Why You Need A Heartnut Tree

Heartnuts from one foot to fruit in four years. The pic is two heartnuts planted side by side. On another section of the property I have more Heartnuts, White, and English. I focused on Heartnut for the reason in the pic. Heartnut is the way to go.


What varieties are you growing?

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They are all seedlings. Later the ones that do not have quality fruit will be grafted over to name brand varieties. Walnuts tend to do fairly well from seed though.


The reason I don’t grow heart nut, pecans or walnuts is they are all part of the juglans family which can kill trees like apples and pears. Many plants you would want it will kill so it is a double edged sword. Cutting it down does not do much if you change your mind because the chemicals stay in the soil for years. Nuts in this family also get between 40-100 feet too which is hard for the average homeowner to manage the size. 4 different standard sized apple or pear trees or 1 pecan or 2 different kinds of apples or pears or 1 walnut tree hmmm.


Lack of ingestion of Juglan nuts during developmental ages is correlated with low sperm fertility in male humans.

Although deposition of juglone by walnut can be a problem with their natural competitors e.g. oaks, there are other crops that thrive in it. For some farmers, the sale of old walnut acreage is a opportunity.


Pawpaw and mulberry do just fine along with a bunch of other bushes and trees. You just have to be aware of the other trees in the guild.


My daughter is (currently) very allergic to walnuts and pecans. May have dodged a bullet in that department. Moma has issues with hickory so it’s not unexpected.

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My grandfather grew butternut, american walnut, couple types of hickory in his old growth forest. Oaks grew very close to the nut trees even though walnut is alleopathic. When nature is in balance everyone and everything has a place. His woods are at least hundreds of years old. There were things like pecans and chestnuts that were not growing there. My grandfather would have loved all the things we have available to us. He talked about the pecan and almond orchards he saw with great admiration. It appealed to him to have a family business like a pecan orchard. He thought there was little more to it than raking pecans once a year and selling them. From his perspective and mine growing nuts for a living was easy money for the patient family. We grew nuts that were very tall so there was some hazzard in picking up the bushels of nuts. There was a huge amount of nuts that he mostly allowed his hogs to eat just as he did acorns. Anytime i see a nut tree it takes me back to my childhood i raked up large feed sacks full of nuts. The nut trees are helpful to staying alive long term for sure. Every tree has negatives and positives. If families stayed in one spot like most of my family we would consider your heart nuts as good as currency. Money and life really does grow on trees.


Yeah. I have the feeling the barter system may be making a comeback soon. Food has always equated to cash though.


Witches broom is a viral disease to which heartnut is highly susceptible. One or two trees may live dozens of years unaffected. Plant several acres and witches broom will show up to kill them. Buartnuts and Butternuts have their disease problems too. Eastern black walnut is currently being attacked by a disease that may make them a thing of the past. It has heavily affected walnuts in a range around Knoxville TN.

Ernie Grimo iirc had something to say about seedling heartnuts. About 1 in 100 was a decent tree. The rest for various reasons should be culled. Some were difficult to crack. Some were the wrong shape with a small kernel. Some were unproductive. With a 1/100 chance of a good tree, it makes the most sense to graft with a known productive variety.

Perhaps of some interest, there are about 21 species of walnut worldwide of which several are native to the U.S.
Juglans Nigra - eastern black walnut
Juglans Cinerea - butternut
Juglans Major - southwestern native walnut
Juglans Californica - southern California walnut
Juglans Hindsii - northern California walnut
Juglans Microcarpa - Texas walnut

Of the species imported, Juglans Regia (Persian walnut) has found commercial success worldwide. Juglans Ailantifolia (Japanese walnut) is cultivated to some extent. Juglans Nigra is widely distributed in the eastern U.S. It is grown by a few for nuts with numerous cultivars selected over the last 150 years.

