There's not much that will grow under them, maybe a few weeds is all. they have a high tanic acid amount and the leaves are the worst for anything. You'll even have trouble growing things, down wind or down stream from them...
I planted 2 about 15 years ago. I ordered butternut trees, but they turned out to be black walnuts.
What I know about them:
You can run the saplings over with a lawn mower and they will grow back because they have a tap root and as long as the root is good, you've still got a tree. My two trees are the same age, but one is twice the size of the other. My husband recently confessed to not only running over it not once, but twice! They're tough trees.
Where I've got mine planted, they get all the water they could ever want. I don't know how important that is to a black walnut, but they've thrived. They've got good, loamy sand with water never more than 5 feet down.
Squirrels love black walnuts.
I still have grass growing under the walnuts trees, though because they are very shady, the grass under the larger one is being replaced by moss. I have a concord grapevine quite close to the trees and it is doing very well.
Mosquitos love living in the shade of the walnut tree.
The hulls of the walnut will stain your hands so when handling them wear gloves. Someday I'm going to make a stain for wood with the hulls.
The shells are VERY thick and hard to crack. A bench vice works well.
I planted a dozen nuts, hoping they would sprout, but they never did. I read they could take a couple of years to sprout........I'm still waiting. This spring makes the third season.........
Greek men who love to eat strong goat cheese and drink buttermilk (brother-in-law) love the taste of black walnuts. To everyone else, they are an acquired taste. :haha:
Central Maine frosts and black walnuts blossoms seem to cooperate.
What zone are you in, how many deer do you have, and how is your rainfall and soil? That will tell exactly how your black walnuts do.
In Iowa, black walnut is a weed tree. It is a very nice weed tree, but most people put it one notch above red mulberry, silver maple and Honeylocust for tenacity. It is a fast growing hardwood here, but it requires ample water in the early and late spring. It is heat and frost tolerant, and often grows 1â to 2â a year in central Iowa. It is not very drought tolerant when young, but is after about 7 years. It will grow back from the stump, even when you cut down a 15 year old specimen which dominates one side of your garden. Just keep cutting the suckers off, for years it seems.
First, deer and bunnies love to each black walnut whips. Youâll need to fence the trees in if you live in whitetail country. Youâll also need to provide water the first year while the roots get established, but this is standard for any whip planting.
Donât plant near non perennial garden plants. The roots of the black walnut produce a plant toxin called Jungolin or something like that. It is a growth inhibitor. However, certain plants donât care. Iâve successfully grown rhubarb, asparagus and other shade loving plants under the drip line of a black walnut tree, and they thrived.
They start to produce nuts at about 15â tall, or 7 to 8 years. Many black walnuts will produce biennially, with a big flush one year, then a small flush the next. However just as many seem to be annual producers, and early rain is a major factor in how many nuts youâll get.
Black walnut is one of the best âcommercialâ timbers you can grow. In a single lifetime, you can go from whips to valuable harvestable lumber, about 30 to 40 years and 25 mature trees to the acre. The key is to space the trees appropriately and trim the limbs to get yourself a nice, arrow straight 30â long trunk. The commercial value of such a tree is several thousand dollars today. Ancient (100YO+) black walnuts in Iowa commonly top out over 70â tall, and can be worth $10k+ as veneer.
We have a great many growing on our property and find the nuts to be a difficult challenge to crack and extract, but tasty. The basics have been pretty well covered as far as not planting them near your gardens etc. Our first year here we planted a rather large asparagus patch along one side of the garden. We were so frustrated because we kept finding the roots dug up. Come to find out it was squirrels trying to hide their nuts :haha: There was a huge walnut tree in the fence row that we had not considered when we planted. Our nice cultivated patch was a perfect spot the squirrels thought. :haha:
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