Pecans, Walnuts, Hazelnuts - Middle Tennessee (recommendations)

Lucky_P… I remember 2007…

We had a brutal late frost that year… I went turkey hunting that morning and man it was cold.

Best I remember it got down in the mid to low 20’s and we were deep into April… Most trees were leafed out pretty good at that point and all leaves died, browned, smelled a while… and about a month later finally started coming back out. I have only seen that happen (to that extent) a couple times in my life.

Then later in the year, mid to late summer, awful hot and dry. I lost two Alabama red maple trees in my front yard that had been planted 6 years…

The extremely late hard frost that year killed the tops on most Ginseng plants, so there was very little to harvest that year and prices went over 1000.00 / lb.

Lots of Red Oaks on my place the tops died in them…

Extreme year for sure.

PS… I have 3 peach trees… Early Elberta, Reliance, and Rising Star.

I have had Early Elberta and Reliance since 2001 and have had lots of good peach crops off those.

I added the Rising Star last spring… and it grew like crazy last year, near 10 ft tall now and wide in the top. I would not doubt getting some peaches off it this year.

It is in my permaculture bed that I started last year… which includes a Che Tree, Ouachita BlackBerries, then the Rising Star, then Rasberries Heritage and Fall Gold, then Akane Apple Tree, Goumie Bush, Hudson Golden Gem apple, another Goumie, Fall Gold Apple, a MoorPark Apricot, and on the end a couple of JuJube trees. I also have strawberries planted all along that permaculture bed, and grew some peppers, and even some watermelon in there too last year.

It is a raised bed, sort of a modified Ruth Stout method, covered deep in hay, and everything I planted in it last year grew as good as I have ever seen anything grow and with no watering (or then first few weeks to establish). It is 90 ft long, 4 ft wide, and raised 8-10".


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Not TMI - thanks for sharing part of your health journey and very happy for you that you are doing so well.

TN, what was the source of your Ginseng seed? did you pick some local? or order seed? I planted a few thousand ginseng seed in the woods near my house a few months ago. I’m hoping enough makes it start a reasonably large patch.

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Around these parts (in my best TN/southern drawl) folks call those “Scaly Bark Hickory”. :slight_smile:

Shaggy bark is an interesting trait. It is often listed as a diagnostic trait of nutmeg hickory (C. Myristiciformis), but I have seen a verifiable nutmeg hickory with diamond pattern bark similar to a mockernut. I have also seen a shagbark hickory that was not shaggy.

Some of 'em can be quite shaggy…


Thanks for the heads up, was unaware of this. Glad to read that there are efforts to propagate resistant strains, etc.

Seems like there may be more than a few as well:

Look for “DNA Fingerprinting of Butternuts and Hybrid Cultivars” by Hoban & Romero-Severson for a look at current knowledge of genetic makeup of some of the butternuts and hybrids currently in circulation.

Great read, thanks. Makes me wonder even more about the butternuts of my father’s youth and their easy crack-ability. Contrasted with statements in this article and others experiences of nuts today. The few that I’ve cracked were easier than black walnut, but still required at least a smack with a hammer. We have a quite old heavy duty cracker that can handle black walnuts just fine. Perhaps this fall if we can get any butternuts from my uncle’s trees I’ll compare and contrast a bit closer. Their nut (shells) are slightly smaller and a bit darker (as well as harder to crack) than the ones dad remembers. Similar to snippets from that Hoban/Severson paper, I wonder if trees close to him were a natural mutation or sport that exhibited that trait. He’s hunted/hiked a lot, for decades, all around those areas of his youth. Those trees are long gone and none replacing them, I assume the canker/blight got them. He’s not seen one in the wild other than that one I suspect is a hybrid.

Interesting quotes from that paper:

“Heartnuts produce thin, smooth, heart-shaped and easily cracked shells, in contrast to the thick, ridged, and difficult to crack shell of butternuts.”

“However, all ‘Craxezy’ samples, which some have suspected as being hybrid, were butternut. The easily cracked shell may be a natural genetic variant from wild butternuts.”

Sorry Folks but the other day, I was posting and - hit the Max # of post allowed for a new board member - and got locked out for a while. Tried again today and looks like I can post again.

wdingus… on the “Scaly Bark Hickory”. that is exactly what I called them up until a couple years ago when I did a little research on them and found out there were at least two varieties… Pignut and Shagbark. Now after I started this thread, found out there are several other varieties out there too.

I walked around my place yesterday morning before Church and just looked at all of the Hickory Trees near the roadway on my place, or near the edge of my clearing (field) and yard. Those that I could harvest from with ease… There are a good 100 or more mature trees, most look like Pignut to me, but I did find some that had the more “Scaley Bark”, that I expect may be Shagbark, Only found 3 (not counting the one in my field) that look like they might be Shagbark. The majority look to be Pignut.

