Death by Black Walnut: The Facts on Juglone Toxicity

I grew up in a part of the Nebraska river bottom where black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) were abundant. I enjoyed picking the nut meat from the shells each year, after my grandmother ran the hard nuts over with her car in the driveway!

While I dreamt of each season’s bounty and Gram’s famous black walnut brownies, I didn’t know that these tasty nuts came with a price.

It wasn’t until my husband and I were well into the landscaping plans of our own 4-acre homestead that we started to notice trouble. Several of our newly-planted apple trees weren’t doing well.

While the cherries, pears, and plums thrived, these poor saplings were wilting, stunted, and sad.

Beloved black walnuts may be a threat to the health of other plants. | GardenersPath.com

The adjacent property had a large walnut tree within 50 feet of our infant orchard. While I had occasionally admired the majestic stature of this tree (and secretly hoped for walnuts to fall on our side of the property line), I didn’t realize that my sudden tree deaths were related to its presence.

Though many I’ve talked to are unaware of its existence, black walnut trees utilize a special survival method that can be fatal to surrounding flora.

What Makes Black Walnuts Toxic?

A chemical known as juglone is the culprit here. Black walnuts aren’t the only trees that produce this no-nonsense defense system, composed of 5 hydroxy-1, 4- napthoquinone. Hickories (Carya) and butternuts (Juglans cinereal) are also to blame, but black walnut trees are known for having the highest concentrations of the stuff.

A chemical from the black walnut can be toxic to other plants. | GardenersPath.com

Juglone is released from virtually every part of the tree, although the roots, nuts, and seeds are the most toxic. This substance serves a purpose in ensuring the survival of the species, but surrounding plants are often subject to unwanted and undesirable consequences.

How Sensitive Plants React

At first glance, the juglone-sensitive plant may appear to be having other issues.

I know that I originally suspected my apple trees were suffering from other maladies. Cedar apple rust is very common here, and it can cause the leaves of apple trees to become mottled and frail.

Black walnut trees are beautiful, but can kill certain plants. Is your garden at risk? Learn more: https://gardenerspath.com/plants/landscape-trees/black-walnut-juglone-toxicity/

When trees started dying, however, I knew this was a cause for concern. Apples 40 feet away from the neighbor’s black walnut were in various stage of expiration. Only the trees growing outside the 60-foot marker, on the other side of our property, were thriving.

If you’re not familiar with the symptoms of juglone toxicity, you may also attribute it to something else.

According to the Morton Arboretum, your plants, trees, and shrubs may exhibit:

  • Wilt
  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Stunted or slow growth
  • Death – sometimes within a few months of exposure

There is no cure for juglone poisoning. The best thing you can do is avoid planting near black walnut trees!

Plants with a Chance of Survival

Not all plants are sensitive to the environment near the tree. But which ones are resistant? If you look at those that grow wild near volunteer juglone producers, you’ll have your answer!

Black walnuts have beautiful foliage but the trees can be toxic to other plants. | GardenersPath.com

When I look outside at the natural, wooded areas of my childhood home, I see plenty of these thriving – often within a foot or two of the trees in question.

Tolerant Trees

Included in the “tolerant” category are the following trees:

  • American Elm
  • Black Cherry
  • Dogwood (includes flowering)
  • Eastern Red Cedar
  • Hickory
  • Locust (most types)
  • Maple (except silver maple)
  • Oak
  • Ohio Buckeye
  • River Birch
  • Sycamore
  • Virginia Pine
  • Yellow Poplar

For the full list, see the Penn State Extension’s guide.

Tolerant Shrubs and Bushes

These shrubs have been identified as resistant to juglone in soil:

The rest of the list can be accessed via the link referenced above.

Tolerant Fruits and Vegetables

You’re safe to grow these around your black walnut tree:

Tolerant Flowers and Vines

The list of flowering plants that can handle being planted next to black walnut is rather long. Enjoy these blooming plants and vines without worry:

Plus, there are dozens of others listed by the Penn State Extension.

