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Young Walnut tree spacing, & Seedlings

Started by DavidDeBord, April 16, 2024, 06:43:27 PM

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Greetings Ya'll,

Our Squirrels have treated us well.

On the other side of our property, & at least 120 ft. away from where we are going to harvest our walnut, the squirrels, or some other critter, apparently buried several walnuts, for we now have at least 7 young walnut trees  approx. 12 ft. high.

My question is how close together can these trees be, without becoming stunted, & I'm asking this cuz' several are within 4ft. of each.

Secondly,..... Is there a "Proven method" of taking walnuts, & "acting like a squirrel", plant them on the hill on the same side of the property, where these young trees are?


Stomp them into the ground with the heel of your boot and cover up the divot then move on.  This may sound strange but they grow like weeds here, run over some with a tractor and they show up the next year, even had a couple that hitched a ride into the greenhouse this winter via cow compost - showed up in the Bulls Blood Beet Greens a few weeks back.  I grabbed this 6" tall weed and out popped a walnut hull split in half. 

We have some we manage as timber but I won't let them take over any more ground as I can do a lot better over the next 40 years with it as farm ground. 
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Walnut trees can grow to a huge size with a crown of 100 feet or more.  If the trees are grown for its nuts, they should be planted 40'-50' apart.  If they are being grown for timber, 30' apart is acceptable.  The tree should be 35 years old before being harvested for a decent yield.

You can plant seeds yourself pretty easily.  You need to get dehusked seeds and plant them in the fall in moist soil.  They overwinter in the ground and then start to grow in the spring.  You can also do what they call "stratify", which is done indoors and keeping the seeds cold in the refrigerator.  You can look that up online.  You then plant them close together and winnow them out a bit later, just like you do in a garden.
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Initial spacing can be pretty close, as it encourages the trees to grow UP in search of light, and shed lower branches early. 

But you will want to thin over time as other wise you cab end up with a bunch of tall scrawny trees (stagnated), and few good saw logs.   Rustic will be more familiar than me with Walnut, so his Final spacing seem sensible. If you want nuts, you want a wide healthy crown, lots of leaves, and you don't care so much about how tall the log holding it up is. If you want timber, you encourage the tree to grow UP, then take out the competition and let it bulk up to make a couple of good straight saw logs.

So my suggestion is to go back though every few years and take out the poor form / stunted trees that are simply taking up space / light / nutrients from the better trees. Thin to waste or firewood over the years, and end up with the ~30-50 ft final spacing. 

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In think I was told with my original nut seeding to thin to four feet, then to twelve then twenty.  It was done with a nut seeder, a modified  John Deere 7200 planter unit on a single row. Drove over the rows with the tractor to pack the nuts in.  Should've thinned more early. 

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