How to Grow Black Walnut From Seed


Growing black walnut trees from seeds can be a rewarding experience and an ideal addition to your landscape or garden. You can plant the seeds from an existing black walnut tree to grow into saplings.

Step 1

Pick your planting area. Make sure it is at least 60 feet from any sensitive plants, as black walnuts secrete a chemical that is toxic to many plants. The area needs to be well drained, so pick a sloping hill or upland site.

Step 2

Gather black walnuts from the ground or branches of an existing tree. Put on the gloves to avoid stains on your hands from the husks.

Step 3

Place the nuts in a bucket of room temperature to warm water and soak them for about 10 minutes to soften up the husks. If any of the nuts float, that means that are not going to grow, so discard them.

Step 4

Remove the husks from the walnut using your hands, peeling away the shell from the corner of the nut. Keep in mind that you need to plant two to three black walnuts at each planting site to ensure that one grows, so if you are planning on planting a couple, you will need at least nine black walnuts shelled.

Step 5

Place the walnut seeds in a zippered plastic bag in a refrigerator to simulate the winter season in order to germinate. Keep them in the cold environment for about 120 days.

Step 6

Enrich the soil where the walnut seeds will be planted. Add compost to make the ground rich in nutrients and increase moisture. If there is clay, remove it and replace with tree soil from a local nursery along with some peat moss (1 part peat moss to 3 parts soil).

Step 7

Use a trowel to dig about 2 inches deep into the ground, and place the nuts with any sprouts sitting above the ground. Cover carefully with dirt. Space out your walnut seeds in the ground about 60 feet apart so they can fully mature and spread. If you are only planting them for their wood, space them about 30 feet apart. After planting, water generously enough to reach the black walnut seed.

Step 8

Lay a piece of mesh wire over the planting spot and pin it to the ground with v-shaped wires. Lay a bed of leaves and straw over it for protection, and mark the planting spot with a flat. If the seeds have already germinated, create a covering of mesh fence to keep out critters.

Step 9

Remove the protection as the black walnut trees grow taller towards the end of the year. Weed out the weaker ones to keep the stronger ones.

Things You'll Need

  • Black walnut seeds
  • Refrigerator
  • Water and bowl
  • Gloves
  • Zippered plastic bag
  • Trowel
  • Mesh fencing or wire
  • Mulch (such as leaves or hay)


  • Growing Black Walnuts from Seeds
  • Planting Black Walnut Seeds
  • Black Walnut Trees
Keywords: nut trees, black walnut, seeds

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.