What nuts to plant?

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT -

Beaked Hazel (Co­ry­lus Cor­nuta) Zone 2

This na­tive shrub will not grow larger than eight feet mak­ing it ideal for smaller yards. Shrubs re­quire a spac­ing of six feet. Beaked hazel will grow nat­u­rally in shade, how­ever, if you want high yields of nuts plant them in full sun. Two shrubs are re­quired for cross pol­li­na­tion and will yield fruit af­ter four years.

But­ter­nut (Juglans cinerea) Zone 2, Zone 3 re­quired for fruit pro­duc­tion

A na­tive to Canada this is the most, cold re­sis­tant of all wal­nut trees. The white wal­nut, as it is also known, is a fast-grow­ing tree with a rel­a­tively short life­span, rarely reach­ing 75 years. Trees re­quire full sun and space to sur­vive. They are sus­cep­ti­ble to a fun­gal dis­ease ‘But­ter­nut Canker’, vis­i­ble by branch death in the lower crown that leads to tree death. Trees are best planted away from any wooded ar­eas or other but­ter­nut trees. The species is in de­cline and worth­while plant­ing. The nuts are far su­pe­rior to those that you find in stores. Trees are self-fer­tile but pro­duce bet­ter with cross-pol­li­na­tion. Crops can gen­er­ally be ex­pected af­ter a pe­riod of six to eight years.

Black wal­nut ( Juglans ni­gra) Zone 3, Zone 4 re­quired for fruit pro­duc­tion

This fast-grow­ing hard­wood is a gor­geous land­scape tree and pro­duces de­li­cious wal­nuts with ex­tremely hard shells. Black wal­nuts re­quire a sunny lo­ca­tion and well-drained soil; clay is favoured. It will bear fruit in eight to 10 years and though self­fer­tile does bet­ter with cross-pol­li­na­tion. Trees can reach heights of 100 feet and re­quire 30 foot spac­ing.

A mem­ber of the Juglans fam­ily, the roots pro­duce ju­glone, a sub­stance that is toxic to var­i­ous plants in­clud­ing ap­ple trees, toma­toes, pota­toes, blue­ber­ries, li­lac, red pine and others, so do your re­search be­fore plant­ing.

Korean Pine (Pi­nus ko­raien­sis) Zone 2

Pine nut trees re­quire semi-shade, es­pe­cially for the first two years to pre­vent the sun from burn­ing their bark. Trees grow well even in poor soil and re­quire lit­tle main­te­nance. Although slow grow­ing for their first five years ma­ture trees can grow to 100 feet and should be spaced 27 feet apart. Korean Pines take 10 to 20 years to bear fruit. Trees are self­fer­tile but do ben­e­fit from cross-pol­li­na­tion.

Buar­t­nut (Juglans cinerea x Juglans spp) Zone 4

This is a fast-grow­ing hy­brid wal­nut tree which can reach a height of 260 feet at ma­tu­rity. Trees should be spaced 65 feet apart in full sun. You will need two trees for crosspol­li­na­tion and can ex­pect your first crop in six to eight years on av­er­age.

Hazel­bert (Co­ry­lus amer­i­cana x Co­ry­lus avel­lane) Zone 3

A hardy shrub that pro­duces large hazel­nuts, dou­ble the size of the beaked hazel. Two bushes are re­quired for cross-pol­li­na­tion and it will not cross pol­li­nate with the beaked hazel. Hazel­berts will reach a ma­ture height of 12 feet and will bear fruit af­ter three to five years. They will need to be spaced six feet apart and planted in full sun. If you have room for only one bush, you can place two in the same plant­ing hole.

Shag­bark Hick­ory (Carya ovata) Zone 3, Zone 4 re­quired for fruit pro­duc­tion

Another na­tive plant to Canada, shag­bark hick­o­ries are rare as they were over har­vested for tool mak­ing and fire wood. Trees can reach heights of 82 feet and re­quire a spread of 30 feet. This tree can live for over 200 years. Their roots are ex­tremely long and strong, there­fore be con­scious of build­ings when plant­ing. Nuts have a taste sim­i­lar to pecans. It will grow in shade but needs full sun to thrive. The plant is self-fer­tile and nut pro­duc­tion takes 10 years to be­gin.

White oak (Quer­cus alba) Zone 4

Na­tive to North Amer­ica this hard­wood, also known as Stave Oak, pro­duces ed­i­ble sweet acorns. White oaks are an en­dan­gered species due to over cul­ti­va­tion for use in ship con­struc­tion and floor­ing. Trees are slow grow­ing and can live up to 450 years. Self-fer­tile, the white oak will thrive in sun or shade, a rar­ity in nut bear­ing trees. Nuts are bit­ter when raw due to tan­nins which re­quire the fruit to be cooked prior to con­sump­tion (gen­er­ally by boil­ing them in wa­ter sev­eral times, us­ing fresh wa­ter every time). Trees should be planted 33 feet apart. They take up to 40 years to bear fruit.

Bur Oak (Quer­cus macro­carpa) Zone 3

A ver­sa­tile, na­tive tree that can reach a ripe old age of 400. Bur oaks can grow up to 65 feet with an equal spread, they re­quire spac­ing of 32 feet and pro­duce large, mild tast­ing acorns. Trees are smaller the fur­ther north they are planted. It is a wide spread tree due to its abil­ity to thrive in many en­vi­ron­ments. Bur oaks are ex­cel­lent for shade, shel­ter­belts and ur­ban plant­ings. They pre­fer full sun and take 40 years be­fore they will bear fruit. Though mild it is still rec­om­mend to boil out tan­nins.

Korean pine.

Black wal­nut tree.

But­ter­nut tree young fo­liage and catkins.

White Oak.

Bur Oak.

Beaked Hazel fruit.

Shag­bark Hick­ory.

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