Now all of those trees in the woods, with other trees right next to and mixed in with them… not sure how I would be able to beat the squirrels to those. They can easily just jump from tree to tree and have easy access to all those nuts. Might find some good nuts on the ground that have fallen but bases on past experience, very little luck beating the squirrels to those.

The supply of squirrels is PLENTY… I do hunt and eat some of those but man they sure consume a lot of hickory nuts. The ground below a hickory in early squirrel season, will just be covered with cuttings.

Now the ones out in my field… they are a pretty good distance from the woods (50-60 yards) and I have seem the squirrels make a mad dash across the filed (risking hawks and other predator’s) to get those Shagbark and Pignut nuts… They can’t jump to those from other trees, have to run over ground to get to them, then climb up from the base. If I could just put some type of (anti squirrel barrier) around the tree trunk, to keep them from getting up the tree to get them… and perhaps keep the grass mowed short enough so I can spot the nuts as they fall… I might be able to compete with the squirrels and get my fair share of the nuts that way.

I wonder if putting some type of netting (up off the ground) to catch the nuts as the fall, might help. As in keeping squirrels from getting them after they fall.

Squirrels go to nest usually about twilight… and they don’t come out again until twilight the next morning. So if you got out there and checked around first light, you should be able to beat the squirrels to any nuts that fell over night.

How about some anti Squirrel tactics ? Owl, Snake, Coyote Decoy ?

I have a box trap that I have caught plenty of squirrels in (they used to wipe out my Dad’s pears)… trees planted too close to the woods. So when those shaqbark nuts start falling, I could trap some, perhaps Decoy scare some, and well just eat some squirrels myself :slight_smile:

On the Hazelnuts… I think I am about to give up on those. Researched them quite a bit the last few days… and They seem somewhat questionable for my area… Found a Extension Office Expert online answering questions for people like me and he said they just do no do well in TN, or climate is a bit to extreme for Hazelnuts…here in Southern Middle TN, we do have some very hot and often dry summers. Not what Hazelnuts like.

I know exactly what I want in a fruit/nut tree…
Late Blooming (no one likes crop failure due to a frost).
Great Taste/Flavor, fruit quality.
high level of disease resistance.

I would like to plant only 2 of them (if I do) at least initially and see how they do.

I have a catalog from burnt ridge nursery, that list several varieties…

Jefferson - is the one they seem to like best… It is a late bloomer, heavy yield of large flavorful nuts…
But they recommend it be pollinated by at least 2 others… and on disease… it says resistance to blight, high resistance to bud mite. Note it does not say high resistance to blight… average resistance to me is just not good enough. Based on experience, that means it most likely will not make it here in southern middle TN.

Now here is a combo of 2 varieties that I am considering… SACAJAWEA and YAMHILL
Best I can tell both are in the Mid/Late blooming category. High Disease resistance is mentioned on both, excellent flavor and high yielding on SAC, very productive great kernel quality on YAM… (they are listed as pollinators for each other, so both seem to be mid/late bloomers…

A few other varieties sound good, but evidently are early or early/mid bloomers, and I am just not interested in those.

Welcome any help on the possible Hazelnut combo issue.

You all gave me plenty of good Pecans to choose from. Thanks

Question on Black Walnuts… BRN catalog has several listed… including
Black Walnut Seedlings, Football, Boellner, Sparro, Timber, Suprise

None of those mention anything on disease resistance (perhaps black walnuts are not so disease prone ?)…

The descriptions for Boellner and Sparrow just have a bunch more good stuff mentioned than the other varieties do… like Especially flavorful variety, very good cracking quality, quick to bear, early ripening, dependable producer, also known as kwik krop due to precocious nature, thin shelled.

On the plain old Black Walnut Seedlings… It says nuts are richly flavored, thick shelled, high protein.

Boellner and expecially Sparrow they just mention more good qualities.

I would like to start off with just a pair of black walnuts too.

Appreciate any advice given.


Hey Fusion_Power… on your question on Ginseng Seed.

I started growing wild simulated ginseng in 2010 and bought stratified seed from 3 sources over the years, but my main source was from - the others I just tried out some and well they were more expensive and no better quality, so I stuck with hardwoodginseng for the bulk of my seed purchase.

I have not bought any seed from hardwoodginseng in several years now… Initially you have to purchase stratified seed and plant it… but once you get to year 5-6, some of the plants you first started will start producing berries… and at around year 7-8-9, you will have enough of your own berries to pick and plant, and may not need to purchase any more seed.

If you want to learn more about growing wild simulated ginseng, I participate in a forum over at – I am TNHunter there too.

If you search youtube on TNHunter and Ginseng, you will find my old youtube channel. I don’t post to it any more and have not in several years now, but there are several videos there on growing wild simulated ginseng, and also hunting wild ginseng.

Growing wild simulated ginseng is a “long term investment” for sure. Some say it takes 7-8 years to reach maturity and harvest quality root, but on my place that is more like 10-12 years.

I did harvest and sell some 8-9 year olds last year but only a few. They are not quite where I want them to be yet.

