We have quite a few Black Walnut trees on our property and they create several problems. First of all, there are a lot of things you can’t plant near them because they have toxins in their root system and bark that things like apples and pears don’t like – so we have to keep them apart. Then, the bark or chipped wood is also toxic to horses – so we have to keep them apart. And then, they provide food for the squirrels who are multiplying like rabbits on our property – so we need to keep them apart! I’m not sure how.
In addition to those problems, they drop these green-husked balls the size of hand grenades all over the yard. They are like ball bearings. If you step on one, it’s likely to take you for a ride. And trying to cut the grass with all these hand grenades all over the place sends them shooting in different directions and/or dinging up the lawn mower blades.
I spent the better part of a day raking them up, filling a 5 gallon bucket and moving them into some of the underbrush where we don’t cut the grass. But it wasn’t “a” 5-gallon bucket, it was 20 trips with the 5-gallon bucket, and that’s only from two trees, and more are continuing to fall as we speak.
Putting them in a pile is like creating a squirrel grocery store. That isn’t going to help solve the squirrel problem, and over time – we’ll have thousands of new black walnut trees sprouting from the black walnut patch.
I contemplated husking them, shelling them and picking out the nut meats – for about two seconds until I remembered that:
- I’d need a corn sheller to run the husks through to peel off the tough green outer layer
- I’d need rubber gloves because otherwise my hands would be permanently stained black (well, almost permanently – it takes a long time to get those nails clean again), and
- I’d probably only get a pound or two of nut meat for all my hard work.
So, I called the cooperative extension service and left a voice mail to find out if anyone has a commercial black walnut shelling operation around here. Since they still haven’t called me back, I guess the squirrel grocery store is open for business.