Help for Established Gardens and Orchards

So, what if you are in the same situation as I was? What if you have established gardens or orchards, and cannot move the walnut or the affected plants? While success rates in mitigating the damage caused by juglone are low, there are some things you can try.

Juglone Toxicity May Be a Concern if You Grow Black Walnut | GardenersPath.com

Start by ensuring that the seeds, leaves, and nuts of the walnut do not come into direct contact with your sensitive plants.

This may mean installing a protective balcony, fence, or other physical barrier that allows for sunlight and water to come through – but not toxic tree droppings.

In our case, bird netting did keep some of the larger debris that fell from the tree away from plants that were too fragile to be moved right away. If your plants are growing in soil directly above or near the roots of a walnut tree, you can try a raised bed system.

Juglone toxicity caused by black walnut trees can be a threat to other plants. Do you know which ones are at risk? Read more: https://gardenerspath.com/plants/landscape-trees/black-walnut-juglone-toxicity/

While this won’t work for trees or many shrubs, flowers and veggies can be put in a box or container with soil taken from elsewhere. Assuming there is a protective barrier from the soil placed underneath (nontoxic landscape cloth should work), you can keep your soil toxin-free.

One final tip is to keep soil well-drained and adequately watered. Flushing the toxins out of the soil can dilute their effects over time. But this is not a 100% guaranteed solution. The best plan is to keep plants outside of the 50-foot radius that is known to be harmful to them.

It’s also very important that you know where your fertilizer, compost, and mulch come from. Anything that may contain black walnut tree matter poses a risk.

Why Walnuts?

In light of all of this fuss, it may seem that it is just simpler to make sure you don’t have any of these trees on your property.

I strongly disagree with this sentiment. I grew up with these majestic trees providing wind protection, shade, and tasty nuts every year.

They have a long history of affecting the environment in a positive way, and I believe they should be accommodated, if possible.

On the other hand, not everyone has the space to allow for such a fickle tree.

Did you know growing black walnut trees can be a threat to certain plants? Learn more: https://gardenerspath.com/plants/landscape-trees/black-walnut-juglone-toxicity/

If your lot is particularly small, and you do decide that the tree has to go, be mindful of the roots. They can stay in the soil for years, continually releasing juglone into the surrounding area until they finally completely their decay process. Ridding yourself of the great walnut may not be the total solution you were looking for!

Do you have one of these trees in your yard or on your homestead? We’d love to hear about what you’ve done to create an ecosystem where both tree and garden can coexist.

Also, am I the only one with fond memories of shelling the hulls in the driveway? Share your black walnut memories in the comments.

© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

About Linsey Knerl

Born and raised in a small Nebraska town, Linsey Knerl is a homeschooling mother of six who enjoys blogging and working hard on her 3 1/2-acre Nebraska homestead. When she’s not working on her next fantasy novel, you will find her in her kitchen, perfecting the Danish recipes of her grandmother with those special ingredients you can only find in a backyard garden.

40 thoughts on “Death by Black Walnut: The Facts on Juglone Toxicity”

  1. Thank you for spacing guidelines. I moved to the western North Carolina Mountains 4 years ago. Immediately, I planted a small orchard not realizing the beautiful 40′ tall tree about 60 ft away, just over the property line, was a Black Walnut.

    So far our two closest apple trees have been unaffected. My husband removed the BW limbs extending over the property line in order to reduce leaf and nut dropping. We are considering moving the young apple trees to a safer location.

    We have a BW on our acreage, too, about 20 ft from the vegetable garden. No problems there.

    Reply
    • Good luck to your and your apples, Linda! They are beautiful, though they can be messy. When I was growing up we had black walnuts within proximity of our vegetable garden too, as well as tall tulip poplars and other trees. Struggling to grow in what was mostly a shade garden seemed to be much more of an issue than any potential problems from juglone!

