How to plant walnuts for trees

Planting Walnut Trees - Stark Bro's

Successfully establishing a young nut tree in your yard starts with your planting site and method. Once a tree is established, it needs little assistance to grow and produce; but you’ll want to make sure you give your tree the best foundation possible.

Nut trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil nutrients and pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. For walnuts, your ideal soil pH should be 5.0-7.5.

NOTE: This is part 3 in a series of 10 articles. For a complete background on how to grow walnut trees, we recommend starting from the beginning.

How To Plant a Stark® EZ Start® Potted Tree


  • Space your black walnut trees 40’ to 80’ apart, and English walnuts 20' to 40' apart.
  • NOTE: Plant black walnut trees 50’ from fruit trees. The root of a black walnut trees are toxic to many plants.
  • Dig a hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the root system.
  • Wet the roots thoroughly before planting.
  • Many nut trees have just one main root, almost like a giant skinny carrot. With most nut trees, this taproot should not be trimmed or bent when planted.
  • Spread the roots out in the hole to prevent matting. Do not bend or trim main taproot.
  • Plant at the same depth as they were grown at the nursery. Bare root trees will have a noticeable color difference between the roots and the trunk--plant at the depth of this color difference. Place a potted tree the same depth it was growing in the pot.
  • Refill hole with enhanced soil. Tamp soil firmly about roots as you add each shovel of dirt.
  • When hole is ¾ full, add two buckets of water, the last bucket should be treated with Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer and let soak in. (If planting in the fall, wait to fertilize until spring for best results.)
  • Finish filling hole.

After Planting

  • Prune your new bare root tree by cutting off at least one-third to one-half of the top (but not below the bud/graft union). This is essential. This forces your tree to grow a strong sprout that will become the main trunk. Take our word for it: severe pruning at planting time gets your new tree off to the best possible start. Potted nut trees do not need pruning.
  • Paint trunk with a white latex paint and/or wrap trunk within 4” of top using Stark® Tree Guards to prevent rodent injury and sun scald.
  • Mulch about June 1. Keep all weeds away from trees the first few years with mulch or regular cultivation.

Pollination Notes

  • If you’re growing grafted Carpathian walnuts, plant at least two different varieties for better pollination, or plant a seedling Carpathian with a grafted Carpathian. Some Carpathian walnuts will bear nuts without a pollinator. But for larger crops of bigger nuts, it’s best to plant two varieties.
  • Black walnuts and Carpathian walnuts will not cross-pollinate because of different blooming dates.

NEXT: Soil Preparation for Walnut Trees

Previous: Choosing a Location for Walnut Trees

In This Series

  • Introduction
Getting Started
  • Location
  • Planting
  • Soil Preparation
Care & Maintenance
  • Fertilizing
  • Pest & Disease Control
  • Pruning
  • Spraying
  • Watering
Other Topics
  • Harvesting

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How to Start Growing a Walnut Tree | Home Guides

By Judy Kilpatrick Updated December 01, 2021

Providing dense shade, walnuts (Juglans spp. ) grow up to 50 feet tall with an equal spread when planted in the home garden or orchard. Of the approximately 15 species of walnuts, many cultivars are grafted for improved performance. However, when nuts are collected from non-grafted trees within the near vicinity of your home, growing your own walnut tree from seed requires preparation of the husked nut and soil prior to planting.

  1. 1. Collect Fresh, Mature Walnuts, Still in the Husks

    Wear gloves and collect nuts as soon as they begin to fall naturally in autumn. For best results, take nuts from the tree instead of picking them up off the ground. Shake a limb by hand or with a length of plastic pipe to dislodge ripe nuts. Place nuts in a bucket. At home, pour water in the bucket to cover the nuts.

  2. 2. Soak the Walnuts to Soften the Husks

    The Agri Farming website recommends that you soak walnuts for up to 24 hours to soften husks, making them easier to open. Wearing protective gloves, pull husks from the nut's hard shell. Rinse the nuts in clear water and allow them to dry on absorbent toweling. Do not over dry, as the flesh inside the shell can lose moisture and reduce viability. Place nuts in a plastic bag and seal.

  3. 3. Stratify the Seed Nuts for a Few Months

    According to Tree Plantation, walnut trees must undergo a period of stratification before planting. Stratification is the process of artificially producing a state of dormancy long enough to cause the seeds to germinate. Place the nuts in a refrigerator at 34- to 41-degrees Fahrenheit for 90 to 120 days before planting. According to Tree Plantation, walnut trees must undergo a period of stratification before planting. Stratification is the process of artificially producing a state of dormancy long enough to cause the seeds to germinate. Nut seeds should remain in a sealed plastic bag during the stratification process.

