Most of us think of trees as serene and peace-loving beings with patient growth habits and eye-pleasing forms. Ahhh…
But there are a few rascals in the bunch that don’t like to play nice. Black walnuts are one such devious example. Mature walnut trees exude a toxic substance from their roots to inhibit the growth of competing seedlings close by, including other walnuts. This toxic substance, which also leaches into the ground from fallen leaves, ensures that some tree species don’t survive under a black walnut tree. You could say that black walnuts like their space and don’t want to share their water, sunlight and nutrients with others. However, there is a bit of confusion out there in terms of which tree species are sensitive to the noxious soil conditions walnuts cook up, so do some research before you plant, or just go for it and see what happens!
Black walnuts have many redeeming qualities. They have gorgeous large fern-like leaves, and as the name implies, black walnut produce a multitude of nuts encased in tennis-ball resembling husks. Be warned that if you try to peel off the husk with your bare hands to get at the nut inside, your fingers will get stained and smelly. Perhaps it’s best to leave the nut collecting to the squirrel experts who seem intoxicated by the unique aroma.
Black walnuts make stunning ornamental trees and they are easy to grow: they like full sunlight and deep well-drained soils. You can order your own walnuts on-line to plant this spring http://orders.ltc.on.ca/treeform/tree_form.php , or just give Ewa a call at 613-394-3915 ext 252 to choose your favourite trees. For more details about placing an order please see our website: http://www.ltc.on.ca/stewardship/tssp/