Good Luck


Lots of older relatives have called them that all my life. I’ll just let them keep using their slang name, it gets the point across :slight_smile:. The Scaly/Shaggy ones are fairly easy to identify. Others that don’t have that type of bark, like Pignut, and are 50’+ tall. Not always as easy…

Around here black walnut trees are plentiful. Few if any are a “named variety” yet there is sometimes a fair amount of variability to the nuts/shells/skins. I don’t know if they’re just prone to genetic variance or some other factor plays a part. I’ve wondered before how any of those named ones would compare to the native ones here.

A portion of my property is about as ideal as it gets for growing Ginseng, but… Unfortunately some poachers figured that out and dug all the wild roots a few years ago. I’ve since planted seeds a few times, in a spot closer to the house that’s not quite as ideal, but easier to keep an eye on. I know someone who collected a number of old discarded bed box springs and put them in his woods. Ginseng growing up through them isn’t as likely to get eaten by deer.

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TNHunter, The three black walnut varieties that will grow best in your climate and produce best with least effort are Thomas, Neel #1, and Farrington.

Sparrow is a productive tree, the only problem is that the nuts are just too small for my liking. If you were further north in Indiana or Illinois, Sparrow would be a top choice. Note that Sparrow is protandrous which makes it a good pollinator for most of the others.

Boellner cultivar aka Kwik Krop is a moderate producer of moderately good nuts. Others are far better.

Football tends to overbear every other year resulting in underfilled nuts.

Surprise is a pretty good walnut, but tends to produce about 10% blank nuts. Otherwise, it is a second rank possibility.

I have a 30 year old pecan, I don’t remember the name but it is named after a native American tribe. For it’s first 20 years scab wasn’t an issue but now I have to spray it every two weeks all summer. Apparently the scab mutated/adapted to it’s defenses. It seems to be rather self pollinating. I always get a crop of very good nuts. Anyway middle TN is suitable for pecans. I would spend some time researching varieties.


Thank you for the black walnut recommendations…
Do you know of a good nursery where I can get those varieties ?
I will look and see what I can find.

Hey all, thanks to all who contributed to my search for the right nut trees to try her in middle TN.

One other thing to share… after all this talk about NUTS… my wife and I made a trip to Cookeville TN this week, to vist our Daughter, who lives there, and also our Son, who attends TN Tech University there… (it was his birthday)… the main reason for the trip. Our daughter took us to a nice antique store in Allgood, not far from Cookeville and look what I found…

A nice old cast iron nut cracker. On the back it has this stamped into the oak base… P & L Company, 1303 Western Street, Oshkosh WI 54901.

I tried it out on some pignut hickory nuts and it worked great… cracked them with ease, but did not crush them. Simple just push the nut into the jaws (which get narrower as you go in) … so just push the nut in until it stops and lower the handle. A nice controlled cracking of the nut happens.

I will have to get me some walnuts and pecans to try it on too.

I like old stuff like this that still work great. It is heavy duty too - looks like it will out last me easily.



Just a FYI… I called and actually got thru to David at Rock Bridge Trees today… Super nice guy.
We talked for a while and he obviously knows pecans and walnuts…

I told him the 4 pecan varieties that I was considering (after getting input here) and those were Kanza, Hark, Lakota, Amling…

He said that Kanza and Lakota are type 2, Hark and Amling type 1.

I described my place (upland ridge field, growing some good hickory).

Asked him for his opinion on which 2 varieties to start off trying here on my place. He was very helpful…

He recommended Kanza and Amling…

His thoughts on why… Amling… he said it is a lower producer, something about producing 1 nut (per limb tip ?)… where other varieties like Lakota or Hark may produce 4-6 nuts in a cluster.

He said on my (less than Ideal growing location) going with a tree that is not such a heavy producer, will probably mean that the nuts that do produce will be good nuts (filled out)…

Where if I planted a Lakota or Hark… they may try to produce 4-6 nut clusters and just never be able to fill those.

I can understand that… and I am fine with producing less nuts, to get at least some good nuts.

So he is going to provide me with a Kanza and Amling grafted… and I will give those a try.


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I can agree with Kanza and Amling, especially if he has some trees ready to ship. Both make medium size nuts in the 60 to 72 per pound range. Amling is distinctly a low producer, but it has excellent pest and disease tolerance. Low production is countered with consistent production year to year and with excellent disease and pest tolerance. Kanza will surprise you with the number of good quality nuts it produces.

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Nice nut cracker. I doubt that this type is still being made and sold.

I live halfway between Chattanooga and Knoxville, and I planted Kanza and Peruque pecans about 6 years ago, but last year the ambrosia beetles killed them both. I don’t figure I have time to start over so am not replanting. Had never heard of the ambrosias before so by the time I learned of them the damage was done. Very sad…

I planted Precocious Hazelnuts from Oikos about the same time. They are growing very nicely and are blooming this year for the first time.


I lost a grafted Amling to ambrosia beetles about 4 years ago. It grew back from the roots and is big enough to graft this year.