Walnut Tree Farming

Checking walnut trees

My Dad retired from the National Park Service 18 years ago. One of his retirement projects is a farm he named Red Bud. In a series of circumstances this farm has not been cultivated or grazed in 13 years. The back line of the farm shares a boundary with federally preserved land. Red Bud has returned to its natural state. While our extended family thinks he is nuts, we enjoy driving around the farm on a 4-wheeled mule watching the seasons change, cataloguing the native plants and flowers, seeing the variety of bees and butterflies drawn to the plants, seeing what new plants birds bring in, picking blackberries and having family campfire cookouts. The lease fees are not worth ending the pleasure and enjoyment the family has on the farm.

Fresh Walnuts

One of the most prolific growths on the farm has been Walnut trees. Their growth and continued expansion is fascinating. Managing the trees keeps Dad active and happy.

Clearing a path to young walnut trees that need trimming.
Trimmed Tree
Walnut trees drop their leave very quickly. Young, bare Walnut trees in the foreground.
Another project is killing out the invasive, not native Tree of Heaven as it competes with the Walnut trees. This is the mother tree, which was probably planted many years ago, that feeds the entire root system of its offspring.
Cutting down a Tree of Life does not remove the life-supporting root system, so we are slowly working on the mother to take out the system and her offspring.

9 thoughts on “Walnut Tree Farming

  1. shoreacres says:

    Your extended family may think your dad is nuts (pun not intended) but I think he’s a hero. Are those black walnuts? I suspect so, since we used to get our black walnuts from Arkansas. I remember the stain from the husks, and how difficult it was to crack them.

    We also have an invasive from China that’s running rampant here: Chinese tallow. It’s a particularly hard tree to educate people about, because its colors in fall are a combination of vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds. For two weeks it’s gorgeous. The rest of the time, it’s busy out-competing natives.

    There’s a blog I follow that you and your father might be interested in. It’s about the restoration of an urban forest in the St. Louis area, which is near enough to you that many of the species would be the same. The woman who writes the posts is knowledgeable and a good writer. The blog is “One Forest Fragment” — you can find it here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah Davis says:

      I agree, Dad is a hero. We kids plan to continue with the farm as is when it passes on to my brother. Those black walnuts will send my nephew to college.

      I have found most people no longer have any connection to the land. The most time they spend outdoors is rushing to or from a car.

      Thanks for the blog!!!! I did not have time for a deep dive this morning. I’ll spend more time reading later today.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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