Walnut Growing

Walnut (Juglans regia L.) takes place in botany in the Dicotiledoneae class, in the Juglandales group, in the Juglandaceae family and Juglans species. The most important of the 18 species whose features have been determined at the present day among the Juglans species, the first one that comes to mind when walnut is mentioned, and with the superior fruit quality, it is the J. Regia which is also called“Anatolian walnut”, “Iran walnut” and “English walnut”.  Walnut species in wild form have found spreading areas in many parts of the world.   However, the homeland of walnut is, according to some people, the Ghilan district of Iran, and according to the others, it is China.  On the other hand, a greater majority shows a larger area as the homeland of walnut. According to the group who supports this, walnut is the natural plant of a large area spreading from the Carpathian Mountains to Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Southern Russia, India, Manchuria and Korea. The Anatolian walnut (Juglans regia L.), which has a big natural spreading area in the World in terms of its origin, has been taken out of its natural spreading area by means of various emigrations and trade caravans, and it is in a state of fruit species whose cultivation is made almost all over the World today except the tropical areas.

World walnut production is 3,458,045 tons in 2013 and Turkey walnut production is 212,140 tons.

Anatolia, as in many fruit species, is also among the homeland regions of walnut.

  1. Composition and Nutritional Value of Walnut

Walnut is a fruit that keeps the essential foods largely that people need to have healthy nourishment. Walnut is the rich source of many phyto-chemical substances. These substances which have antioxidant effects are the compounds of: melatonin, ellagic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids and polyphenols.

Walnut can be consumed raw, unprocessed, directly, but also it can be consumed as roasted, salted and flavored. The inner part of a walnut has a pleasant taste, so it may be used as flavor enhancer in yoghurt, pizza, cake or it can be strewed on salad, dessert, especially walnut ice-cream and other ice-creams. One of the walnut wide applications is utilization in candy industry by adding in biscuits, cakes and desserts.

  1. Plant Characteristics

3.1. Tree Structure and Root

The walnut grows rapidly up to 25-40 m and a tree can cover an area of 300-500 m².

Walnut trees usually have a "flat" crown shape. The "semi-upright and steep" structure also has a crown shape.

The walnuts are pile rooted and capillary root can be found abundantly. Roots can extend to 3-5 m depth.

3.2. Body and Branches

Branching usually begins at a height of 1-2 m above the surface of the soil.

The circumference of the body can grow up to 5-6 m.

3.3 Leaves

The leaves have a very strong, characteristic smell, aromatic and pleasant. They have three, sometimes four pairs of leaflets and a terminal one, the leaflets varying in size on the same leaf, being 2 1/4 to 4 inches in length and 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide, entire, smooth, and shining.

3.4. Flower Structure and Fertilization Biology

Flowers in walnuts are mono-structured. Hence, the male and the female flowers are on the same tree but in different places. In walnuts, pollination occurs with the help of wind.

  1. Ecological (Climate and Soil) Requests

4.1. Climate

Walnuts usually grow well in cool climates. Frost conditions during summer may not suitable for walnut growth. They also do not prefer hot summer areas. Walnut plants are usually damaged at temperatures lower than -20 ° C, but there are varieties that can withstand temperatures up to -40 ° C. Factors such as the degree of low temperature, falling speed, and duration play an important role in damage from cold. The cooling requirement of walnut varieties varies between 500-2000 hours under + 7,2⁰C. For a regular product, the need for cooling in walnuts needs to be met.

In terms of walnut breeding, it is important that at least 500 mm of rainfall per year is sufficient and this rainfall should be regular. Sufficient water should be found in the soil in order to allow the fruit to grow normally. Rainfall during the flowering period and extreme winds may cause a negative situation especially in terms of pollination and fertilization.

  1. Soil

Walnut has a strong root system that can go up to 2-4 m deep. Therefore, problems can arise in terms of breeding in areas where soil depth is low. Walnuts grow well in well-drained deep silt loamy or clay loamy soils which are rich in humus and supplemented with lime. The optimum soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0 would result in good yield and supplement the soil with good zinc and boron is important.


  1. Reproduction

5.1. Generative (Seed) Reproduction

The seedlings that grow in multiplication by seed do not carry any characteristic of the main plant. For this reason, seed propagation in walnuts is not a preferred propagation method due to genetic opening.

5.1.1. Features in Seeds

Walnuts will be used as seeds;

It must be fleshy,

Their development must be complete,

It should be picked from healthy and well-developed trees,

Fruits that have been damaged for any reason should not be used as seeds.

5.1.2. Seed Stratification

Walnuts, like many plant seeds, need a moist and cold environment. This takes 3–4 months for walnuts, depending on the variety, during which they should be kept moist. Keeping seeds in an environment for this purpose is called stratification, and for walnuts can be done in one of the following ways: Keep small amounts of walnuts in moist peat moss or moist sand, inside plastic bags kept in a refrigerator, or in another location between 34 and 41ºF (2–5ºC).For a large quantity of nuts, dig a pit in fast-draining soil, 1 to 2 feet (.3 to .6 meters) deep. Fill this pit by alternating single layers of nuts with 2 inch (5 cm) layers of sand, leaves, or mulch. Cover the pit with screening to keep out rodents.

  • Vegetative Reproduction

Because of the genetic opening, the walnut, which cannot be multiplied by the seed, is multiplied by vegetative reproduction.

  • Budding Reproduction Factors Affecting  the Vaccine Success

Temperature: The ambient temperature is between 23 - 30C.

Humidity: The humidity influences the success in the positive direction.

The experience of the vaccinator: Because the success of the vaccine in walnuts is generally lower than that of the other fruit species, the experience and skill of the vaccinator is vital to the success of the vaccine.

