Yellowhorn nut germination

Would you guess that your lack of nut formation would be due to getting hit by late freezes or does it seem like they just don’t get pollinated (like maybe they need cross pollination)?

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Lack of pollination I’m fairly sure. Usually the blooms don’t get any frost damage, I planted it as an ornamental so no seeds didn’t matter to me.


Looks like during my germination attempts last year (germinating 1 of 8) I tossed the leftover soil (and seeds that didn’t germinate) into a new bed and looks like another woke up. :grin: Pretty sure this is a yellowhorn nut.

It got down to -15F this winter but was insulated by the snow, just fyi

Should I wait till it’s dormant to move it or go for it now? It’s in a fairly shady spot


This is the one that germinated last year. Still pretty small but it has tripled it’s size in part sun already


Little late to the game but been growing Yellowhorns for several years so thought I would answer questions I see posted here with my experience.

The seeds sprout readily for me at a high rate. Here is what I do. File the seed coat all the way through being careful not to damage the kernal within. Usually file most of the way through then use a finger nail or two to split a crack that goes through the coat. The soak over night. No chilling. Plant and it grows. Once I did get bad seeds once and none grew so if they are not growing try another seed source.

They have a tap root so best not to keep them too long in pots if possible. Although I haven’t had too much issues when planting out.

You need cross pollination. So if you grow seeds all from one seed source you risk growing two of the same tree. I took care to get seeds and/or plants from different sources to make sure I got genetic diversity.

I am in Texas and they handle heat and drought well. They came through 110F last summer without issue. They have survived just fine during a 0F cold snap.

The taste, all forums want to know what they taste like and say what they heard which is all the same, like macadamias. They don’t. I am harvesting nuts now. The seed kernel I believe has saponins on the surface of it (it is a member of the Soapberry family so not too surprising), or if not that some other bitter tasting substance. Fortunately it is on the surface and not through out the nut. Wash the nut kernel with water and then roast or boil depending on the taste you want. The more you brown the more the nutty taste comes out but be careful not to overcook as they will get burnt easily. The taste sort of like a cashew but not exactly. I would put the nut in between a cashew and a hazelnut. Tastes good as long as you wash off the bitter coating first. The are edible without washing, you just tend to get a little bitter after taste when you swallow. Just wash it and it is fine.

If anybody knows a place that has a two year, or older plant for sale let me know. I don’t need seeds or seedlings, have plenty. Cut down a big Oak in my front yard and want a nice large Yellowhorn in its place but their slow growth from seeds will take about 5 years for bush size and wanted to shave some time off of that so I can get to a bigger tree faster. Again. don’t need one year seedlings, can grow those myself and have one planted, looking for an older plant. Can’t seem to find anybody selling these now and not sure why. It is all seeds.


I have three 4-year old Yellowhorn plants growing here in Z6a NH (USDA just changed from 5a). Our soils are 4.8-5.3 pH and super fast draining sandy loam. They took two years to settle in but are putting on growth quickly at about 4’ now. They did well last winter at -22F with 45 mph winds, which I didn’t expect. Flowers last year too but no seeds yet. All of mine came from OGW so may not be able to cross-pollinate, if that’s required. If anyone has seedlings, would be interested.

I think you answered your own question. It takes a long time to get them to a bigger size. It’s almost cost prohibitive to sell them unless you’re charging high dollar amounts. I’ve been growing out a batch for about 4 1/2 years and not only are they still rather small, but I’ve had some die off with no obvious cause. I originally thought I’d have more than I needed based on how many sprouted from my original seeds, but now I’m keeping every one that’s still alive.

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Thanks for sharing your extensive experience!

They sure are slow growers. I thought I had a nursery recommendation but they are no longer offering them

So you are having issues with die back too. Interesting. I am in Texas and we have problems with cotton root rot. I thought that might be the issue, but wasn’t sure. I also had issues with the trees I got from predominantly one source that may have come with some disease. Lately been doing better with much less die back from seed grown trees. One thing I did do was change where I planted them. The ones in the flat part of the yard died after a lot of rain. So the others I planted on slightly sloped locations so they don’t get as wet and that has been working. If it isn’t some disease, then maybe they are very sensitive to wet roots.


Yeah I was going through every nursery that popped up under a google search and other than seeds they don’t seem to be selling plants, or are sold out if they are. Didn’t find any with live plants. Wonder if nursery’s are no long selling these?

Wet roots might be the answer. Mine that died off were already a few years old, but had not been up-potted in a while because of how slow their growth was. I noticed their soil had broken down and become compacted. I shook all the dirt off the survivors and repotted them in fresh loose soil some time last year so hopefully I won’t lose any more.