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RE: Composting Walnut leaves

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  • hannahminnea
    Griselda, I am by no means an expert (although I did go through the master gardener programme here in the US) but I would stay FAR AWAY from compost made
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 21, 2005
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      Griselda, I am by no means an expert (although I did go through the "master gardener"
      programme here in the US) but I would stay FAR AWAY from compost made from Walnut
      leaves. Walnut trees secrete a chemical called juglone--it even SOUNDS nasty! Juglone
      has major alleopathic (sic) compounds in it that inhibit plant growth.

      If you feel bad wasting all that stuff that drops from the tree, you can make a wonderful
      walnut ink that you can use for drawing or give to your artist friends.

      Wait till late winter or early spring when all the hulls have fallen and turned totally black
      and mushy on the ground. Collect all this stuff (wear gloves) put it in a pot that you no
      longer use for cooking. Add water to cover, and boil it down (reduce) till it looks like ink.
      It should be fairly well concentrated.
      After it cools, strain it and add a drop or two of white shellac and the same of denatured
      alcohol to make it waterproof.

      Just a little something to do with that mess from the walnut trees that you have.

      Karen V.
    • Griselda
      Aha, what an amazing idea. I think American walnut is more toxic than the European walnut tees, but I really like the idea of the ink. I will give it a go.
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 21, 2005
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        Re: [pfaf] RE: Composting Walnut leaves Aha, what an amazing idea. I think American walnut is more toxic than the European walnut tees, but I really like the idea of the ink. I will give it a go.  Thanks very much for the tip. Griselda

        Griselda, I am by no means an expert (although I did go through the "master gardener"
        programme here in the US) but I would stay FAR AWAY from compost made from Walnut
        leaves.  Walnut trees secrete a chemical called juglone--it even SOUNDS nasty!  Juglone
        has major alleopathic (sic) compounds in it that inhibit plant growth.  

        If you feel bad wasting all that stuff that drops from the tree, you can make a wonderful
        walnut ink that you can use for drawing or give to your artist friends.

        Wait till late winter or early spring when all the hulls have fallen and turned totally black
        and mushy on the ground.  Collect all this stuff (wear gloves) put it in a pot that you no
        longer use for cooking.  Add water to cover, and boil it down (reduce) till it looks like ink.  
        It should be fairly well concentrated.
        After it cools, strain it and add a drop or two of white shellac and the same of denatured
        alcohol to make it waterproof.  

        Just a little something to do with that mess from the walnut trees that you have.

        Karen V.






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      • deb
        Hi Griselda! I somehow missed your post until I saw replies to it. Sorry! I have had quite a bit of experience with Black walnut, from childhood on, and in
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 22, 2005
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          Hi Griselda! I somehow missed your post until I saw replies to it. Sorry!

          I have had quite a bit of experience with Black walnut, from childhood on, and in
          conjunction with compost and organic gardening. More than half the leaves from my
          immediate yard that go into my compost is from 2 adult and 2 more half-grown black
          walniut trees, along with red maple and mulberry, locust and pine needles. And, just
          got done doing a plant talk on it a few weeks ago for a group I co-own; it happens to
          be one of my tippy-top favorites. So, here is part of that plant talk, pertaining to the
          Juglone in the roots and other parts of the tree. Not until I traversed back up the
          thread did I find your original post, and am sorry I didn't see it and reply much
          earlier! deb
          ***********************************************************

          We have all heard of the allelopathic substance in black walnut and it's relative the
          butternut, Juglone. Or, we found out by sad experience. <G> This plant toxin is also
          present in the root systems of carpathian or english walnuts that have been grafted to
          black walnut rootsock. The main source of the juglone is in the roots, although it is
          found in some degree throughout the tree; and being insoluble in water, the toxin
          doesn't travel far in the soil. The toxin range though, considering the root growth
          habit, can still extend a radius 40-60 feet . Juglone is also found in varying degrees
          in the leaves, bark and wood.

          You do not need to be concerned about composting walnut leaves and fine sawdust,
          however. The combined action of microbes, air, light and water break the juglone
          down within a few week's time. For thicker wood chips, it may take 6 months to a
          year.

