How to Plant Black Walnut


The black walnut is a type of walnut tree grown in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. It is commonly used by backyard gardeners both for consumption of its nuts and for ornamental landscaping purposes. Commercially, the walnut is also used for lumber. Though you can buy started black walnut seedlings at a nursery, planting the black walnut itself is cheaper.

Step 1

Collect black walnuts as soon as they fall from the tree, typically during September and October.

Step 2

Place the black walnuts into a bucket or container of water. Let them soak for 48 hours. This significantly softens the nuts' husks and makes removal easier.

Step 3

Put on gloves--this protects your hands from the staining resin in the black walnut--and use a knife to cut away the black walnut's fibrous husk. Rinse the dehusked nut in water and put it back in the container or bucket of water. Observe how the nuts float. Choose a nut that sinks.

Step 4

Stratify the black walnut kernel to bring it out of dormancy. Place the nut in a plastic bag and keep it in your refrigerator for three to four months. This simulates the cool winter season that the nut naturally experiences before germinating.

Step 5

Fill a gallon-sized plastic pot with potting soil. If the pot doesn't have drainage holes at the bottom, add 1 to 2 inches of gravel to the bottom first.

Step 6

Plant the black walnuts, two per pot, in February or March. Bury each nut 2 inches below the surface of the soil.

Step 7

Water the pot twice a day or as needed to keep the soil moist. The black walnut will sprout within five weeks. If the other nut sprouts, remove it.

Things You'll Need

  • Black walnuts
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Gloves
  • Knife
  • Plastic bag
  • Refrigerator
  • Gallon-sized pot
  • Potting soil
  • Gravel (optional)


  • "Nut Grower's Guide: The Complete Handbook for Producers and Hobbyists"; Jennifer Wilkinson; 2005
  • University of Minnesota: Growing Black Walnuts
Keywords: grow black walnut, sprout black walnut, plant black walnut

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.