaves over the planting site.
  6. Mark the site clearly.

The seeds will germinate in the spring, so remove the cloth in late winter.  Once the trees have grown for a few months, select the healthiest specimens and discard the weaker ones, so that they don’t compete for nutrients.  Keep the soil moist until the seedlings are sturdy.

Potential Problems

Thousand Canker Disease

This is a disease that will produce cankers in the bark of black walnuts.   It is the result of the combined activity of the walnut twig beetle and the canker-producing fungus Geosmithia morbida.  The walnut twig beetle pierces the bark and leaves an open wound.  The fungus then infiltrates the open wound and causes the cankers to form in the bark. 

The disease can be lethal within a few years.  Use the appropriate insecticide and fungicide to treat the problem.  Take care to choose products that will not affect the tree negatively.

Sunburn

Black walnuts can become sunburnt if they are stressed due to a lack of moisture.  If your grove experiences this stress and temperatures climb to 100℉ for several days in a row, the nuts can wither and dry out.  This can be prevented with proper irrigation.

Harvesting Walnuts

You can harvest the nuts by simply picking them up after they fall to the ground. 

Immediately remove the walnuts from their green fleshy hull and dry them out.  Once they have dried, you can use them in your favorite dishes. Or freeze them for later use.

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Complete Guide to Black Walnut Trees – Juglans Nigra – GrowIt BuildIT

Updated January 15th, 2022

The Black Walnut Tree is a large deciduous tree native to Eastern North America that produces edible nuts in the fall. Growing to heights of 120′ (40 m) by 50′ wide (~15 m) in optimum conditions, the Black Walnut can make an excellent shade tree. The main drawback for the Black Walnut is a chemical its roots produce and secrete called Juglone, which kills many different species of plants should their root come into contact with it.

So, one must be aware of that fact, and chose companion plants accordingly.

In this article:

  • Black Walnut Tree Facts / Quick Reference
  • What are the pros and cons of Black Walnut Trees?
  • Identification / Characteristics
  • Black Walnut Toxicity
  • How to Grow and Care for Black Walnut trees
    • How to Germinate Black Walnuts
  • What Wildlife, Pests, and Diseases effect Black Walnut trees?
  • Where to buy Black Walnut Trees
  • Uses of Black Walnut Trees

Facts

  • It is hardy from USDA zones 4-10. Check your USDA zone here.
  • Growth RateBlack Walnut Trees grow between 12-30 inches per year (30-70 cm), depending on conditions
  • Can start producing nuts as early as 5 years old, with significant production once it reaches 10 years old
  • Nuts attract a wide variety of wildlife (squirrels, chipmunks, etc)
  • A true favorite of woodworkers (and the author), the dark closed-grain heartwood has a beautiful dark brown color
  • The scientific name of Black Walnut is Juglans nigra [2]
  • All parts of the tree, but particularly the roots produce Juglone, which can prevent growth or kill certain plants growing under or near them
    • Want to see full list of plants that should not be grown under Black Walnut Trees? Click HERE
  • Shavings from Black Walnut should not be used as horse bedding, as it is toxic to horses

Black Walnut Tree Native Range

The native range of the Black Walnut Tree is North America, primarily East of the Rocky Mountains. Although it has become naturalized in some Western states such as Utah, California, and the Pacific Northwest. [1]

Source [1]

Black Walnut Tree Reference Table

Common NameBlack Walnut
Scientific nameJuglans Nigra
Bloom TimeLate Spring
Bloom Duration2 weeks
ColorGreen/yellow
Bloom SizeSmall florets, 1/8” wide (3 mm)
Flower CharacteristicsFlorets will be hang down, arrayed on a stem. Female florets are several to a group and the same size as male.
Height80-130’ (24-40 m)
Spacing/Spread12’ (4 m) (for nut production)