Materials: The materials that used in vaccine must be of good quality.

Scion: Healthy and well-developed annual shoots are taken as vaccination pills.

Time of vaccination: One of the most important factors that increase the success rate of vaccination is vaccination time and it is the best vaccination time when the seedlings leave the crust of the shoots which will be taken vaccination easiest.

  1. Gardening and Annual Maintenance

6.1 Garden

In walnuts, which are very long living and very difficult to replicate with the vaccine, the ecological characteristics of the region must be well known before establishing a garden. Walnut winters are extreme and must be kept in areas where the low temperature is dominant and where summers are extremely hot. Since walnuts have a strong root system that descends deep, the depth of the soil, should be at least 2 - 2.5 m and there should be no impermeable layers. There should be no problems of excess alkalinity and salinity in the soil of the cultivation area.

6.2 Variation

In walnuts, male and female flowers mature at different times (dichogamy). In this case, there are male and female flowers that mature at the same time as homogenous species and varieties, as well as male flowers before maturity (protandry) and female flowers before maturity (protogyny). Therefore, when setting up walnut garden, male and female flowers must be matured at the same time (homogamy), or mixed planting with more than one kind of male and female flowers ripen in the same turn should be preferred.

6.3. Planting

Although the planting intervals vary according to the ecological and maintenance conditions, the ideal planting intervals in walnuts; 10 x 10 m, 10 x 8 m, or 8 x 8 m.

The planting of the seedlings begins during the rest period (from the leaf spread) and the eyes continue to wake up. The removal of the saplings should be done very carefully and care should be taken not to damage the roots. Root trimming must be done especially during the planting. Sewing pits should be opened at least 60-70 cm wide and 80-100 cm deep.

6.4. Soil Cultivation

When the soil is ready in spring, it can be deeply plowed. In this period, soil cultivation is very important in terms of ventilation of the soil as well as control of weed control. In the summer months, weeding can be done in terms of weed control according to the situation. The version to be plowed in the autumn months is important for the handling of the rain and snow in the ground and for keeping it in the ground. Care should be taken not to injure the roots when the soil is being processed.

6.5. Irrigation

Walnut trees are large and have a wide leaf surface. For this reason, it is very important to supply enough water to the walnuts which have excess water loss by sweating. For at least the first two years after planting, whether grown from nut or seed, the walnut tree needs supplemental watering, especially during dry or warm weather. Give the plant a thorough watering, but do not water again until the soil has mostly dried. Frequent watering can harm the plant.

6.6. Fertilization

Walnut is not a very sensitive plant in terms of fertilization unless there is too much of a problem in the soil. However, the most important plant nutrient requirement may be nitrogen due to its structure. According to the results of the soil analysis, the nutrients missing in the soil should be given to the soil in a certain program.

6.7. Pruning

The walnut trees form a large crown. These trees generally do not want too much pruning. Along with that, sniping budgets are useful. In walnuts, as a figure trimming, the peak-pruning system is usually applied, but the type and amount of pruning can also change depending on the purpose of growing the tree and surrounding area.

  1. Harvest

Harvesting in walnuts is considered to be the period of maturation of the walnut and green bark. The period when the hull is opened and the hard shell is separated is the sign of maturation of the green shell. If the sign of maturity of the walnut is; It is the period when the package texture between the walnut and the hard shell begins to brown. For the most part, the green shell grows later than the inner shell. The fact that the harvest is made at the time of the maturity of the walnut will increase the commercial value of the walnut because of the light color of the walnut in this period. However, if the grower is waiting for the harvest time to mature, the quality loss of the crop can be very important.

In walnuts, climate has an important influence on harvest time. In cool climates, the time of ripening of the walnut and the ripening time of the green shell usually coincide. High humidity accelerates the opening of the green shell. An important factor affecting harvest time is the variety cultivated. For example, when the harvest is done correctly and correctly, varieties like Chandler have a light-colored inner color.

7.1. Harvest Methods

In walnuts, harvest is done by two methods; manual and mechanical. In Turkey, harvesting is done by means of a wooden wagon, while walnut farming is carried out mechanically in countries that have a say. In the harvesting of the tree as forgings, it is possible to cause significant damage, especially the branches which will produce the product in the next year.

Harvesting by mechanical means; the tree branches of the main branches of the tree are shaken with various rockers and the fruits fall over the trees.

7.2. Post Harvest

In order to minimize the loss of quality after harvest, the green shell should be easily separated from the hard shell. In some of our regions, covering the green hull with nylon, thick cloth and sack coverings in order to soften it and to make it easier can cause significant quality losses. In some countries, spalling is done entirely mechanically.

After crushing, the walnuts are classified according to their colors and subjected to packing process.

7.3. Drying

Fruits that are not considered to be shelled walnuts should be dried immediately after paring. The drying process is very important for walnut’s storage life.

In our country, walnuts are generally dried outside. In some regions, drying takes place for 7-10 days under the sun. This causes various quality losses such as darkening of the internal color. Hence, this drying method is false. If there is no other drying facility, at least the drying should be done in shadow environments. To sum up, the fruits should not be dried under the direct sunlight. Foreign countries use mechanical methods.

7.4. Storage and Packaging

Since walnuts are high-fat fruits, storage under suitable conditions is particularly important. Because of this, the walnuts can be stored at low temperatures (0-4 ° C) and in dry environments for long periods.

Packaging is a very important step in the marketing of a product. Because of this, it is necessary to make the packaging according to the proper manner of healthy materials, and consumers are attracted in terms of marketing of crusted or inner walnut. Packaging and labeling of walnuts with vacuum plastic bags that do not transmit light is very important for consumers.

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