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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. On hot days, the large, arched limbs of the walnut tree provide lots of shade.

How Walnut Trees Are Grown

Many walnut trees that can be found growing in the United States attain a height of over 50 feet, with similarity in width. Most commonly, the varieties to be found in the United States are the Persian and English black, which provide nuts and shade. A fully mature tree is capable of producing between 50 and 80 pounds of walnuts yearly. Prized for producing large nuts, the Persian walnut is the most common California grown walnut tree. The cultivars found in California are Chandler, Ashley, Pedro, Serr Vina, Tehama, Hartley and Sunland. To avoid being affected by blight, all these cultivars leaf in late spring. Persian walnuts have evolved to survive in Mediterranean climates that have mild winters, which means they may not be suitable in some regions. Between 140 and 150 days annually are required where the temperature ranges from -2 to -6 C (27 and 29 F) to successfully grow walnuts.
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How to Plant the 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. Dig a hole roughly 1 or 2 inches wider than your seedling’s root ball. Put your walnut seedling in the hole you dug up to a similar depth to the pot or bury its roots between 1 and 2 inches beneath the ground. Tamp down after filling out the hole to eliminate air pockets that may exist around the roots. Moisten the soil by watering your tree, avoiding soaking the ground.

Caring For Your Tree

The extensive network of roots on a walnut tree means that the seedling does not require constant watering unless the top couple of inches of soil have dried out. A maturing walnut tree does not require any pruning unless its branches are damaged or dead. Mulch the tree as needed every spring.

Harvesting Your Walnuts

It is essential to be patient. Until they are roughly 10 years old, walnut trees do not produce any nuts, and their peak only comes 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. Commercial walnut producers shake the tree with a limb shaker which has a window to collect the nuts depending on how large a walnut tree is. However, a home grower can simply shake the tree branches and collect fallen nuts.