The Eastern Black walnut is one of the first trees I introduce to people that are not familiar
with growing nut trees in Canada.
A question I get asked a lot is “what do you grow?” and the conversation follows like this.
“nut trees and fruit trees. Have you heard of a black walnut?”
“no, what is it”
“It’s an edible nut that grows on a tree. Similar to the shop bought walnut that you see in the store.”
“Do nut trees grow in Canada?”
“oh, definetly yes. Along with butternuts, heartnuts, hazelnuts, buartnuts and the english walnut. They are all very delicious and produce nuts every year.”
WHERE THE EASTERN BLACK WALNUT TREE GROWS
People are amazed that that nut trees grow in Nova Scotia. There aren’t a lot that are aware of it.
It needs to be brought to attention more. Which I think is happening right now.
More people are asking questions about where their food is coming from.
More people want to harvest their own food, whether a community project together or
in their own backyards and properties.
FOOD FOREST TREES
The Eastern black walnut tree is one of the first trees I was introduced to on my perennial
edible plant journey when I moved to Wentzells Lake in Nova Scotia.
A neighbour had some trees growing nearby. When I saw these majestic specimans my fascanation for
nut trees just spiralled from there. There aren’t so many of the in Nova Scotia.
They are different to all the native forest trees in the landscape, making them easy to identify when you do come across one.
EASTERN AMERICAN BLACK WALNUT FEATURES and IDENTIFICATION
Their bright green foilage is tropical looking. Like palm fronds. They hang down from the tree. I want to say “umbrella like.”
Tall young trees of 25 years olds have quite straight trunks. All the branches and leaves near the top.
They have a two tone grey/ black bark. Ridge and valley like bark. The ridges grey and the valleys black.
Older trees of 50 plus years, the bark turns to an almost full black colour and the branches flail out from mid way up. I’ve seen 70 plus year old trees with a diameter of 3-4 feet. This american black walnut drops pounds of nuts every year.
Of course the amount of nuts the tree produces changes every year. There are years which the juglans nigra produces above average harvests. These are called mast years. These mast years come and go. If nut trees, even acorn producing trees in the wild were to grow so many nuts every year the squirrel and animal population would see a boost in numbers. This would leave the animals to compete with each other. It’s like the trees know what to do, to keep a balance in the forest system.
HOW TO PLANT THE EASTERN BLACK WALNUT.
One way to grow the eastern black walnut is by seed. Each nut is a seed. Which means each nut is another tree.
If you have found a black walnut tree, and there are nuts on the ground, then you have really found a forest of trees that havent sprouted yet.
Each nut you can bury in the ground will start a new tree for you to harvest eating nuts from one day.
There is a stratification process that the nuts need to go through in order to germinate.
You will need to simulate a winter season for the seed nut. One way is to place your collected nuts in a bag with a
moist medium like soil or sand and put them in the refirdgerator for 3 months or until you can plant the out side in the springtime.
THE EASIEST WAY TO PLANT A BLACK WALNUT.
The other way is to buy an eastern black walnut sapling from an online nursey. These nurseries grow the sapling trees in nursery beds for one year. The black walnut tree should try to be transplanted after it’s first year of growth. Getting your black walnut after the first year gives the tap root a chance to dig deep it second year to establish a healthy and hardy plant. Making it better than a pot grown plant, which could encircle it’s roots around the inside of the pot and stunting its growth when planted in it’s forever home.
An eastern black walnut sapling will come as a bare root plant from the online nursery. It will be wrapped in
a box and delivered to your door. You will want to plant the tree within the next few days after receiving the plant.
See our website at Little Tree Farm to buy a black walnut tree. And check out all the other food forest plants
we have available.