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walnut nut question

Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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anyone ever plant walnuts from nuts?

i have 3 baby walnut trees (carpathian, black and butternut)..


when i was driving to a nearby town this morning after a storm i saw walnuts ..i'm sure that is what they were..littering all over the road.


it is about 2 to 3 miles from our house..and I had thought about going back with a bag and gathering a few of them and tucking them into the ground, here and there in the woods and field..dont' know what KIND of walnuts they are, but i could open some and find out.

what do you think??? we have plenty of acerage so they would have room to grow ...and if we didn't use all the nuts would they be forage???
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I'm sure some animals will find it as food. Trees will make fruit, probably smaller one.
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Walnuts take lots of space and time ... if I were going to incorporate them into my landscape, I would use selected cultivars to increase the odds that they would be making a positive contribution. If the nuts were very small and hard to shell, or were bitter, or the yield was low, that would be less than desirable.

Walnuts are noted for giving off lots of very strong allelopathic chemicals that interfere with other plants ... they are nice trees, but they don't play well with others. Better IMO to have a small stand of walnuts, and a productive one.

Here is a another discussion of walnuts and walnut guilds:

Brenda Groth
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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yes i am aware, I have studied walnut guilds for several years in planning the guilds around the 3 walnut trees that I planted a couple of years ago (black walnut, butternut and carpathian walnuts)..I have done some extensive research and have lists of plants that will and will not grow under and around walnuts..

that wasn't my question..

i was wondering whether or not anyone had attempted to grow walnuts from the nuts themselves..and how successful they were.

i have an opportunity to put some walnuts in in an out of the way area of our property, and also was curious as to whether anyone was aware of their forage abilities.

i am attempting to diversify the tree species on our property which is mostly aspen, oak, ash, alderng othe, whild cherry and maple..in our woods and fields areas..and i am attempting to repolace the dhing aspens and wild cherries with some more sturdy trees that might provide something other than just shade and firewood and mulch..but maybe food products or forage or wildlife habitat
Posts: 126
Location: Ava, Mo, USA, Earth
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I've never tried to plant them, but I alway get some squire planted ones in the yard every year.  If I wanted to crop them, I'd graft them to a known variety.  It can take wild seedling decades to start producing.  OTOH, transplanting seedlings always messed up the root system, so planting seeds and then grafting them can give the best trees.
They do need cold stratification.  If you are where they grow wild, fall planted ones should do fine.  Plant heavy and thin or transplant of they are too thick.  I don't have any way to guess the germination rate, but don't count on it being very high.
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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I believe that it is just the black walnut that produces jugalone and that the others are more friendly.
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Emerson White wrote:
I believe that it is just the black walnut that produces jugalone and that the others are more friendly.

This is incorrect. They may produce less, but I am pretty sure they still produce a lot.
Aljaz Plankl
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Brenda, can you please list some plants that grow in guild with walnuts.
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It's only August, so those walnuts falling now might be infested or not pollinated fruit. Here in zone 6 TN the black walnuts don't drop their main crop until mid October. If you do pick up those nuts, I'd crack a few to see if they look normal.
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I have a few walnut seedlings that started growing out of the top of one of my sawdust piles (used in composting).  They were planted by squirrels.  As an experiment, I moved the two seedlings to buckets filled with nothing more than their original growing medium (pine sawdust).  Several months have passed and the young trees are strong and vibrant.  I will plant them in the ground, along with the contents of their buckets, in a few weeks. 

If you want to add walnut trees to diversify, I don't think it would hurt to plant some seeds and give it a try.

Brenda Groth
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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thanks so much for the info ..here is a list that I have on my computer for Juglone alleopathy..but there is more information in my notes ..i'll have to go over those

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet
Horticulture and Crop Science
2021 Coffey Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43210-1086


Black Walnut Toxicity to Plants, Humans and Horses
Richard C. Funt
Jane Martin

The roots of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra L.) and Butternut (Juglans cinerea L.) produce a substance known as juglone (5-hydroxy-alphanapthaquinone). Persian (English or Carpathian) walnut trees are sometimes grafted onto black walnut rootstocks. Many plants such as tomato, potato, blackberry, blueberry, azalea, mountain laurel, rhododendron, red pine and apple may be injured or killed within one to two months of growth within the root zone of these trees. The toxic zone from a mature tree occurs on average in a 50 to 60 foot radius from the trunk, but can be up to 80 feet. The area affected extends outward each year as a tree enlarges. Young trees two to eight feet high can have a root diameter twice the height of the top of the tree, with susceptible plants dead within the root zone and dying at the margins.

