An­swers from quiz on page 5

Manitoba Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT -

1. False. Black wal­nut has re­ceived a bad rap be­cause the leaves and wood of the tree con­tain ju­glone, a sub­stance that is poi­sonous to some plants. Ju­glone is most con­cen­trated in the roots and it seeps into the soil. Toma­toes and pota­toes will not sur­vive planted near a black wal­nut, nor will birch, hy­drangea, Asi­atic lilies or pe­onies. How­ever, many plants are un­af­fected by ju­glone.

2. False. There are sev­eral gar­den ed­i­bles un­af­fected by ju­glone, in­clud­ing squash, corn, beans and car­rots. But, cab­bage, egg­plants, pep­pers, toma­toes and pota­toes will die within about 80 feet of the trunk of a ma­ture black wal­nut.

3. False. Ju­glone isn’t very wa­ter­sol­u­ble so it doesn’t spread all that far from the roots of the wal­nut tree. The roots, how­ever, spread fairly far, and de­bris from the tree (leaves, nut husks and twigs) can af­fect the soil around where it falls. Ju­glone can con­tinue to leech into the soil even af­ter a tree has been re­moved as the dead roots de­com­pose.

4. True. Black wal­nut is not the same as the Per­sian wal­nuts we buy in the store, but it is ed­i­ble and, from what I’ve read, has good flavour. It is very dif­fi­cult to ex­tract from the tough shell, though, which is why it isn’t avail­able com­mer­cially.

5. True. Wal­nuts’ deep and widereach­ing roots make them a good slope sta­bi­lizer.

6. False. Armed only with a dime-store nutcracker, it may seem like the wall of a wal­nut is im­pen­e­tra­ble; the name, how­ever, comes from the old English for for­eign nut be­cause the nuts came from Italy or fur­ther abroad. The Latin name for the genus, Juglans, means Jove’s nut—the sweet meat was con­sid­ered a nut fit for the king of gods.

7. True. The white wal­nut is bet­ter known as but­ter­nut. These su­perb trees are un­der threat of ex­tinc­tion from a fun­gus that causes canker. It’s es­ti­mated that 90 per cent of North Amer­i­can but­ter­nuts have the fun­gus. But­ter­nuts in groves have a greater ten­dency to the dis­ease than those stand­ing alone in a back yard.

8. False. There is a strain of black wal­nut hardy to Zone 3—that in­cludes all the more pop­u­lous parts of On­tario and Man­i­toba!

9. False. Good heav­ens, no! For one thing, with sev­eral plants sus­cep­ti­ble to poi­son­ing from the ju­glone in the wood and bark, black wal­nut makes a lousy mulch. For another, the tim­ber from a ma­ture black wal­nut can make the felled tree worth thou­sands of dol­lars. The wood is highly prized for its dark colour, hard­ness and tight grain.

10. True. The Per­sian wal­nut ( Juglans regal) is some­times called English though its na­tive habi­tat ex­tends from the Balkans through south­west China. A cou­ple of cen­turies ago, Per­sian wal­nut com­merce was widely con­trolled by English mer­chant marines.

•••

8-10 cor­rect: Some­times you feel like a nut. 5-7 cor­rect: Some­times you don’t. Fewer than 5 cor­rect: Your head is a nut-free zone.

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