How to Care for Walnut Trees


Walnut trees make an excellent addition to the landscape. They are attractive, provide shade and produce delicious nuts for you and the surrounding wildlife. Walnut trees do not require a lot of fuss and will thrive with very little attention. The best way to encourage growth in a newly planted tree is to provide it with plenty of water during the first growing season. Walnut trees are slow growers, but once established they are very long lasting.

Step 1

Prepare the planting location by removing all grass and weeds. Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the walnut tree's root system. Add one shovelful of loosened soil and one handful of bone meal to the planting hole.

Step 2

Place the sapling into the center of the hole, keeping the top of the root system just below the soil level. Return two-thirds of the loosened soil to the planting hole, spreading the roots out as you go. Add one bucket of water and the rest of the soil. Use your foot to firm the moistened soil, which will remove air pockets from around the roots.

Step 3

Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the tree to control weeds and retain moisture. Keep the mulch 1 to 2 inches away from the tree trunk.

Step 4

Place a tree guard around the trunk to protect it from animals, drought and harsh weather conditions. The guard must be removed during the tree's second or third growing season.

Step 5

Water the walnut tree whenever your area receives less than 1 inch of rainfall each week.

Step 6

Fertilize with a slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer anytime from early spring until June.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant black walnut trees near your garden or flower beds because it secretes a substance that prevents many other plants from growing.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Bone meal
  • Mulch
  • Tree guard
  • Slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Black Walnut
  • North Dakota State University Extension: Questions on Walnuts
  • Landowner Resource Center: Planting and Caring for Nut Trees
Keywords: walnut trees, walnut tree care, plant walnut trees, grow walnut trees

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.