The Q&A Archives: Planting Trees from Seed

Question: Tell me everything I need to know to plant Butternut trees and Black Walnut trees from seed (in Hubbard County, Minnesota). I think this is still Zone 4, bordering on Zone 3. Thank you!

Answer: Butternut is Juglans cinerea and Black Walnut is Juglans nigra. Both have the same requirements; harvest fruits when they fall to the ground and allow the husks to turn a brownish black (indicating maturity). While the husks are still slightly soft, peel them away. Natural germination usually occurs the spring following the seed fall, but you can break dormancy by mixing seeds together with moistened potting soil and refrigerating for 3-4 months. Remove from refrigerator and sow one-inch deep in a mixture of moistened potting soil and sand. Viable seeds will sprout in about 60 days when kept temperatures of 68F-86F. When trees are 1-2 years old they can be transplanted from pots directly into the garden.

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