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tootswisc

black walnut support group

tootswisc
17 years ago

I am so jazzed. Many of the perenials I transplanted last summer in my walnut and black cherry patch are popping up. Today I found both types of sumac I planted seem to be budding out, Three different hostas have appeared, my columbine is huge, the purple cone flowers showed up, tulips are blooming. Maybe I don't need a support group! I really want this area to be easy to take care of-I have way to many gardens already but this one is really exciting. Diane

Comments (52)

  • pennycp
    17 years ago

    I'm so happy to find these posts!!!

    I have a row of black walnut trees along my driveway that I would take down if it were only up to me. My husband wants to keep them because they are the only shade we have for the house.

    So far this year I've lost three lavendar plants and a clematis - all planted in close proximity to the BW's, so I blame the loss on the trees. But I have a ton of other stuff doing very well. Purple coneflower, pincushion flower, trumpet creeper, butterfly bushes, sedum, mountain pinks, asters, lilies, ajuga,wiegelia and some annuals.

    I am trying to get a deifinite anwer on whether or not hydrangeas will thrive under the black walnuts? I bought some to put under there but can't really seem to find anyone who knows if they will be OK.

    Does anyone know?

  • joepyeweed
    17 years ago

    have you seen this list:

    Here is a link that might be useful: plants for under bw

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  • annebert
    17 years ago

    I transplanted big leaf hydrangeas under a huge balck walnut a few years ago, and they did fine. Daffodils, jack-in-the-pulpit, epimedium, pulmonaria, kerria, mahonia, hostas, Japanese anemone, bergenia, corydalis, painted fern all did fine, too.

  • jibd
    11 years ago

    Hi all,

    First of all, I'm glad I found this forum. We have a beautiful bw tree in our neighbors yard, but it's been giving us a challenge while we landscape our yard to attract the neighborhood birds year-round (but the challenge makes the experience all the more rewarding).

    A while back I planted a pink delight butterfly bush in the hummingbird/butterfly garden, which is directly in the line of fire of the black walnut. It soon showed walnut wilt and had to be rescued. It showed immediate improvement after being moved. Has anyone had any luck with other varieties? Also, since the weigela bush is deemed "too ratty" for our front yard, I am forced to plant some in the back yard next spring, near the walnut. What varieties have people found successful near the bw? (I wouldn't ask, but I have found zero info about weigelas and black walnuts on other sites).

  • artdeco
    11 years ago

    I couldn't find much info about Weigela either, so I took a chance & planted a couple. Can't recall the varieties, one had green leaves & dark pink/red flowers, & the other had red leaves. One w/in the drip line, maybe 8' from the trunk, & one past the drip line, but w/in the root zone of another very huge neighbor's tree. After 3 yrs in the ground neither plant grew in size - they seemed to be frozen in time. So I got rid of them.

    My opinion is they aren't tolerant.

    This week I was digging a hole in the backyard & found >2" thick walnut roots 25' past the drip line of the huge tree, 18" below ground, spaced less than 12" apart. I can't imagine how much further past this hole they continued.

  • mosswitch
    11 years ago

    Viburnums, smokebush (cotinus), spirea, butterfly bush, and roses don't do well under black walnuts. But under my huge trees I grow a wide range of hostas, lilies (tiger, Oriental, regal, (but NOT Madonna), astilbe, coral bells, daylilies, passion vine, echinaceas, spiderworts, irises (tall bearded dwarf, Siberian, wild crested, Louisiana), sedums, monarda, ferns, tall phlox, violets, gingers, lots of spring wildflowers and bulbs, hibiscus, nicotiana, dicentras, Virginia bluebells, Solomon's seal, saxifragia, hydrangeas, ajuga, goldenrod, asters, and many others. Redbuds, vitex, golden rain tree, mimosa, lilacs all do well within range of the walnut roots. Tomatoes, potatoes and other members of the nightshade family wilt and die almost immediatly when exposed to juglone, however.

    Hackberry trees, also somewhat alleopathic, refuse to allow snow on the mountain or any kind of lamium within the dripline of their branches while both plants do fine under black walnuts. Go figure.

  • dottie_in_charlotte
    10 years ago

    Wow..a juglone resistant plants support group. Terrific.
    For 6 years I've been experimenting after careful cross-indexing what will survive juglone and what will be ignored by deer.

    Does the success you all seem to have with these plantings depend upon your keeping the walnuts and old husks cleaned up?

