Nut and Other Trees

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“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” Greek Proverb.

Dear readers, I hope you read my last blog about our fruit orchards, or at least looked at the many pictures of the beautiful trees and fruit. This time, I’m going to tell you about our experience with nut trees, and there will be no lovely pictures of pecans or walnuts. How I wish there were, but nut trees take several years to produce, and unfortunately, we don’t have that much time. We planted a few, anyway, in hopes that our children might bring us some nuts when they visit us in the nursing home! However, it appears that nut trees don’t like us, anyway. Here is our experience:

As it so happened, Stark Brother’s Nursery had a sale on nut trees right after we finished planting the fruit trees, so we placed an order. Then, it so happened that Larry had another unexpected surgery – a hernia repair this time. Boy, he knows how to time them, so Todd had to dig more holes for us. By the time the trees came, Larry was able to do the planting.

A big hole.

A little nut tree

We haven’t had as much luck with the nut trees. In fact, nearly no luck at all. The two English walnut trees took off, looked beautiful, and soon needed a bigger enclosure. After we did the work to provide them with more room, we noticed they had a disease. We can only hope they will grow out of it, but they don’t appear to be. We are bummed because we love English walnuts and they were growing so well.

Let me out of here!

Room to stretch and grow for a while longer.

Then there are the pecans. We first purchased two seed-grown Missouri Hardy Pecans. One died, and we have replaced it twice. We’ll see if this last one is alive in the spring. Without a pollinator, maybe the one left will just be good firewood someday. We then tried two grafted pecans. Honestly, I’m not sure how many of those we replaced. Sad, because we also love pecans, and I have the best recipe for pecan pie.

Continuing on. We found a place for two filbert, also called hazel nut trees. They started out alright, looking beautiful the first summer, but then both were dead the following spring. We replaced them last fall, so we’ll see. We love hazelnuts and they, like other nuts, are so good for our health.

We have one nut tree that is hanging in there: A self-pollinating almond we planted in the house yard. Do you suppose ….

Good thing the grocery store has nuts!

Quote: “There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” Janet Kilburn Phillips

When I remember this quote, it allows me to try new gardening adventures without any guilt if they don’t work out.

Other trees:
Although we have many wild mulberry trees in the lower field, we purchased a mulberry tree that produces extra sweet, 1 1/2 inch-long fruit. Yes! We got to taste test those last year, and they lived up to our expectations.

Then, Larry was inspired to plant a butternut tree after we read about them in the book “Little Heathens” by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. The book is about rural life in Iowa during the depression years. Since we are both from Iowa, we could relate to many of the stories, and are thankful this time and place has been recorded for history. Now, concerning the tree, I think we can refer back to the Greek Proverb at the beginning of this blog!

I’m going to end with my own quote that you might want to remember right now: “Perhaps one should never look at a Stark Brother’s Catalogue in January. Like post childbirth, you soon forget the labor, and new trees will arrive in April!”

Happy planting!