Question about black walnut toxicity

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Melissa, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Melissa

    Melissa member

    Messages:
    23,496
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    Roy asked me this question last night and I had no idea what to answer. We know that there is a toxicity to certain plants from the roots, leaves,hulls, and bark mulches of black walnut trees. What about the ashes? He is burning a lot of walnut slabs from the sawmill and he was not sure if the ashes have this adverse affect also. Anyone have any ideas or knowledge about that?

    I have posted this on the family board also.
     
  2. ksfarmer

    ksfarmer Retired farmer-rancher

    Messages:
    2,979
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    north-central Kansas
    Composting will break down the Juglone in walnut tree debris. I would think maybe burning would do the same thing, but, I can find nothing to verify this for sure.
     

  3. casusbelli

    casusbelli Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    336
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    SW Ohio
    The toxicity is from juglone, a cyclic aromatic organic compound with a benzene/phenol structure. Therefore, it ought to be TOTALLY destroyed/burned in a fire. I say, use the ashes.
     
  4. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

    Messages:
    1,613
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    western New York
    The water used from cleaning walnuts will quickly bring nightcrawlers to the surface if poured on the ground. I've also been told that the Native Americans would purposely dam up streams, then put walnut hulls in the water to temporarily drug the fish which brought them to the surface.

    I agree with the other comments that burning / composting the wood should breakdown the jugalone. That said, I think I would mix some of the ash with water, then pour the mixture on the ground where nightcrawlers are known to be. If the nightcrawlers come to the surface within a minute or two, the ash still contains jugalone...if not, the ash is probably safe to use in reasonable quantity. Great question!
     
  5. beaglebiz

    beaglebiz Wasza polska matka

    Messages:
    6,912
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    zone 4b-5a
    Cowboy Joe, I just read your nightcrawler tip in an old book I picked up...thats nifty you posted it
     
  6. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

    Messages:
    1,613
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    western New York
    I saw this happen the first time I cleaned walnuts. Now I keep some dried hulls around for when I want to go fishing. Crush some up, mix with water, pour on the ground and harvest your bait...beats having to dig.