  • artdeco
    10 years ago

    No. Trying to clean-up everything is impossible. I'm bordered on my backyard & 1 entire side w/ many big neighbor's trees, and I'm getting lazier w/ each passing year.
    I slightly clean the front yard for appearances, but in the back yard I don't try. I rake the grass & use the leaves & stems as mulch around my plants, and I only put walnut tolerant plants back there. If it seems sensitive I try to move it quickly to the far corner of the lot.
    And I don't put walnut junk in my compost, cuz I've forgotten & spread it around sensitive plants located at the far corner of the lot which reacted badly.

    I have a theory that juglone acts as a vitamin for arborvitea & dogwoods. It seems the closer to the trees these are planted, the faster they grow (as long as they aren't in competition for water). But this could also be caused by numerous other factors...

    And I wouldn't call my yard a success - it's a work in progress... I'll forever be learning & killing plants.

  • jibd
    10 years ago

    We clean up our yard to a certain degree. But it makes NO difference. If a plant is anywhere in contact with the roots of the tree, it's going to be affected. Although as of now plants in our garden are few (we're newbies), some plants we've successfully grown under the dripline are 'Autumn Fire' Sedum, canna lilies, red hot poker plants, spearmint, shasta daisies, gaillardia, and 'Silver Mound' artemisia. We have also planted two winterberry hollies and one american beautyberry bush this past week. They have yet to show signs of wilt. Time will tell...

  • artdeco
    10 years ago

    Years ago I printed up a list from Morton Arb's website of juglone tolerant plants, & have been adding notes & additions in the margins & backside. I'll be so upset if I ever lose it!
    This year I've started watching for squirrel's holes near the base of plants & checking for buried nuts. I've found established, intolerant plants located far enough from a walnut tree slowly dying because a squirrel buried a walnut at it's base. Last year it happened w/ a yew, and this year a peony.

  • carmen_grower_2007
    10 years ago

    Hostas and daylilies definitely thrive under Black Walnut trees. Most other plants I have do also. I wonder why some have problems with plantings and others do not?

  • artdeco
    10 years ago

    There's a few factors - drainage, soil structure & moisture retention, how far the roots spread, & age of the BW trees...
    At our previous home 1 neighbor had 3 old BW trees planted as an investment decades ago, but never harvested. The toxic issue was vague & sporadic - & when our 100 yr old houses were torn down by the village to plant condo bldgs we found our entire block & beyond was built on a deep sand bar (excellent drainage explains why no one ever needed a sump pump).
    We now live 1 mile west & are surrounded on 2 sides by many BWs. This might have been a native Walnut grove. Our sump pumps kick on daily, our native soil is black beautiful moist & I find roots almost everywhere I dig.
    The toxicity is so magnified & my neighbors continue to let BW saplings planted by squirrels grow 15' from our fence.
    I'm frustrated.

  • Toronado3800 Zone 6 St Louis
    10 years ago

    I nominate elderberry and white ash trees as tolerant. Trying viburnums this year. The cursed invasive honeysuckle thrive under my walnuts

  • cas823_wowway_com
    10 years ago

    My two holly bushes were on life support over a four-year period under a BW, and after discovering the toxicity of the BW I moved them far away- three years later they are thriving. I have arborvitae, a burning bush, and a verigaged dogwood (what I replaced the holly with) that do well, along with day lillies and russian sage. I was looking at a dwarf long-blooming lilac or rainbow butterfly bushes to plant near (but not under) the BW, and after reading above and other sites, may try the lilacs.

  • tootswisc
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Wow-I started this support group in 04. My backyard neighbors are much closer to the Black walnuts then I am. They are avid gardeners and seem to have luck growing all their perennials in raised beds. Their yard is small and their clean up is impeccable. I on the other hand find growing hostas to be so easy. I mulch them with all the yard waste I can find. Too bad weeds aren't deterred by the toxin

  • newbud_2010
    10 years ago

    Speaking of Honeysuckle...I just received my Major Wheeler (Lonicera sempervirens) and I'd like to plant it at the drip line of my BW but I cannot for the life of me find any info on whether this variety is juglone tolerant. Two other Honeysuckle varieties are listed as tolerant, but no mention of this one-anywhere! Does anyone have any info or even a guess??
    Thanks!

  • madeleine_02
    10 years ago

    Someday I hope to say I am a "black walnut survivor." ;) When I moved into this house I had no idea that the giant trees in my backyard would cause so much trouble.

    Once I found out, I had them taken out. I sat two summers with no gardening waiting for the juglone level to die down at least a little. This year I'm going for it. Big garden beds!

    I'm going to stick with the plants I find listed as "bw tolerant" and gradually add things as I go. So far I've ordered Korean Spice Bush, hostas, Elijah Blue fescue (oops first trial and error plant) daylilies, rudbekia, etc

    If you're interested, I'm also going to start a blog with pictures that will show the kinds of plants that do well and what doesn't do well with juglone. Can't wait to get started!

