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Late Walnut Trees

I have two walnut trees, both planted maybe 10 years ago. They are both alive, but they only come into leaf in early July, so they get at best 4 months of growth each year and are still rather small. Is this usual, or can anything be done to encourage them to leaf in May (or April)?


  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Do they get plenty of sun? I suspect that walnuts need plenty of sun to ripen the wood. They grow to the size of forest trees so may only get going when considerably older than 10 years.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,526
    They do take a very long time to get going, at least 10 years before you see walnuts, sometimes years more...

    I inherited a youngster, which I think is maybe 7 years old. It was a very spindly, neglected specimen about 3m tall, with a few sad-looking, yellowing leaves. I cut out the leading stem to encourage it to branch out, pruned up to a third off the other branches, cleared a 1.5m circle of weeds and grass from the base,  piled on a load of homemade compost and mulched with leaf mould (keeping a little circle around the trunk clear of compost/mulch) and gave it enormous quantities of water, about 10 x 12L cans over 2-3 days, then a thorough soaking every week or so. It is now totally transformed into a healthy, well-branched, leafy green tree. It gets dappled shade for most of the day with maybe 2-3 hours of direct sun. 

    So with a bit of tlc as above, you might be able to encourage it to leaf out more/earlier, but don’t hold your breath for nuts!
  • Thank you for your thoughts. I'll try the compost and pruning for shape, but in fact the trees don't look unhealthy: they just come into leaf very late, so have less time to grow before autumn comes around again. They are both in full sun and at the more sheltered end of the garden.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    Where are you?   Near our last house in rural central Belgium a chap planted a huge field with over 100 walnuts - fertile soil, full sun and no lack of rainfall.  Frequent hard winters.  They never showed leaves before the end of May and often mid-June.

    In this garden we have a youngster of 30 or so years and 2 much bigger, older trees.   We had a cold winter for here and a long, cool spring.   No leaves on them till mid to late May this year.

    I suspect yours may just be needing more feed and more water as it's been a dryish winter after a heatwave and drought last summer in many parts of the UK.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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