We have 448 trees at the present time with 379 Juglans regia cultivars and 14 Hickorys, Hicans & Northern Pecans in one field and in an adjacent planting 49 trees of mixed Engish cultivars and seedlings as well as Black Walnuts, Heartnuts, Buartnuts & Butternuts again all grafted named cultivars mostly from North America with a few assorted cultivars around the farm.
The main commercial planting of named grafted trees started in 2013 and the majority of the trees have been supplied by Nick Dunn of Frank P. Matthews in Worcestershire. These trees come as pot grown 2 year old trees (up to 2m+ tall) and many start producing a few nuts within a year or so. We already had some fairly mature seedling walnut trees that are mostly good croppers of normal smaller nuts.
13 varieties with known pedigree (in other countries at least) make up over 90% of the planting with the remaining trees being trial varieties mainly from Northern Europe that we think will prove to be good future commercial trees in our climate. These include nuts from China, France, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Germany , Czech Republic etc.
A good number are specialist red fruited varieties and many have probably not been planted in the UK before. They have they own specialist use with patisseries etc and generally have a sweeter flavour.
We’re looking for trees that consistently produce good crops of relatively large nuts (32mm across or more) with a high oil content, good kernel colour, easily shelled and good resistance to disease.
At this point in time we’re still only starting to evaluate all these varieties, even the 10 known ones, as there is very little known about most varieties in UK conditions and we all have our own micro climates around the UK
What works in Kent or Somerset for example may also succeed here or be a relative failure and we monitor them through the year and keep data on all of them for future use.