Not all plants are sensitive to juglone. Many trees, vines, shrubs, groundcovers, annuals and perennials will grow in close proximity to a walnut tree. Certain cultivars of "resistant" species are reported to do poorly. Black walnut has been recommended for pastures on hillsides in the Ohio Valley and Appalachian mountain regions. Trees hold the soil, prevent erosion and provide shade for cattle. The beneficial effect of black walnut on pastures in encouraging the growth of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and other grasses appears to be valid as long as there is sufficient sunlight and water.

Gardeners should carefully consider the planting site for black walnut, butternut, or persian walnut seedlings grafted to black walnut rootstock, if other garden or landscape plants are to be grown within the root zone of mature trees. Persian walnut seedlings or trees grafted onto Persian walnut rootstocks do not appear to have a toxic effect on other plants.

Horses may be affected by black walnut chips or sawdust when they are used for bedding material. Close association with walnut trees while pollen is being shed (typically in May) also produce allergic symptoms in both horses and humans. The juglone toxin occurs in the leaves, bark and wood of walnut, but these contain lower concentrations than in the roots. Juglone is poorly soluble in water and does not move very far in the soil.

Walnut leaves can be composted because the toxin breaks down when exposed to air, water and bacteria. The toxic effect can be degraded in two to four weeks. In soil, breakdown may take up to two months. Black walnut leaves may be composted separately, and the finished compost tested for toxicity by planting tomato seedlings in it. Sawdust mulch, fresh sawdust or chips from street tree prunings from black walnut are not suggested for plants sensitive to juglone, such as blueberry or other plants that are sensitive to juglone. However, composting of bark for a minimum of six months provides a safe mulch even for plants sensitive to juglone.

Plants Observed Growing Under or Near Black Walnut*
Japanese Maples, Acer palmatum and its cultivars
Southern Catalpa, Catalpa bignonioides
Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Canadian Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis
Vines and Shrubs
Clematis 'Red Cardinal'
February Daphne, Daphne mezereum
Euonymus species
Weeping Forsythia, Forsythia suspensa
Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus
Tartarian Honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica, and most other Lonicera species
Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia
** Pinxterbloom, Rhododendron periclymenoides
**'Gibraltar' and 'Balzac', Rhododendron Exbury hybrids
Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora
Black Raspberry, Rubus occidentalis
Arborvitaes, Thuja species
** Koreanspice Viburnum, Viburnum carlesii, and most other Viburnum species
Pot-marigold, Calendula officinalis 'Nonstop'
Begonia, fibrous cultivars
Morning Glory, Ipomoea 'Heavenly Blue'
Pansy Viola
Zinnia species
Squashes, Melons, Beans, Carrots, Corn
Fruit Trees
Peach, Nectarine, Cherry, Plum
Prunus species Pear-Pyrus species
Herbaceous Perennials
Bugleweed, Ajuga reptans
Hollyhock, Alcea rosea
American Wood Anemone, Anemone quinquefolia
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
European Wild Ginger, Asarum europaeum
Astilbe species
Bellflower, Campanula latifolia
**Chrysanthemum species (some)
Glory-of-the-Snow, Chionodoxa luciliae
Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica
Crocus species
Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria
Leopard's-Bane, Doronicum species
Crested Wood Fern, Dryopteris cristata
Spanish Bluebell, Endymion hispanicus
Winter Aconite, Eranthis hyemalis
Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis
Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum
Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum
Cranesbill, Geranium sanguineum
Grasses (most) Gramineae family
Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus
Common Daylily, Hemerocallis 'Pluie de Feu'
Coral Bells, Heuchera x brizoides
Orange Hawkweed, Hieracium aurantiacum
Plantain-lily, Hosta fortunei 'Glauca'
Hosta lancifolia
Hosta marginata
Hosta undulata 'Variegata'
Common Hyacinth, Hyacinthus Orientalis 'City of Haarlem'
Virginia Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum
Siberian Iris, Iris sibirica
Balm, Monarda didyma
Wild Bergamot, M. fistulosa
Grape Hyacinth, Muscari botryoides
Sweet Cicely, Myrrhis odorata 'Yellow Cheerfulness,' 'Geranium,' 'Tete a Tete,' 'Sundial,' and 'February Gold'
Sundrops, Oenothera fruticosa
Senstitive Fern, Onoclea sensibilis
Cinnamon Fern, Osmunda cinnamomea
Peony, **Paeonia species (some)
Summer Phlox, Phlox paniculata
Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum
Jacob's-Ladder, Polemonium reptans
Great Solomon's-Seal, Polygonatum commutatum
Polyanthus Primrose, Primula x polyantha
Lungwort, Pulmonaria species
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis
Siberian Squill, Scilla sibirica
Goldmoss Stonecrop, Sedum acre
Showy Sedum, Sedum spectabile
Lamb's-Ear, Stachys byzantina
Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana
Nodding Trillium, Trillium cernuum
White Wake-Robin, Trillium grandiflorum
Tulipa Darwin 'White Valcano' and 'Cum Laude,' Parrot 'Blue Parrot,' Greigii 'Toronto'
Big Merrybells, Uvularia grandiflora
Canada Violet, Viola canadensis
Horned Violet, Viola cornuta
Woolly Blue Violet, Viola sororia
*These are based upon observations and not from clinical tests.
**Cultivars of some species may do poorly.

