It may still technically be winter, but that doesn't mean that you can't start planning which trees you want to plant when spring arrives. If you are looking for a beautiful tree to grow in your yard, consider planting a black walnut. They are a medium growing tree, hardy in the U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 through 9. Not only does the black walnut provide you with edible nuts, they provide ample shade. Black walnut trees are easy to plant and they will grow in almost any kind of soil.
Find a location that offers the full sun exposure. There should be a distance of 60 to 70 feet from your flower or vegetable gardens. Black walnuts release a substance called juglone, which is toxic to many flowers and vegetables.
Remove the grass or weeds growing in a 4-foot diameter circle. Walnut trees grow better if they don't have to compete for moisture and nutrients.
Dig a hole in the center of the cleared area that is three times larger than the diameter of the container, but keep the planting depth the same as the rootball. Loosen the soil at the bottom and sides of the hole with the end of your spade or shovel. This allows the roots to easily grow through the walls of the hole.
Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain away naturally. This ensures that moisture goes deep into the soil for the roots to reach toward. When the water has drained way, you can plant the tree.
Remove the pot from your black walnut tree. Lay the tree on its side. Grasp the tree at the base close to the soil line and then pull it from the pot. The container should pull off easily, but sometimes they have been growing in the pot for years, and has become root bound. If this is the case, cut the pot away with a sharp utility knife.
Inspect the rootball for visible roots. Gently tease the roots away from the sides f the rootball with your fingers. If you leave the roots growing in this way, they will continue to grow around the rootball, slowly choking the tree to death.
Position the rootball in the center of the hole. Check to make sure that the top of the rootball is level with the surrounding soil. If it isn't, remove the tree to remove or add soil to the hole until it is right. Push the soil back into the hole, tamping it as you go to eliminate air pockets.
Water your black locust tree slowly and thoroughly. Once a week during the first two months, water the tree deeply. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. After the tree has become established, cut back on the watering. Your black walnut tree should be able to survive on rainfall amounts. Although black walnut trees grow well in drought conditions, but it wouldn't hurt to give your tree water if there were an extended drought in your area.
Place a 2 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch over the ground around your tree. Keep the mulch 2-inches away from the bark of the tree to prevent disease from entering.
Walnut trees need potassium to grow. Have your soil checked for potassium and then apply a potassium fertilizer. If you are unsure as to how much potassium your soil needs, ask your local county extension agent. They can tell you what you need and how much to apply.
Walnut blight, walnut leaf blotch and honey fungus are some of the diseases that walnuts trees are susceptible to. Walnut blight is a bacterial disease that sets on during periods of excessive moisture and cool weather. Look for black spots on the leaves or holes and spots on the husks of the nuts. Walnut leaf blotch is a fungus that can quickly claim a tree it sets on during rainy weather and spreads when the rain drops from one leaf to another. Look for brownish blotches on the leaves and falling fruit. Honey fungus causes the leaves to turn yellow and fall from the tree earlier than normal. It begins in the roots and spreads up through the tree eventually causing it to rot.