A few years ago, Bill Lancaster bought six acres of sagebrush and rocks in eastern Washington state with the idea of creating a natural grove of nut trees. But now his neighbors are buying nut trees from him! His 4 acre grove of trees resembles a natural forest. Walnuts and Chinese Chestnuts, planted on a 60 foot spacing, form the upper story of the grove.
Filberts, which grow well in partial shade, fill in the 20 foot high lower story. There are also peach, plum and pear trees planted in the sunny corners and edges of the grove. Grape vines are trellised around the edge of the grove.
Bees from his own hives do the pollinating, and peafowl patrol for insects in the grove. On the remaining 2 acres, he grows tree seedlings and grafted trees in a backyard nursery, his most profitable plants. His trees are such high quality, they are sold out for two years in advance. Bill says this grove could produce for another 50 years, with very little further work. Bill Lancaster is an example of what is possible with a well-managed small nut orchard. All you need to do is choose the right nut varieties to grow.
Other lesser-known nut varieties with potential are macadamia, pistachio, jojoba and cashews. These lesser-known nuts have exacting growing and microclimate requirements, so be sure to check with your local agricultural extension agent before getting started with these specialty crops.
The United States is one of the leading almond producing countries in the world. Much of the U. Yields range from 1, to 3, shelled pounds per acre per year. The American Chestnut was once the dominant tree in hardwood forests until the chestnut blight fungus destroyed it over years ago. In recent years, most orchards have planted the blight-resistant Chinese Chestnut. Researchers have developed a hybrid chestnut that combines the best qualities of American and Chinese chestnuts and can be grown in most areas of the U.
Find out more from: Two big pluses for chestnuts are that they can be grown on land too poor or hilly for other crops and the timber value at maturity is very high — almost as high as black walnut. Average nut yields are 2, to 3, pounds per acre. The filbert, also called a hazelnut, was one of the first shrubs to appear following the receding glaciers of the last ice age.
Today, filberts are grown in areas with cool summers and mild winters, such as Western Oregon and Washington. Filberts have two markets, in-shell and kernel. The in-shell market is seasonal, from Halloween through Christmas.
Kernels are sold to bakers, candy makers and salters for mixed-nut packs. Most commercial growers use the Barcelona cultivar, which produces larger nuts and sells for premium prices. A good mature orchard can produce around 1, pounds of dried nuts per acre. The first French and Spanish settlers in America found native pecan trees growing in the Mississippi river valleys. Today, pecans are grown in much of the South and Southwest. Climate dictates where pecans can be grown, as it requires a long, frost-free growing season with warm summers and adequate moisture.
Pecans can begin bearing lightly at four years, with commercial production in eight years. Nut production continues to increase until 20 years of age.
A mature pecan orchard can yield from 1, to 2, pounds of nuts per acre. Walnut trees are grown for both nuts and timber. A walnut orchard can take a few years to come into full production, but then produces up to 6, pounds per acre.
Black walnut logs bring premium prices, with single trees bringing thousands of dollars. Trees are planted in widely-spaced rows, at about trees per acre, with other crops between the rows.
In addition to pasture crops, high-value crops like raspberries or blueberries can be used. Agroforestry can provide income four different ways.
For the first few years, the only income is from the crop planted between the trees. As the trees become larger, they are thinned to about 30 trees per acre, with wood from the thinning being sold.
After a few years, the walnut trees begin to produce nuts for harvesting. When the remaining thinned trees are mature, they are harvested for veneer logs, which bring thousands of dollars per log. Many growers also sell nut tree seedlings and grafted varieties from their own orchards. This can be even more lucrative than selling nuts. Nut trees can produce for decades as well, producing an dependable income for many years.
For example, the original tree planted in a filbert orchard in Scottsburg, Oregon was planted in and is still producing nuts today. To learn more about starting your own tree legacy, read Growing Trees For Profit.
Growing Black Walnut Trees, For Profit?
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Growing black walnut : Yard and Garden : Garden : University of Minnesota Extension
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