Walnut graft compatibility

Anybody know much about what can be put on top of black walnut? Might hickory and pecan work? I want to turn the local volunteers into something good next year.

As hard as nuts are to graft I doubt you can get too exotic. Really no chance of pecan IMO.

Some of the selected black walnuts are pretty impressive. My mother planted Emma K and Sparrow 40 yrs ago. They are productive and nice nuts but still not easy to shell.


If nuts are that hard to graft, anybody have any tips on improving my chances?

3 flap or 4 flap or bark grafts are the way to go with walnuts and hickory/pecans. Or, thin caliper seedlings 1/4" or less are easy to whip and tongue.

On walnut you put other species of the same Genus. No to Carya. Juglans on Juglans and Carya on Carya. Speed of growth is a quality you should always consider. Putting pecan on a shagbark hickory many years down the road looks like this:

That’s my good friend Gary Fernald who has selected many far-northern pecan cultivars over his lifetime of traveling up and down the Mississippi River for 30-years… among other fruits/nuts selections.



Heartnut is supposed to be graft compatible with black walnut. I had one that grew very well on black walnut for a year and a half before dying back below the graft during the almost 2 month period with zero rain late last summer. That makes me want to hedge my bets with heartnuts, but I’ll probably try again on black walnut stock, too.

I’ve also grafted a few selected black walnut varieties on volunteer black walnuts, some with 3-flap grafts but mostly with more normal styles of bark grafts. I’ve had pretty good success, probably 50% or better, which is probably a little better than I do with mulberries and definitely better thna my success with pawpaws, just to put things into perspective. Maybe it helps that I’ve mostly grafted onto very vigorous, well established rootstocks.

1 Like

If I’m just looking to add a few branches to some well-established trees, think I might be able to get away with a bit more? Why is it that cleft or whip-tongue grafts don’t work well?

This looks like a good reference.


[Black walnut] is considered the most desirable rootstock for grafting black and Persian walnuts, heartnuts, and butternuts.


Not sure how any of those would do in my climate but i have black walnut seedlings coming up all over my yard…

I would chip bud them if i tried.

It depends on caliper. Whip and tongue is excellent on thin stock. You gotta be real damn careful when you’re getting into anything at or above 1/4". You’re looking for trouble at that point. Same with pecan or hickory. You gotta be real careful I’m telling you.

If you have 1/2" or 1" scions, just 3-flap them about 6-12" up from the ground. It’s almost impossible to screw themup. You’ll get really high takes.

If you’re going to add to the branches of older trees then 3 or 4 flap or bark graft them. I can’t imagine you doing anything but…

T-buds or whatever… be real careful trying to cut a bud off wood that dense unless it’s little caliper stuff. At that rate, I’d whip and tongue them.

We all do what we know in the end I guess. I’m just saying be real careful.



Hello, I have a question about grafting a black walnut. I have access to cuttings from a Black Walnut tree that is the original tree from the founder of my home town of Lynden, WA. What rootstock do I need to graft on? Can I use a Black Walnut Seedling from Raintree nursery as my rootstock and graft onto it?

Note that there are different species of black walnut, each with different graft compatibilities.

If you have regular access to the parent tree and don’t need it “right now”, black walnut is usually fairly prolific. Plant a few of the nuts from it and then graft the scion onto the resultant seedlings. The nuts won’t grow true to the parent, but should be quite compatable with it’s scion.

Thank you! That is very helpful. I will see about sourcing some nuts to plant :slight_smile:

1 Like

They are difficult to kill. There is one in the lot in front of me that has been mowed down at least three years. This year it grew from the ground to taller than I am in one season.
The first one I ever saw was in my grandparent’s yard. It was easily three feet around by the time I first saw it. The story goes that Grandma didn’t like it and would go out of her way to run it over when it tried to grow - fifteen/twenty times or more. The tree won and grandpa was happy.

If you look around there is probably a little one growing somewhere you can dig. Black walnuts are like weeds here.

Western black walnut is incompatible with Eastern and European species.

Does this work on older wood or does it have to be last years growth for walnuts?

Older wood works fine for 3-flaps and bark grafting. No problems whatsoever.

1 Like

i do not know what western black walnut is but I have grafted carpathians to Arizona black walnut successfully