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Deciduous, Trees

Usually large and spreading; leaves are divided into many leaflets and have a featherlike appearance. Bear oval or round nuts enclosed in a fleshy husk. English walnut is a well-known orchard tree (see Walnut). American native species such as black walnut are sometimes planted as shade trees (with a bonus of edible nuts) or used as an understock for grafting English walnut.


Native to eastern North America, butternut trees grow 50–60 ft. tall and 40–50 ft. wide. Butternut resembles black walnut (Juglans nigra), but the tree is smaller, leaves have fewer leaflets, and the flavorful nuts are elongated or oval instead of round.

Walnut (Black)

Native to eastern North America. High-branched tree to about 100 ft. tall, 70 ft. wide, with round crown and furrowed blackish brown bark. Leaves have 11–23 leaflets, each 2 1/2–5 in. long. Round, 1 1/2-in.-diameter nuts have rich flavor. Big, hardy shade tree for large sites. Don't plant near flower or vegetable gardens, rhododendrons, or azaleas; black walnut curbs these plants either by secreting a growth-inhibiting substance or by root competition. Long dormant season.

Walnut (English)

The species described here, English walnut (Juglans regia), is a widely grown orchard plant native to southeast Europe, southwest Asia. Its nuts are the familiar ones grown commercially in Oregon, California, and Washington. Butternuts, Black Walnuts, and California Black Walnuts are listed separately.

Species is hardy to -5° F/-21° C, but certain varieties are injured by late and early frosts. Reaches 60 ft. high and wide; grows fast, especially when young. Trunk and heavy, horizontal or upward-angled branches have smooth gray bark; leaves have five to seven (rarely more) 3- to 6-in.-long leaflets. Walnut husks open in fall, dropping nuts to ground; to hasten drop, knock nuts from tree. Gather fallen nuts immediately, remove any adhering husks, and dry in a single layer in airy shade until kernels are brittle (crack a nut open to test); then store.

Plant English walnut as a landscape tree only on large lots. It iss out of leaf a long time, messy in leaf (honeydew drip and sooty mold due to aphid infestations), and messy in fruit (husks can stain). Many people are allergic to the wind-borne pollen. Grow in deep soil. Established plants survive with no supplemental moisture but need deep watering for top-quality nuts. Keep other plants beyond drip line, where feeder roots grow.

Train young trees to a central leader; mature ones need pruning only to remove dead wood or to correct shape.

In addition to aphids, pests include scale, codling moths, spider mites. Walnut husk fly attacks husks, causing them to turn black and adhere to shell. Husks are difficult to remove and shell is stained, but nutmeats are not damaged.

In Zones 1–3, grow walnuts described as Carpathian or Hardy Persian. Varieties include 'Ambassador', 'Cascade', 'Chopaka', 'Hansen', 'Russian', and 'Somers'; these range in hardiness from -25° F/-32° C to -35° F/-37° C.

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