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For attracting and sustaining wildlife, Black Walnut is a top provider. Squirrels and chipmunks love it for its sweet, nutritious nuts, and with a little help, birds flock to them, too. The hard shells are difficult for most birds to crack, but if you break some open and put them in your birdfeeder, the cardinals, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, Blue Jays, and woodpeckers will come flocking. Best of all, though, is another type of bird food that Black Walnut serves up—caterpillars! According to entomologist and nature writer Douglas Tallamy, this mighty native hosts over 100 species of the protein-rich insects.
Size AA (2-3' tall) container grown
Size A (4-5' tall) container grown
Size B (6-7' tall) container grown
- Hardiness Zone: 4-9
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For many people, Black Walnut is prized most of all for its heavy, dark, beautifully grained heartwood. It has become so valuable for furniture, cabinets, gunstocks, and veneer that most of the grand old specimens have been cut down… either by their owners or by poachers. “Walnut rustlers” have been known to steal mature walnut trees by cutting them down and air-lifting them out with helicopters. Pioneers destroyed many a tree in their day, too, often without a thought to the fine lumber they were wasting. They used the wood for railway ties, split-rail fences, and—gasp—firewood.
One of the many moths that Black Walnut hosts is the spectacular luna moth. If you get a chance to see one, you’ll never forget it. With a wingspan of up to seven inches and a ghostly green color, it looks like something out of this world. Its fat green caterpillars feed on many tree species, but Black Walnut is one of their favorites.
How to Grow
Black Walnut is not hard to grow in most sunny sites, but it performs particularly well in deep, fertile, moist, well-drained soils. In such a site, it can grow surprisingly fast. Many people hesitate to plant Black Walnut because they’ve been told that the chemicals it contains kill many other plants growing nearby. The science seems to indicate that this is largely a myth. You’ll want to be sure to plant your tree well away from walkways, pools, and patios, however. The nuts, encased in a thick husk, are large and heavy, and you don’t want to be under them when they fall.
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Size A Trees:
4-5' tall. Although this tree can be handled by one person its overall size and branching does not allow it to fit into a box. A van or SUV will be needed to bring this new addition home.
Size B Trees:
6-7' tall, grown and delivered in a container. Can be picked up by one strong person but two would make it easier. A truck or trailer will be needed to bring this native tree home.
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