How to Care for Walnut

Black walnut trees can grow very tall and wide. image by Jami Dwyer:


Reaching heights of up to 80 feet and spreading out as much as 30 feet from the trunk in all directions, the walnut tree is one of the most impressive of the nut trees. Growing them can be fairly simple, but as with all nut trees, establishing the tree and ensuring that it stays healthy can be challenging. Following a few simple tips can help keep your walnut tree healthy and producing tasty nuts for years to come.

Step 1

Plant the walnut tree in adequate soil. It prefers moist but well-drained areas, so make sure there is a way to get water to the tree if you live in a dry area. The organic composition of the soil should be at least 36 inches deep, which will provide the tree with sufficient nutrients.

Step 2

Avoid other hazards that may be around the area. Though the tree may seem small when it is planted, fully mature trees can grow quite tall. Make sure there is enough overhead clearance and a diameter of 60 feet around the trunk.

Step 3

Prune your walnut tree carefully. Walnut trees naturally require very little pruning. Remove low branches for convenience and aesthetics, if desired. If the tree is to be used for lumber, prune any possible competing lead branches as soon as possible, as they may cause low forks.

Step 4

Be vigilant in watching for disease. Check for symptoms like bark splitting, cankers, mold, mildew, leaf scorch and many other problems, which may be fatal to your tree.

Step 5

Harvest the walnuts from late August through September, depending on where you live. The husks will change from a solid green to a yellow green when they are ripe and ready for harvest.

Tips and Warnings

  • Juglone is a chemical found in walnuts that is toxic to some plants; always place walnuts a safe distance from sensitive plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning tool
  • Watering equipment


  • Planting Walnuts
  • Pruning Walnuts

Who Can Help

  • Walnut Disease Fact Sheets
  • Harvesting Walnuts
Keywords: walnut tree care, walnut harvesting, black walnuts

About this Author

Kenneth Black has been a freelance writer since 2008. He currently works as a staff writer for "The Times Republican" in Central Iowa. He has written extensively on a variety of topics, including business, politics, family life and travel. Black holds a bachelor's degree in business marketing from the University of Phoenix.

Photo by: Jami Dwyer: