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How to Care For California Grown Walnut Trees

Besides walnut trees producing a delicious and very nutritious nut, they are also the source of high quality wood. They are beautiful trees that provide a lot of shade thanks to their large, arching branches.

Growing Walnut Trees

Most walnut trees in the United States grow up to a height of 50 feet and are of similar width. Persian and English black walnuts are most commonly grown in the United States, and are used for production of nuts as well as for shade. 50 to 80 pounds of nuts is the average annual production capacity of a mature tree. The Persian walnut tree has large nuts and is the most common variety grown in California. Several cultivars exist, including Chandler, Ashley, Pedro, Howard, Hartley, Serr Vina, Tehama and Sunland. In late spring, all of these cultivars leaf out, avoiding the walnut blight. Mediterranean climates, which Persian walnuts are adapted to, have mild winters and this type requires similar conditions. Early ripening varieties of walnuts need 140 to 150 days annually with temperatures of -2 and -6 C (27 and 29 F).
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Planting of Walnut Trees
A Simple Plan: Options

After choosing the type of walnut, it is time to plant the tree. Tilling about 12 square feet up to a depth of 10 inches or more will get rid of grass and weeds which would compete with your tree for nutrients and water. Next, you need to dig a hole which is 1 to 2 inches wider than the root ball of the walnut seedling. Place your seedling in the hole up to the same depth as its pot or bury its roots about 2 inches below the ground. Fill out the hole, tamping down to ensure that there are no air pockets surrounding the roots. Water your seedling until the ground is moist, avoiding soaking.

Caring For Your Tree

Because of their extensive root system, walnut trees do not need constant watering unless the soil’s top 2 inches are dried out. There is no need for you to prune a maturing walnut tree unless it has dead or damaged branches. Mulch the tree as needed every spring.

Harvest of Walnuts

It is essential to be patient. This is because the walnut trees will not produce any nuts until they are roughly 10 years and production peaks at about 30 years of age. How will you know when to begin harvesting your nuts? A light tan color tells you that Persian walnuts are ready to be harvested. A limb shaker that has a window for collection of nuts is the most common harvesting tool used by commercial walnut producers depending on the tree’s size. However, a home grower can simply shake the tree branches and collect fallen nuts.