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FutureStarrPlants That Grow Near Walnut Trees
Every part of a black walnut tree contains a chemical called juglone, which is what makes it so difficult for other plant life to thrive near a black walnut tree. The juglone is at its highest concentrations in the black walnut tree’s buds, root system, and in the shells of the black walnuts themselves. Juglone is toxic to many plants because it inhibits their respiration, reducing the level of the energy that enables them to gather nutrients and ingest water.
As rain falls over the black walnut tree and down through the layers of soil and rock to join the groundwater underneath, it carries bits of juglone with it into the soil. However, juglone is not very water soluble, so it tends to stay in the soil surrounding a black walnut tree, which is why there seems to be a poor growth zone that extends out from the tree itself. (The soil holds the most juglone within the black walnut tree’s canopy dripline because of the root system as well as decaying leaves and walnut shells that fall there.Don’t compost any part of the black walnut tree. Don’t use any materials from the black walnut tree in compost, or you risk poisoning the soil where you spread the compost instead of enriching it. The juglone that makes a black walnut tree and the soil where one has grown so toxic to most other plants will still be present in compost. This embargo on black walnut tree debris goes for the tree’s foliage (its leaves), bark, branches, twigs, walnuts, walnut shells, and the soil anywhere close to the tree.
Even if you haven’t noticed any black walnut debris as you go about your days, do a walk about once a week, covering just the vicinity of your black walnut trees if the entire property will take too long to inspect weekly. It doesn’t take long for juglones to do serious damage to highly sensitive plants.Parts of the tree may have been carried to faraway parts of the yard by birds, squirrels, and other wildlife or knocked loose by a blustery wind or sudden storm, so you may not even know they’re on the ground until you look for them.If your garden needs some extra help, try raised beds and rich soil amendments. Choosing plants that tolerate juglone well is a giant step toward improving the overall health of your garden. But sometimes you just really want to nurture a plant that’s sensitive to juglone, or you’ve been experiencing trouble growing plants even outside the black walnut tree’s dripline. There are actions you can take to improve the soil your plants grow in and decrease the juglone it contains. Constructing raised beds will let you grow your plants without the tree’s root system sneaking in from underneath. It also helps to keep the ground near the black walnut tree well aerated, and use microbe-enhancing soil amendments like composted leaves or well-rotted manure. (Source: www.gardeningchannel.com)