Plants That Do Not Grow Within 50 Feet of Drip Line of Black Walnut
Herbaceous Perennials
Colorado Columbine, Aquilegia caerulea
Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis
Asparagus, Asparagus offinalis
*Chrysanthemum Chrysanthumum species (some)
Baptisia australis
Hydrangea species
Lilies, Lilium species (particularly the Asian hybrids)
Alfalfa, Medicago sativa
Buttercup, Narcissus 'John Evelyn,' 'Unsurpassable' 'King Alfred' and 'Ice Follies'
Peonies, *Paeonia species (some)
Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum
Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum
European Alder, Alnus glutinosa
White Birches, Betula species
Northern Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis
Apples and Crabapples, Malus species
Norway Spruce, Picea abies
Mugo Pine, Pinus mugo
Red Pine, Pinus resinosa
Eastern White Pine, Pinus strobus
Basswood, Tilia heterophylla
Red Chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia
Hydrangea species
Mountain Laurels, Kalmia species
Privet, Ligustrum species
Amur Honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii
Brush Cinquefoil, Potentilla species
Rhododendrons and Azaleas, **Rhododendron species (most)
Blackberry, Rubus allegheniensis
Lilacs, Syringa species and cultivars
Yew, Taxus species
Blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum
*Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii'
Annuals and Vegetables Transplants
Cabbage, Brassica oleracea capitata
Peppers, Capsicum species (some)
Tomatoes, Lycopersicon esculentum
Flowering Tobacco, Nicotiana alata
Petunia species and cultivars
Eggplant, Solanum melongena
Potato, Solanum tuberosum
double-flowered cole vegetables
*Cultivars of some species may survive but will do poorly.

The authors express their appreciation to Drs. M. Scott Biggs, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, and Harry Hoitink, Department of Plant Pathology, for their review and additional comments.


All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status.

Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Adm. and Director, OSU Extension.

TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-1868


also check other walnut toxitiy threads on www.permies.com
Posts: 88
Location: South Central Mississippi
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I was reading some old posts when I stumbled across this one and after reading it thought, "Aha! One I might actually be able to make a positive contribution on."

In the winter of 2009, my kids and I picked up ~ 6,000 nuts and managed to direct seed about 3,000 of them. I used a Dibble bar, dug a hole, dropped a nut in and stomped it into the hole. 

That I know of we didn't get a single tree to come up. 

The fall of 2010 was dominated by my wife building herself a house (lucky for me she chose a spot right across from my parents).  We didn't bother collecting any nuts thinking that we wouldnt have the opportunity to plant what few we would have time to collect. 