  • jibd
    10 years ago

    Newbud, I'm planting Lonicera sempervirens (Major Wheeler and Alabama Crimson) this spring too! I haven't been able to find any information online about this specific species, but one of the lists I found lists "most lonicera species" under the tolerant category. I really hope the sempervirens is; it's great native stuff! Hummingbirds love it and a few sphinx moths actually lay eggs on it!

  • jibd
    10 years ago

    Update: have planted the Major Wheeler honeysuckle, and it is showing no signs of wilt! However, rather than show walnut wilt, some plants just don't grow, but stay healthy looking for a time under a walnut, so I'll post again when it becomes more acclimated and starts getting new growth.

  • artdeco
    10 years ago

    Our neighborhood was a native BW grove years ago & there are many types of Honeysuckle growing wild under BW trees here.
    I have a 5 yr old Lonicera Sempervirens & periclymenum growing great maybe 25' from a BW dripline.
    Last fall I moved a different bush that was growing 4' from the sempervirens, and found only 1 tiny walnut root, so not sure how 'exposed' it's been, but I believe they are tolerant. I tried growing crocus & Lily of the Valley in these spots, but they didn't survive, so I'd assume there's juglone in this dirt.
    Aphids are a much bigger problem than juglone...

    About the Hollies - I have Ilex meserveae at the drip line among BW roots, and they're doing great in very moist acid dirt.
    I'm no expert, but I know BW trees suck-up alot of water - and hollies need alot of water. One of my neighbors uphill from me was just commenting how his yard is getting drier each year as his BW trees grow.

  • jibd
    10 years ago

    Hi all,

    Both Lonicera sempervirens plants are in the ground and growing well. They even seem to be thriving! What a relief. I can't wait for the hummers to find them.

  • tootswisc
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    My columbine does not seem to be coming back. I've had great luck with native columbine...but not this year. I brought some from my business property and will plant them away from the black walnuts. Hopefully I will get babies next year to replant in my walnut grove

  • ljrobinson_gmail_com
    10 years ago

    I love the idea of a Black Walnut support group. I like to tell myself that I'm learning to love my many, many black walnuts, but I must confess that each time I invest money in a plant specifically to plant near one of the walnut trees I plant it with great trepidation.

    I just purchased two lilacs to plant near my black walnuts because I already have two different lilacs growing in this area, but still the fear! I am glad to see that others have had success with lilacs because I was looking for reassurance from other trusted resources and they were saying that lilacs wouldn't survive.

    Here is a link that might be useful: My blog where I post a lot about black walnuts.

  • artdeco
    10 years ago

    Here's an update on my experimental plants near & under large, well established Black Walnut trees...

    Irish Moss, Sterile Loosestrife & Black Jetbead - All growing great within the dripline & covered w/ bw debris.

    Oakleaf Hydrangea - within the dripline in an area w/ many bw roots & mulched w/ bw debris. It looks healthy & flowered good, but it still hasn't increased in size. I may give it another summer before I move it to a new spot.

    Garden Fern (Dryopteris) - quickly died. I'm sure it was the juglone, as I transplanted many more divisions elsewhere in the yard, some in poor conditions, and those all survived.

    Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) - slightly outside dripline - each year it looks more ratty & hasn't increased in size in 3 years. It's headed for the compost bin. (Previously had a 2nd Black Chokeberry outside our fenced yard but it was being damaged by maybe a fox or coyote - didn't look like deer or rabbit damage.)

    I also suspect that Densiformis Yew is more bw tolerant than Dark Green Spreader Yew? Problems I'm seeing could also be caused by too much moisture, but as my Dark Greens are dying (1 per year) I've been replacing them w/ Densiformis, which appears to be growing much better.

    Good luck to everyone!

  • tootswisc
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    black berries sure love it under my walnut. I must say, I've lost things due to the black berries rather then the walnut. I'm really surprised that I only have one tiger lily this year-my last yard had a huge walnut and lots of tiger lilies.

    I moved my oak leaf hydrangea away from the walnut and it's much happier.

    Another thing that's growing almost too well is something I think is called fairy candles. Last year I added a wood poppy that has done really well.

  • Hiccups4
    9 years ago

    I have 2 very large black walnut trees on a hill in my backyard. We have just moved into this house and I hadn't realized what the trees were and the force with which the nuts fall!! They are like rocks falling from the sky. This is dangerous as I have 2 dogs which are going to have a kennel run right under these falling nuts. Not sure how to cover the area..any ideas? Looking for short term (inexpensive) and longer term solutions...THANKS!

