Black walnut trees are large trees that provide a lot of shade for properties. However, they’re not just large in size and coverage, they’re also large in value.
How much are black walnut trees worth? Black walnuts have been a premium in the woodworking world for a long time. Records even date back to the 1700s when black walnut logs were still priced high. Now, a single tree can bring in twenty thousand dollars!
In this article we’re going to do a deep dive on the black walnut tree, and what makes it so expensive.
Are Black Walnut Trees Toxic to Animals?
For the most part no, the black walnut tree is an intriguing tree in many ways, but one of the most peculiar parts of this tree is its toxicity. Unlike other toxic plants, the black walnut tree is harmless to most animals except horses. Horses can be negatively affected by the black walnut’s shavings.
They are harmless to humans as well, which is very unusual for a toxic plant. One thing that people do need to be wary about is eating a black walnut that has been contaminated with “Penitrum A” because their hulls have begun to decompose before it was harvested. In this case, the nuts begin to be toxic to humans and livestock and can be fatal to dogs if ingested.
Are Black Walnut Trees Toxic to Other Plants?
Yes, the reason why black walnut trees’ toxicity is a problem is that they are toxic to many other plants. This is because the black walnut tree is loaded with a toxin called Juglone.
It’s in the roots, buds, leaves, stems, and nut hulls. This toxin has an allelopathic effect on other plants, which can stop them from growing, or at least stunt their growth. So, it is very important to place your black walnut tree safely.
The plants that are negatively affected by black walnut trees are;
- Black Alder
- White Burch
- Red and White Pine
- Silver Maple
- Blue Wild Indigo
What Makes Black Walnut Trees Valuable?
Obviously the toxicity of the black walnut tree is interesting, but it is not the reason why black walnut trees are so expensive and hard to find. So, what is the reason? What makes black walnut trees so valuable? To find out, you have to look at what it’s used for.
The reason why many people will pay a lot for a black walnut tree, or why you might not be able to find one to buy, is because of its use in woodworking and premium furniture creation. It is a top choice among woodworkers and loved by furniture stores and customers. Another reason is that the tree has become very popular overseas, which raises prices in the U.S.
The demand for the tree has become too much for the supply, and prices are going through the roof, and the tree is becoming harder and harder to find.
What Are Black Walnut Trees Used For?
The black walnut tree is one of the most popular choices for woodworking. Whether professional or for a hobby, people want to use quality wood, so they flock to the black walnut. The most popular projects that black walnut is used for is gun stocks, cabinets, furniture, cutting boards, flooring, trim and moldings, and veneers. The fruit husks from a black walnut tree are also used to make a yellow dye which is used in candy making and explosives.
The wood looks great and is a quality cut most of the time, which is just another reason why people love the black walnut. Another part is the low supply. Comparatively to other popular trees and woods for woodworking, the supply of black walnut trees is shrinking, and that is raising prices.
Black walnut trees aren’t only used for woodworking, however, as they’re also a great shady tree that grows fast. They can grow up to 2 feet per year and reach a towering height of over 100 feet! They are usually cut for lumber at around 30 years old, but some are cut around 50! Because of their value, some people have been set up for life from a grove of black walnut trees, and it has even sparked some people to say that black walnut trees are their retirement plan!
Where Do Black Walnut Trees Grow?
The black walnut tree is native to North America. It grows mostly in riparian zones starting in Ontario down to South Dakota and all the way down the east coast to Florida and west to Texas. There are also small groves of trees around the Upper Ottowa Valley. But these might be an isolated native population or planted there.
Even though it is indigenous to the North America region, there are other places where these trees can grow. There are some in Europe as well, with one of the largest in the world in Brussels, Belgium.
Can You Eat the Black Walnuts From the Tree?
Yes you can, black walnut trees may be toxic to some other plants, but luckily it’s not the same for humans. If you are lucky enough to have a black walnut tree, you’ll find that they are usually ready to harvest from September to October.
You want to make sure that you harvest them as soon as they fall from the tree to avoid mold. They are easy to notice because of their darker shade. After you pick them from the ground, the hulls of the nuts will soften over time. Then they are safe to eat. Something special about black walnuts is the thickness of their shells and the intensity of their taste, which are both increased from normal walnuts.
Once you remove the husk from the nuts, you want to wash the unshelled nuts to remove extra dirt and unwanted liquids. Then you can dry and cure the nuts before cracking. They usually take a few weeks to be fully dried and ready to be cracked for the full taste. But, because of how thick the shells are, you’re not going to be able to crack them with your hands or even a handheld nutcracker. A hammer or a big rock will work much better. Then you’re ready to eat and enjoy it!
