The benefits of gray walnut for our health and the rules of cultivation
The gray walnut is a tall, deciduous tree with a beautiful, neat crown native to North America. Its delicious fruits are appreciated not only in cooking, but also in alternative medicine. Thanks to the beautiful, “openwork” crown, the gray walnut is loved not only by American, but also by Russian gardeners. It is grown to decorate garden plots and obtain useful fruits..
Gray walnut – the main features of the tree
The gray walnut belongs to the deciduous trees of the Walnut family. It got its name from the gray tint of the bark on the branches. The tree is highly decorative, therefore it is often used in the landscape design of parks and gardens..
Description of the gray walnut:
- The root system is rod-type, with numerous lateral root-processes.
- The height of the tree reaches 25-35 m. The crown is neat, spherical.
- The trunk is straight, powerful, its diameter reaches 70-100 cm.
- The branches are strong and powerful, covered with a smooth light gray or dark gray bark.
- The leaves of the walnut have an unusual shape, reminiscent of the Manchu nut. They are located on the branches alternately. Length of sheet plates up to 50-70 cm.
- The underside of the leaves is light green in color, the top is darker, with light pubescence. With the onset of autumn, the color turns yellowish brown.
- The flowers are large, round, greenish-yellow in color. Flowering lasts until September, after which nuts are formed..
- The fruits are oblong, with a sinuous and ribbed brown shell. They are located on petioles 8-10 cm long.
- Nut kernels are small, up to 2-2.5 g. They have a pleasant, buttery taste..
- The average age of a gray nut is 120-150 years.
The gray walnut is the most frost-resistant tree on the American continent. It tolerates a drop in air temperature down to -35 ° C. Therefore, the tree can be grown in any climatic conditions..
Growing a gray nut
The cultivation of a gray nut is quite difficult and laborious, since the tree is notable for its poor survival rate, it is often exposed to various diseases and attacks of pests. But when optimal conditions are created, each gardener will be able to grow a beautiful tree with tasty fruits in his area..
The tree is very demanding on soil and environmental conditions. It does not tolerate drought, transplanting and low levels of humidity. He needs a nutritious, fertile soil. Gray walnut is not afraid of drafts and direct sunlight, so it can be planted in open areas.
Gray walnut in the Moscow region is grown both by seed and vegetative methods, each of which has its own characteristics.
Growing a nut from seeds
For growing gray walnuts from seeds, you can choose both the spring and autumn months. Seeds tolerate frost well and do not freeze. But they require long-term stratification, which should last at least 5 months. To do this, they are laid out in wooden boxes on wet sand on the edge, covered with the same sand and left at a temperature not higher than + 7 ° С.
Seed preparation before planting:
- fill the stratified fruits with warm water and leave for 10 days, remembering to change the water daily;
- for accelerated preparation, pour the fruits with hot water, then place in wet sand and leave until the first shoots appear.
Plant the prepared seeds to a depth of 6-8 cm with the sharp end up. They do not need to be covered and looked after, but after the first shoots appear, regular loosening of the soil and removal of weeds is imperative. During the first year, seedlings reach 20-25 cm in height.
Gray walnut seedlings can be purchased at gardening stores or specialist nurseries. When planting, you need to take into account the size of an adult tree and select the appropriate area. For active growth and good fruiting, a gray nut needs a lot of space..
Nut planting technique:
- Prepare a planting hole for the tree with a depth of 50-55 cm and a diameter of about 40 cm.
- Fill a drainage layer with a thickness of at least 10-15 cm at the bottom of the planting hole.It can be broken brick, fine rubble or gravel.
- Prepare a nutritious substrate for the gray walnut from garden soil, compost and river sand in equal proportions.
- Drive a support into the hole and attach a seedling to it, then gently straighten the roots.
- Fill the hole with soil and lightly tamp.
Water the seedling and cover it with compost or sawdust. The layer of mulch will hold the moisture needed for the roots of the walnut. The seedlings need to be watered every day, and the soil should be loosened regularly for better oxygen access..
Care for gray walnuts
The gray walnut does not tolerate drought and insufficient air humidity very poorly, so regular watering is the main rule when caring for it. It is advisable to moisten the tree every day, pouring 2 buckets of water under each. In dry and hot summers, the volume of water should be doubled.
The need for daily and abundant watering is one of the difficulties in growing gray walnuts. Many gardeners plant a tree close to a natural or artificial body of water to make it easier to water it..
In August, the gray walnut can be fed with fertilizers. For this, a solution is prepared from a tablespoon of double superphosphate and 10 liters of water and is introduced into the trunk circle.
At the end of autumn, sanitary pruning of the walnut crown is carried out. All diseased, old and damaged shoots are removed. But it must be borne in mind that the wide-round shape of a gray walnut does not lend itself to forming.
Diseases and pests
One of the difficulties in growing a gray walnut is its vulnerability to diseases and pests. Most often, the cause of such lesions is mistakes in the gardener in agricultural technology..
Common diseases of gray walnut:
- black spot;
- root cancer;
- bacterial burn;
When black or brown spots appear on the leaves of a nut, the tree must be treated with a Bordeaux mixture or solutions of antifungal drugs, for example Vectra.
If growths (galls) have appeared on the surface of the leaf plates, this indicates a defeat by ticks or nutcrackers. In this case, the most effective treatment of trees with biological preparations – Fitoverm, Bicol, Akarin, Dachnik, Bitoxibacillin.
Useful properties of gray walnut
The beneficial properties of gray walnut are due to its extremely rich natural composition. Nut kernels contain several dozen active substances – vitamins, micro- and macroelements, nonessential and irreplaceable amino acids, as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega.
The benefits of gray walnut:
- improved blood circulation;
- elimination of inflammatory processes;
- strengthening the immune system;
- restoration of the elasticity of blood vessels;
- normalization of blood cholesterol levels;
- cleansing the body of toxins and toxins;
- improvement of liver function and restoration of hepatocytes;
- acceleration of recovery after illnesses and operations;
- strengthening the cardiovascular system.
Oil is extracted from the kernels of the gray walnut, which is used in cooking and cosmetology. It speeds up skin healing for acne, cuts, abrasions, wounds and burns. The oil is added to cosmetics to combat wrinkles and dry skin.
Gray walnut juice is used in folk medicine for inhalation for flu and colds. This natural remedy helps fight coughs, reduces redness and inflammation in the larynx, cleanses the bronchi and makes breathing easier..
Nut kernels are used in cooking similar to walnuts, for the preparation of pastries, fruit salads and baked goods..
The fruits of the gray walnut have a minimum of contraindications. These include only a stomach ulcer, thrombophlebitis, exacerbation of gastritis and allergic intolerance.
The gray walnut is a beautiful and powerful tree that is popular with gardeners and landscape designers. Its cultivation requires the creation of favorable conditions and adherence to the rules of agricultural technology. But as a result, you can not only decorate the garden plot, but also get a generous harvest of tasty and healthy fruits..