Black Walnut trees are easy to cultivate and have a great deal of potential as a source of income. The nuts harvested from Black Walnut trees can be sold fresh or processed into a wide variety of products such as oil, flour, and soap. Black Walnut wood is in great demand for use in furniture building and art. There is even some potential for profit in Black Walnut syrup made from the sap of these interesting trees. In this article, we discuss the possibilities of generating income from Black Walnut trees. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- How Are Black Walnut Trees Grown?
- How Do You Plant A Walnut Orchard?
- Step 1: Site Selection
- Step 2: Obtain Seeds or Seedlings
- Step 3: Seed Preparation (if using nuts)
- Step 4: Prepare the Planting Holes
- Step 5: Planting
- Step 6: Mulch and Water
- Step 7: Pruning
- Step 8: Fertilize
- Step 9: Pest and Disease Management
- Step 10: Patience
- Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Tree of the Week: Black Walnut
- Is There A Demand For Black Walnut Trees?
- How Much Money Can You Get From A Single Black Walnut Tree?
- Are Black Walnut Trees A Good Investment?
- Growing & Maintaining Walnut Trees Can Be A Very Profitable Venture
How Are Black Walnut Trees Grown?
One effective method of cultivating Black Walnut trees and maximizing land use is agroforestry. This practice combines walnut tree cultivation with pasture crops and grazing livestock.
While it is true that quite a few plants cannot thrive under and around Black Walnut trees, most grasses can.
There are also a good many other plants that can be successfully grown alongside these trees. Wise choices ensure success.
Surprisingly enough, you can successfully grow a hundred Black Walnut trees per acre when combining the trees with grazing crops.
While this may seem like a lot, it’s important to realize that when growing only Black Walnut trees in a dedicated stand, experts recommend planting three or four hundred trees per acre spacing them evenly in rows.
How Do You Plant A Walnut Orchard?
Step 1: Site Selection
Begin by choosing a location with full sun exposure and deep, loamy, slightly acidic pH 6-7) well-draining soil.
The soil should be of a quality that retains enough water to keep your trees hydrated while allowing excess water to run off freely.
Clear the land and amend the soil as needed to create a hospitable setting for your trees.
Remember that Black Walnut trees release a chemical called juglone, which can inhibit the growth of certain plants nearby. Plan your orchard layout accordingly.
Step 2: Obtain Seeds or Seedlings
Acquire Black Walnut seeds (nuts) or seedlings from a reliable source. University agricultural extensions and respected nurseries are good sources for healthy, disease-free seeds and plants.
If you are going to gather seed for your orchard project on your own, collect ripe Black Walnuts in the fall. Be sure to select the healthiest and straightest walnut trees as the source of your walnut seed.
Step 3: Seed Preparation (if using nuts)
Wear gloves to protect your hands against staining as you remove the outer husks of the nuts you have gathered. Once you have them hulled, soak the nuts in warm water for 24 hours.
The water doesn’t have to stay very warm the whole time, but starting out with water that is quite warm can really help soften the nuts’ inner shells. This aids germination of the seed.
Step 4: Prepare the Planting Holes
While you are waiting for the nuts to soak, dig holes that are two feet deep and two feet wide, spacing them 30-40 feet apart in rows.
Step 5: Planting
If you are planting seeds, backfill the holes with loose, rich, well-draining soil. Tamp it down lightly, but don’t compact it. Plant the seeds an inch deep in this prepared soil. Plant three seeds per hole. This will ensure that at least one will be successful.
If they all make a go of it, you can choose the biggest and best one after they have grown a bit and thin the other two out.
If you are transplanting seedlings into the prepared holes, fill the bottom of the hole with several inches of prepared soil.
Position the seedling and backfill around it with more prepared soil. Tamp the soil down lightly and add more soil as needed.
Step 6: Mulch and Water
Apply a thick layer of mulch retain moisture and deter weeds. If planting seedlings, take care not to allow the mulch to come I direct contact with the plants.
Keep the soil slightly moist until your new trees are well established. Water regularly, especially during dry spells. Generally speaking, a weekly deep soaking should be fine, but take care to check the soil frequently.
Your Black Walnut trees are fairly drought tolerant once well-established, but all seeds and seedlings need continuous moisture to germinate, grow strong roots and thrive.
Step 7: Pruning
Prune away any damaged or competing branches during the first few years. It’s best to perform regular pruning when the tree is dormant in late fall or winter.
In the summertime, you can prune away excessive growth of shoots. After three or four years, the trees should be pruned to encourage straight growth.
