How to Grow Black Walnut Trees from Seed

How to Grow Black Walnut Trees from Seed

Black walnut trees are a treasure for gardeners and woodworking enthusiasts. Their delicious nutmeats and desirable hardwood make them a sought-after addition to any garden. If you’re looking to grow these magnificent trees from seed, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of planting black walnut seeds, from choosing the perfect location to ensuring successful germination. So grab your gardening gloves and let’s get started on this exciting journey together!

Choosing a Location to Plant Walnut Seeds

Walnut trees thrive in various environments, but they prefer full sun and deep, moist, rich, well-drained soil. Look for a location along stream banks, watercourses, in open fields, or along the edges of forests. While they can tolerate clay or rocky soil, keep in mind that growth may be slower compared to unobstructed soil. Additionally, black walnut tree roots produce juglone, a chemical that can negatively affect certain plants like pines, potatoes, tomatoes, blackberries, alfalfa, and apples. To ensure the success of your walnut tree and neighboring plants, choose a location where the impact of juglone is minimal.

Determining Whether Seeds Are Viable

Not all the walnut seeds you collect will be viable for germination. Here’s how you can determine the viability of your seeds:

  1. Remove the husks from the nuts.
  2. Place the nuts in a bucket of water.
  3. Discard the floating nuts.
  4. Save the nuts that sank to the bottom.
  5. Crack open a small sample of the remaining nuts to assess viability. Viable nuts have solid, white meats, while non-viable seeds have beige, shriveled kernels that may be watery or emit a foul odor. The percentage of viable seeds in your sample will help you determine how many seeds to plant per hole for optimal success.

Ensuring Germination of Black Walnut Seeds

Before black walnut seeds can germinate, they require cold temperatures and moist conditions. You can achieve this through outdoor planting or indoor stratification.

Planting Outdoors

In the fall, plant your black walnut seeds about 2 inches deep in moist soil. If you’re planting multiple seeds per hole, space them out to make it easier to remove unwanted seedlings later.

Stratifying Indoors

To stratify your walnut seeds indoors, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare a moist mixture of sand and peat moss.
  2. Place the seeds in the mixture, ensuring they are evenly distributed.
  3. Store the container in a cool location, such as the refrigerator, for a period of 90 to 120 days.
  4. Regularly check the seeds to ensure they do not dry out.

Once stratified, the seeds can be removed from the refrigerator and planted in the spring.

Are you excited to grow your own black walnut trees? With careful consideration of the planting location and proper seed viability assessment and germination techniques, you’ll soon enjoy the shade and the bounty of delicious walnuts. For more expert tips and guidance on tree planting, visit Tips Tree Planting, where we share our gardening secrets with fellow enthusiasts like you!

Remember, growing black walnut trees from seed requires patience and a long-term perspective. While it may take several decades for the trees to mature enough for lumber, the benefits they bring in terms of aesthetics, foraging opportunities, and the potential for future generations make it a worthwhile endeavor. So start planting those walnut seeds and embark on a rewarding journey of tree cultivation today!

Image source: Tips Tree Planting