  4. 4. Prepare the Bed and Plant the Seeds

    Cultivate a germination bed in an area in your garden large enough to accommodate all the walnuts you plan to plant, allowing 6 inches between seeds. Locate the germination bed in full sun to promote seed sprouting. Plant cold-stratified seeds in the cultivated area just deep enough to cover the shell. Cover the seed bed with straw to conserve moisture.

  5. 5. Transplant the Walnut Seedlings

    Plant seedlings in their final sites when the stems are 1/4 to 3/8 inches in diameter, 1 inch above the root collar -- the location where plant roots and trunk meet, characterized by the flare of lateral roots. Keep plants moist, but not wet, for the first two years. Mulch with 2 to 3 inches of organic matter to conserve moisture.

    Things You Will Need

    If squirrels live in your vicinity, cover your seed bed with poultry netting to prevent predation of germinating walnuts.


    Husks can stain hands, especially the husks of black walnuts (Juglans nigra), so wear protective gloves when handling walnuts. All walnuts produce a substance called juglone, which inhibits the growth of sensitive plants in the area of the tree's roots or canopy. However, black walnut is the only walnut tree that produces significant quantities of juglone to actually interfere with nearby plantings.


  • The Ohio State University: Black Walnut Toxicity to Plants, Humans and Horses


  • If squirrels live in your vicinity, cover your seed bed with poultry netting to prevent predation of germinating walnuts.


  • Husks can stain hands, especially the husks of black walnuts (Juglans nigra), so wear protective gloves when handling walnuts.
  • All walnuts produce a substance called juglone, which inhibits the growth of sensitive plants in the area of the tree's roots or canopy. However, black walnut is the only walnut tree that produces significant quantities of juglone to actually interfere with nearby plantings.

Writer Bio

For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.

Walnut in the country: planting, care, shaping, varieties

Walnut is a southern tree, but has long been successfully grown in the middle lane. An adult tree is quite unpretentious in its care, but with young nuts you need to tinker. But the result of your labors will be used not only by children, but also by grandchildren.

After the walnut is planted, everyone begins to look forward to the first harvest of walnuts. It depends on the variety: in some, the fruits appear after 4-5 years, in others - only after 10-12. On average, you will have to wait 6-8 years for the first harvest. However, after that, the walnut will bear fruit for many decades.

Walnuts can be grown from seedlings and from seeds (ie from the nuts themselves). The first option is simpler, but will cost you more, and the second is a little more complicated, but almost free.

How to prepare walnut seeds for planting

First, we will tell in detail about the seed variant of walnut propagation. There are several ways to help walnut seeds sprout together and quickly.

Method 1

If you have no time or no desire to do extra work, entrust this task to nature. Lay ripe walnuts on the ground in autumn and cover with a large layer of fallen leaves. In the spring, you just have to get the overwintered nuts from under the thick layer of foliage and plant them in the ground. Nuts that have passed such a - natural - stratification sprout very well. This method is the simplest, but at the same time quite effective.

Method 2

The second method requires some effort from you. Lay a layer of wet (not wet!) sand on the bottom of any container. On it is a layer of nuts. Try to lay so that the nuts do not touch each other. From above "cover" them with another layer of sand. Place the container in a cool place. The optimum temperature for walnut stratification is 0-5°C.

Check the condition of the sand every two weeks for 3-3.5 months. If it starts to dry out, spray it with a spray bottle and put it in a cool place again.

When to start such stratification? It is possible to plant prepared nuts in open ground in late April - early May, when positive temperatures are established. Therefore, nuts should be sent for stratification, which lasts about 100 days, in the second half of January.

Method 3

The options described above are not always suitable for thin-skinned nuts, as after a few months in a humid environment, they can simply rot. For this reason, for nuts with thin shells, it is better to use the third method.

Place the nuts in any container and fill with water at a temperature of 45-50°C. Cover with a lid or plastic bag and place in a warm place, such as near a radiator.

After 2 days, drain the water, leaving a layer of about 0.5 cm on the bottom. Cover the nuts again and leave in a warm place for 3 weeks. During this period, every day or every other day, open the container and air out the nuts. If the water has evaporated and the nut skins are dry, add more water. If, on the contrary, there is too much water, drain the excess: the container should constantly have an increased level of humidity, but the nuts should not float in the water so as not to start molding.

