Thursday, September 10, 2015

Go Nuts!

Many walnut trees are very unceremoniously losing their leaves... no flash of color, just leaflets turning brown and falling inconspicuously to the ground.  Those that bore nuts this year have dropped some, but have kept most on their branches so far.  Without leaves to hide them, they look like jewelry adorning the branches.  

Black walnuts bear nuts alternate years.  It's funny, because I never knew that despite growing up with huge black walnut trees -- my parents yard has two of them... and they seem to be on alternative schedules, so we always had walnuts to substitute as baseballs, golf balls, and whatever other sort of projectiles we imagined up.  It wasn't until I took a tree class a few years ago that I learned that they were on alternate-year schedules!  (I guess I'm not always the most observant nature nerd...) 
Currently, I don't have a mature walnut tree in my own yard, though I have one little one that we're letting mature. But the neighborhood must have several because I am constantly pulling walnut seedlings up from the most inconvenient of places.  Squirrels seem to especially like to bury them in my vegetable garden (good soil to dig in!).  This would be a terribly place to have a walnut tree; besides from the shade, the juglone that they release into the soil is toxic to many other plants, including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and many berries!  (Note... the toxicity zone for mature trees is is usually a circle around the trunk with a 50 to 60 foot radius.  As I mentioned, my parents have two very large trees... this may help explain why my feeble attempts at gardening as a young person always failed.  Though I suspect there were other factors.  Full shade.  Bad soil that I didn't know to amend.  Complete failure to follow through.  You know...)

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