By James Wall with Dennis Ting.
Walnut trees are not a big seller but we do like them here at Gardenworld. I can recall watching the Tour de France and seeing Gabriel Gate’ wandering through a very old plantation, and of course there was our famous blog story by one of our staff Dennis Ting who has one large tree growing in suburban Melbourne. He successfully used curtain lace to hide the nuts from the cockatoos.
Dennis has now sourced some walnut trees from Walnuts Australia Nursery in Tasmania who have developed orchards in north eastern Tasmania and Riverina totalling 600,000 trees. They have trialed many varieties of walnuts from Europe – France, Italy, Spain and the United States – newly developed Californian varieties resulting from active breeding programs.
We at Gardenworld have selected two Californian walnut Varieties – “Chandler” and “Howard” to offer to customers for the following reasons:
Late leafing out with warmer and drier weather (Oct – Nov) so reduces risk of the major disease “Walnut Blight” infecting the tree on early leafing out cultivars.
Lateral bearing so many lateral buds on a shoot have flower buds and not just the terminal bud on older varieties so increased yield.
More compact size as used in hedge rowing in commercial orchards to 4 metres tall and mechanically pruned so can be regularly pruned without any ill effects.
Self pollinating as the tree ages (3 – 4 years) so only one tree is required to set a full crop while older varieties definately required two or more trees.
Heavy regular crops as a locally grown “Chandler” tree set 10 kg of nuts at 10 years of age.
Difference between Chandler and Howard not much except Howard nuts may be slightly larger.
These trees were harvested bare-root, wrapped in hessian, put on a boat and sent to Port Melbourne. We picked them up from there, potted them in 300mm pots and offer them for $85. When you think of their journey, I think you will agree they are of very good value. We don’t make much on these, but then, we do love our walnuts.