Successfully Garden Near a Walnut Tree

Edited by VisiHow, Dougie-1, Eng

Certain types of walnut trees can wreak havoc in your garden. Black walnuts especially can cause all types of growth problems. Learn to fix these problems yourself and keep your trees by reading the tips below. When you're done, watch our video explanation for more information on the subject.

Why Walnut Trees Are Problematic Near Gardens

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Walnut trees make a chemical, called juglone, which is excreted from all parts.

Even though Black Walnut is recognized by gardeners as being the most problematic, the English walnut also produces this chemical to a lesser degree. This chemical is a protective response to assure survival of the tree by inhibiting the growth of nearby plants. It mimics the effects of not watering plants, and can cause plants near the trees to die, or be noticeably smaller and more frail than surrounding plants.

About Gardening Near a Walnut Tree

Most of the items you may need to fix walnut tree problems can be found at a local garden center, shopping area, or in your back yard. Just remember that you won't likely be able to garden or plant directly under a walnut tree - especially a Black Walnut tree.

Things You'll Need:

  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Raised bed for gardening

How to Successfully Garden Near a Walnut Tree

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  1. 1
    Plant well away from black walnut trees
    If possible plant your garden away from the canopy of the walnut tree.
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  2. 2
    Improve soil drainage
    Ways to do this include tilling less, leveling out the ground so that water does not pool, adding clay or other organic matter to the soil, and creating proper drainage pathways so that rain water doesn't linger on top of the soil.
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  3. 3
    Rake often
    This will help reduce the amounts of juglone from entering the soil via decomposing fallen leaves, branches, and hulls. Make sure to dispose of the debris in an area other than your compost pile.
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  4. 4
    Use raised beds
    Raised beds will help prevent any juglone from poisoning the plants via their root systems. Make sure that the bottom of the beds are well sealed so that contamination will not occur.
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  5. 5
    Plant juglone tolerant plants close by if you have to
    These include but are not limited to garden vegetables like onions, beets, squash, melons, carrots, beans and corn.
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Additional Tips and Suggestions

  • Juglone is not very water-soluble and can't spread very far in the soil. This means you can remove it regularly, and it won't contaminate the soil.
  • Sensitive plants located beneath the cover of a walnut tree are most susceptible to contact with juglone. This is why they should be removed from the tree canopy, and preferably in raised beds.


  • Juglone isn't poisonous to humans, but can contribute to allergies during the spring.
  • Walnut trees also require special care and irrigation, which should not be overlooked when considering the type of gardens you want to plant near them.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Gardening

Recent edits by: Dougie-1, VisiHow

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