What Nut Trees in Northeast?

From reading, the most successful nut trees in NJ/NY area is Chinese chestnut, some European and hybrid (Midwest) hazelnut and black walnut. So I’ve planted Chinese chestnut and hazelnut. We do have wild black walnut, but the nut is hard to shell and it seems the nut is small. Not sure if squirrel gets them too early? Those black walnuts trees are like 50’ tall and we have to cut down some of the seedlings.

Any other nut trees to grow? I know of hickory, but have not tasted one. We may even have hickory seedlings in the woods and some large trees. I love pecan nuts (from Texas), but it seems it it too cold here. Walnut is borderline attractive to me…

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Some species of hickory are absolutely delicious. Shagbark, Shellbark, and of course pecans. There are some varieties of pecan that should work. They’re probably on the smaller side, but pecans are probably the easiest nut to gather and process (with the possible exception of hazels). There are also improved black walnuts that have thinner shells (as far as black walnuts go), but I’ve only read about them. There are some almonds that can theoretically work, too.


heart nut and butternut would grow in your zone. but for speed of production the hybrid hazels would be what i would go for. greatplainsnursery.com has some


This book has tons of info:

He was an original fruit explorer.

Cliff England is growing some interesting stuff in KY: www.nuttrees.net


Be picky of the varieties you plant. Black walnut, hickory, chestnut, and hazelnut are your best options.

Mcginnis, Sparrow, and Cranz are black walnuts options. McGinnis is from Nebraska, Sparrow from Illinois, and Cranz from Pennsylvania.

We do have a lot of seedlings, like hickory. Is it worth to collect them? Or better to plant known varieties? I think it takes several years for them to grow to produce.

Also, a lot elm, red oak, wild pear, wild black walnut and tons of red cedar. I have to cut down a lot of them.

Last one is a wild black walnut.

Also, I believe those are hickory seedlings?

I recommend hicans. They are not well-know, but this hickory-pecan hybrid has become my favorite nut. They grow great here in central Ohio zone 5/6. A couple of fellow members in our Ohio Nutgrowers Association have producing trees and we are all very impressed. Depending on the variety, they can be nearly as large as a southern pecan, and nearly as easy to shell. The flavor is a cross between a pecan and that buttery taste of hickories. I’ve been planting them at my own place but I have several more years to wait. Henke and Burlington work well here and I imagine they would for you also. They are also much easier to graft than walnuts. We use northern pecan for rootstock.


This is very interesting. TY.

Here is the wild black walnut. The nut looks to be small?

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I have a friend at Jobstown NJ who grows all manner of pecans, hickories, walnuts, and has an ongoing breeding program, particularly focused on the pecans and hickories.
So…they’ll definitely grow there.
I’ll caution against hicans, as in my experience, they’re shy bearers, fill poorly, and are weevil magnets. YMMV.


We have native Shagbark and bitternut hickories growing on my farm. Black walnut and butternut grow well here also, but black walnuts here are very tannic, and are almost impossible to stomach. Lots of work cracking a super thick shell for little, inedible meat.
The shagbark hickories are delicious though, thinner shelled and larger meat. The only trouble is, that every forest dwelling creature loves them and eats most before i get a chance to go out and get some.

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Oh, weird. I’ve never encountered tannic black walnuts. Definitely a lot of work, though.

The black walnut photo I showed just above is such type? That is not really edible. Too hard to shell and too little meat.

Black walnuts have to be promptly harvested when they fall from the tree. Remove the hulls before they turn black, then wash and dry the nuts. If the hulls are left on the walnuts, they stain the nut inside the shell which causes the “tannic” flavor. It is not tannins, but juglone which is pretty unpalatable.

I’ve looked at tens of thousands of wild walnut trees over the last 30 years. I found exactly 4 trees that were acceptably good for cracking and eating. There were quite a few others that were edible and could easily have been harvested for nuts, but would have been nearly impossible to crack and clean. I found one of the 4 trees just 2 weeks ago growing on the side of the road. I stopped my truck, leaned down and grabbed 3 nuts in the husk from the roadside, and tossed them into the floorboard. After cleaning, drying, and cracking them yesterday, I decided they are from one of the best flavored wild black walnut trees. I will take a good look at the tree again next year and may consider getting a graft growing from it. Even so, this tree is nowhere near as good as McGinnis or S127.


Ah, that makes more sense. I know about that and always promptly clean any walnuts I forage. I just wish the husks would split like a hickory or pecan…

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I normally do not go into the wooded area to look. I may go there for a visit. We have about two acres of wooded area that we do not go inside.

Your probably are aware of the hazelnut research being done by Tom Molnar at Rutgers. If not here is a link. They have some promising cultivars.


Why not try an American chestnut? Join the American Chestnut Foundation to locate virus-free hybrids.

I planted a couple of smaller cultivars from Grimo Nuts (mentioned in your link) in the shade, as a visual barrier between my yard and my back yard neighbor. They haven’t fruited, yet, and i will consider any nuts they produce to be a sacrifice to the local squirrels, but they are attractive, low maintenance shrubs that have now survived two droughts.

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