Any White Walnut Growers?

I put in a few white walnuts a few years back and they have barely grown much compared to my other walnuts. Wondering if it is just mine or they really are slow growers. Also, Stark bros. puts their cropping time at 2-4 years. Anyone have a more realistic cropping time?

Out of the english, white, and heartnuts I have. Heartnuts have more than doubled the growth of the other two. They really look like the way to go for people looking to grow walnuts and get fast production.


My butternuts have barely grown. Planted about six years ago. I don’t expect nuts for several years at this rate.

Thanks. I like butternuts and was considering putting in more. I will stick to putting in more heartnuts. Maybe another english or two as well.

I am told heartnuts won’t grow in northern Wisconsin.

I would not believe that. Many people in Canada are growing them.

This year was the first year I tried a handful of butternuts. They are still too much work in my view. I’m going with heartnuts.

I planted two butternut trees in 2016 and I’m not sure they’re all that much bigger today than they were then. Maybe I have them too close to some mature black walnuts and it’s the Juglone affecting them? They leaf out every year and appear to grow well, they’re just not putting on much size. Two English/Carpathian walnuts planted a year earlier, and further away from the black walnuts, have heavily outpaced them.

I have another seedling butternut I got from a relative this year and will plant it in a different area.

Random, here’s a dead (appeared to be at least) butternut we saw at an overlook close to Breaks Interstate Park in VA/KY last week. Based on the slow growth we’ve all experienced, I wonder how old it was.

Butternuts in the US have been decimated by some type of blight and are actually pretty rare now. I doubt mine have grown much more than a foot or two in years. @JustPeachy I have about 20 heartnuts and in my opinion they are the way to go. Fast growth, fast cropping, and great taste. Mostly easy to crack as well.

This is the biggest attraction to me. I don’t want to work excessive at cracking nuts. I feel like I am invested more than what I am getting back. >_<

As a side bonus, the milder taste of heartnuts is nice for being able to eat more of them in a single sitting.

Something to keep in mind though. Grafted ones will give you that perfect easy to crack heart shaped shell. Seedlings may give you that and may not. Seedlings will still be easier than black or white though.

Robert, in what part of Canada are people growing heartnuts? Parts of Canada are farther south than we are. I tried ordering heartnuts once, but the nursery canceled the order, saying they would not grow here. We are at the far northern edge of zone 4. Pecans and peaches have repeatedly froze out the whole trees. Chestnuts, butternuts, most hazelnuts, and Carpathian walnuts still alive, though not exactly vigorously thriving. Has anyone else in the North had success with heartnuts?

Not sure what part of Canada it was. There are some there that are growing them commercially as well as private. Zone 5 I think is as far as they go to get dependable crop and survival. They will survive zone 4, but they say crop will be affected by frost. Dax knows a lot of people growing them. He may know more on personal experience in cold areas. The seedlings are cheap. If you have the space just try them and find out.

To be honest, I did not know the lower 48 went to zone 4.

The lower 48 goes to zone 3a

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I have a few wild butternut trees on my land, the largest probably is 30-40ft tall with a 20" circumference trunk. No idea how old it is but has the appearance of an older tree. I did harvest some nuts this fall, thought they were a good amount of work to process ( not quite as troublesome as black walnuts) but still a good amount of work. Interestingly I haven’t seen any seedlings growing around like I generally do with black walnuts. Might be due to squirrels preferring butternuts for slightly thinner shell and better flavor

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I have planted hundreds of butternuts seedlings over the years.
Most have / or are dying-from the canker . Oval cankers on the bark.
I have 3 trees that look Ok.
While ~20 some years old and big they have not yet had a good crop of nuts. I collected nuts for seeds from the healthiest trees I could find, not much luck so far.

The Stark Bros Bountiful butternut I have took 10 years to bear just a few nuts . Bountiful has been proven to have some heart nut genes and mine has not been bothered by disease . I have had 5 gallon harvests but only 1 gallon this year due to frost . It is now about 15 years old .

I’ve not seen anything recent from the researchers to reverse previous impressions, but I’m unaware of any pure J.cinerea that have resistance to the butternut canker infection. But, as Japanese walnut and its sport, the heartnut - which evolved in concert with the pathogen - have been in this country for well over a century, hybrids with Japanese walnut and heartnut are widely distributed, even in the wild, and exhibit varying degrees of resistance to butternut canker. Some of the named ‘butternut’ clones that have been propagated for decades have been shown, by DNA analysis, to be hybrids… which explains why they have survived when true pure butternuts in the same localities have declined and died.
I don’t know a lot about winter hardiness, but Manchurian walnut(J.mandshurica) and hybrids with J.cinerea might be an option for folks in cold zones… seems like some of the government agriculture research stations in the Canadian prairie provinces(Morden, in Manitoba?) were doing some work with J.mandshurica, years ago. Think John Gordon offered a selection from his nursery at Amherst NY, back in the day.

I’m sure heartnut can catch all the walnut diseases, just not as likely. They are actually trying to save the butternut by making crosses with heartnut. Similar to what they are doing with the american chestnut. Wonder why we have all the diseases while the rest of the world just grows and grows. Starting to wonder if I shouldn’t remove the three butternuts I have. They don’t seem to be growing much anyway.

Heartnut has a couple of deadly diseases too. Bunch disease is arguably the worst.

Interestingly, the butternut/heartnut hybrid seems to gain resistance and/or tolerance against each other’s diseases.

I read somewhere that while all trees are susceptible, some that are in very favorable locations and growing conditions have some degree of resistance to infection and can live a relatively normal life despite being infected. I will try to track down the source of that info.