What You Should Know if You Want Walnut Trees in Your Yard

Walnut trees are lovely to look at, and their wood can be very valuable. But, walnut trees also produce a chemical called juglone that can wreak havoc on your garden and other nearby plants. Here's what you need to know if you have walnut trees in your yard.

Walnut Trees Are Messy

While they are very pretty ad provide nice shade, walnut trees are not suitable for every landscape. For example, if you have a walnut tree near your driveway, you already know that when they drop their nuts in the fall, you can be left with quite a mess. You'll also have their leaves to contend with.

Driving over the nuts and cracking them open makes even more of a mess, as they dye everything they touch black, a dye that is not easily removed. Additionally, falling nuts can cause damage to you windshield or dent your vehicle. They can also hurt if you are unfortunate enough to have one fall on your head!

Walnut Trees Attract Critters

The fruits of a walnut tree, the nuts, are a valuable source of food for wildlife. Squirrels, turkeys, raccoons and bears all enjoy walnuts. While some people enjoy having wildlife in their yards, not everyone wants to deal with having critters in their yard, especially close to their house. Squirrels can cause damage and get into your attic. If you have small children or raise chickens, you may not one to provide an extra incentive for raccoons to hang out, and most people don't want bears getting to close, either.

Walnut Trees Are Toxic

As mentioned, walnut trees produce a chemical called juglone. It is in their branches, leaves, bark, fruit, and the roots, which will poison the soil. This is a chemical defense system that the tree uses to discourage other plants or trees from growing near it, potentially robbing them of their nutritional resources and the sun. You may have other nearby trees that have more aesthetic value that are slowly being poisoned and negatively affected by a walnut tree. 

If you enjoy gardening, your vegetables may struggle to grow if a walnut tree is nearby. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant are extra susceptible to the chemical compound juglone.

What to Do

If you decide that you don't want walnut trees in your yard, you will need to have a professional landscaping company or arborist company that does stump grinding. Simply cutting the tree down is not sufficient to rid yourself of their toxicity as the roots and the stump will continue to produce the toxin.