How Long Do Black Walnut Trees Live?
It is estimated that some of these trees can live to be up to 200 years old if cared for properly.
Like other walnut species found all over the world, black walnut trees can live a long, long time.
In order to keep your black walnut tree healthy, how you plant it is extremely important. If you live in US hardiness zones 5 through 9, and you have less than 140 days with frost per year, you’ll probably find success with your tree. They grow best in deep and fertile soil and around 25 inches of precipitation per year.
When you plant, you want to pick a site facing north or east, with full sun view and without any risk of frost damage.
If you’re interested in planting your own from seeds, then you can either purchase a tree, get a seedling from a local gardener, or try to germinate your own!
When planting your own, you want to plant 5 or 6 nuts, around 4 inches apart from each other, and 4-6 inches into the ground. To protect it from squirrels and other pests, you should cover the site of the nuts with a cloth and pin it to the ground.
How Much Do Black Walnut Trees Cost?
Black walnuts have been a premium in the woodworking world for a long time. Records even date back to the 1700s when black walnut logs were still priced high. Now, a single tree can bring in twenty thousand dollars!
If you have an acre of timber, you’ll have trees worth around one hundred thousand dollars! This makes it one of the most valuable trees in the world. It’s also a reason why some people have chosen to invest in black walnut trees instead of stocks. It is estimated that the average tree’s average annual rate of return is about fourteen percent, with no taxes due until harvest. This means that the trees have higher returns than bonds, stocks, and most other investments.
Even buying a three-foot piece of black walnut wood can be very expensive, bringing in up to three hundred dollars. So, if you’re looking for a quality wood for woodworking, it will be worth the high price.
Black Walnut Leaves
What is so special about Black Walnut tree leaves? Well, the black walnut has distinct leaves that are easy to recognize and very pretty. They measure 1’ to 2’ in length, and each can carry a dozen or more leaflets.
Something else that’s pretty amazing is the health benefits of black walnut tree leaves. They can be turned into an extract, and this extract is extremely helpful in treating parasitic infections.
It’s a natural treatment for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and warts. Some people have even used the extract as a gargle to kill bacteria in their mouths.
Are Black Walnut Trees Worth It For Woodworking?
The crazy high prices can drive people away from buying a black walnut tree, and they are also very hard to find because of the extremely high demand. This leads to the question, are these expensive trees worth the high value? To many, a twenty thousand dollar tree is insane, but timberland experts and woodworkers can see the value.
As a woodworker, if you want to make a quality piece, whether it’s furniture or anything else, you can use black walnut wood. It’s sturdy, good looking, and stable enough to even be a shotgun stock. Another popular use for black walnut wood is hardwood flooring. Especially now, when darker woods are very popular for flooring, this means prices are skyrocketing.
It is estimated that black walnut veneer can cost about five to six times that of normal walnut veneer.
It’s also super popular for desks, chairs, dining room tables, cabinets, and bedroom furniture. So, as a woodworker, it’s really up to you. If you’re just starting out as a woodworker and it’s just a hobby, then you might not want to spend all that money on black walnut. However, if you’re looking to make a quality piece of furniture, black walnut is perfect!
Are Black Walnut Trees Worth It To Grow For Profit?
Planting and growing a black walnut tree or a grove of trees can be an amazing, albeit long investment. The harvesting of the nuts and the eventual lumber sale makes it well worth the investment.
Sure it takes a lot of time and effort and planning to get and plant black walnut trees the right way, but when you can sell an acre of them for one hundred thousand dollars, it starts to make a lot of sense. A grove of black walnut trees can be an amazing legacy gift for generations of your family. It can set them up past when you pass away and beyond.
So, you have to think about if it is worth it for you and your family. Do you have the land, or the gardening skills to make sure that your trees will grow as big as they’re supposed to?
Is it worth the risk of the trees dying because of frost? If your family can afford to buy the seedlings, or you are advanced enough to germinate your own, it might be a very smart idea to plant some black walnut trees. It can be a no brainer for anyone who has the land, the skills, and the seedlings to plant some black walnuts. You can set up your family for life, or you can sell the lumber yourself.
One hundred thousand dollars for an acre of lumber can be an amazing investment for any family. It can even be your retirement plan! Black walnut trees have immense value, and this is why they’re a great idea to invest in and grow to profit off of.
No matter what you’re looking to get a black walnut tree for, woodworking, or buying for profit, they can be a great value as long as you and your family have talked it over and decided that the rewards are worth the risk and the high prices.