      Reply
  2. Planted 12 cedar trees along the rear property line — three on each end do good but the middle six are always dying. Then I was told it is because there is a Black Walnut tree just inside the neighbor’s property next to the cedar trees.

    The end ones are over 8 ft tall and twice as big as the center six trees closest to the walnut trees. Does this sound like the reason for the failure of the centre trees?????

    Reply
  3. No fond memories here, just messes of staining leaves, staining nuts, dodging the falling hard nuts bombs, and sharp cracked shells that hurt your feet from my neighbor’s tree. They don’t belong in a city yard, especially on a property line.

    Reply
  4. My story involved a black walnut that sprouted in my neighbor’s yard. However, because it is growing in a corner where 4 backyards meet – a spot that affects my garden and my neighbor’s – my hands are tied. It is now too big to remove without professional help, which the owner has clearly refused to do. I’ve learned to grow crops that can survive near the walnut tree. My neighbor, on the other hand, is trying to raise his soil and water but I can see his tomatoes are all wilting.

    Eventually, he will learn like I did. Grow only crops that can survive. I grow my tomatoes and peppers in pots away from the walnut. It irks me that I have to do this but I have no choice. I have quite the collection of planters now. I’m hopeful the owner will remove the tree, but not holding my breath. I wish people would educate themselves in what is growing in their yard. They could save their neighbors a lot of pain.

    Reply
    • That is not the only option. You can kill it from your property which is ok where I live. I killed our neglectful neighbors walnut tree by severing the roots to my good soil and bought the wood for $200. His neglected tree comes down and I get a ton of walnut is a win win for me.

      Reply
  5. Thank you for this info. I also grew up in Indiana with a Grandma who would rake her walnuts into the driveway to help crack them. It is a delightful memory.

    I recently moved to where I live against a wild wooded area and there are a lot of walnut trees. A squirrel must have planted one directly on my property line because I just identified it and it is 5 ft + tall. It is in a bad spot and beginning to grow crooked, so I will be removing it, but this made me mindful of the other mature trees not far away. I am planning to replant the wild area that is along my property and seems to be growing mostly ragweed. This list gives me some guidance on wildflowers and bushes that can manage being close to the walnuts.

    I have also shared it with my brother who has a young walnut tree growing close to his house where he had planned to also do landscaping. I think he will be moving his tree further back on the property since he has space.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  6. We have several acres of wooded land scattered with black walnut trees. There are a few along the edges of the woods where we get to enjoy the squirrels. It is quite comical to watch the squirrels bury their walnut, dig it back up, move to another spot and look around like they think another squirrel is watching and going to steal their treasured nut. The squirrels will do this for 30-40 minutes; digging and burying the walnut, then digging the nut up to move to another spot to bury it again. My grown children remember these entertaining events and still love to watch the squirrels in the back yard.

    Yes, we get several black walnut saplings in the spring, but they pull up easily. Unfortunately when we first bought the land, we didn’t know about the juglone toxicity and placed our garden too close to the tree line. After taking a Master Gardener course, I learned which plants were tolerant of planting within 50 feet of a black walnut. Fortunately, I have the land to place my garden far enough away from black walnut trees so I get to enjoy having a garden and having the squirrel entertainment!

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, Suzanne! It’s excellent that you have enough space to enjoy both the squirrels and your garden. 🙂

      Reply
  7. 5 a.m., 2/7/19, got my coffee, Youtube, and you. Problem solving: how do I turn a negative into a positive?

    I have 240,000 pounds of bw hulls, after becoming a huller for Hammons bw co, in ’17 and ’18. I hulled 40,000 pounds by myself in ’17, and in ’18 I got a partner who is retired, like me, and we hulled 80,000 pounds. Our goal this year is to do 160,000 pounds. Since the hulls weigh twice as much as the nut you can easily compute we will have 320,000 pounds of hulls from this year’s hulling. Luckily, my partner has 40 bw trees that he planted and grafted (sparrow) and 20 pecans.