          Although such things as most conifers tomatoes, potatoes, blueberries, azaleas, and
          apples will not survive longer than a couple of months in close proximity, other plants
          will happily share soil with black walnut. Jerusalem artichoke, sweet woodruff,
          daylily, many hostas, bergamont and bee balm, pansy, some marigolds... plenty of
          plants are good buddies with this great tree. Indeed, one source claims that black
          walnut is a preferred tree to grow in pasture, since it stimulates the growth of
          Kentucky Bluegrass.

          Another life form prone to juglone sensitivity is horses. A friend of mine who raises
          show horses, unequivocally refuses to have black walnut anywhere near her equines-
          no trees, no sawdust, nothing. The juglone
          quarantine of her prize horses is backed up by a number of studies that looked at
          everything from leaves in hay, to pollen, to contact toxicity. One trouble of note was
          liminitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue of hoof to foot- sounds pretty
          nasty. I was unable to find out if such sensitivity exists in other livestock such as hogs
          or goats. If it is used in pasture, I would think bovines are not affected. Are they?
          Anyone with information, please let us know. .
        • Griselda
          Thanks! I am glad I asked. The tree I now own is about 30 years old, I do not know the exact kind as it is unlabelled. This is really useful info. griselda
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 22, 2005
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            Re: [pfaf] Re: Composting Walnut leaves Thanks! I am glad I asked. The tree I now own is about 30 years old, I do not know the exact kind as it is unlabelled. This is really useful info.   griselda

            Hi Griselda! I somehow missed your post until I saw replies to it. Sorry!

            I have had quite a bit of experience with Black walnut, from childhood on, and in
            conjunction with compost and organic gardening. More than half the leaves from my
            immediate yard that go into my compost is from 2 adult and 2 more half-grown black
            walniut trees, along with red maple and mulberry, locust and pine needles. And, just
            got done doing a plant talk on it a few weeks ago for a group I co-own; it happens to
            be one of my tippy-top favorites. So, here is part of that plant talk, pertaining to the
            Juglone in the roots and other parts of the tree.  Not until  I traversed back up the
            thread did I find your original post, and am sorry I didn't see it and reply much
            earlier!  deb
            ***********************************************************

            We have all heard of the allelopathic substance in black walnut and it's relative the
            butternut, Juglone. Or, we found out by sad experience. <G> This plant toxin is also
            present in the root systems of carpathian or english walnuts that have been grafted to
            black walnut rootsock. The main source of the juglone is in the roots,  although it is
            found in some degree throughout the tree; and being insoluble in water, the toxin
            doesn't travel far in the soil. The toxin range though, considering the root growth
            habit, can still extend a radius 40-60 feet .  Juglone is also found in varying degrees
            in the leaves, bark and wood.

            You do not need to be concerned about composting walnut leaves and fine sawdust,
            however. The combined action of microbes, air, light and water break the juglone
            down within a few week's time. For thicker wood chips, it may take 6 months to a
            year.

            Although such things as most conifers  tomatoes, potatoes, blueberries, azaleas, and
            apples will not survive longer than a couple of months in close proximity, other plants
            will happily share soil with black walnut.  Jerusalem artichoke, sweet woodruff,
            daylily, many hostas, bergamont and bee balm, pansy, some marigolds... plenty of
            plants are good buddies with this great tree. Indeed, one source claims that black
            walnut is a preferred tree to grow in pasture, since it stimulates the growth of
            Kentucky Bluegrass.

            Another life form prone to juglone sensitivity is horses. A friend of mine who raises  
            show horses, unequivocally refuses to have black walnut anywhere near her equines-
            no trees, no  sawdust, nothing.  The juglone
            quarantine  of her prize horses is backed up by a number of studies that looked at
            everything from leaves in hay, to pollen, to contact toxicity.  One trouble of note was
            liminitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue of hoof to foot- sounds pretty
            nasty. I was unable to find out if such sensitivity exists in other livestock such as hogs
            or goats. If it is used in pasture, I would think bovines are not affected. Are they?
            Anyone with information, please let us know. .






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