How to Plant Black Walnuts & Chestnuts Trees From a Seed


You can propagate trees from a mother tree. Black walnuts and chestnuts, while the nuts are large, can be planted in the soil and soon a small seedling will emerge. Selection of the nuts is perhaps the most important element to planting these trees from the seed. The nuts must be in good physical shape with no external insect damage to the outer hard shell.

Step 1

Wear rubber gloves while working with and collecting the black walnuts. Chemicals from the green outer hull will stain hands and clothing.

Step 2

Collect the nuts into the plastic bucket. Select nuts that have no exterior insect or animal damage.

Step 3

Fill the bucket with water. Allow the nuts to soak overnight. This will aid in removing the outer hulls of the nuts.

Step 4

Pour the nuts and water onto the ground. Remove the outer hulls by peeling the green hull with your hands.

Step 5

Place the nuts back into the plastic bucket. Fill the bucket with water.

Step 6

Remove all nuts that float and discard. Keep only the nuts that have sunk to the bottom. These are the best candidates for germination. Keep the nuts separate from each other, black walnuts from chestnuts, as you do not want to mix the different species.

Step 7

Allow the good nuts to dry thoroughly for two to three days. Store the nuts in the plastic bag in the refrigerator for three to four months to stratify. Stratification is the method of cold treating seeds. Almost all seeds require some form of stratification in order to germinate the next spring.

Step 8

Dig holes in the yard where you will want the trees. Use the shovel and make the hole approximately 6 inches to 8 inches in diameter and just as deep. Work the soil in the hole to loosen it. Place approximately 4 inches of the loose soil back into the hole.

Step 9

Set two nuts per hole. Cover with 2 inches of soil. Water the seed with one gallon of water. Keep all weeds from growing around the new seedling. The seedling should appear in 3 to 4 weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic bucket
  • Water
  • Plastic bag
  • Shovel


  • Purdue University Extension: Growing Trees from Seeds
  • Oregon State University Extension: Growing Nut Trees
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Identify Chestnuts

Who Can Help

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Black walnut
Keywords: black walnut trees, chestnut trees, tree nuts

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.