25′ (8 m) for general landscaping

Light RequirementsFull sun – Full Shade
Soil TypesClay, Loam
MoistureMoist to Medium
MaintenancePick up the walnuts each year! Or let the squirrels do it
Typical UseWoodlands, border, planting for nut production, timber
Fauna Associations~ 40 species of moths and insects feed on Black Walnut. Squirrels, chipmunks, eat nuts.
Larval HostOver 20 different moths
Sowing Depth1”
StratificationPlant in fall, direct sown
Native RangeUSDA Zones 4-9
Sources [1]

Pros and Cons of Black Walnut Tree

Pros

Shade Tree

Black Walnuts grow quickly and can reach towering heights. This makes them a potential shade tree for any home. Just make sure you space them away from the house accordingly to avoid walnuts clogging your gutters.

Beauty

The general shapeliness of a Black Walnut tree make them very attractive when grown in the open, free from competition/shading. When allowed to branch fully they can be a very attractive tree.

Food

Black Walnut trees will produce large crops of edible nuts for free. There are different manners of processing or removing the husks. But Black Walnuts are nutritious and can be used in a variety of foods, or eaten by themselves.

Hardwood

The lumber that can be produced from Black Walnut is absolutely beautiful. The straight closed grain can be used in a variety of applications from furniture, cutting boards, and even smaller art projects.

Cons

Fall Cleanup

Mature Black Walnut trees will produce nuts each year, but roughly every 5th year they will have a bumper crop. This can lead to tons of small golf-ball sized green balls littering streets, sidewalks and yards. Although the squirrels and chipmunks will bury most of them, working around them can be annoying until they are buried.

Juglone Poisoning

The roots, bark, and leaves of Black Walnut trees produces a chemical known as Juglone that is toxic to many plants. Furthermore it can be an irritant to your skin if you are susceptible.

Black Walnut Identification, Physical Description, and Characteristics

Black Walnut Trees grow tall! Over 100′ for a mature tree, and they can branch to 50′ diameter. The rough bark can be mistaken for Ash or Tulip Poplar trees, with its rough vertical ridges. But the leaves are more unique, being ‘compound’.

A true confirmation of a Black Walnut Tree can always be done in the Fall (September/October), by looking for the many 2-4″ diameter nuts that will be in the tree, and all over the ground. And should you see the cross section of the log, you will have no problem identifying it by the dark-brown heartwood surrounded by white/yellow sapwood.

Trunk/Bark

Typically the trunk will be quite long and not have branches, making it excellent for lumber. Black Walnut bark consists of rough ridges that run vertical. Significant branching can/does occur in the upper 2/3 of the tree. At full maturity, the trunk of the Black Walnut can be up to 6′ diameter (2 m).

Bark of a mature Black Walnut tree, Juglans nigra

The limbs will have more immature bark, which will be much smoother. You often see the limbs having bark that is smoother than the mother trunk in various species, such as Redbud or Shagbark Hickory.

Leaves

The leaf of the Black Walnut Tree are compound, with alternate leaves. The total compound size is around 18″ (30-60 cm) long, give or take 6″, and approximately 6″ wide (15 cm).

The size of the individual leaf is approximately 1″ (25 mm) wide by 3″ (~75 mm) long. The leaves on the tip of the compound are shaped differently than the others, being smaller or misshapen. Individual leaves are shaped like a spear-tip, and have serrated edges like a saw.


Black Walnut Leaves

Black Walnut leaves turn yellow in Fall when temperatures begin to drop. Also, it is one of the first trees to have its leaves change color in Autumn. So, when you see Black Walnut leaves turning yellow, you know cooler temperatures will follow soon!

Black Walnut Tree leaves turning yellow in Fall. Note that no other tree species is changing color, as the Black Walnut is the first.

Flower

In Spring Black Walnut Trees will produce small florets and bloom. Since Black Walnut trees are monoecious, it will have both male/female flowers and will self-pollinate. The male flowers are attached to stems that hang down cylindrically, and are about 5″ long (12 cm). Female florets are in small groups on a small spike, and will have 3-6 florets. The size of both male and female florets are about 1/8″ (3 mm).

