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How to Grow English Walnuts From Seed

You can grow an English walnut tree at home from the seed within a walnut. Because walnut trees grow very large and must reach maturity outside, make sure an English walnut tree will grow well in your area by checking your hardiness zone. English walnuts trees grow best in zones 4 through 6.

English walnut seeds need a certain amount of time in cold conditions to germinate. This is referred to as breaking dormancy.

Obtain some English walnuts. You can use walnuts from a local tree, unshelled nuts from your grocery or farmer's market or purchase nuts from commercial sources such as seed companies.

Make sure the nuts are fresh and free of damage or disease. Sterilize the outside of the nuts by dipping them in nearly boiling water for one minute.

Break the dormancy of the seed inside the nut. Follow either of the methods below to break the dormancy of your seeds.

Plant your seeds, still in the nut, in the fall, directly in the ground if you live in areas where temperatures drop below 40 degrees F for at least 60 days. Plant seeds 4 inches deep in fertile, well-drained soil with plenty of sun.

Place your nuts approximately 2 inches deep in a container filled with half peat moss and half sand and refrigerate them for 60 days. Do this if the temperature is not right in your area for planting in the fall or if you want to plant in the spring. Keep the soil from drying out to encourage germination.

Plant the seeds, still in the nut, once you have broken dormancy, either after the last frost of spring, outdoors or indoors at any time. Plant seeds 4 inches deep in fertile, well drained soil with good sun exposure.

Watch for sprouting in four to six weeks. As your English walnut grows, continue to water and feed it with a nut tree fertilizer.

Train your English walnut trees, as they mature, by pruning and thinning to develop a strong framework to better support fruit and open the canopy for better light penetration, pollination and harvesting.


Because seeds are produced by pollination from an unknown source, trees grown from seeds may not always resemble the parent plant.

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