David's Blog

Living a quiet life in Coquitlam, B.C.

Location: Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Persian Walnut Trees Sprouting

This summer I developed an interest in walnut trees and, walking around my neighborhood, came to realize there are many walnut trees growing around here-- I just hadn't recognized them as walnut trees before. However, I didn't know how to determine exactly what kind of walnut trees they are. I am sure most of them are common English Walnut trees. And there is one which I am sure is a Heartnut tree (AKA Japanese Walnut) but, after chatting with the property owner for a while, even they didn't know what kind of tree it was. It had been there when they bought the property--over thirty-five years ago! Apparently, the only way to know for sure what kind of walnut tree you have is to either buy a plant from a nursery, or get some seeds of known type and plant them yourself. So that is what I did.

Earlier this month (October 2019), I ordered and received some Persian (AKA Carpathian) Walnut seeds for planting from Grimo Nut Nursery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. I wanted Persian Walnuts because they are supposed to be the most cold-hardy. The nice thing about Grimo Nut Nursery is that they seem to take their business seriously, offering various strains of Persian Walnuts and listing the features of each strain. It is nice to know exactly what kind of tree I am planting. So I specifically ordered the most cold-hardy strain of Persian Walnut tree available. In a few years, they will be moved up to northern B.C., so I hope these strains are hardy enough.

I received twenty seeds, a mix of the most cold-hardy strains available from Grimo at the time. Here is a photo showing the variety of nuts I received.

Walnuts have to go through a cold temperature stratification process before they sprout, so I have put them in a pot, covered it with soil, and put a mesh on top of it to deter squirrels. This upcoming spring, I will move them to individual little pots and, as they germinate, move them to individual bigger pots. I plan to update this post to track the growth of the trees.

Update: 15 March 2020
Today, I transferred the walnuts into individual 5" peat pots. Spring is in the air, and we have a few days of clear sunny weather so I thought it was a good time to move them. In fact, several of the walnuts have already sprouted, so I could have actually done the transfer a week or two earlier. Here is a photo of one of the sprouts:

The part that comes out first is the tap root which grows quite a bit before the leaf follows. So, walnuts that were already sprouted were put into their individual pots with their tap roots pointing down. Of the different strains of walnut seed I planted, a high proportion of the medium oval walnuts have sprouted (the Combe strain.) A few of the large round nuts (Young's B1) and the medium round nuts (Dooley Hybrid) were also sprouted but, of the few that were, they were much further behind than the medium oval nuts.

I am glad to know the nuts are successfully germinating and look forward to seeing the first leaves poke above the ground in the coming weeks.

Update: 27 April 2020
Here is one of the first Persian Walnuts to poke above the surface, at about a week old:

This one comes from a medium oval nut (the Combe strain.) This strain seems to be a fair bit ahead of the other Persian Walnut strains.

4 May 2020
Here it is at about two weeks old:

18 May 2020
Here it is at about four weeks old:

5 October 2020
Here it is at about five months old:

The stem of this tree is about six inches tall. The leaves are about to change colour and fall off, so this is about as much as this tree will grow in its first year.

12 April 2021
One of the older Persian Walnut trees is on the verge of leafing out. The bud has not yet burst, but it is close. This is surprising; I had expected the Persian Walnut tree to leaf out before the Butternut sapling, but it turned out to be the other way around.

19 April 2021
In the week since the previous update, this tree has leafed out and grown significantly.

23 May 2021
The older Walnut tree (about six years old) has flowers on it. Only three, but this is the first year it has produced flowers. It is still a bit young; I wasn't expecting to see flowers for a few more years, but this is a welcome surprise.

21 September 2021
The tree still has a couple walnuts on it (the others disappeared soon after appearing.) The one high on the tree has burst open, and looks like the walnut is on the verge of falling out. There is another nut, on a lower branch, but it has not burst yet.

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