Juglans regia – English or Persian walnut
The Victorian climate, with its cool winters and warm summers, suits walnut trees. The long lived stately trees are drought tolerant with very few pests and diseases in Victoria, so they are a relatively trouble free tree to grow. However, they are a tree for the long haul, taking 4-6 years to produce a reasonable quantity of nuts, and 10-12 to swing into full production. If you only have space for one tree – plant Tulare as it is self pollinating. If you have space for more, then below are a few varieties to look at.
Partially self fertile but for reliable pollination and cropping two compatible varieties are needed. Cisco and Franquette will cross pollinate with Chandler and aid production. Matures April to May. Large, smooth, and oval shaped, Chandler walnuts are known around the world and are highly prized for their extra light and high quality kernels with a mild sweet flavour. Mid season and very fruitful production.
The Cisco walnut is an extremely late-leafing, laterally fruitful variety. Due to its moderate yield, Cisco is used mainly to pollinize Chandler and Howard walnuts. In growth habit, the Cisco tree is semi-upright and relatively small. The Cisco nut and kernel are similar to Franquette, but slightly larger. Kernel colour can be variable
Partially self pollinating. If space is available a second cultivar will improve production. Matures April to May. An old reliable cultivar. May take 7 years to produce. Prune as little as possible and prune in Autumn before the foliage drops. Generally resistant to bacterial spot, otherwise use copper sprays.
Franquette is an attractive shade tree that produces consistent crops of plump, sweet, medium sized walnuts. In addition to providing a fine eating nut which can be used in many dishes, the timber is also prized for furniture. Nuts fall from the tree when ripe.
Cross pollinates with Cisco, Scharsch Franquette. The Howard cultivar produces a large, round, smooth and well- sealed nut with a very high percentage of light kernels (96%). It is a good candidate for high-density plantings due to its small to medium size, semi-upright positioning and moderate vigour.
Self pollinating. Matures in April. A recently developed walnut from the University of California. Has the enormous advantage of being self fertile, also blooms late (a plus in frosty areas) but still matures nuts in mid season. Looks as if it comes into production early in life and bears heavily. Nuts are light in colour, large, round and well sealed. It’s hard to actually find a down-side to this walnut.
Partially self fertile, but for reliable pollination and cropping two compatible varieties are needed. Franquette is compatable. Wilson’s Wonder is an early bearing variety with large tasty nuts and a thin shell, bearing early in its life.