Black Walnut

Descriptions and uses Black Walnut

Distinctive, dark-colored heartwood, as well as tasty and valuable nuts, make black walnut a highly prized North American hardwood tree. Black walnut is native to the United States, but its numbers have declined significantly.This decline has occurred because of the high demand for the lumber as well as changing land usage brought on by development, urbanization, and conversion of good black walnut land to agricultural use.Black walnut is a well-known tree species, with a natural range covering most of the eastern United States. While an important commercial tree in the central states, black walnut is frequently overlooked as a potential investment alternative in the South. Excepting the Mississippi Valley and Coastal Plains regions, natural range for black walnut includes most of the southern states.Black walnut is unique in that it provides two types of products, nuts and lumber. Most black walnut nuts are packaged and sold for home baking. The remainder is used in ice cream, commercial baking, and candy making.The lumber of the black walnut is far more valuable than the nuts. The best logs are sliced for paneling or decorative veneer. Sawn black walnut is used for high-quality furniture, cabinets, interior joinery, rifle butts and gunstocks, boats, musical instruments, clock cases, carvings, and many other novelty products.Although black walnut tree has been a high-return timber crop for decades, few plantations have been established.Many factors contribute to the lack of interest by landowners. One factor is length of the investment period. Like all other investments in timber plantations, years must pass before cash flow becomes positive.Another factor may be the intensive management required. Black walnut plantations don’t require the intensive management of conventional row crops, but numerous production problems must be overcome for plantations to be profitable.

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