UACES Facebook Walnut


(August 2010)

QuestionWe live in Bella Vista and have several large black walnut trees on our property. We have tried a crape myrtle and a red tip but both died. What is it about the black walnut trees that cause shrubs and bushes to die? Can you recommend any thing that will grow when planted 16 to 20 feet from a walnut tree?

AnswerBlack walnuts produce a chemical called juglone, which occurs in all parts of the tree, especially in the buds, nut hulls, and roots. The leaves contain smaller quantities and can leach juglone into the soil if they are left on the ground after falling. Many plants are adversely affected by the juglone, but it is more typical of plants within the drip line of the tree. For small flowering trees that are not affected try dogwood, redbud, fringe tree or serviceberry. Shrubs include forsythia, viburnums, altheas and sumacs. Try to plant things that are adversely affected at least 40 feet away and don't use the leaves as mulch. If you can create a raised bed that can also help.

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