Walnut, growing delicious walnuts

Walnut tree

The walnut tree is ornamental and a fantastic fruit-bearer.

Key Walnut facts

Name – Juglans regia
Family – Juglandaceae
Type – fruit tree

Height – 50-85 feet (15-25 meters)
Climate – temperate or warm
Exposure – full sun

Soil – deep, ordinary, well-drained

Foliage: deciduous  –  Flowering: end of spring   –   Harvest: early to mid-fall

Growing and caring for it from planting to pruning will increase your harvest and speed the growth of your walnut tree.

Planting walnut

If the most proper timing is to be chosen, plant your walnut tree in fall to speed root development up before the winter frost spells.

Planting walnutIt can also be planted in spring though, when purchased in a container, or also in summer as long as periods of sweltering heat are avoided.

  • Endeavor to find a wide open space for it because it tends to not only grow tall, but very wide, too.
  • Upon planting, incorporate good planting soil mix and organic soil conditioner that is up to providing the tree with the nutrients it needs.
  • Shuffle this pile around to ensure it is homogeneous and is comprised of ⅓ each soil, soil mix and soil conditioner.

Pruning, and caring for walnut

Walnut tree in fallThe walnut tree hates being pruned. Each branch removed opens a door to infection and to a great many diseases such as fungus and rot.

This particular practice must thus be reduced to the utmost, because it can damage the tree and alter the upcoming harvests.

If you do need to prune because the tree is growing too large, perform the pruning during the month of September.

Whole walnut treeProtect the wound with pruning paste or pine tar.

  • Prune just when walnuts fall to the ground. Falling walnuts are the go-signal.
  • At that point, remove dead wood.
  • Cut off branches that grow inwards, as long as their girth is smaller than 1 inch (3 cm).
  • If two branches touch or cross over, remove one of the two.
  • Eliminate suckers repeatedly as they appear along the trunk.

Harvesting the walnuts

Walnuts are harvested as early as September and sometimes until November depending on where it’s planted.

  • Harvested walnuts arranged on walnut leaves.The signal to start harvesting is when the husk has just started splitting apart.
  • Best is to pick them just before they would naturally fall off.
  • It’s also possible to simply wait for them to drop to the ground, which guarantees that they’re mature enough.

Once they’ve been harvested, the fresh walnuts can be nibbled within at most a couple weeks.

Another option is to dry them off in the sun after having pried the husk away. This prepares them for long-term storage, easily up to 1 or 2 years.

  • Spread the walnuts along one layer thick, and turn them over often.
  • If the sun is hiding away, do this in a dry and well-aerated room.

Learn more about the walnut tree

The walnut tree is, all in all, a very elegant tree, well balanced, and for which the blooming will color your garden at the beginning of spring.

Walnut catkinsThanks to its cute catkin flowers that often appear before the leaves unfurl, you’ll take full advantage of its very decorative properties.

There are some varieties that do flower a bit later which are recommended in locations located farther North, to avoid losing the crop and blooming to late spring frost spells.

The walnut husk is the outer, coarse shell that surrounds the walnut itself. It doesn’t have any culinary value, but it is used as a pigment when producing oil-based paint colors.

Freshly picked walnut as well as dried walnut is used for cooking, and oil can be extracted from it, too.

Smart tip about the walnut tree

As mentioned above, the impressive size a walnut tree can reach makes it virtually mandatory to plant it in a wide open space.
This fact, however, will make it a great shaded spot for you to relax even in the midst of the hottest summer days!

Images: depositphotos: ; dreamstime: Matauw; Pixabay: Ilona, Janusz, Mabel Amber, Wikimedia Images