    Spreading the hulls around the trees is good fertilizer for both those trees and hickory trees, by the way. Also one of the hickories is preferred over the others for a delicious flavored nut. That’s all well and good, but my problem is my organic garden. I see this incredible amount of organic biomass as a positive for my need for compost, yearly. This year I will experiment with 18-month-old hulls, combining them with other things- chicken manure, worm castings, etc. I will gladly share my results with you and your contributors.

    6 a.m. and time for more coffee. The enthusiasm is mounting.

    -John Rabeler

    Reply
    • Wow, that is a lot of hulls, John!

      You’re absolutely correct that both hickory and pecan are tolerant since they both produce juglone as well, though in lesser concentrations than bw. As for including the aged hulls in compost for organic gardening, just be sure to keep in mind which plants are tolerant as well as the needs of your soil. Composted hulls are alkaline (sweet). Worm castings are always wonderful, and chicken manure is high in nitrogen and can be great for leafy plants, as long as it is aged. The fresh stuff tends to burn and cause damage, and any plants sensitive to juglone will suffer in the vicinity of bw trees or material. If you’re planting berries, root vegetables, squash, beans, and other plants resistant to juglone, they should do well in soil amended with composted hulls!

      Looking forward to hearing more about this project. For more information from a fellow bw composter, see “Black walnut hulls: turning trash into treasure” on the NCR-SARE’s Field Blog.

      Reply
  8. We have several black walnut trees in the yard and a few along the fence line out along the back 40. The squirrels love them, bury them, dig them, leave holes everywhere in the yard. The dog doesn’t like nearly getting hit in the head by a falling nut while watching the squirrels in the branches. We have run them over, busted them open with a vice, but we don’t really have a harvest. We have our taste and allow the rest to go to nature. I have a dogwood and a purple magnolia I want to plant near a couple of them out back. I thank you for having dogwood on your list. I may find a new spot for the magnolia and put in something else to frame our area. Also, I had planted a shade garden with lamium as a ground cover and we have lost all the lamium in that bed that is within 25 feet of the two large black walnuts.

    Reply
    • They can be a nuisance, can’t they? I remember having to dodge the barrage from above as a kid, and then gathering them from the driveway with my brother for his experiments with making natural dye in buckets in the garage. When the trees are mature, those nuts fall from quite a height!

      As for the lamium- how interesting! Lamium is usually regarded as a plant that does well within range of black walnut. Do you know if you had spotted deadnettle, or some other variety?

      Reply
  9. I find this tread particularly interesting. It appears that Walnuts in addition to the trees resistant to this toxin appears to be some of the favorites to the Chinese Lantern Fly that has been invading parts of Pennsylvania.

    Reply
  10. Great article. 1 more reason to get rid of the huge BW. We had to get rid of a pony and a jackass because I found out about the tree being toxic to them. So I planted a small apple orchard there this year. I keep hoping it will fall over because it keeps leaning. I just need to cut it down.

    Reply
  11. I have a small one growing in the middle of my garden. Just sort of inherited the thing when I moved here two years ago. Immediately gardener friends told me to get rid of it. But, I found out that most Prairie Plants do find around it. The problem for me is actually the growing tree throwing shade and blocking out the sun. I intend to trim branches every winter in the hopes it will not happen. It’s about 10 feet tall right now so not very big. But, I’ve heard it can grow 3 to 4 feet every year in good soil.

    Reply
    • I’m debating on cutting down our 20ft+ black walnut..its growing within 15 ft of two very mature apple trees. after reading this article I’m not sure how they’re still alive but they actually seem to be doing okay..
      At this point though I’m scared of the ramifications of the black walnut I would definitely prefer all the fruit trees to be here as opposed to the walnut….any input would be greatly appreciated.
      They are all beautiful mature trees I would just hate for some of them to start dying off because of the BW????

      Reply
  12. We planted a Green Giant Arbovitae next to a Black Walnut. It is dying. If we remove it and move it can we possibly save it or is it going to die? We had been told they are tolerant but maybe just too much too close? Help!