As luck would have it though, my Uncle was thinking along the same lines as moi insofar as he had been trying unsuccessfully over the past couple years to plant a goodly number of black walnuts. So spring 2011 rolls around, we're in the new shed and Uncle shows up in April with a pickup truck bed full of all manner of tree planting paraphernalia and several pots full of compost and black walnuts that be had hulled, arranged in layers within the compost and allowed to overwinter in his yard in North Mississippi to satisfy the cold stratification requirement. 

As he was planting, I jumped in to help so as to learn all I could for if his method proved successful I had every intention of shamelessly copying it in future years. A couple days later he left to return to his home but left me all of his left over seeds that were in various stages of germination. I set to work asap and ended up planting ~ 170 germinated nuts and probably ended up nursing 150 of them through two droughts over the course of the summer. 

The method was very straight forward.  Follow it to the letter and you shouldn't have any problems:
Dig around in a pot until you find a germinated nut (the earlier in the germination phase the better  methinks)
Put the nut in a compost lined bucket
Yell for the kids to load up on the trailer
Give the bucket with the germinated nuts to one of the more responsible ones
Issue death threats all around for damaging baby walnuts
Cuss because you forgot to hook up to the trailer
Hook up to the trailer containing all needed tools, soil amendments, water, kids, nuts and dogs. 
Run the dogs out of he trailer. 
Tell kids, "Them blankety-blank dogs are NOT going anywhere near my walnut patch!"
Cuss because you forgot your chewing tobakker. 
Retrieve chewing tobakker (DON'T SKIP THIS STEP!)
Drive to walnut patch without spilling more'n bout half the water.
Park, get out, yell at kids to check their youthful exuberance and getting to plant walnuts for the eighth straight day.
Renew death threats but throw in some torture threats as mere death threats have started wearing off. 
Get all your stuff out of the trailer and walk around half an hour trying to find the point in the planting grid you left off because you were too cheap to buy marking flags. 
Once the first spot is (incorrectly?) found, dig a hole. Mine were usually about a foot or less wide and 8-10 inches deep. 
Amend the soil 1/2 and 1/2 with peat moss and refill until the hole resembles a hen's nest (shallow depression).  Place any excess dirt on the downhill side to act as a little dam and mulch heavily with hay you steal from your father's hay rack (PLEASE don't tell'im)
Part the soil with your hands, reverently lay the future semester of college tuition into the hole with the tap root oriented straight down (I actually had a kid mess that one up. Guess who is going to work for that semester's tuition?)
Gently, lovingly eeeeeeease the dirt back into good contact with the entire length of the tap root and use a quart or so of water to make sure the dirt is well settled and in good contact with the root. 
Cuss when you look up and realize that you are but one foot away from the last tree you planted the day before. 
Cuss some more. 
Dig up the first nut and start over in the right place this time. 
Once planted following the above listed steps, mark the spot with whatever old half rotten stick happens to be laying around because you are too cheap to buy marking flags. 
Repeat the process until all nuts cease germinating or until hoarse from death threats. 

We planted ours on a ten x ten grid which I will continue with in he future. 

We watered every other day for the first two weeks and every other day if we had gone for more than about 5 or 6 days without a rain. 

As best I can tell, my uncle was able to achieve about a 60% germination rate doing it this way. As my ultimate goal is to have 7 acres in black walnuts, I talk with as many people as I can find that have some experience along these lines. One lady that I met was also researching growing black walnuts for a grandchild. In her own research she reportedly found a gentleman that achieved a 95+% germination rate by first putting his seed into citrus bags and laying them in ant beds "to kill that little worm that gets in 'em."

I have found no other information of worm-in-walnut killage but it doesn't sound so radical that I won't try it this year. 

Just so happens that I'm getting up at daylight in the morning to go pick up a bunch of seeds from the only other person that I know personally (besides my uncle and myself) that has large plantings of black walnuts.  After I collect them, I will put them in large tubs that we get when my daddy buys molasses blocks for his cows.  Many are damaged sufficiently to allow ants to get in.  I plan on filling as many tubs as possible and plopping them down on top of ant hills to let them work their magic.

If you need any clarification on any point please don't hesitate to ask. 
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