How to Grow Black Walnut Trees From Seed


Black walnut trees are easy to grown from seed. The trees are popular for their nutritious nuts and high-quality timber. However, this slow-to-mature tree takes time to grow. Walnut trees begin to produce nuts after ten years and require at least 35 to 40 years of growth before they are ready for timber harvest. All the more reason to get started as soon as possible on your black walnut production by planting their seeds.

Step 1

Collect nuts from a black walnut tree in the fall, as soon as they start falling off of the tree. Look for a tall, straight tree with a healthy canopy as well as a bountiful harvest of nuts. Collect three nuts for every tree you want to grow.

Step 2

Soak your walnuts in a bucket of water until the husks soften. This will make it easy to remove the husks by hand. It will also keep the nuts moist.

Step 3

Remove the husks from your black walnuts. Wear gloves, as the husk will stain. Rinse the nuts again in a bucket of water. Discard any nuts that float in the water.

Step 4

Plant your walnuts in the fall. Plant them 2 inches deep in high-quality, well-drained soil that has been cleared of all weeds. Plant a cluster of three walnuts for every one tree; this will improve the odds of growing a viable tree.

Step 5

Cover the ground where you have planted your walnuts with chicken wire to prevent squirrels from digging them back up. Use stakes, pegs or bricks to hold the chicken wire down.

Step 6

Remove the chicken wire in the spring and thin your seedlings to one tree per site if more than one nut sprouts. Keep the area around your seedlings free of weeds and any competition for resources.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Hand shovel
  • Chicken wire
  • Stakes, pegs or bricks


  • University of Minnesota: Growing Black Walnut
  • University of Missouri: Propogating Pecan and Black Walnut in Missouri
  • Mother Earth News: Plant Black Walnuts
Keywords: growing black walnut trees, planting walnuts, black walnut trees from seed

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She writes fiction, creative non-fiction and essays. McCarty's work has been published in Hip Mama magazine.