Black Walnut named varieties


I might get a few next year.


@Fusion_power, @Lucky_P, @Barkslip,
Hoping for some advice on grafting strategies for bw and wondering if bench grafting is a possibility? Most info I’ve been able to glean has shown grafting done in the field.
I am considering buying in some barefoot stock to play with, mostly because I don’t want to wait on the seed I gathered before trying my hand at grafting these…thanks!


I found a pretty detailed video on YouTube which detailed bench grafting black walnuts using an omega grafting tool, full waxing of scion and graft union, heating the grafts at 80F for 3 weeks while fully bedded in damp meduim, and then the guy says only 50% take!
I am guessing that top working trees is a bit easier?
Still thinking about getting some bare root trees just to try if folks think it is doable, any tips would be welcome.


I’ve only ever grafted BWs in the field, on established rootstock.
Most of my successes (I have a harder time getting takes of walnut than I do pecan/hickory) have been with a modified bark graft - similar to this one, demonstrated by Dr. Bill Reid:

Only difference is that instead of totally beheading the rootstock, I just cut about 3/4 of the way through and break the top over, leaving it attached as a ‘sap-drawer’ of sorts… diminished the problem of excessive bleeding, which is my biggest problem grafting walnuts in spring.

I’ve (recently) had decent success doing a whip & tongue graft with dormant pecan scions on dormant understock, in March, before budbreak; might work for walnuts as well - and if you’re using potted-up bareroot rootstocks, it would certainly be worth a try.
I’ve never used a callusing tube… have no experience with those.


Go for it Jesse. Get your seedlings from Missouri’s State Nursery (great size, better price.) You can get 25 seedlings for 10 bucks I think. 10 seedlings for 8 bucks; and so on.

Get something tall like a kitchen trash can and warm them up for a 1.5 months or whenever they begin to break bud and remove them and graft them rolling the roots up in a moist towel and transfer them back into the tall kitchen garbage can. Use promix.

If you’re able to bury the graft union all the better, otherwise, they’ll be fine above the media. Be sure the scions are waxed/taped and put a piece of clear poly over everything and tuck it under the garbage can. Make sure the promix is moist but not damp. Provide as much sun as possible.

Large water droplets under the poly should be wiped off. A mist on the poly is perfect. Forget about a heat mat because the time it takes for the rootstocks to begin to swell bud and then after you graft for them to knit always dries the soil bone dry at the bottom of containers.

Pile the promix as high as you can to try to get the unions buried.

There’s a good start for you.



Thanks for the encouragement, down the rabbit hole I go…put in my order with Missouri State Nursery for a bundle of bw.
Now to find scion wood of the varieties recommended to me- McGinnis, Burns, Weschke, Sparrow, Sparks 127, Emma K, are on my radar.
Found this source which carries a few of them-
any other suggestions for sourcing scionwood?


I use an inlay side graft on black walnut with outstanding results. It works so well that I gave up on all other grafting methods for walnut. Start with a walnut seedling between 1 and 5 inches diameter. 2 inches dia. works best. When the tree starts actively growing in the spring and has shoots about 2 inches long, cut a scion about 6 inches long, slice with a 2 inch face, and cut a notch in the side of the tree with a bark flap at the bottom. Nail the scion into place with 2 wire nails with the bottom nail through the flap. Wax into place. This method easily gives 90% success and usually much higher.

Wait 2 weeks, then cut the top off the tree. The scion should have callused in by then and will immediately start growing. Most of the time, the buds break before I cut off the top.

If you can’t find the other varieties, let me know in January. I can cut a few scions. I don’t have Burns or Weschke. Rhora may have them.


Jesse, I should be able to help with Sparrow, Emma K, and Sparks 127. Before you buy any wood, send a message to me. @Fusion_power may have them as well, and I’m sure we’re both certainly here to help.

Those Missouri rootstocks will be 3/8" and larger. They’re stuff is beautiful. You’ll get 2.5’ seedlings or taller.



I got out a few walnuts and cracked them today.

Cranz is a small nut on a productive tree that matures relatively long season. I think it would be best adapted from Iowa south to the gulf coast. The kernels are rounded which lends to easy cracking. My only complaint is that I like slightly larger nuts. Cranz should fit in very well with Sparks 127, McGinnis, and Sparrow in Iowa and similar midwestern climates. The only disparity is that McGinnis matures 3 weeks before Cranz which means separate harvest would be required.

Farrington was as I remember it, a large nut that cracks fairly easy. Eating quality is very good. The trees are moderately productive and have made a crop every year for at least the last 6 years. I’m adding this one to my short list of varieties that are good enough to propagate commercially here in the deep South.

Thomas is a medium large nut with excellent quality from trees that are highly productive. I rank Thomas as an outstanding walnut. Hands down, it is the best of the old vairieties. Only Neel #1 IMO ranks as good as or slightly better than Thomas.

