1. The best thing to do first when collecting seed for any tree is to find out whats growing around you. This is a good indication of what seeds will have the best success in germinating. It is always best to grow seeds that came from same area that you want to grow your tree in. This ensures the tree is well adapted to the climate and soil conditions you have. If you see Walnuts growing quite well in or around your town, you are good to go.
2. The best time to collect is in the fall. Usually around the time of the first frost, you will notice them dropping quite rapidly from the trees. The seed is round shaped and will usally be green to a slightly yellowish color. Get some help harvesting them, or collect what the squirrels drop to the ground.
3. The seeds/nuts have an outer green "coat" that you don't HAVE to clean off but it may help the germination. Remember that out in the wild, the seeds just drop and nobody cleans off the coat. If you clean it off, especially for black walnuts, WEAR GLOVES! If not, your hands will stain and the only cure is TIME.
4. A general rule of thumb for most seeds is to never plant deeper than the width of the seed itself. So basically what you want to do is make a hole big enough so you are just covering them. You can plant them anytime after you have collected them. Walnuts require a period of cold stratification to enable germination in the spring. So planting in the fall will naturally do this for you. You can stratify seeds with other methods, but letting mother nature take care of it is the easiest way.
5. Allow spacing for them to grow 30-50 feet tall. You should plant more than you need to ensure success, you can always remove the weaker ones later, and keep the best one, or just transplant them apart. Once you have planted them, you can cover the ground above with hay and or chicken wire to prohibit the squirrels from stealing, alot easier said then done however, these little animals can be quite persistant. If all goes well, you will notice walnut trees coming up in early spring, and they will grow well over a foot in the first season, maybe even two!
They (walnuts) do not like any root disturbance. Oaks do no like to be shifted either, we grew oaks in pots from seeds and transplanted, they just did not thrive. I think it is because they send out a long taproot first and if this is restricted or unset in anyway they just do not grow. I would plant straight in the garden.And more:
To root a black walnut: ... Black walnut seed..... ….throw in plastic bag ….surround in peat moss. Keep soil active with compost which you dampen then leave overnight on counter; then into freezer for 6 weeks. Peel outer hull off, wear gloves……take what’s left and put into a soak in warm water overnight; then pot it up in depth which relates to the size of the seed... (about an inch) in potting soil.And still more:
May germinate in 6 weeks…..if not….take look...…if hull has not opened, put whole thing in freezer again for 6 weeks in plastic bag… 2nd time in freezer if necessary you can put the whole pot in.
Basically you just take the husk off and plant in the fall about 5 or 6 inches down. Cover the area with metal mess that is held down with stakes so the squirrels don't make off with the seeds.I found some walnuts, still in the shell, that we had packed away for our move 2 years ago. NO idea what kind. Cracked one open and it was good. Going to take the rest and experiment by seeing if them will grow. Will start in a peat pot so the roots won't be disturbed when I transplant it. And since we don't know what kind it is (english or black), I think it should go in the corner of our property where the former owner, Mr. Jim Lance of JPL in Denver, dug a hole and buried his trash.
Anybody want to comment on growing a walnut tree from a seed?