    Reply
    • Unfortunately there is no cure for juglone poisoning once plants are affected – but arborvitae is generally considered a good companion for black walnut. What symptoms is it exhibiting? Perhaps something else is the culprit.

      Reply
      • we just cut down a black walnut to keep the squirrels from getting the nuts and creating more black walnuts. it took days to get all the nuts and deal with the branches for it was 50 or 40 feet high. It grew from a small bush that i trimmed up, not knowing what it was. We have a pickup truck bed full to the brim with the nuts. it would take a lifetime to hull them and crack them. but i feel some victory over the tremendous power of the tree. it was towering over the roof of a building and shading the yard and hosting several black locust trees that hid in its shadows. i’m sure we did not get all the nuts but have made a huge impact on the integrity of the prairie plants and other things like gardens. any ideas?

        Reply
        • Those hulls are tough, but they will soften if you give them some time. An old fashioned hammer and chisel will work for manual hulling, and in bulk, some growers even like to run them over with their trucks. My stepdad suggested this once when I brought a precious package of macadamias home to Pennsylvania from California- another tough nut to crack! But with a whole truckload, you might want to consider bringing them to a huller and selling them by weight. Depending on your location, this option may be available to you. I’m not sure whether some of the nuts will be rejected if they were picked too soon due to your unconventional method of harvest (ahem) but do a quick search online- hulling stations such as those run by the Hammons company open for the season in several states starting on October 1st.

          If you’re looking for ideas to use them, you can freeze the hulled nuts for long-term storage to use in your baking. I would avoid adding the hulls or leaves to your compost or mulch, since you want to avoid poisoning susceptible plants with juglone. On the other hand, you may want to save some as an effective natural herbicide if your aim is to get rid of plants on your property that are susceptible to juglone. Some even use them in herbal medicine, making tinctures from the hulls. As for the tree itself, walnut is a strong option that’s a favorite in woodworking- you might consider selling or donating the felled tree to a local artist or furniture-maker.

          If you’re looking for ideas to get the rest of the nuts- well, my best advice would be to wait until spring, and see what sprouts! When you say that you cut down the tree, did you also pull the stump? It not, it will likely sprout again. To protect other plants, like you mentioned, make sure you have taken every measure to remove the roots entirely – juglone is found in the highest concentrations there.

          Reply
  13. My beagle loves tossing around the walnuts that fall from the neighbor’s tree. Last night she was up vomiting every 10 minutes for 8 hours and was so weak I thought she would die. Couldn’t figure what caused this until I googled effects of juglone on dogs. Seems it’s extremely toxic to dogs and is responsible for many deaths, liver and kidney failure. My neighbor has refused to remove the tree. My only recourse now is to comb the yard daily and remove the nuts that fall in my yard and nuts the squirrels bury in the yard. Walnut trees have no place in an urban setting.

    Reply
  14. We just bought this city property with a huge-oversized ,majestic sculptured backyard (previous owner spent alot of money there) with two man-made ponds …..full of ornamental rock walkways etc…..We just found out our beautiful backyard of 15 trees of which 6 are black walnut….We have kept our dog from the backyard since the move….me , I love the trees(all mature) and don’t want them touched, as the squirrel action is lovely…..my wife wants to cut them down(dog comes first)….is there a way dog and trees can co-exist?

    Reply
    • Congrats on the new purchase! Sounds like a beautiful yard.

      Black walnuts can be harmful to dogs, particularly if they ingest fallen nuts that have started to mold and rot. It won’t be easy, with six trees on the property, but diligence is key here- if your dog likes to explore the world with his/her mouth and just can’t leave the walnuts alone, you’ll need to pick up the nuts as they fall. Laying tarps beneath the trees during the fall can be helpful, for easy pickup and removal.

