How, When and Why of Forest Farming Website


Common NameButternut
Latin NameJuglans cinerea
Visual Traits
Floweryellow-green, monoecious, late May-early June, appears with leaves
Foliage/Fall leaf colorgolden yellow, early to mid Sep
Fruit / Nutfruit ripens Sep-Oct; nuts sweet and oily, occuring singly or clusters of 2-5; nut husk indehiscent, persistent through leaf fall
Other valued traitsmaple-butternut candy
Pollinationflowers of both sexes do not usually mature simultaneously on single tree
Propagation methodseed, grafting not well perfected
Seed treatment and storagecold stratification 90-120days at 68-86F
Sowing seedgerminate early spring
Transplanttransplant early, difficult to transplant, ball + burlap early spring
Insect and invertebrate pestsbutternut curculio (Conotrachelus juglandis)
Pathogensbutternut canker (Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum), bunch disease
Toxicityjuglone concentrated in roots and nut husks inhibits associated vegetation
Compaction (tolerance)intermediate
Fertility / qualityseldom found in intertile soils
Mineralsfrequently associated with calcareous soils
Moisture and drainagerequires deep, well-drained; seldom on dry or compact soils; drought intolerant
pH6.0 - 7.0
Salt toleranceintolerant
Soils and topographywell-drained soils of hillsides, coves, and stream banks; higher altitudes than J. nigra
Texturemoderately coarse loamy sands, medium loams to moderately fine silt loams
Growth Pattern
Good seed crop interval (fruit load)2-3y
Growth ratefast
Longevityshort (less than 75y)
Root habittaproot, more fibrous and spreading on shallow soils
Seed-bearing age /max production20y / 30-60y
Habitat and Climate
Fire toleranceintolerant
Frost-free days (FFD)105-210, more winter hardy than J. nigra
Hardiness ZoneZones 3-7
Native RangeCentral to Eastern United States and Canada
Rainfall / humidity25-80in
Wind / ice / frost susceptibilitywindfirm; subject to storm damage
Light recommendationfull overhead sun
Shade toleranceintolerant; tolerant of shading on sides when young
Vegetation Associations
Competitive abilitypoor competitor; tolerates shading from side, but performs best in overstory
Indicator species and associated forestmixed hardwood; mixed mesophytic
Special Notes
Note 1difficult to extract nut; cultivars selected by ease of cracking and nut size