Guidelines for planting walnuts

• Plant only into soil that is at field capacity or drier. Planting into wet soil can cause compaction, rutting and glazed tree holes.

• Make the planting hole just deep and big enough to accommodate the root system using an auger or shovel and plant the tree no deeper than it was in the nursery. Trees can be planted on a mound or a berm to ensure good water drainage away from the crown. This can be particularly useful on heavier or poorly drained soils.

• Never allow trees to dry out from the time they are picked up until they are planted. Store them in the shade and cover with a moist blanket.

• Prune broken roots or roots that won’t fit in the hole without bending.

• If a crown gall preventative spray of K-84 bacteria is used, its success will depend on the strains of crown gall bacteria present in the orchard.

• Spread roots and work the soil around roots, orient the strongest roots in the direction of prevailing winds and, to the extent possible, avoid orienting the bud crook (the flat side opposite where the scion bud emerged) toward the southwest.

• Keep fertilizer and organic material out of the planting hole.

• If the soil is moist and friable, it should not be necessary to water at planting. Work the soil around the roots to ensure good soil to root contact. If the soil is dry, water with one to two gallons to establish good root to soil contact and eliminate air pockets.

• Head back nursery grafted trees to three to five buds above the graft union (usually 15 to 24 inches above the ground) to ensure vigorous growth. If planting rootstock that will be field grafted the following year, cut to 12 to 14 inches above the ground.

• Paint trees with a 1:1 mixture of water to interior white latex paint or similar tree whitener that will not peel or crumble to prevent sunburn. Avoid paints which contain mineral oil or refined petroleum which may injure the tree. Make sure paint extends all the way to the base of the trunk at the soil level.

• Check trees after settling and pull up if necessary to make sure that they are not too deep. They should be no deeper than they were in the nursery.

• Stake trees in standard spaced plantings with a stake that extends 8 ft above the ground, placed 8-10 inches away from the tree on the up wind side so that the wind blows the tree away from the stake.

TAGS: Tree Nuts
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