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Juglans Walnut Fernette
Our Juglans Walnut Fernette tree is a self fertile tree which means it will produce nuts without the need of a different type of Walnut near by. Crops are generally improved if one is nearby though. Plant within 100m of your tree ensuring the prevailing wind will take the pollen in the right direction. Good pollinators for the Fernette are the Marbot, Fernor, Ronde De Montignac and Lara walnut trees.
The Fernette Walnut is a cross between Franquette and Lara and is considered a semi-erect shape. It is a typical French variety although we are not sure what typically French means. If you see the Fernette Walnut tree stopping English truck drivers from leaving or entering Calais then this could qualify.
It is a tree that is never on time because it is "late leafing"....ha ha ha...we laughed at our own joke which is sad.
The Fernette Walnut bears good quality nuts and requires little pruning. Pruning as in the cutting and shaping of the tree and not throwing processed plums at it (this is only funny if you know prunes are dried or processed plums!) Also little pruning does not mean sending children or stunted growth adults out with the shears.
The Fernette Walnut has resistance to blight and Codling moth however if you live in a frost prone area the Fernette is probably not the right choice for you as the blooms appear end of April to the start of May. Frost prone areas are usually in the bottom of valleys or areas where a great deal of the pensioners walk about with thermals on rubbing their hands together moaning that they should never have moved to a frost pocket. When blooms are exposed to extreme cold, they can be damaged or killed therefore no crop for that year.
Expect nuts around the second week of October which are easily extracted from their shells. We assume this to be of normal mechanical extraction and not over zealous dads with hammers or Trek fans with teleporters.
Quick Fruit Tree Links
Take a look at our TOP SELLING FRUIT TREES, Wet ground issues then choose a PEAR TREE first, followed by APPLE TREES. For more information on pollination please look at POLLINATION EXPLAINED or choosing the CORRECT POLLINATION PARTNER
Fruit Tree Life Expectancy
Most fruit trees will give you AT LEAST 40 years of fruit. Pears can go to 70. Records of 200 year old trees exist but this is the exception, not the rule.
General Walnut Information
Walnuts can be difficult to establish in their first year and some die back at the shoot tips is to be expected. To improve your chances of getting established quickly, water well and remove all grass and weeds around the base of the tree at approximately 1 metre diameter. Should do well in most soils.
All of our Walnut trees listed in the fruit tree section are usually grafted onto Juglans Regia giving a huge amount of benefits. This includes, earlier fruit production (sometimes as low as 2 years), better resistance to die back from UK weather, disease resistance and more shape/size predictability.
If you are going to pickle your Walnuts then pick them in late June or early July before the shell forms properly.
To improve fruiting you can tie a large cable tie tightly around the base of the tree in May to restrict growth. Remove in Autumn. This process can be done every year until the tree fruits well.
For the purists out there, perfect conditions for Walnut trees are at least 90cm of fertile soil, sunny, away from frost pockets, well drained non compacted soil with a PH value of 5.5 to 7.5, sheltered position and well watered although Walnut trees are drought tolerant. If you have doubts about your soil, mix in compost or well rotted manure with the dirt you dug out of the hole. A ratio of 50:50 will be ok.
Walnuts are quite large trees so expect to be using a 7m x 7m plot of land for the larger species and optimal conditions although training and pruning can change this requirement. A nitrogen rich feed or a quality mulch in early Spring will help keep the tree healthy.
Walnut shells have interesting uses in industry. They are used for cleaning and polishing soft metals, plastics, wood, stone and fibreglass. As a filler in dynamite, paint thickener and wood of choice for gun handles.
It is generally considered a good idea not to grow other plants and trees too close, especially under the trees drip zone as it releases "Juglone" which is a compound toxic to some plants and horses. Birch, Beech and Maple are particularly vulnerable. However, inter-planting with a nitrogen fixing plant such as Elaeagnus × ebbingei, Elaeagnus umbellata,or various Alnus species seems to increase height and girth by up to 30%. Juglans Nigra is particularly bad for this.
Juglans Regia although an ornamental tree will produce nuts but will take a long time, possibly up to 20 years.
The Walnut fruit tree is thought to be the oldest of our fruit trees, originating in Persia with fossil records dating it to 7000 BC. It is thought the Roman Legionaries introduced it to their Empire which sounds typical. Go away on a foreign excursion and bring something back home you never bargained for!
Some Walnut trees have been found that are over 350 years old so it is apt that the fruit they provide should come with health benefits. They are full of unsaturated fats, anti-oxidants and packed with vitamins. They also contain per 100g of shelled Walnut:
65g of fat of which 90% is unsaturated fat
15g of protein
7g dietary fiber
Calories per 100g: 650
per shelled 100g they contain the following vitamins and minerals (source US Department Of Agriculture):
441 mg Potassium
346 mg Phosphorus
158 mg Magnesium
98 mg Calcium
3.4 mg Manganese
3.1 mg Zinc
2.9 mg Iron
1.6 mg Copper
98 µg Folate
0.54 mg Vitamin B6
0.34 mg Thiamin
Walnut Tree Pollination
Most Walnut trees are self-fertile which means they will produce walnuts without the need of a different walnut nearby. That being said, having a different species Walnut nearby (closer the better but you could go as high as 1.5 miles away) will improve pollination and give you a better walnut yield. Planting other trees and plants that attract the insects will also help cross pollination. If you are thinking of have a walnut orchard then consider planting 5% of your Walnuts as a different species and upwind of the others.
The Walnut fruits will be formed on the new seasons growth.
Walnut Tree Pruning
Pruning should be done in the Autumn, before the leaves have fallen and only if absolutely necessary as the tree "bleeds" a lot of sap at the best of times. Dead, diseased or damaged branches should be cut out however those growing inward maybe able to be trained to grow in a different direction by using string or other methods of holding in the desired position. Remember not to tie string tightly around the Walnut tree branch as it will restrict growth. Instead use a loop, rubber tie or other such non restricting method.
Walnut Tree Shaping For Light And Higher Yields
The most efficient shape for a walnut tree is conical with the pointy end going up. This is to allow maximum light to maximum parts of the foliage which in turn relates to higher yields. This is much easier to achieve on a tree that has a main leader. This is one also called the trunk. A single branch that goes from the ground and all other smaller branches come off that one single branch. The lowest branches are allowed to spread as far as they can and the next branches up are pruned to be a little less wide until you reach the top of the tree and the side branches are cut very short. Should you do this the other way round, the upper branches will shade the lower ones.
A bush shaped Walnut tree, one where there are multiple main branches started low to the ground, is best pruned to allow maximum light and air into the centre of the tree.
Training side branches to be more horizontal than vertical should also increase fruit yields.