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Black WalnutJuglans nigra

  • Black Walnut - Juglans nigra
  • Black Walnut - Juglans nigra

Practicality and aesthetics combine in the black walnut to make this species one of the most treasured trees in American history. The valuable dark brown wood is strong with a handsome grain that polishes easily and gleams forever. And the rich, flavorful nuts are enjoyed fresh and retain their flavor and texture during cooking.

Whether you love it more for the stunning wood or the delicious nuts, it is an upstanding tree.


Hardiness Zones

The black walnut can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is a nut-producing tree, yielding nuts for human and wildlife consumption.

Mature Size

The black walnut grows to a height of 50–75' and a spread of 50–75' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The black walnut grows in in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Yields a ripened nut crop in early to mid-autumn. The fruit consists of three layers: a green, fleshy husk; a black inner shell that is hard, thick and corrugated; and the kernel, which is oily and sweet.
  • Begins to bear nuts in 12¬–15 years.
  • Is prized in the woodworking world for its handsome grain.
  • Features pinnately compound, alternate leaves that are 12–24" in length and consist of 15–23 dark green leaflets that are 2–5" long. The leaflets are finely toothed.
  • Is self-fertile but requires wind for pollination. Plant more than one tree to ensure a better crop.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Develops a deep taproot, making it difficult to transplant.
  • Can be toxic to certain trees and plants--such as serviceberries, chestnuts, pines, arborvitae, apples, cherries, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, peppers, cabbages, alfalfa, blueberries, blackberries, azaleas, rhododendron, lilacs, hydrangeas, privets and plants in the heath family--if planted too close.

Wildlife Value

The nuts are eaten by woodpeckers, foxes and squirrels.

History/Lore

This native tree has been called our best friend in times of war and peace. Native Americans and early settlers used it for food, dyes, ink, medicine, fence posts, gun stocks and furniture.