Are these exceptionally large for walnuts?

jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)December 1, 2013

We found one American black walnut tree that produces nuts larger than any other I have seen. It is in an orchard that my grandpa planted maybe 30 years ago. All of the other trees around it have smaller nuts.

These walnuts green weigh 1/2 pound.

If it is something special then I may consider grafting from that tree to try to propagate.

Has anyone else seen anything like this?

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I'd say your small one's are smaller then average, the large one's are a good size indeed.

Here is a thread with larger nuts, 9 to 9 1/2 inches in circumference.

Here is a link that might be useful: Black Walnut Size

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 11:16AM
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I am familiar with about a dozen BW, a couple near the orchard, one in the front yard, and the rest on my walk to the commuter lot, and those definitely are large nuts, and all trees I see have nuts consistent with the smaller one in the pic. There is one agricultural school in every state. Go talk to them.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 11:32AM
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a bit off topic, but do some people like the wild musky taste of black walnut for fresh eating? i can understand baking with it--it's used extensively in banana nut bread correct? but eating fresh??? i've had some fresh been too strong musky for me.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 1:04PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I have not made banana bread in a few years but use pounds and pounds of them for cooking. They are so useful. I could forage wild ones, but it's too much trouble to prep them, so I just purchase them. I love using them in sauces, adds a special flavor like honey-butter-walnut sauce for roasted figs. Great in scones too with any fruit.
Hundreds of uses for walnuts. Pecans I use a lot too.
Recent studies confirm those who eat nuts daily live longer. I try to eat them daily. One of those basic foods for millions of years our genetic line has consumed. So beneficial. Expensive too, so the cheaper nuts are just as healthy and everybody should find ways to use them.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 1:36PM
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You can't really tell if those nuts are big unless the husks are off. Some trees have really thick husks.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 5:21PM
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You can't really tell if those nuts are big unless the husks are off. Some trees have really thick husks.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 5:22PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

All of the nuts from this one tree are the size of the one on the left (or bottom). There are others as big as the middle one, and ones from further west in NE are the far right nut. They are really tiny.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 6:34PM
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drew i agree about nuts. I was asking for ppl who love specifically black walnuts to chime in... lots of great varieties of nuts, but the black walnut is a tad too different for my palette

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 11:14AM
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Those are good sized. Have you opened any yet? I had a dream last night about giant black walnuts, the size of your fist.

When I was in high school there was an old dying english walnut across the street from the school kind of growing out of the gutter (I think it predated the pavement). There were maybe only 3 or 4 feet growing above the graft and it maybe dropped a dozen nuts each year. Without the husks, those walnuts were about the size of a tennis ball. I always figured it had some sort of virus or something. A few years ago I went to check on it and it had died. I wish I had saved some of of the shells.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 12:20PM
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jagchaser, I just sent you an email

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 12:57AM
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I've seen walnuts that were easily as large as softballs with the husks on. Unfortunately, the nut was very thick shelled and the kernels were tiny. So the rule of thumb is to crack a few and see if they make nuts worth having. The usual reason for having abnormally thick husks is when a vigorous tree about 10 to 12 years old begins to bear, it tends to have relatively few nuts and a relatively large tree which combine to make the nuts grow abnormally large. Once the tree is in regular nut production, size tapers down to a more normal range.

The odds of getting a pretty good black walnut tree from unselected native walnuts is about 1 in 2000. I've searched through roughly 10,000 native trees here in North Alabama and found exactly 2 trees worth propagating for nuts and 2 more worth growing for timber. I Have about 40 named varieties of nut producing walnut trees planted near Rainsville Alabama. They were started in 1998. As fyi, the largest nuts I grow are Thomas Myers, Ridgeway, and Vandersloot.

For your area in Nebraska, I would suggest the following varieties:
Mcginnis - small/medium nut, nebraska native, buttery flavor, good production, and early maturity
Sparks 127 - Iowa native, small/medium nut, rich walnut flavor, good production, early maturity
Sparrow - Older variety from Illinois iirc, excellent production, good pollinator for the others, good flavor.
Sparks 129 - another one from Archie Sparks that is a fast growing timber tree with medium nut production. It will be very hard to find scionwood.

As fyi, Bill Gustafson at UNL would be a possible source for detailed info about growing walnuts. I have not seen or heard from him in 4 years but he is the person I would hunt for. If you can't find him, contact Stan Matzke in Bennet, NE. You might also want to talk to Bill Reid and/or Mark Coggeshall in Kansas. You can find a ton of good reading about black walnuts online. is a very good resource.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 11:31PM
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