Black Walnut tree

carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)July 15, 2014

Turns out we have a black walnut tree downhill past the compost heap. We didn't realize, until a friend identified it yesterday by the chartreuse tennis balls growing on it.

Are the nuts edible? And if so, what sort of care should we give to it? I blush to confess we've been sawing the top off and some branches for years, to open up our view. But it's stubborn and has been growing back like crazy. About 25 ft. high. We thought it was a weed tree.


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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


The nuts are definately eatable but messy to remove that outer husk and hard to crack and extract the nutmeat. Some selected varieties are easier extract and yield more nutmeat. Wild ones variable.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:45PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Weed tree!? All trees are cool.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 8:43PM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

Thanks! I found a youtube video on how to husk and shell black walnuts. Looks like I'll need a hammer, wire clippers and work gloves. But it's doable. I've never tasted them. I hope it's worth the effort.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:09AM
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They are significantly better than regular walnut, taste-wise, but a pain to crack. I no longer eat them. Many plants will die in close proximity with a BW due to poisonous root secretions. I had to trench between my orchard and the woods, some newly planted apple trees died, and I can not plant any vegetable in my front yard.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:17AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Our native black walnut, Juglans hindsii is definitely a weed, a GIANT weed. Almost every pot contains a seedling, having been planted by a squirrel. They are planted as well through my entire garden, impossible to pull up if not noticed before a foot high. Al

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:49AM
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BWs can be a weed - or a valued tree. Depends on your perspective and desires.

If you're going to try your hand at harvesting nuts...
Some will abort/drop early, well before they've sized up.
Once the main crop begins to drop, it's really important to remove the husk material ASAP, before it gets black, gooey, and discolors the kernel. I just roll 'em underfoot to dislodge the nut from the husk - then dump the nuts in a bucket of water and stir vigorously, pouring off and replenishing the water until it comes relatively clear. Well-filled nuts will sink - 'floaters' may be poorly filled, but crack a few to be sure, before you discard them.
Spread them in a cool, dry place to cure, for at least a couple of weeks (longer is even better) - right off the tree, they're not tasty.
You can crack them with a hammer, but a bench-mounted vise or even a pair of vise-grip pliers are workable. A good hardshell nutcracker designed for that purpose is best, but may or may not be worth the investment for you. A pair of wire-cutting pliers and nutpick are very helpful in snipping here and there to relase kernel pieces.
BWs have a flavor very different from 'English'/Persian walnuts (which, to me, have NO flavor) - BWs will add flavor and crunch to baked goods. Some folks like 'em, some don't.
Most 'wild' BWs have fairly thick shells and low kernel percentage (in the 12-20% range); improved selections have thinner shells and kernel percentages approaching 40%.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:12PM
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RedSun (Zone 6, NJ)

We have a mature BW tree in the wild. The wild life gets the nuts. We only see a few on the driveway.

The BW seedling is really a problem. I pull so many of them.

The tree grows like a weed. I had to cut down a 7" caliper tree (3-4 year old), since it starts to shade my garden.

No love for this tree.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:08PM
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