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    9 years ago

    Put a cover over the kennel run. You'll want to keep the nuts out of the area, anyway.

  • artdeco
    9 years ago

    If it were my dogs, I'd put the run elsewhere or at least plan to pitch a canvas canopy/tent over the kennel each fall so the nuts can roll-off.
    I'd imagine the sound of dropping nuts on any type of roof 24 hrs a day could really stress the dogs. The trees in our area produced many more than usual this year & they've been falling for the past month. On a windy day it's unbelievable - kinda like artillery fire.

  • cadillactaste
    9 years ago

    I'm puzzled with the wiegelia...one mentions they've had luck where as one hadn't. I am curious as to how close both posters had this particular plant near their walnut tree?

    My neighbor has one about two jeep Libery's away from their walnut tree and it seems to be a large bush now. I actually was trying to locate it's name...took photos and was trying to locate exactly what it was called. And googling the plants on this post found this to be the plant in question that I was seeking the name for! So thanks for that...but am curious as to maybe the distance has something to do with success and unsuccessful plantings of this near BW.

  • artdeco
    9 years ago

    Distance, drainage, type of soil - all these seem to make a difference.
    I had a Wiegelia approximately 2/3 the distance of a Jeep Libery from a BW - it didn't die, but it never grew in size. After 2 or 3 years I just got rid of it. Also had a Mountain Laurel that never grew in 5 years near a BW, but took-off once I transferred it to my mom's yard.

  • cadillactaste
    9 years ago

    Yes,soil and drainage also would make a factor...as well as distance. I'm going to see if I can locate a more mature Weigelia next spring...and plant it. With the guy in assiciation with similar soil and a BW approximately the same distance I am considering...and seeing his thrive gives me hope.

  • jamesdutt
    8 years ago

    I have just learned that my neighbor's tree is a black walnut. I'm grateful my landscape company noticed this before I ordered plants for along the fence. I have been reading a lot of lists of juglone-tolerant shrubs. Almost everything I like is intolerant. I need something that will retain its leaves throughout the year. I have not found the following possibilities on any lists, so am asking whether any of you experienced with this problem know about them:

    cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

    bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) -- I know the mountain laurel is susceptible to juglone, but the two plants I listed above are not in the same family as mountain laurel.

    Nandina -- I have not found it listed anywhere.

    I realize that one candidate is arborvitae, but the arborvitae trees I already have get too many yellow-brown branches and make a mess around them. Perhaps there are lower-growing or dwarf arborvitae?

    A related question: A Robin Red holly installed in April not too far from the black walnut started turning brown in July, and now 1/2 of it is completely dead. An identical plant across the yard is doing fine. I assumed I under-watered the dying plant, but now am wondering if the black walnut (trunk is about 15 feet from the holly) could be the culprit. Any opinions?

    Thanks for any help.

  • JoA.62
    7 years ago

    I have four butterfly bushes that need transplanting. Can anyone here tell me if they will be alright growing under a black walnut tree? I couldn't find 'buddleia' and now I'm feeling I'm in for some bad news.

    Please answer as soon as possible, as I have to get these planted soon. Thanks for your help.

  • tomp123
    7 years ago

    Can I plant Serviceberry, Winterberry, and Bayberry under or near Black Walnut trees? I've seen Serviceberry and Winterberry on some lists of plants sensitive to Black Walnut toxicity, but not on others. I haven't seen Bayberry on any list.

  • PRO
    Kestrel Shutters & Doors
    7 years ago

    Has anyone here tried planting tomatoes in a raised bed near walnuts? Out beyond the reaches of the branches.

  • ElbysBlueberries
    7 years ago

    Love this site. I moved into my tiny house in zone 7 about 5 years ago and spent hundreds and hundreds on my yard. I have a small front yard with two adult BW trees. I have a love hate relationship with them. Plants that do well (for me) are butterfly bushes, japanese maples, river birch, blue junipers, laurels, yew, boxwoods, hosta,fern, mums, lambs ear, rhododendrums (spelling), echinacea, euonymus.....

    I'm trying to build a nice year round back drop, but I'm finding it hard to determine which plants will thrive (dare I say the word 'thrive')

  • jaime_i_luv_plants
    7 years ago

    I have just planted lilac variety syringa "Miss Kim" and I'll try to remember to keep an update on here. I've just started a new garden area around this BW and here's what is doing well so far (for about 2 months):
    Japanese painted fern
    lilies
    perilla
    coreopsis
    hardy geranium
    morning glory (probably will be sorry I let it grow)
    cypress vine
    malva rose
    gladiolas
    spirea (but not seeming to grow much, keeping an eye on it)
    euphorpia (I don't think anything could kill this)
    hardy hibiscus
    I moved a barberry within roots of BW and it's doing great
    sedum autumn joy

    I wish more people were updating this from when they first posted so we could learn what did well and what didn't. :) I'll try to remember!