Black Walnut Tree Flower

The female florets will eventually turn into large, golf ball sized nuts. These nuts will have an outer green husk that eventually turns yellow to black. A mature nut will be the size of a ping-pong ball, with a black/shriveled and rough texture.


Black Walnuts that have been husked.
How long until a Black Walnut Tree produces walnuts?

For Black Walnut trees grown out in the open, or in landscaping application, seeds may start being produced at 4-6 years of age. When it comes to trees grown within the forest it may take 20-30 years until nuts are produced. [1]

Root

The root system of Black Walnut Trees consists wide-spread lateral roots and a deep taproot. The root produces a chemical called Juglone, that inhibits or prevents growth of certain plants. This mechanism helps reduce competition, raising the chances of the individual tree to survive and collect nutrients.

Black Walnut Trees poisoning other plants

Black walnut trees produce a chemical in their roots called Juglone that will poison and kill other plants and trees. Juglone is chemically known as C10H6O3 or 5 hydroxy-1, 4- napthoquinone. This chemical will slowly stress and kill susceptible plants. [2]

I’ve done some exhaustive research compiling all known plants that are susceptible to Juglone poisoning. Head over here to get the full list of known plants that will die from Juglone ==>HERE

What plants grow well near Black Walnut Trees?

We have also researched and compiled a complete listing of plants known to grow well near Black Walnut Trees. These plants are impervious to Juglone. Our information is based Scientific Journals, University Studies, and Ag Extension resources.

You can read our full list of 201 Plants that are tolerant of Black Walnut Trees ==> HERE

Grow and Care of Black Walnut Trees

This tree likes moist soil that is moist. It will grow in a variety of conditions and almost any soil, from sandy to clay – the main thing is that it needs moist, well-draining soil to thrive. It can tolerate occasional flooding, as evidenced by its propensity to grow near streams, creeks, ponds. If you provide it the necessary space, moisture and good soil, then you can expect significant year over year growth.

How to care for

Not much care is required. Just provide this tree with conditions that it prefers, and you will have a thriving tree to be enjoyed by future generations.

Maintenance

The biggest maintenance job for this tree is cleaning up the nuts. If you plant this near a sidewalk or street, it will be littered with the nuts. When crushed, there is a black husk that stains skin, clothes, and pavement. It is difficult to remove the color. Eventually the squirrels will likely get all the nuts and bury them, but not before they start to break down naturally and stain areas.


A street littered with black walnuts…until the squirrels find them!

While the Black Walnut tree can provide excellent shade, food for you and wildlife, and is beautiful, the walnuts falling to the ground can be a bit messy in some applications. If you would like a tree that looks great, provides nice shade, grows fast, and supports wildlife then I suggest you look at the Pin Oak Tree.

How to Propagate Black Walnut Trees from seed

Black Walnut trees can be propagated from collected nuts. After the walnuts naturally start falling from the tree, you should collect some from the tree itself, not the ground. Then, remove the husk and test the black walnuts viability by seeing if it sinks in water. Plant viable Black Walnuts 1-2″ deep. Trees will sprout in the Spring.

If you collect some black walnuts and wish to grow them from seed, you first need to do a test to make sure the nut is a viable seed. Also, Black Walnuts need to undergo cold moist stratification or be winter-sown to germinate.

Testing Black Walnut seed viability

Checking viability of the walnut itself is quite easy.

  1. Put on rubber gloves and get a sharp knife. I use a hunting knife, but a chef’s knife would work well too.
  2. Cut around the husk, then twist the knife to pop-off and remove the husk. This can be a dirty job, so the gloves are important. The husk of Black Walnuts can stain almost anything.
  3. Rinse the nut a few times to clean.
  4. Drop the nut into water and let it sit for 60 seconds. If a walnut sinks, then it is viable. If the walnut floats, discard it.
Testing black walnut seed viability

After husking and discarding nonviable Black Walnuts, you should plant them or stratify them. One thing to note, squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodents will dig up walnuts to eat. So you need to have a way to protect them. If you are not prepared for that yet, then consider storing them in the fridge by cold-moist stratifying them until you are ready to winter-sow the seed.

