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Harvesting a Black Walnut Crop

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Black Walnuts in Husk Just Dropped from Tree
Black Walnuts Before Husking

Black Walnuts Before Husking

Photo by Steve Nix, Licensed to About.com
You should allow black walnuts in husk to ripen on the tree and drop naturally or you can shake smaller trees. Do not pick a black walnut from the tree. After collection, you must remove husk and cure the nuts for the best flavor. Air dried is OK but protect from predation.

There are often worms inside the husks that are larvae of the husk fly. These insects seldom damage the nut inside the hard shell so you should not be concerned.

Remember that the black walnut produces a substance that is toxic or "allelopathic" to other plants and is called juglone. Tomatoes and coniferous trees are especially sensitive so take care with husk and seed disposal and do not put in compost. This mild toxin helps the tree keep other vegetation from competing or valuable nutrients and moisture.

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