      Reply
    • This is a bit random, but aversion therapy is sometimes used in conservation; I don’t know if it would work on a dog, and it would be necessary to check animal welfare laws as to what is legitimate. I think it was used to preserve one of the quoll species that was dying out due to feeding on non-native cane toads which are extremely poisonous. They caught the quolls, took out all the poisonous bits of cane toad, and fed them to the quolls wrapped in the toad skin so they were recognizable – with a mild but harmless drug that induces nausea. After that most of the animals wouldn’t touch further cane toad. If you tried squirting your dog with water or making a noise it hates consistently every time it touched a walnut – perhaps another variety which isn’t poisonous (though beware of mold), it might learn. But use common sense and be aware I have never actually tried it!

      Reply
  15. I live in an urban environment and have an 80+ year black walnut tree on my small rectangular lot. The tree is at least five stories high and is located in the backyard where I’ve held our dog playgroup every Saturday for the last four years. None of our 10-13 weekly dog guests have ever shown signs of being poisoned from the toxic tree roots, sticks, fallen leaves and walnuts (knock on wood :-). The dogs are different breeds and range in age. Of course, I didn’t know Black Walnuts were toxic to dogs back when I formed the playgroup.

    Reply
  16. Thank you for the informative article. I had planned to add the rot from a disintegrating stump into the combo. Now I will not. We too so enjoyed the nuts from the tree but it was huge, old and eventually had to be removed. As for the driveway method of cracking nuts, yes we had the same. But most interesting were the crows picking nuts, then dropping them onto the driveway to crack them open; then, of course., competing to see which bird could get there first! Really fun to watch.
    Cheers, Tracy Raynolds

    Reply
  17. We have a black walnut tree within 10 feet of our home. This year we did 3 container tomato plants on our back deck to notice curled, drooping leaves and a darkening of those leaves almost like a soot but it does not rub off. I have container herbs near those tomatoes and those are fine. Is juglone airborne where it could be affecting my tomato plants or could it be something else?

    Reply
    • Juglone isn’t airborne, though any leaf matter or nuts that fall into the containers would contain juglone that could leech into the soil. It sounds like your tomatoes may be experiencing an unrelated issue.

      Leaf curl or leaf roll can be caused by dry weather or inadequate watering. Are the leaves black all over, or do they have spots? It sounds like the problem may be septoria leaf spot, or perhaps early blight.

      Container-grown tomatoes need to have enough room for their roots to spread, so planting in large, deep containers is recommended. They need to have adequate drainage holes, and should be watered deeply every couple of days. If an entire plant hasn’t been affected, you could try removing the damaged leaves, and maintain a regular watering schedule. Hopefully your plants will perk up and produce some fruit before the end of the season!

      Reply
  18. I have an English walnut I planted behind my house for shade. It’s about 15 feet away from my back door sidewalk. I have 5 rose bushes growing near the back of my house. I am wondering if they will be affected by the juglone in the walnut tree? I don’t want to cut this tree down, but if I have to I will. I’ve noticed that my garden, which is near this walnut tree, has been in a very sorry state the last 2 summers. And I also have a rhododendron bush nearby, which is about 20 feet tall. A few years ago, I dug up what I knew was a baby tree. Was surprised to see it attached to an English walnut that a squirrel buried and forgot about. So I put it in a pot and let it grow for a few years and then planted it where it is. Had no idea walnut trees produced juglone. And I also just planted 4 lilies near my back steps and juglone is toxic to lilies. But they are growing.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your message, June. English walnut actually produces juglone in lower concentrations than black walnut, so that’s a plus. Rather than cutting the tree down, I would encourage you to plant tolerant flowers and shrubs in the vicinity instead, and consider moving the roses to another location. Roses, rhododendrons, and Asian hybrid lilies are susceptible to juglone toxicity, but daylilies are not.