Cold Stratify / Storing Walnuts for germination

To cold stratify and store Black Walnuts prior to planting, get a large 1-gallon zip-lock bag and some sand or vermiculite. Mix the sand/vermiculite with water so that it is damp. The amount of dampness is that if you squeeze a handful only a couple of drops should drip from your hand.

Then, place your Black Walnuts into the center of the mixture, and place into the zip-lock bag. Store this in the fridge until you are ready to plant.

How to plant and germinate Black Walnuts

Since Black Walnuts need a cold treatment, winter-sowing is the easiest method. Just let mother nature do the work for you.

  1. Fill a container with moist potting soil.
  2. Planting Depth – Plant Black Walnuts 1-2″ deep into the soil (2.5-5 cm)
  3. Set the container outside in a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade
  4. Protect the container from squirrels and rodents. Hardware cloth, screens, or something similar with a rock on top works great.
  5. Germination will occur in roughly the middle of Spring, once temperatures begin warming up overnight
Black Walnut seedling right after germinationI had 60% germination rate of Black Walnut Trees

Video guide to growing Black Walnut Trees from seed:

Below is a short video on how to grow a Black Walnut tree from Seed. This video contains all information you need to successfully germinate the nuts.

Wildlife, Pests, and Diseases

Fauna Associations of Black Walnut Tree

More than 20 different species of moth larvae feed on black walnut trees, making it a valuable part of the ecosystem. Additionally, there are another 20 or so insects whose larva bore into the bark to feed. [1]

Chipmunks and squirrels will collect and bury nearly all the nuts, to use as food throughout the winter. In that regard they are valuable for our ecosystem. Also, by way of burying them they help propagate the species. [1]

Pests

A condition known as ‘Thousand Canker Disease’ effects mature Black Walnut Trees. A predatory beetle walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis) eats on the tree, providing a vector for a fungus to lead to cankers on the tree. The condition can prove fatal several years after first noticed.

Disease

General fungal issues also effect foliage of Black Walnut trees. Both white mold and bull’s-eye leaf spot can negatively effect the trees appearance and health.

Uses for Black Walnut Trees

Landscape Use

Black Walnut trees make excellent shade trees. Their ability to grow up to 30″ per year make them one of the faster growing hardwoods. The main drawback to Black Walnut trees in a yard or sidewalk is the nuts that will fall, that can be a tripping hazard and make a mess.

Food

This nutcracker makes fast work of opening the delicious walnuts. It’s the best I’ve found.

Black Walnuts are edible and nutritious tree nuts that are grown and prized for food. [1] Black Walnuts are often used in baking, as a topping on ice cream, or salads. Ground walnuts can also be used as a breading. Although one must harvest them prior to squirrels and chipmunks that quickly bury and cache the nuts.

Nuts can be de-husked and dried for storage. Cracked nuts can be frozen and preserved for up to two years, making Black Walnuts a valuable food that can be stored long-term. Homesteaders in particular should take note of this valuable protein source.

Lumber

Black Walnut lumber is one of the most prized and valuable hardwoods native to North America. The ability of the tree to reach large trunk diameter and height make large boards possible, and lots of them available within a single specimen. The lumber is used commonly as veneer, gunstocks, and furniture. [1][4]

Lumber from Black Walnut Trees that grow in yards

If you are reading this and have a few tall Black Walnut trees in your yard, you may be thinking you are sitting on a small fortune. While it is possible you could have trees with valuable trunks, sadly it is unlikely that you could get more than a few hundred dollars for your trees.

Yard trees often grown in the open will have many knots and branching that diminish the value greatly. Furthermore, most professional loggers will not haul equipment to a residence for a single tree, as the overhead costs are too high. In general, you need 10-20 acres of hardwood forest at a minimum for a professional logger to come harvest timber. [3][5]

That being said yard trees are not without lumber value. Depending on the market one may attract a small hobbyist with a portable sawmill to come for general lumber or the recent trend of making live-edge or slap boards.

