to favorite trees
01, 2003 05:46 PDT
More thought given to favored tree species has
pushed me to add black
walnut to my list. I don't see much of it, but the ones I saw in
Valley were absolutely gorgeous. Looking aloft into those
crowns induced a state of "walnut-consciousness".
Maybe I'm just
becoming "nut-conscious", i.e. more conscious of
myself, but I swear I
heard the walnut tree we were measuring call out "be sure
to include me
in any future favorite big tree lists".
The light green feathery foliage has a
slightly tropical appearance
and is just very visually appealing. There is also the
feeling that the tree bears edible nuts. Its high value as fine
is a psychological booster and its symmetry is also appealing.
Great black walnuts of the past suggest that
at least in parts of its
range, it achieved great proportions. All in all, black walnut
is just a
splendid tree. I am curious as to what the arborists on our list
of black walnut. Is it an easy tree to prune? What do the
of the species? Fun to draw/paint? Russ, how frequently do you
black walnut in West Virginia?
So, let's see. I now have white pine,
tuliptree, sugar maple,
cottonwood, ponderosa pine, bur oak, and black walnut as
favorites. Why do I think this list is destined steadily grow?
Colby, you and Ed may have opened Pandora's box.
Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society
Back to favorite trees
01, 2003 08:16 PDT
In central West Virginia, black walnut is relatively common. In
many of the
old farms, the trees were often the only shade trees left in
pastures and they
can be encountered in the woodland of any farm that has decent
Traditionally, the tree was cut so hard that large, high quality
trees are difficult to find.
The most significant use for black walnut for decades was in gun
There are numerous stories among WV gun collectors that can date
W.W.I era German
weaponry to when the great walnut embargo was in full effect.
There are also
stories of trains loaded with stumps dug from WV pastures for
gun stocks as
part of past patriotic and commercial ventures.
At this time, I am involved with marking a commercial thinning
sites where, for a few exceptional acres the residual stand will
nearly pure 14-22" DBH walnut with scattered cherry and red
oak of similar size
Generally speaking, pure stands of walnut are uncommon but I
properties with cove site stands of over 100 acres in size where
proportion has been as large as 38% of basal area. In most such
trees were not planted but seeded into situations where the land
(for as long as 150 years). A normal/natural black walnut stand
would have as
associated species, red and American elm, basswood, redbud,
sassafras and persimmon.
Very often, butternut trees in significant numbers and in
varying states of
decline from butternut canker blight can be found associated
with black walnut
Since the advent of plastic gun stocks, the walnut business has
on hard times. Although it is a very beautiful, durable and
wood to work with and is a component of some of the finest
created, I really think the long term use of black walnut for
weaponry helped to
keep the price artificially high for generations.
Black walnut shells have uses in certain industrial polishing
My favorite black walnut trait is watching the wood from a
freshly cut tree
change color when it is exposed to the air.
There are variations in the color, texture and acid content in
the fruit and
the best-flavored nuts are now considered to be from the
Missouri area where
commercial black walnut nut production is centered.
The WV Department of Ag used to have a traveling walnut husker
that went to
various areas of the state. In each participating county, for
each autumn, pickup trucks would be lined up with their bodies
loaded with heaps
of sacked up walnuts waiting to get them husked and weighed.
ended when Missouri said they no longer wanted nuts from WV and
Next weekend, October 9-11, the 49th Annual, WV Black Walnut
being held in Spencer, WV. Spencer is about 15 miles from
Back to favorite trees
01, 2003 08:54 PDT
GREAT POST RUSS!
That's the kind of stuff I love to hear about, a well written
of some forestry scenario- by someone who knows forestry,
history, markets, and local history. I wish more foresters would
this- there is so much to learn and so many fascinating forest
scenarios. I only wish I could spend lots of time traveling the
and seeing such scenarios. Yes, I'd like to visit autopoietic
too, probably more so, but the others can be groovy too. In one,
Nature is "unchained", in the other, she's partially
tamed, which is not
to say she doesn't still control the show.
Now, if only we can figure out how to get foresters to tell us
Back to favorite trees
01, 2003 09:39 PDT
Fascinating material. What kinds of soils do
West Virginia's black
walnuts grow best in?
On my way to Zoar Vally a few months ago, I
started seeing black
walnuts appear in central New York. Some old distribution maps
extending to the western Mass border, but I'm unaware of any
sassafras, black walnuts, and other tree stuff..
06, 2003 11:13 PDT
Call me utilitarian, but I went to a 12-13' girth black walnut
childhood home to pick walnuts to stratify and plant on the
my current home. Can you believe it, but I actually did not
I did give it a hug test and it was two tight hugs plus. Now, I
to go back and we can add to the list to bulk up the girths on
The tree is on property homesteaded around 1840 and the tree
have been planted in a row along with a bunch of large mixed
is preserved on a park memorializing Jeremiah Curtin, who built
existing log cabin in 1846. He was the first Wisconsinite to
from Harvard and was fluent in 70 languages. He was the
the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia during Lincoln's term. He was
famous for preserving many native American dialects which would
otherwise have been lost.
It seemed like good local seed source to use for replanting.
of the walnuts passed the float test and will be planted in fire
scorched tin soup cans with x's cut into the top of them to
squirrels from eating them but still allowing them to germinate
properly! Once the prairie plants are finished going to seed,
spending some time on my property conducting a small scale bur
savanna restoration. I have lot's of invasive foreign buckthorn
some honeysuckle to remove. My chainsaw will be getting some
and the Round-Up will be used in force.
Where do black walnuts fit?
16, 2003 12:23 PST
The black walnuts at Tamassee don't grow in the dense tuliptree
but they do not form pure stands either. Three of the four
the site over 120' are slender trees that grow near the bottoms
ravines. Some of those ravines also harbor tuliptrees over 140',
support generally more diverse forest and the walnuts are not
the tuliptrees. The more recently found 9' x 131.8' walnut grows
above the base of a 40+ degree slope. Tuliptrees grow on other
of the slope, but are not unusually tall or large. Below the
tuliptrees reach 160.5', but the walnut still has room to form a
crown and has no competition immediately upslope.
cove at Tamassee I've seen a partially uprooted walnut that
grew within ten yards of a northern red oak that exceeds 140'.
may have been 130' tall, but was probably less than 130'.
the cove a walnut has gained access to the canopy by growing on
top of a
spindly walnut grows in a tuliptree stand in north Georgia. The
tree is close to 120' tall, but the branch structure is such
that it will
have difficulty keeping up with the tuliptrees in the future.
upright, grows underneath the tree in such density that in the
shooting vertically with to the walnuts crown is difficult.
The last few trees make me wonder if walnut is capable of
tuliptrees on rich circumneutral sites, but doing so requires
sacrifices such that probability of long term survival is low.
Where do black walnuts fit?
16, 2003 13:11 PST
Without exception, all the tall walnuts I know of grow either at
the base of
a steep slope or in a deep ravine. 3 of the four over 130' are
growth. I fully expect the 135' og walnut (130 yrs) to now be at
140'. It grows with red hickory and among a carpet of hundreds