The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Let’s discuss location: Do you know where you want to plant your new nut trees? Avoid many future problems by considering all aspects of the planting spot, such as:
Is a pollinator variety present? Cross-pollination by a different variety, of the same type of tree, is key to the success of many fruit trees. In most cases, its absence is why trees don’t bear fruit or produce poorly. Some nut trees are self-pollinating, but will yield a larger crop if pollinated with another variety.
Your tree would love a sunny place with well-drained, fertile soil. But it will be quite satisfied with six to eight hours of sunlight. Good drainage is required to keep your trees “happy.” If your soil has high clay content, use our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or add one-third peat to the soil at planting time. We do not recommend planting fruit trees in heavy, pure clay soils.
If you’d like your tree to become a landscaping asset, choose the planting place with this in mind. Imagine it as a full-grown tree and check everything out: Wires overhead? Sidewalk underneath? Does it obstruct something you want to see? Can you keep an eye on it from the house? Will other trees be in the way, allowing for their additional growth in the meantime?
Even a year or two after planting, your tree will be very difficult to transplant. So take the time to plant it in just the right place.
Once you’ve found out firsthand about the goodness of growing nuts, you’ll want to expand your home orchard. It’s important to plan for tree spacing so that the future growth areas will be ready when you are.
Successfully establishing a young nut tree in your yard starts with your planting site and method. Once a tree is established, it needs little assistance to grow and produce; but you’ll want to make sure you give your tree the best foundation possible.
Nut trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil nutrients and pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. For chestnuts, your ideal soil pH should be 6.0-7.0. Steer clear of soils that are extremely heavy or poorly drained.
Preparing your soil before you plant will greatly improve your tree’s performance and promote healthy, vigorous growth. It is a good idea to have your soil tested to determine if it is lacking in any essential minerals and nutrients. This can be done through your County Extension Office or with one of our digital meters.
The goal of soil preparation is to replenish vital minerals and nutrients, as well as break up and loosen any compacted soil.
Soil preparation can be done at any time that the ground is not too wet or frozen. Your trees may be planted even when temperatures are quite cool. If a hard frost is expected, it is advisable to delay planting for a while until temperatures become more moderate. Generally, as long as your soil is workable, it is fine to plant.
Your lawn can provide you with ideal organic materials such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. Not only will the grass and leaves break down to provide soil nutrients, but they will help loosen the soil as well. You can gather these in the fall with spring planting in mind.
Adding organic materials, such as our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium and compost will improve most every soil type. Organic materials bind sandy soil particles so they retain moisture and nutrients better. They also break apart clay and silt particles, so that water can infiltrate and roots can spread.
Fertilize your tree in the spring with a well-balanced fertilizer. Sprinkle the fertilizer at the drip line of the tree.
Every tree has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your tree encounters. If available, disease-resistant trees are the best option for easy care; and for all trees, proper maintenance (such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, spraying, weeding, and fall cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.
This small wasp is a serious problem in the southern United States. It causes galls to form on growing shoot tips, stopping nut production.
The adult lays eggs in the developing nuts. Larvae hatch and feed on developing kernels. Over winters in fallen nuts. NOTE: fall clean up is essential.
Whitish-gray powdery mold or felt like patches on leaves and nuts. Leaves may drop early, weakening the tree. Nuts may have ‘shuck split’ and shriveled kernels.
Adult is metallic green beetle, which skeletonizes leaves. Larvae are a grub, which feeds on turf roots. Check turf product labels for timing of control of grubs. This is more of the problem is east of the Mississippi river.
Small reddish-purple spots appear on young leaves then enlarge and eventually dropping out of the leaf blade leaving a “shot hole.” It appears on fruit, usually in clustered as light brown spots or lesions with dark purple margins.
Small orange brown area appears on the bark of a branch. Sunken canker may appear and the bark may split. Yellowish-orange tissue breaks through the bark of the canker. The canker spreads around the branch causing it to wilt and die.
It causes weak plant growth and the development of small yellow leaves. Terminal growth may be stunted or die back. Plants often collapse and die during hot weather.
Hairy caterpillars that enclose large areas in webbing and feed on enclosed leaves. Remove web with rake and burn. Caterpillars are pulled out with webs.
Most potted nut trees need very little initial pruning, but as the trees get older, corrective pruning may be necessary. Keep these pointers in mind:
Spraying is important to the survival of your trees. To handle potential diseases and pests, reference the guidelines below to know what you should spray, and when you should use it.
Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.
Except in times of drought, you probably won’t need to water after your tree is established. Until then, follow these guidelines to get your new trees off to a great start.
Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown nuts? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the the benefits of your labor: the best time to pick nuts from your tree, and how to store the nuts.
Under good conditions, a chestnut tree will have its first worthwhile yield 4 to 5 years after planting. It could take a few years longer under less than ideal conditions due to disease, insects, drought, etc.
It is best to harvest every other day for 3 to 4 weeks to maintain nut quality. For the best quality and size, chestnuts should be left on the tree to fall naturally soon after burs split open and then harvest promptly. This usually occurs from September through October.
Gloves should be worn unless tongs are used to pick from the ground. Remove the nuts from the burrs as soon as possible after harvesting. Discard any with wormholes or other signs of damage. Do not shake or knock the nuts from the tree until the nutshells have turned brown. They are subject to animal depredation and may dry excessively if left lying on the ground too long after they fall.
Fresh chestnuts (in shell) can be kept in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place for several months. For long-term storage you will need to dry them first, then refrigerator or freeze. When drying nuts good air circulation is important. They need to dry between 2 to 4 days depending on the temperature. Nuts will be hard when dry and can be rehydrated in boiling water. Store in tightly sealed containers.