Recently a 250 year old Black Walnut Tree was illegally cut down for lumber. A man mistakenly thought the giant 72″ trunk diameter tree was his. Ultimately, he was paid ~$2,000 for the tree, and the loggers sold the tree for over $10,000.

General woodworking with Black Walnut

Black Walnut wood is so beautiful that anyone with a basic skill of hand tools can create works of art. Yours truly has rescued pieces of firewood to create small Christmas gifts such as the business card holder below. And even split logs lengthwise to make rustic benches.

A business card holder I made as a gift. I used two pieces of Black Walnut firewood.

The closed grain wood of Black Walnut wood makes it a great choice for cutting boards, mallets, and bowls/spoons.

Related ==> Learn how to make your own mallet from a log HERE!

Medicinal

There are over 70 uses for Black Walnut Trees documented by 16 different tribes. [6] Most common uses is eating the nuts for food, or using the bark/husks as a dye.

Bark was used by the Cherokee “cautiously” as it was toxic. Often as a dermatological aid, toothache, an infusion for smallpox, and as a dye. The nuts were eaten and wood used for furniture and carving.

Many other tribes utilized the bark in decoction, infusions, or rubbed on skin to treat various ailments. Symptoms such as carhartic, ringworm, inflammation, intestinal, or emetic issues were all treated in some manner with the bark.

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References:

[1] – Russell M. Burns, Silvics of North America: Hardwoods, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, 1990, pp391-399. https://srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/1548 . Retrieved 18JUL2021

[2] – Charles J. Soderquist. J. Chem. Educ. 1973, 50, 11, 782; Publication Date:November 1, 1973; https://doi. org/10.1021/ed050p782

[3] – Steve Norman, Research Ecologist. Forest Economics and Policy (RWU-4804). United States Forestry Service, https://srs.fs.usda.gov/econ/timberprices/yard-trees/, Retrieved 18JUL2021

[4] – Allyson Brownlee Muth and David R. Jackson; Valuing Standing Timber, https://extension.psu.edu/valuing-standing-timber, Retrieved 18JUL2021

[5] – Georgia Peterson, How Much Lumber in that Tree?, Michigan State University Ag Extension, Publication E2915, 2015; https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/how_much_lumber_in_that_tree_e2915

[6] – Black Walnut Tree, Native American Ethnobotany Database. http://naeb.brit.org/uses/species/2034/ retrieved 18JUL2021


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planting, where it grows, what it is, care

Contents

  • Characteristics of black walnut
  • Black walnut cultivation
  • Black walnut trim
  • Benefits of black walnut fruit
  • What are the harmful fruits of black walnut
  • Black Walnut

Black walnut is the closest relative of the well-known walnut. Black walnut is native to North America, but there are many other places where black walnut grows. It has become widespread due to its use in medicine, cooking and everyday life. The tree got its name due to the specific color of the fruits, wood and roots.

Black walnut is a close relative of walnut

Black walnut characteristics

The plant has a number of features that make it difficult to confuse it with other nuts.

The tree looks like this:

  • fairly wide crown, with downspread branches;
  • the bark is chocolate black with deep fissures all over its surface;
  • dark brown wood with a strong texture that can be easily machined;
  • rhizome is rod, extends over great distances;
  • leaves pinnate, oval, excised with small notches along the outer edge;
  • produces long light green catkins when flowering in the middle;
  • round shape of the fruit with a pointed end, the peel is light green during ripening, darkens later;
  • fruit shell has a special dark color.

Black walnut can be found throughout Europe, except for the Scandinavian countries, because the climate there is too harsh for this tree. Also grows in the deciduous forests of central Russia, where it was introduced at the end of the 18th century.

