How to Care For California Grown Walnut Trees
Wood from walnut trees is used for producing fine furniture and their nuts are delicious and highly nutritious. On hot days, the large, arched limbs of the walnut tree provide lots of shade.
Instructions for Growing Of Walnuts
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 mature walnut tree produces up to 80 pounds of nuts every year. Prized for producing large nuts, the Persian walnut is the most common California grown walnut tree. Among the categories of Persian walnuts grown in California include Chandler, Ashley, Pedro, Serr Vina, Sunland, Hartley and Tehama. In late spring, all of these cultivars leaf out, avoiding the walnut blight. Adapted to climates in the Mediterranean, Persian walnuts may not be the best choice for every area. To grow walnuts, you need between 140 and 150 days every year where the temperatures are between -2 and -6 C (27 and 29 F).
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Planting Walnut Trees
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After you select the type of walnut you want, you need to plant the tree. You need to till an area of approximately 12 square feet to a depth of at least 10 inches to get rid of grass and weeds which would compete with your trees 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. Plant the walnut seedling up to the same depth as its pot or bury its roots 1 to 2 inches underneath the soil. After you fill in the hole, you should tamp down to ensure that there are no air pockets left around the seedling’s roots. Water your seedling until the ground is moist, avoiding soaking.
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. There is no need for you to prune a maturing walnut tree unless it has dead or damaged branches. Every spring, remember to mulch the walnut tree.
Harvesting Your Walnuts
Patience is vital when growing walnuts. A walnut tree does not produce nuts until it is about 10 years old, with its production at a peak when it is around 30 years old. How will you know when to begin harvesting your nuts? Harvesting of Persian walnuts is carried out when the seed coat turns light tan. Depending on how large the tree is, a commercial producer could use a limb shaker that has a window to collect the falling nuts. Shaking the tree manually and collecting fallen nuts is the standard harvesting method for home growers.