After about 3 weeks (depending on the room temperature), the shell will begin to crack and sprouts will appear. Plant the pecked nuts in a permanent place or in a school. Preparation for the spring sowing of walnuts in this way should begin in early April.

If the nuts have hatched and it is still cold outside, bury the nuts in damp sand and place them in a cool (about 5°C) place. After the onset of heat, land them in open ground.

If a walnut is already growing on your plot, then you can propagate it not only by seeds, but also by root shoots, which often appear on mature trees. In this case, you will get the first harvest of nuts much earlier than with the seed method of propagation.

Walnut planting

When is the best time to plant walnuts with seed propagation? You can do this in spring and autumn. Each option has its pros and cons.

Autumn planting of walnuts:

  • plus - you can plant fresh nuts immediately after harvest, without any additional preparation;
  • minus - during a long winter, the contents of the nut can simply rot, so you will not see the sprout.

Spring planting of walnut

  • plus - the chance of seed germination is much higher;
  • minus - additional multi-month stratification is required.

Thus, autumn planting is usually used in the southern regions. In more northern latitudes, where it is very cold in winter or frosts are often replaced by thaws, spring planting of walnuts is preferable.

As for planting walnut seedlings, they are planted both in spring and autumn. When planting in spring, be sure to monitor the soil moisture, because without watering the seedling will die. In the autumn - be sure to insulate the seedling before the onset of frost. If your area has very frosty winters, then spring planting is preferable.

How to plant a walnut outdoors

A walnut can grow and bear fruit for 100 years. For this reason, the place for its landing must be chosen very carefully.

Walnut likes a well-lit, sunny place with low groundwater. Do not plant it in a lowland, where water often stagnates.

The walnut does not make any demands on the soil: it grows well on any type of soil, bears fruit well even on poor soils. Moreover, some gardeners claim that after fertilization, the nut winters poorly, therefore, they recommend not to feed it at all.

A mature tree grows to a large size, so plant nuts at a distance of no closer than 8-10 m from each other. Consider this even if trees are already growing nearby. Do not place a walnut near the house or other buildings.

How to plant walnut seeds

Prepare walnut seeds using one of the methods described above. Dig a small planting hole. Its depth is three widths of a walnut, i.e. about 7-9see Water the ground. When the water is absorbed, lower the nut into the hole, sprinkle it with earth and tamp well. Water again.

When planting, put the walnut into the ground not with a sharp or blunt end, but sideways, putting it on the edge.

When the seedlings appear, keep an eye on the moisture level and do not let the weeds germinate. If necessary, close the sprout from the scorching sun. During the first year, a walnut seedling can grow 25-30 cm high. For the winter, mulch the soil around it with a thick layer of peat or dry leaves.

How to plant a walnut seedling

When choosing a walnut seedling, pay attention to the roots, trunk and leaves of the tree:

  • Roots: The root system of the seedling must be well developed, without damage and signs of rot. If you try to scrape off the top layer and healthy, fresh wood appears underneath, the root system is fine.
  • Trunk: a smooth, even, without cracks, tubercles and damage indicates a good quality seedling. But a dry surface with various defects should alert you - it is better to refuse such a purchase.
  • Leaves: choose completely leafless seedlings because they root more easily.

Experts advise buying annual walnut seedlings, as they are easier and faster than others to take root in a new place. If you purchased a two year old seedling, shorten it to 50 cm after planting.

The next step in planting is preparing a hole for the walnut. Its size depends on the seedling, but the average size is 80 × 80 cm (the depth of the pit should be 20-30 cm more than the longest vertical root). Dig a hole, setting the top - most fertile - layer aside. Then mix it with humus (1 bucket), wood ash (2 cups) and superphosphate (50 g).

Fill the hole with the prepared fertile mixture, leaving a free space in the middle for the seedling. Lower the tree into the hole, gently straighten the roots and cover the lower shoots with soil. Then fall asleep gradually all the roots to the very top. In a planted seedling, the root neck should be at the level of the soil. After planting, mulch the earth with straw and water abundantly.

Some gardeners cover the bottom of the pit with a thick film when planting a walnut seedling. Thus, they stimulate the expansion of the root system: the film will prevent the growth of the vertical root, therefore, the increased development of lateral roots will begin.

Walnut care

Maintenance is mainly required only for young trees under 5 years of age.


Formative pruning is necessary for a walnut seedling that has reached the age of 2-3 years. You can also focus on the height of the tree: you need to cut it for the first time when the nut grows above 1. 5 m.