Young black walnuts have a light green skin

Black walnut cultivation

If you decide to grow black walnut on your site, you need to take into account some features of this tree. The leaves are able to produce phytoncides - biologically active substances with bactericidal properties. They not only fight bacteria, but also improve respiratory function and heart rate, and also help to cope with headaches or migraines. But in addition to pathogenic bacteria, with a high concentration of phytoncides in the air, those that are vital to the human body can die. For this reason, it is better to plant young trees at a distance of 15-20 meters from each other.

Seedlings for breeding can be purchased from nurseries or grown independently from the nut. The second option will take longer.

Walnut is soaked for several weeks in water at room temperature, constantly changing it so that it does not stagnate. After pecking, the sprout is planted in fertile wet soil.

The plant has some environmental and care requirements:

  1. Black walnut does not like acidic or slightly acidic soil. Preference is given to neutral and slightly alkaline soil, otherwise the plant will not be able to prepare for winter in time and will die.
  2. Wood is very fond of moisture. In Indiana, black walnuts are flooded for one month, and sometimes a little more. The roots at this time are completely under water, but the plant does not receive any damage from this.
  3. The temperature regime largely depends on the age of the nut and its condition. Despite the fact that it comes from a warm region, a mature, healthy tree can normally survive winters with frosts down to -40 ° C, but young or injured trees cannot.

It is not recommended to plant birch, apple, pear and plum trees, tomatoes, potatoes and other nightshades in close proximity to the tree. Plants planted close to black walnut will die so quickly that the gardener will not have time to understand what happened to them. By producing the toxin juglone, the black walnut very quickly oppresses the plants closest to it.

An apple tree will not grow near a walnut

Black walnut trim

Planting and care also includes tree pruning. A properly formed crown increases the productivity of the tree and promotes the growth of side branches. A feature of this tree is its typical growth method for forest plants. The trunk lengthens over time and is cleared of the lower branches, forming a green mass at the top.

It is best to prune in the spring when there is little danger of a hard night frost. Remove dry branches with a pruner or saw. Branches directed to the middle of the crown are also subject to pruning. The renewed tree gives bountiful harvests.

To make the tree squat, use the apical pruning method, removing the top growth point from young trees at the age of three.

Pruning removes branches towards the middle of the trunk

Benefits of black walnut fruit

Black walnut fruit is used as a dietary supplement. They are a source of fatty acids, trace elements and vitamins of groups B, A, PP, E and C. 10 nuts contain a daily dose of iodine, which improves thyroid function and helps strengthen immunity during colds and respiratory diseases. Also, black nuts are a source of carotene and tannin.

They have the following qualities:

  • improves skin tone, helps to smooth mimic wrinkles;
  • dilates blood vessels, lowering blood pressure;
  • relieves muscle spasms, especially well against pain in women during menstruation;
  • destroys worms, helps to cope with intoxication by the waste products of parasites;
  • strengthens the immune system;
  • reduces the risk of malignant tumors;
  • cleanses the blood and lymph;
  • reduces irritability;
  • eliminates free radicals;
  • helps fight infectious diseases;
  • cleanses the skin of the face from acne;
  • stimulates the brain.

The properties of black walnut make it an indispensable product in the diet of any person, especially those who suffer from diabetes and impaired glucose absorption. Thanks to the substances contained in the kernels of the nut, the work of the pancreas, liver and kidneys improves.

Black nuts have a whole range of medicinal properties

It is recommended for an adult to eat 8-10 nuts a day to get enough natural iodine, vitamins and minerals. Children should be given no more than five pieces.

Kernels can be consumed fresh and lightly toasted. In the second case, the nucleoli acquire a refined taste, but lose most of the nutrients. Also, black walnut fruits are used for making desserts and as a seasoning for first and second courses.

In medicine, in addition to the kernels of this nut, the juice of the plant's pericarp is used. The green pulp is pressed to obtain a dark brown liquid rich in iodine.

With its help, you can stop bleeding and significantly speed up wound healing. Also, a tincture is made from the pericarp, which helps to cure thrush without pills and suppositories.

