Walnut trees are very profitable to grow on account of their beautiful wood and delicious nuts. However, it can take up to 6 years for a walnut tree to become established and produce fruit. Growing these trees from their nuts is a true labor of patience and love. But once established, they stretch to heights of 80 to 100 feet high. Truly majestic, these beautiful trees often live to be 200 years old.
Planting the Nut
Choose the site where the tree will be grown before obtaining the seed. Walnut trees emit a chemical called juglone that is toxic to other vegetation. Your tree must be at least 60 feet away from any garden plants. If you are planting more than one nut, you will want to plant the nuts in a wide open space, giving each tree 60 to 70 feet of space to grow. However, if you are growing the trees for their wood, they need only be 30 feet apart.
Gather walnuts from another tree in the area. Always obtain more than three viable nuts to ensure that at least one will grow successfully. Soften the nuts in water, and then remove their husks.
Plant each nut in the desired area, 4 to 5 inches deep. Remember to distance them from your garden and from each other. Walnut trees do not transplant well, so where you plant the nut should be its permanent location.
Lay hardware cloth over each planting spot, and pin it down with spikes to keep squirrels and other animals from digging up the nuts.
Place a layer of mulch over the hardware cloth to protect the seedlings from hard frost. Make sure to mark the area you have planted so you can find it later.
Remove the mulch and hardware cloth in the spring as the seeds will have germinated over the winter. Keep the spot marked to ensure you do not accidentally trample or destroy your small tree.
Control the surrounding weed population for at least three years after planting.
Things You Will Need
- Hardware cloth
- Test each nut in water before planting. A nut that floats is not viable. A nut that sinks is the one you should plant.
- Wear gloves when you remove the husks. Juice from the nuts will stain clothing and hands.