Neel #1 is a large nut with excellent quality from trees that are very productive. This is an outstandingly good nut. The only flaw I’ve found with Neel #1 is that it tends to darken if left in the husk too long. Maturity is about a week earlier than Thomas. I could easily harvest Farrington, Thomas, and Neel #1 at the same time.


Hey @Lucky_P is the main reason to dormant graft pecans for convenience? A lot of people suggest grafting pecan after some leaf development. Do you find you have better success dormant grafting pecan using a whip and tongue graft? These questions are in reference to smaller diameter root stock, approximately 3/8 inch or so.

Thanks so much.


My research into grafting these makes much reference to waxing the scion and graft union, any reason why wrapping with parafilm wouldn’t work just as well? I figure that after I graft I will just bring the enclosed bucket of bench grafts in damp medium up into my living space for heat to aid callusing.
Active growth = sap run flooding graft union, so preventative steps seem to be needed if grafting after bud break. Heading the stock ahead of time, ringing or partially ringing below the graft, and leaving some or all of the growth above mentioned graft are all measures I have read about. I do wonder how necessary any of those are when bench grafting onto a severed root system.
Then there’s the carpentry- whip and tongue, inlay, three or four flap…which would perform best in my situation of bench grafting barefoot stock?
Thanks for any insights, grafting nut trees is a whole new world for me!


I’ve done some three flap grafts (including some successes with black walnuts), and I can’t see doing three flap grafts with bareroot stock. The bark has to be slipping in order to peel the flaps back.


I found this grafting guide helpful…will put it to the test in spring '18.


I use - and have, for my entire 25-yr run of grafting experiments - Parafilm M. No other wax or graft sealant for me. No muss, no fuss.
B_man… the dormant W&T is just a time/convenience thing. The majority of grafts I do are later…after the rootstock breaks dormancy.
Finding time to get out in the orchard/nursery or around the farm has been a problem… but, I’m retiring from my day job in about one month… coming years will (hopefully) find me having plenty of time to piddle around with propagation - though I’m running out of places to plant stuff where the cows/horses can’t get at it to destroy it.


Hey Jesse,

It’s a lot more work but I am going to 3-flap my walnut and pecan bench grafts this coming year. You and I have the same Missouri stock. The reason is that other methods either in the field or bench grafting (except for bark grafts) you won’t get nearly the amount of takes. It’s an experiment for this coming year but I think after years of trying everything, I’ve finally got it figured out.

All you will need for the bark to be slipping is bud swell. It’ll slip beautifully “that early.”

Remember you can bring your grafts indoors for warmth but as soon as the scions break bud, they need a lot of light or they will ultimately fail. That’s for any grafting.

You can do bark grafts too if the scions will work. I recommend bark grafts equally.



I am learning a lot from this . Only 2 takes in the last 5 years . 30 years of trying .


I found this chart useful in comparing varieties, site also has images of the various cultivars. Helpful for someone like myself who is limited by season length as it lists ripening dates and also bud break date for spring, another factor I should probably keep in mind in order to avoid varieties that would be more prone to spring frost damage here.


Jesse, I don’t know how different things would be in Maine, but I feel like I’m in an area and micro-climate that’s very highly susceptible to late spring frosts: I’ve had late spring frost/freeze damage on figs, jujubes (which break dormancy very late compared to other things)… I lose all my peach bloom more often than not… even though chestnuts bloom long after the last freeze I’ve lost my chestnut crop to late freezes that killed the new growth… basically late spring freezes are an issue on just about everything for me except walnuts. I’ve been grafting walnuts in the bottom of the most frost susceptible spot on my frost prone farm, and I can’t remember ever having any issues.


Walnut usually breaks dormancy long after frost is a problem, but that is only a generalization. Of far more importance is the length of growing season for a given variety. Thomas for example is an outstandingly good walnut that requires a relatively long season to mature nuts. Planting Thomas in Maine would be an invitation to disaster because the nuts would freeze on the tree before they were mature.

If you dig around a bit more, there is a paper Bill Reid wrote about 15 years ago that basically states none of the currently available varieties can be grown profitably because they do not produce enough. Rupert and Davidson the best I recall were the highest producers but each has flaws that prevent commercial use. I seriously question his records for Thomas. He says it is a low yielding variety, yet in my planting it is consistently year after year the heaviest yielder I have with little or no alternate bearing. I suspect Thomas in his planting is unadapted to the climate.

One thing he notes that I consider very important is that very few good protandrous varieties are available. Grow McGinnis as a protandrous variety. Weschke and Burns will fill out the pollination schedule pretty well.


I was browsing the NCGR Corvallis juglans collection, no nigras there, but plenty of j cinerea and hybrids which I am considering.
I plan to try them on the j nigra stock I am getting from Missouri. I have a couple young volunteer butternut trees here, they will most likely to succumb to the blight which has affected most of them around here. Sad. For that reason, I will request only blight resistant accessions.