Step 8: Fertilize
Black Walnuts benefit from annual nitrogen fertilization using a product with an NPK ratio of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 very early in the springtime.
Step 9: Pest and Disease Management
With proper care, you shouldn’t have much trouble with pests and diseases. These trees are naturally resistant to diseases, pests, and adverse weather conditions. Even so, monitor for problems and take swift measures to control them.
Remember that prevention is always more effective than attempting to eradicate a problem after it has taken hold. For example, rather than trying to chase deer away from your trees, it’s smart to mow around them a couple of a year to deter deer from young saplings.
To discourage squirrels, keep your trees well pruned so that branches don’t come in contact with buildings, other trees or any object that makes it easy for squirrels to scamper from one tree to another.
Step 10: Patience
Black Walnut trees can take several years to start producing nuts, so be patient. Black Walnut trees can take eighty years or more to reach full maturity, which is essential to bear substantial quantities of nuts.
TIP: For slightly faster production, check to see if Juglans nigra ‘Kwik-Krop Black Walnut trees will grow in your area. These trees typically begin nut production at six-years of age, but it is a bit sparse early on. These heat and cold tolerant trees do well in acidic, loamy or sandy well-draining soil.
Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Tree of the Week: Black Walnut
Is There A Demand For Black Walnut Trees?
Yes, there is a substantial demand for Black Walnut trees. Their wood is highly valued for its beauty and durability, making it a popular choice for furniture and flooring.
Mature Black Walnuts are prized not only for their timber but also for the unique flavor and nutritional value of the nuts they produce.
These nuts are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, making them versatile for various culinary uses. Mature trees can also be tapped for syrup, and this makes an interesting and unusual product to enjoy, share and sell.
Considerations When Tapping A Black Walnut Tree
How Much Money Can You Get From A Single Black Walnut Tree?
American Black Walnut trees have gained significant value in recent times, with prices ranging from $3,000 to $15,000 for a 20- or 25-year-old walnut tree, depending on its size and shape.
These trees are highly sought after for their hardwood, particularly for flooring and furniture production. As a result, they are often listed among the top profitable plants to cultivate.
The value of a Black Walnut tree depends largely on its size and quality. Veneer quality trees are the most valuable. A veneer tree is solid with no rot or blemishes of any kind.
A 22-inch DBH (Diameter at Breast Height) Black Walnut tree with one 8-foot veneer log could sell for approximately $510 (calculated as 170 board feet x $3.00 per foot).
On the other hand, a 26-inch DBH Black Walnut tree with one 8-foot veneer log could fetch as much as $1300 (computed as 260 board feet x $5.00 per foot).
If you have a walnut log that appears to be of veneer quality, consider auctioning it, as it can fetch a considerable price. Larger walnut trees, with diameters of around 40 inches, can command prices of up to $2,000 each.
A mature stand of Black Walnut trees may be worth up to $100,000 per acre just in timber value. This high value is partly due to the scarcity of Black Walnut wood compared to other hardwoods.
Money Grows On Black Walnut Trees
Are Black Walnut Trees A Good Investment?
Investing in Black Walnut trees is, indeed, considered secure and profitable because walnuts maintain a consistent and high market price worldwide, ensuring a long-term and substantial return on investment.
A mature stand of Black Walnut trees can yield anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of nuts per acre. If you decide you want to sell your harvest at a local market, you can expect to fetch as much as $12 per pound. If you prefer to sell to a buying station, you may only get about fifty cents a pound.
It’s also quite common to find walnut trees grown for their nut production, along with the intention of later selling their valuable wood.
Unless the wood is of veneer quality, it may not command significantly higher prices than other types of wood.
For older, damaged walnut trees that must be cut down, using or selling the firewood is always a good idea.
The value of walnut trees for timber increases with their size, as larger trees contain more board feet and are consequently worth more.
In particular, walnut trees with a diameter exceeding 30 inches are highly valuable, with some fetching up to $700 or $800 for a 19-inch diameter tree with Grade A veneer.
Growing & Maintaining Walnut Trees Can Be A Very Profitable Venture
Walnut trees in nut production can continue producing for decades, ensuring a steady income over the years.
All of these considerations make planting walnut trees for profit an appealing venture for people who like to spend time outdoors and are looking for a part-time or full-time business.
While your initial investment may be relatively high, as your walnut trees mature and produce more nuts, your revenue will increase. The demand for walnuts is high, but this is not a guarantee of success.
In addition to making a monetary investment, you’ll also need to invest in careful planning and management for the greatest returns.
With careful planning, proper management, and patience, you can turn your Black Walnut trees into a profitable source of income.