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Basic Cultural Information

At this time we will focus on cultural information for the species of nut trees that will grow in NY state. We will continue to build on this information, as this is a work in progress and the intention is to expand this list to include other types of trees as well. This will progress as time permits. These are listed alphabetically by common name for ease of use. Nut tree growing , especially in New York state is largely an experimental endeavor. Our hope is to encourage and inspire you to try growing your own nut trees. Of course, you will have to beat the squirrels to the crop.

General instructions: newly planted trees will benefit from mulching to hold in soil moisture and keeping weeds in check. These are the two most important factors for young trees. In addition, the breakdown of the mulch material will add nutrients to the soil and improve soil texture. Manure or fertilizer should be applied early in the spring and may be continued until about July. After this date fertilizer should be withheld so as not to encourage new growth. The tree needs time to harden up for winter. Use any high nitrogen manure or fertilizer.

Black Walnut
Juglans nigra. Hardiness zones 4 through 8.
This tree is sensitive to soil conditions, doing best on deep, fertile, moderately well drained soil. Ideally, pH should be nearly neutral. Average germination is 60 to 70%. Weeds need to be controlled for best results for newly planted trees. Trees typically flower in late May or June in NY. This means they can be damaged by late spring frosts. They bear separate male and female flowers on the same tree. Fertilization takes place approximately 2 to 5 days after pollination, the nut reaches full size in August, and will ripen in late September or October. There are over 400 cultivars of Black Walnuts. Various cultivars can be productive in one area of the country and disappointing in other areas. It pays to take the time to determine which varieties or cultivars will work best in your area. Popular Cultivars

Butternut aka White Walnut
Juglans cinera. Hardiness zone 3
It can survive on poorer soils but does best on deep, fertile, moderately well drained soil, such as rich woodland soil. Like other walnuts, they bear separate male and female flowers on the same tree. Butternuts and other walnuts typically flower before Black Walnuts and will freely cross-pollinate if the trees are in proximity to each other. Weeds need to be controlled for best results for newly planted trees. Trees typically flower in May in NY. This means they can be damaged by late spring frosts. They ripen in the same time frame as other walnuts, in late September or October. Popular Cultivars

English Walnut aka Carpathian or Persian Walnut
Juglans regia. Hardiness zones 5 to 7, doing best in zone 6. Late spring freezes can limit its northern range. They will grow on a wide variety of soils, but do best in deep well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. pH should be 6 to 7. They benefit greatly from mulch to keep weeds down and provide the organic matter they need to thrive. English Walnuts are arguably the most popular of all nuts. Their thin, easily cracked shells and delicious nutmeats find their way into everything from salads to ice cream and brownies. Popular Cultivars

Hazelnut or Filbert Corylus avellana. Filberts do best in a climate that has cool summers and mild winters. It is a challenge to grow them in some parts of NY. Tree spacing should be between 10' minimum and 20' maximum. Tom Potts has generously donated his time to writing this article on his experiences with growing Hazelnuts in NY state. This is a PDF file so you will need Adobe Acrobat to read it. Click here for Tom's article

Heartnut or Japanase White Walnut
Juglans ailiantifolia var cordiformus. Hardiness zone 5. This tree is grown primarily in the northeast in areas too cold for English walnuts. They will do best in a maritime climate. The nuts are similar in taste to Butternut, but are more mild. The nuts are heart-shaped.

Hickory   Shagbark, Carya ovata; Shellbark, Carya lacinosa
Mockernut, C. tomentosa; Pignuts, C. glabra and ovalis
Hickories are found growing naturally in a wide variety of soils, but do best in deep, well-drained friable soil. Popular Cultivars

Pecan (hardy northern) Carya illinoensis. Pecans are actually a hickory and is the only species that is grown commercially. The growth and production of nuts is dependent on the length of the growing season, temperature, humidity, rainfall and storms. They require an abundant water supply, and average summer temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees F. Humidity needs to be below 80%. Storms and frosts also take a toll on crops of these trees. Popular Cultivars





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