Growing a Grove of Walnut Trees

Rough Draft 1.0 10/5/2020


Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat, growing walnut trees is a multi-generational endeavor if you’re focus is on growing walnut trees for lumber. It can take 50 or more years to grow a harvestable tree. One in a hundred or so may yield veneer quality lumber which can be quite valuable. There are, however other benefits such as providing habitat, food source, and of course, the beauty and environmental benefits. The botanical genus for walnut trees is Juglans “Jupiter’s nut” and they belong to the Juglandaceae family. The walnut fruit is a drupe – “a stone fruit in which an outer fleshy skin surrounds a hardened shell protecting a seed inside.” Walnut trees are monoecious, meaning a single tree self-pollinates as it contains both male (catkin) and female (pistillate) flowers. Nut production is highest when different cultivars are planted in groups.

Walnut Tree Species

WARNING – Walnut trees produce a toxin called juglone which will keep vegetation from growing well around the base of the tree.

Eleven Species that can be grown in North American Landscapes

Andean Walnut Juglans neotropica

Arizona Black Walnut Juglans major

Black Walnut Juglans nigra

Butternut Juglans cenerea

Brazilian Walnut Juglans Australis

California Black Walnut Juglans californica

English Walnut Juglans regia

Northern California Black Walnut Juglans hindsii

Japanese Walnut Juglans ailantifolia

Manchurian Walnut Juglans mandshurica

Little Walnut Juglans microcarpa

Basic Growing Tips

  1. Layout a plan and planting area and spacing.
  2. Decide on which types of walnut trees grow best in your location and source a nursery that can provide you with trees. Alternatively, you can source seeds and sprout them (INTERNAL LINK TO WALNUT SPROUTING GUIDE ARTICLE)
  3. Plant trees in desired location.
  4. Protect saplings from deer and keep grove mowed.
  5. At year 3 or 4 start pruning trees to encourage a straight trunk.
  6. Continue limbing trees up (if growing for lumber) so there is a clear trunk at least 16’ tall.

Link Sources

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