During the first pruning, choose the strongest shoot - this will be the trunk of your tree. Shorten it to a height of 70-120 cm - depending on how long the stem you want to get. Remove all other shoots completely. After drying, cover the cuts with garden paint for whitewashing trees or lime to protect the tree from the penetration of moisture, pathogens or insects.

The next shaping pruning of the walnut is carried out in a year. From the shoots that have grown during this time, select 3-4 of the strongest, growing in different directions. Delete all other branches. The purpose of this pruning is to give the walnut the correct shape, to form a skeleton.

It has been observed that the more horizontal the walnut branches are, the more fruit they will have. If the left shoots are located at an acute angle (grow almost vertically upwards), in the summer try to bend them slightly, placing them at an angle of 45-60 °. This can be done using weights (carefully place the load on the branch) or stretch marks (fix one end of the rope on the branch and the other in the soil). Over time, the branches will be fixed in this position.

After another year, the remaining shoots should be shortened, leaving about 70 cm. At the same time, during pruning, remove all branches growing inside the crown or vertically. When forming a walnut, try to give it a rounded shape.

If at a young age the formative pruning of the walnut was carried out correctly, then in the future it will only need sanitary pruning. Inspect the tree annually and remove:

  • dry, broken or damaged branches;
  • frozen shoots;
  • branches that grow inside the crown or interfere with others;
  • crown part of trees planted too close together.


Walnut is a moisture-loving crop. In mature trees, the roots go deep into the ground, so they can get their own moisture, but young seedlings need additional watering.

In the spring and summer, when the nut is in particular need of moisture, water it 2 times a month. Pour 3-4 buckets under each tree. During watering, distribute water along the outer edge of the near-stem circle. Moisture on the trunk can provoke the development of fungal diseases.

Trees that have reached 4-5 m in height are watered less often - 1 time per month. To reduce the amount of watering, mulch the trunk circle.

Walnut varieties for medium stripe

The main property that walnut varieties for the middle lane should have is frost resistance. Let's name the most popular varieties that are able to endure the harsh winters of the Moscow region.


The variety has a rather immodest name, however, according to many gardeners, it is true. Ideal is the most popular walnut variety among summer residents of the middle lane.

One of the most important advantages of this variety is early maturity: the first fruits appear already in the 2nd year after planting. The tree enters the period of good fruiting from the 5th year of life. The fruits are thin-skinned, the average weight is 11 g. The yield is high, it reaches its peak at the 10-15th year.

The tree is relatively low - 4-5 m. It withstands quite severe frosts, down to -35°C, the variety is resistant to chlorosis. Ideal has only one significant drawback: if the bulk of walnut trees live up to 100 years, then the average lifespan of a tree of variety Ideal is only 40-50 years old.


Another variety that is very popular among summer residents of the Moscow region is walnut Velikan . The name of the variety was not accidental, but due to the size of the tree and fruits. The tree grows powerful, tall, up to 7 m in height. The fruits are large, each weighing 35 g. The variety is high-yielding: from an adult tree you can get 60-80 kg of nuts. Giant begins to bear fruit in the 6th year.

The walls of the fetus are thin, which allows whole kernels to be removed. The taste is soft, sweetish, the fat content of the nuts is low.

The variety is frost-resistant, the trees are able to withstand temperatures down to -30°C.


One of the new varieties of walnut: it was entered into the State Register only in 2015. The tree is tall, grows up to 10 m. It begins to bear fruit in the 6th year after planting. The yield in the first three years is 10-20 kg per tree.

The fruits are thin-skinned and have a sweetish taste. The average weight of one nut is 23.5 g.°C. Frozen shoots recover well.

When propagated by seeds, it retains all the properties of the parent tree.


Another walnut variety capable of withstanding frosts in the middle zone. The tree grows to a height of 5.5-6 m. It begins to bear fruit in the 4-5th year after planting. The average yield is about 30 kg per tree.

Walnuts Yielding medium-sized, weighing 8-11 g. The shell is thin, the kernels are oily, have a sweetish taste.


Sadko (also called Shugin's nut) is one of the shortest varieties of walnut: an adult tree has a height of only 3. 5 m. .

Begins to bear fruit in the 3rd year after planting. Nuts grow in clusters, each cluster has 8 pieces. The size of the fruit is small, about 4 cm. The taste is sweet, without bitterness.

Walnut has long ceased to be only a southern tree. Now he pleases with his fruits the inhabitants of the middle lane. The main thing is to choose the right variety and follow the rules of cultivation.