What are the harmful fruits of black walnut

Despite the huge list of positive aspects of eating black walnut fruits, there are also disadvantages. Due to their high fat content, kernels are high in calories. For this reason, people who are overweight are advised to use nuts with great care. Do not abuse this delicacy for allergy sufferers. Nuts are strong allergens and can lead not only to itching and skin rashes, but also to Quincke's edema.

Pregnant and lactating women, children under 5 years of age should use black walnut fruits with caution. You should not eat roasted nuts for people suffering from gastritis and cholecystitis.

When buying black walnuts, make sure they are fresh and free of mold on the kernels. Otherwise, you can get severe poisoning.

Black nuts should be carefully inspected for mold

Black Walnut

The cultivation of black walnut is practiced not only for harvest, but also for timber. Due to its unusual color (dark gold), wood is used in furniture production. Furniture made of such wood is not only beautiful, but also resistant to external factors, has antiseptic properties. Due to the content of glycosides, essential oils and organic acids in the tissues of the plant, the furniture is protected from fungi and the reproduction of pathogens.

The only drawback of the material is its low strength. When sawing, the wood bends easily. This can be considered a plus, because the elasticity of wood is necessary for the assembly of complex decorative structures.

If properly dried and stored in the right conditions, black walnut furniture will last a long time. In addition to furniture from black walnut wood, they also make:

  • gun stocks;
  • musical instruments;
  • floor coverings;
  • decor items.

From a medical point of view, black walnut is also very useful, and therefore, is actively used in pharmacology to create extracts, tinctures and powders.

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How long does it take for a black walnut tree to ripen? — Ideas for the home

It will be 10 years before the black walnut gives nuts.

The black walnut tree (Juglans nigra) has been a source of food and timber for thousands of years in Europe, Asia and Africa. In North America, the tree originated in the northeastern regions and slowly spread across the continent as far as California. It is a majestic tree, most successfully grown in zones 4-9.USDA, is distinguished by its enormous height and width, but it also has a dark side: it is toxic to many companion plants. Maturating a tree for timber is a task that will probably not produce results for a generation, while growing it for nuts can take seven to 15 years.

Cold hardy walnut trees

While black walnuts are considered hardy, they do not produce nuts when grown in climates colder than hardiness zone 4. Other cold hardy walnut trees include red oak (Quercus Rubra), which grows well in very low temperatures, hazelnuts (Corylus Americana). ), which grows in zone 3, the Manchurian apricot (Prunus mandshurica), which produces nuts when grown in zone 3, and the walnut (Juglans cinerea), also known as the white walnut and is the most cold-tolerant of the various walnut species.

Most commercial walnut tree nurseries grow their trees in zone 5 and define cold hardy trees as those that grow well in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. When growing stock black walnut, choose a nursery or supplier who is familiar with your location's geography and temperature fluctuations.

Identification of walnut types

There are many different types of walnut, including several varieties of black walnut. North American black walnut grows primarily in the northeast, while Northern California black walnut (Juglans hindsii) grows east of the San Francisco Bay Area, an area where the walnut, also known as English walnut, is grown. Eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra) extends from the northeast down the Mississippi River to Louisiana, while Texas black walnut (Juglans microcarpa) is scattered across Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. The mild-tasting yellow-brown English black walnuts are the most familiar to consumers and are most commonly sold commercially.

Black walnuts have a pronounced earthy flavor that is not to everyone's taste and is marketed to specialized consumers. The shells are hard, difficult to open, leaving a dark brown stain on the husk. Native Americans often used the husk to make dye. They are best removed with gloves. Black walnut wood is dense and rot resistant, making it ideal for building projects. However, black walnut can take up to 25 years to mature for timber harvesting.

Growing walnuts for food and timber

Black walnuts are wind-assisted self-fertilization and have very deep roots, so they should be planted some distance from the next tree. Tree plantations are careful when placing these trees because the roots produce a toxic herbicide known as juglone, which is also found in the tree's leaves and nut husks. This substance acts as a defense mechanism against invading plants and eliminates competition for soil nutrients and water.


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