A black walnut tree can be a beautiful addition to your landscape. It can also produce a valuable resource for your home – walnut wood! It is hardy and can withstand cold winters and hot summers, making it a good choice for homeowners with limited space.
Walnuts are also a common food source for people who enjoy eating raw or cooked nuts. You can use walnuts in a wide variety of recipes, such as pies, cakes, fudge and cookies. You can even make walnut syrup from the nut sap to help keep your kitchen cool in the summer.
If you want to grow walnuts for yourself, it is important to start with seeds. Seedlings are easier to care for than nuts and tend to have a higher success rate, although they will take longer to bear fruit.
To make walnut seedlings, you must stratify the seeds in a moist mixture of sand and peat moss before planting them. This will allow them to go through a natural period of dormancy and will then trigger their germination in the spring.
Stratification is an easy and inexpensive way to prepare seeds for planting. Once you have prepared your walnut seeds, place them in a bag or container and store them in a refrigerator for 90 to 120 days.
Once the germination process is complete, remove your black walnut seeds from the refrigerator and plant them in the ground. Be sure to space your seeds a few inches apart and cover them with soil. Then, water them whenever the ground dries out slightly.
After planting your walnut seedlings, it is important to regularly clear weeds from the area to keep them away from the roots. This will ensure that the germination process is successful and that the walnut tree will have a healthy and thriving root system when it grows up.
When you are ready to begin planting your black walnut tree, it is essential to select a location that will provide full sun and is not in a valley or where airflow is limited, as these conditions foster frost damage. It is also best to keep the site weed free to avoid problems in the long term.
You will need a large area that is well-drained and is not shaded by other trees. The best location for a walnut tree is a sunny spot that receives plenty of moisture during the summer. It is also a good idea to place your walnut tree in a part of your yard that will be protected from severe winter weather, such as an overhang or fence.
In the fall, you can begin to harvest your walnuts. You will need to be sure that the nuts are ripe before you begin to pick them, as they are best when they are plump and hardened. You can test this by pressing your thumb against the outer green skin and seeing if the nut still has a tenderness to it, which will indicate that it is ripe.