Bud break is well under way now, some of the earlier varieties are now into juvenile leaf but the later ones are still a few weeks off, the buds on the likes of Franquette, Fernor, Chandler etc haven’t even started to swell yet. We’re praying we don’t get a hard mid May frost like last year which really knocked back the young trees especially.
This year it looks like the trees are at least a week or so early but the frosts at the end of March just slowed things down again.
As the trees get more mature it’s very apparent which varieties will be some of the most prolific pollinators as well, Broadview & Jupiter looks especially busy.
One or two female flowers starting to appear as well although they’re no quite receptive yet.
The heartnuts are all in juvenile leaf now, they seem to come into leaf early like the first English Walnuts.
I’ve just received some seed from the last original heartnut in ‘Kalmar’, Sweden, thank you Prof Jan Berggren! We’re going to sow this and hope we get some seedlings that share the parents resiliance to cold and it’s regular fruiting.
This is a variety I’ve tried to buy as a grafted tree without success to add to our collection. The named tree produces medium sized nuts about the size of a 10p piece.
Another spring gone and the rain has given the trees a boost after a really cold dry spring. Most of the earlier leafing varieties got frosted this year which really knocked them back and even the late varieties were held.
Some varieties have lost all their female flowers which is unusual but gives us an idea of their cold hardiness which hasn’t been documented before, Saturn in particular has no nuts even though the trees are in full leaf and have recovered well from being twice frosted.
Our young potted trees by contrast have been growing madly and although we’ve sold a lot the remaining ones will need taller boxes unless they’re sold locally! We still have some Mars, Chiara, Lake & a few other Red & Giant walnuts.
We’re just finalising our new stock list for this summer and should have newly grafted trees available from August, all pot grown cultivars including Heartnuts which have been very popular.
The frosts at the end of March and first 2 weeks of April have burnt a lot of the earlier walnut and heartnut varieties but thankfully they are all now starting to show signs of revival.
The juvenile male flowers on some varieties were destroyed but not totally and because we have such a range of varieties there should be pollen to cover everything. We don’t yet know if any female flowers were affected but we’ll see in the next month or so.
Many of the trees were just stopped in their tracks and some have escaped damage even though buds had broken, good to know!
After 5 years we’ve finally filled our orchard and even extended a bit by expanding our collection of other Juglans and Carya cultivated nuts with more Heartnuts and Butternuts and Northern Pecans.
Now we just need to carefully manage them and hope we don’t have too many difficult years like this one.
A full list of all our Walnut cultivars and the other nuts is now on our Trees & Trials page.
I’m sure we’ll add a few more trials if we can get hold of them and we have space. In the meantime we will carefully document each variety through the year so we have a good database so that in the future decisions can be taken on cultivar selection based on solid data.
Have you got the space to grow your own healthy walnuts for future Christmas’s. We still have grafted walnut trees for sale so you can have your own, we also have Heartnuts, Hicans and Northern Pecans!
We’ve now got our first batch trees, mostly walnuts but also a small amount of Heartnuts, Hicans and a Buartnut.
We’ve also taken delivery of some more trial varieties if Walnut and a few new Heartnuts but the really interesting trees are some butternut and some northern pecans. De Smallekamp have these growing and fruiting in the Netherlands and we’re very hopeful we will be able to do the same!