Growing English and Black Walnut Trees from seed
As it happens in many fruit trees (citrus, apple, nuts etc.) a walnut tree grown from seed will not bear fruits for the first 7-10 years of its life. If your purpose is to harvest nuts for edible use every autumn, the quickest and easiest way is to plant a budded tree (read the article on Walnut tree Propagation). But since you want to feel the joy of growing your own tree from seed, let’s get started.
The first thing we have to do is search for natural fresh harvested walnuts. This may be more difficult than it sounds, because nearly all the shelled nuts we can find in the market are processed, so these seeds will definitely not sprout. In all cases, we need to find seeds that have not been processed in any way. They must be untreated, unroasted and unheated seeds. It is better to find newly harvested shelled walnuts (we can carefully remove -wearing gloves- the outer green hull, but we shall keep the brown hard shell).
Once we find the natural seeds during autumn, we have to select at least 10-15 of them. All things done correctly, only 50% of the seeds or less will germinate, and only a fraction of those will make it to a small seedling and young tree. First, we soak the shelled nuts in water for 48-72 hours. Then, we place them inside a plastic bag full of moist sand and we place the bag at the refrigerator for 12-15 weeks. Alternatively, our seeds could be sown during autumn and overwinter naturally in the field, but in such a case they are not protected against squirrels and other enemies. About 12-15 weeks later, some seeds will have normally sprouted. We plant them directly in the field (in areas with mild winters) or in individual pots containing special soil mix (soil with river sand and compost etc.). We have to plant the seeds superficially, at a depth of 1,2 inches (3 cm) and cover lightly with soil. It doesn’t matter if we place the sprout facing upwards or downwards, mother nature will find the way. Then, we place the pots at a room temperature, close to a wide window, so that the seedlings will have access to plenty of sunlight. The most important thing from now on is to keep the pots moist but not soggy. When the seedlings have reached a height of 6 inches (15 cm) during spring, we can transplant them at a bigger container or directly in the field, provided the last frost has passed.
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How to grow a Walnut tree from seed
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