The eastern black walnut, or juglans nigra grows wild around, but not on, the property. It grows straight and tall and is a great shade tree.
An old Guiding book, Fifty Trees of Canada, and searching the internet gave me lots of information. The bark is greyish black with thin ridges. The tree can live for upwards of 150 years.
The compound alternative leaves grow fairly quickly. They can be 30-60 cm long.
The lime green, golf ball sized (or larger) fruit is plentiful in the late summer and early fall.
The fruit is:
- light greenish, turning dark brown
- hard shell
- difficult to crack
- tasty walnuts inside
- toxic to dogs
- used to make black ink
The squirrels seem to have figured out how to crack the fruit. They are always hiding the fruit in the gardens or piling them up for a tasty snack.
Last year they would bring the fruit to the composter, and chew them open to eat the walnut inside. Of course the clean up was left to us!
The above photo was taken in late September when the leaves are changing to yellow before they drop off.
It is a valuable tree, because of the wood, but it has its downfalls.
The roots can extend 50 feet or more and it produces something called juglone which will stop the growth of other plants under it and close to it. So if you plan a veggie garden don’t pick a spot with a black walnut tree nearby.
The wood was used by early settlers for fence posts, poles, and roof shingles as it was resistant to decay. Today it is a favourite wood of cabinet makers.
In the past we have collected the fruit and taken it to the wildlife sanctuary for feeding to the critters they rehabilitate.
Do you have a black walnut tree and can you hear the thud, thud, thud as the fruit drops in the Fall?
Re-posting for information as this is the time of year to gather black walnuts.