  • terrycalhoun
    6 years ago

    Eastern Red Cedar thrives under black walnut. Interestingly, it is also the major rootstock for ornamental Junipers of many kinds.

  • terrycalhoun
    6 years ago

    Also, working well under Black Walnut locally: Burning Bush, Mulberry, Wild Grape (rootstock for most other Grape, I think), Hazelnut, and Box Elder (ugh).

  • gigelus2k13
    6 years ago

    What about other kinds of walnut trees (not BW)?

    I have a large one close to the back porch. Lots of ring fairies in the adjacent lawn (dying roots being consumed by fungi?). I just found out about juglone; it may explain why the tomatoes never liked my backyard garden and my idea of switching them with peppers this coming spring would have been bound to fail...

    It's a nice tree, but between the shells having a small defect making the walnuts prone to worming, the squirrel onslaught during July and August and the likely inability to grow my preferred veggies I now see few reasons to spare it.

    How long it takes for the juglone to decompose from the soil?

  • mandib7
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I have 3 giant pecan trees which seem to give off the same juglones in the soil as the BW's do, same lists of plants labeled as tolerant seem to be the only things I can grow well with the exception of Ivy, it's not on any of the lists and it grows like crazy near them. But what my question is - has anyone found a grass or a ground cover to successfully grow in juglone contaminated soil and have shade resistant and high traffic properties?? I am going to try dichondra now and see how that does...have already tried Bermuda and fescues which all failed...

  • Judi
    4 years ago

    I, too have issues with the Evil trees - I have neighbors on either side who have 2 full grown trees each! I only have space for one dwarf peach tree because of all the shade (I do have several bushes & small trees like Rose of Sharon). I've been here 18 years now and have learned a thing or two about gardening under these trees since it's either the roots putting out the poison or the dripline killing my plants. It took me years to figure out the rain barrels I was using for the veggie garden was truly wiping out my tomatoes & cucumbers every season by the 4th of July & now I use straw bales to grow them so the poison doesn't touch them.

    I've found a lot of plants they say will work, don't & a lot that do. It's a matter of trial & error. I remove the plants asap when I notice them succumbing to poison & rinse off the roots thoroughly, then plant in new soil elsewhere (If I can save them in time). Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

    Ive lost all my Columbine except the wild Michigan ones that are protected- my Mom's friend received permission to take some, & I got her "extras", too! So, I'm helping save a protected species while getting columbines in my gardens! Yay!!!

    Feel free to contact me to ask any questions. Here's a great link to get you started (tho I have plants growing that here say no & plants that should but don't...): https://www.oakgov.com/msu/Documents/publications/oc0280_black_walnut.pdf


  • Judi
    4 years ago

    @mabdib7. Yes, there are many plants & trees which give off poison like Juglone or even Juglone poison themselves. It's a protection mechanism for some plants & trees and (obviously) works quite well. I believe the pecan is another tree that has some kind of poison. I only have 1 high traffic area under both the drip line & in the root area of a tree. I got some grass growing finally last year but a few dogs my son brought here killed it again. I can't tell you what works for grasses but you can try a Georgia University's website might offer you the best resource for pecans.

  • Mary Lucas
    4 years ago

    To answer a couple folks above. I am surrounded by Black Walnuts in Michigan. I have both Hydrangea and Columbine doing very well in my landscape. Hope this helps.

  • Lisa Szabo
    last year

    Can anybody confirm whether butterfly bushes are tolerant of black walnut? I have had some roses and every lilac I planted die or just not grow in my yard. Rhododendrons as well. I want to buy a couple of nice butterfly bushes but I’m trying to make sure and I’m not seeing them on any lists

  • Mary Lucas
    last year

    I think there is a list of juglone tolerant plants on Google.

  • Mary Lucas
    last year

    Here is a grab from when I Googled it

  • Lisa Szabo
    last year

    Yes I know, I haven’t found much information specifically about butterfly bushes. I was looking to see if anyone had direct experience with them.

  • Kristin Brown
    2 months ago

    Rhodendron quickly died

    Barberry quickly died

    Hydrangea seems happy so far

    Daisies are looking rough


    Just planted irish moss so fingers crossed. Will try to keep my comment updated :D