How to plant a walnut from a walnut - tips for a beginner gardener

Hello, my readers! Walnuts have been known to everyone since childhood for their specific taste and beneficial properties. However, for some reason, few people come up with the idea to independently grow this tree on their site. Moreover, for this it is not necessary to purchase expensive seedlings, it is enough to know how to plant a walnut from a walnut.


  1. How to choose fruit for planting
  2. Stratification
  3. Pre -charge preparation
  4. Selection of landing location
  5. Planting in the soil
  6. Video: Secrets of the Autumn Planting of Walnuts from Seeds in the ground
  7. Watering of seedlings and young trees
  8. How to grow a walnut tree
  9. 00) for planting

    Which walnut you choose for planting will determine whether your venture will succeed. In order for a tree to grow from a fruit, it is necessary that it is not subjected to heat treatment and drying. Unfortunately, it is these products that most often go on sale, but towards the end of September, you can find a fresh crop in stores that can really germinate.

    You need to choose well-ripened, large specimens without any external damage. It should be borne in mind that any kind of walnut can be grown in a pot on the windowsill, and it will please your eye all year round, performing a purely decorative function.

    However, if you want to grow a real fruit-bearing walnut tree in your garden, it is better to give preference to varieties that are suitable for your region of residence. Those varieties that are designed for the southern regions simply will not withstand the conditions of central Russia, and vice versa, their northern counterparts may die in too hot and arid climates.

    If you are in doubt about whether it is possible to plant a walnut on the site, buy fresh fruits (or even better, if possible, pick them yourself from the tree) and plant them, following the simple instructions.


    To prepare the nuts for sowing, place them in a suitable container, sprinkle with damp sand and store in a cool place. The storage temperature should be from zero to +5 degrees, a cellar or a shelf in the refrigerator is best. Once every 3-4 weeks, take out the dishes, ventilate and moisten the sand. In total, stratification should last 3-4 months.

    The seeds can then be removed from the sand and planted outdoors.

    Seedbed preparation

    For faster germination, it is better to remove the pericarp from the nuts. This is an optional procedure, but after it, the sprouts appear earlier and are healthier. When cleaning, be careful not to damage the inner shell, an injured nut may not germinate or develop into a diseased plant.

    Then soak the fruit in a bucket of water. For planting, select those that went to the bottom - from the core of such a nut, there is a greater likelihood of good seedlings.

    Further preparation depends on the landing time. If you plant seeds in the spring, in April, then you must first dry them in the sun for 1-2 days, and then dry them in the shade. In no case do not lay out the nucleoli near heating appliances! If planting is done in the fall, there is no need for drying, the sprouts will calmly sprout next spring in May.

    Choosing a planting site

    The walnut has a very strong root system, so it is best to plant it in moderately moist soil. The high occurrence of groundwater or the close proximity of a garden house (or bath) will not benefit, since the roots of an overgrown plant can damage the foundation. It is better to give preference to loamy soils, if necessary, strengthening the fertile layer with fertilizers. To do this, dig a hole about a meter deep, mix the earth with a lot of manure, add a couple of glasses of ash and fill it back. In the future, the walnut needs little feeding, on the contrary, this can reduce its winter hardiness.

    Planting in the ground

    Seeds fall into holes up to 15-20 cm deep. Never put the nut with the tip up, because this way the future tree will begin to bear fruit much later. It will be correct to place it flat. 3-4 fruits are placed in one hole, from which the strongest sprout is subsequently selected.

    Video: Secrets of autumn planting walnuts from seeds into the ground

    Watering seedlings and young trees

    Sufficient amount of water for a walnut will be 4 buckets per 1 sq. m. meter about twice a month. You can water it more abundantly, then the tree will grow faster, but with such care it will be harder for it to endure the winter.

    It will not begin to bear fruit immediately - for 7-15 years, depending on the variety, but it will please the harvest for a long time, because an adult tree can live up to three hundred years.

    How to grow a walnut tree at home

    In conditions of risky farming, it makes sense to pre-sprout walnuts at home, preparing small seedlings, and only then plant them in open ground.

    Ordinary plastic cups filled with garden soil are suitable for seedlings, you just need to first pierce the bottom with a needle to ensure the outflow of excess moisture.

    Experienced gardeners who know how to sprout a walnut for planting are advised to place the kernels to a depth of about 5 cm, cover with earth and leave in a cool place, in the basement or on the balcony. Only in February, future seedlings are brought into the room and watered abundantly.

    After 2-3 weeks shoots will appear, which in a month reach 10-15 cm. After that, for convenience, they can be transplanted into a larger container - special boxes or cut plastic cylinders.

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