If you are looking for a nut tree that will produce food and shade, and will be a beautiful addition to your landscape, grow a walnut tree. There are six species of walnut trees that grow throughout the country, with the black walnut being the most prolific. Its natural range in the country is throughout the central and eastern sections. Walnut trees have a very long lifespan, living up to 200 years and producing nuts throughout most of this time. Growing a walnut tree is not too difficult, as long as you plant it with the tree’s requirements in mind.
Select and area to plant your walnut tree that is large enough to allow the tree to reach its maximum height and width without interference. The tree requires at least 50 to 100 square feet of open area.
Remove any grass or weeds from the area before you plant your walnut tree. If you are controlling the weeds or grass with a herbicide, be sure to wait several weeks before placing the tree in the ground in that area. Any remaining herbicide in the ground can kill your sapling. Keep the area free of weeds and grass while the tree is growing by pulling them by hand. Place mulch around the base of the tree.
Plant your walnut tree in soil that is rich with organic matter, deep, moist and drains well. Amend the soil with peat or manure if the soil is not rich enough. Do not plant the tree in an area where flooding conditions are the norm. Though the tree likes heavy amounts of water, the drainage must be good. Water the tree at regular, weekly intervals.
Plant your walnut tree in an area that receives full sunlight. If planting it on a hillside or river side, be sure to face the tree north or east. Slopes that face to the south or west are too hot and dry for a walnut tree to grow properly.
Select an area in your landscape where the walnut tree has a good amount of air flow, but will not have to tolerate windy conditions. Too much wind can damage the young tree and kill it.
Prune the tree no higher than 50 percent of its total height, and do not remove more than 25 percent of the walnut tree’s live crown. Trim off only main trunk branches that are smaller than 2 inches in diameter. Prune the tree only after it has been in the ground for approximately three years.
Fertilize the walnut tree with an all-purpose, granular fertilizer three times a year, starting in the early spring. Do not fertilize the tree during the winter months.