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How to Care For California Grown Walnut Trees Not only do walnut trees give us a nutritious and delicious nut, but they are also known for producing high quality wood. They are beautiful trees that provide a lot of shade thanks to their large, arching branches. How Walnut Trees Are Grown The majority of walnut trees that are grown in the U.S. are up 50 feet tall or taller, and are of uniform width. Persian and English black walnuts are most commonly grown in the United States, and are used for production of nuts as well as for shade. 50 to 80 pounds of nuts is the average annual production capacity of a mature tree. The Persian walnut tree has large nuts and is the most common variety grown in California. Among the categories of Persian walnuts grown in California include Chandler, Ashley, Pedro, Serr Vina, Sunland, Hartley and Tehama. To avoid the walnut blight, all these cultivars leaf out late in spring. Persian walnuts have evolved to survive in Mediterranean climates that have mild winters, which means they may not be suitable in some regions. Early ripening varieties of walnuts need 140 to 150 days annually with temperatures of -2 and -6 C (27 and 29 F).
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After choosing the type of walnut, it is time to plant the tree. To avoid competition for water and nutrients with weeds, grass and other plants, till approximately 12 square feet up to a depth of about 10 inches. Next, you need to dig a hole which is 1 to 2 inches wider than the root ball of the walnut seedling. Place your seedling in the hole up to the same depth as its pot or bury its roots about 2 inches below the ground. After you fill in the hole, you should tamp down to ensure that there are no air pockets left around the seedling’s roots. Next, water the walnut plant, moistening the soil without soaking it. Caring For Your Tree Unless there is drying out of the top two inches of the soil, there is no need to constantly water your walnut seedling thanks to the plant’s extensive network of roots. As the tree matures, it is only necessary to prune damaged or dead limbs. Every spring, remember to mulch the walnut tree. Walnut Harvesting Patience is vital when growing walnuts. A walnut tree does not produce nuts until it is about 10 years old, with its production at a peak when it is around 30 years old. How will you know when to begin harvesting your nuts? In the case of Persian walnuts, the seed coat starts to turn a light tan hue. Commercial walnut producers shake the tree with a limb shaker which has a window to collect the nuts depending on how large a walnut tree is. Shaking the tree manually and collecting fallen nuts is the standard harvesting method for home growers.