While this thread is about heartnut specifically because it produces heavily as a young tree, I’ve seen similar results with seedling black walnuts. It is common for black walnut to produce a few nuts in the 4th or 5th year of growth with much heavier production by the 10th year. With seedlings, the likelihood of getting a really good productive tree is still low, but it does happen. I have a Thomas seedling that is arguably as good or perhaps a bit better than the parent.


When the fruit drops I’ll take a pic so we can see. I don’t agree with his 1/100. He is looking for perfection to create a new variety.

They were supposed to be grafted, but I never got around to it. Now I’m just experimenting to see what happens. Plus it’s way easier to graft an established tree. As for disease. I don’t worry about it. Fire blight could come in and wipe out my apple and pears just the same.



Like your saying whats important is that you like the flavor of the fruits and nuts you grow. I dont care how heart shaped a nut is i want to eat them! Im interested in what shape they will have. Its only a matter of time until a disease or pest shows up with any tree we grow. In the meantime you have nuts to harvest soon! The trees look good!


This widespread belief regarding the toxicity of Juglans to adjacent plants seems to be somewhat misplaced. Urban legend? Maybe they stunt some select plants or inhibit seedlings, but I have yet to have a problem with plants surrounding my 70+ yr old English Walnut in my yard, nor with the previous 50+ yr old Black Walnut that succumbed to what I suspect was Thousand Cankers Disease. After the Black Walnut was taken down, I ground the stump and planted a Callery Pear, Chanticleer, which bolted up faster than any tree I’ve seen–at 10yrs age it is topping 30 ft. I’d expect that extensive root system and years of leaf litter created a great habitat for that pear. A Crimson King Maple planted on the same day, 30 ft distant, with similar water access, has about a fourth the trunk girth and half the height. I looked it up once and found this to support what I see: WSU Extension Publications|Do Black Walnut Trees Have Allelopathic Effects on Other Plants? (Home Garden Series).

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It is not misplaced. English walnut produces relatively little juglone. Eastern Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra) produces a boat load. Western species are mostly intermediate with Juglans Californica and Juglans Hindsii producing more than the others.

Plants vary in susceptibility to juglone. Most species of grass are unaffected and in some cases preferentially grow under walnut trees. Bluegrass is a good example of preferring walnut shade. Most maples species are variably affected. I have seen Silver Maple and Rock Maple seriously stunted by proximity to eastern black walnut. Any solanum will be in bad trouble. This means tomato, potato, eggplant, pepper, etc.

I have over 50 acres of eastern black walnut trees planted and that includes just over an acre of grafted nut producing trees. I’m not crazy enough to try planting a vegetable garden near them nor am I planting apple, pear, or stone fruit in the vicinity.

How much better are the named black varieties. Have they gotten them to an easy cracking point? Blacks are everywhere wild here, but few are worthwhile fighting with. I’ve been thinking of putting in one grafted black just to have one.

Without knowing the soil conditions and climate, your best bet would be Thomas. It is the most reliably productive tree I have with Neel #1 a very close second. It originated near King of Prussia, Pennsylvania so is reliably hardy throughout most of zones 6 and 7.

How much better are they? The selected varieties are generally far easier to crack, have good to excellent flavor, and are much more productive than most wild trees.

I think you hit the juglone pretty spot on. I have things right up on the heartnuts and so far they are not damaging anything. Black I grew up with and they can be devastating. Everything about them is sticky and staining, just oozing juglone. I would put them in this order of juglone potency-Black, White, Persian, Heartnut.

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With regards to quick production, my “Stealth” heartnut started producing flowers in only it’s 3rd year, and had several female flower clusters this year. I’m yet to see a nut though, as the “Mitchell” Buartnut I bought as a pollinator is not so precocious.

I have numerous heartnuts here in SE Wisconsin. One oddity, however, is that the oldest and the largest ones (6 trees) have never produced a nut, nor, to my observation, shown any sex characteristics (i.e., catkins). They are over 20 years old and some surpass 30’ in height. They are situated on sandy soil. All are vigorous and seem totally healthy,

Are they grafted or seedling?