      Reply
  19. I live just south of St. Louis, Mo and back to wooded common grounds. We have a lot of black walnut trees with silver maples and redbuds less then 15 feet away. I do notice that the silver maples closer to the black walnut trees do not get any pretty fall colors. They mainly go from green to brown without much of the pretty yellows. But they are quite large. They are all self seeded, and have been here long before I built my house almost 20 years ago.
    Thank you for your article. I will continue to collect the fallen nuts so that they don’t cause any further toxicity to the soil. I just wish I could figure out how and when I can crack them open.

    Reply
    • Hi Stacey,

      I had never heard of black walnuts causing other trees to fail to produce colorful autumn leaves, but since juglone would certainly act as a stressor, I can see how that might happen!

      While I never got around to harvesting black walnuts myself during the short period of time I had one in my backyard, I’ve heard some good tips on harvesting them.

      You have to first remove the outer layer that is green, and then later turns black. If this layer is soft when you press a fingernail against it, the nuts are supposed to be ripe.

      Once you have that outer layer off, wash them, then let them dry. You can store them with the shells on until you’re ready to crack them. And when it’s time to crack open your black walnuts for eating, you can use a nut cracker like this one.

      Reply
  20. We bought a home in AS Michigan, in a subdivision with a country feel. Large nature trees,lots of wildlife. Flag lots that are large. We bought where there was a huge majestic black walnut tree, so majestic and what a beautiful tree. People who could see into the back would stop to look at this beauty. I feel in love and hoped for a rope swing for my grandchildren. Then Fall came, then walnuts came. Everyday for 2-3 hours I picked up and hauled walnuts. The squirrels chewed the shells and so many messes to clean.I have never seen so many walnuts, you will roll your ankle on them if you aren’t careful.The following year came and a massive amount of walnuts again. This time I noticed the shells would split when they fell. As I was cleaning them , much to my horror I noticed in the shells as soon as they fell and split there were maggot type worms coming from them and crawling into our dirt. I almost threw up. Same the following year. Nothing seemed to kill those worms. This past year only a painful fell so I looked it up and found they don’t always produce every year. I was grateful however a bad storm came and took a large limb down we had to pay 800 to have it trimmed. Then one morning out of the blue I heard a thundering crash so loud neighbors ran out. I felt my floor in my brick house shake. Thank God no one was outside near that tree. A huge section of the tree had broken away taking out our back chain link fence. Our yard was covered in debris. We had to have that tree cut down. It had another large limb that had a split and couldn’t chance it hurting someone or a deer that might be nearby. They left the stump flat to the ground. How long will that jugalone be here? I would love to post a photo of that beautiful majestic tree. I cried a little when they cut it down. Messy yes but a real beauty.

    Reply
    • Hi Barbara,
      It sounds like you’ve had quite the saga with your walnut tree! It’s always hard to see a big majestic tree cut down – I find it heartbreaking. Please do post a photo of your tree if you have one. I’d love to see it and I’m sure others would too.

      By the way, those worms you were seeing in the walnuts were husk fly maggots. They don’t always damage the nuts inside – as their name implies, they focus on eating the husk – but sometimes they can cause damage to the nuts if the infestation is earlier in the summer.

      The roots of the tree are still in the ground and are now decomposing (and will be for a long time), and they contain juglone too. Exactly how long it will take the juglone in the soil and the decomposing roots to break down would depend on many different factors. if I were you I would focus on planting in that area only things that are resistant to juglone, as listed in this article.

      Maybe planting another juglone-tolerant tree in its place would help you feel better about losing the tree? I know it would for me.

      I hope this helps!

      Reply
  21. I was born in 1960 and running over them with a vehicle was our preferred way of hulling black walnuts. I remember one time I went to school and the teacher saw my hands and said, “Shelling walnuts, huh?” with an understanding smile. It was my job to hull and shell probably a thousand black walnuts every year for probably 6-8 years. The walnuts were from our property close to Rosebys Rock, WV. I live in Ohio now and have a few black walnut trees on my property back in the woods where they are surrounded by maple, persimmon, and wild cherry trees. I had never heard of Juglone disease until I came upon your article. Thanks for enlightening me!
    Chuck Tkach

    Reply

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