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timberdoodle
12-24-2006, 12:39 PM
I have walnut trees and thousands, well it seems like thousands of walnut at my home. Is there anything I should consider before taking them and planting them at my hunting property? Do the shells have to be removed or do they have to overwinter in the ground like with acorns?

chasmo54
12-24-2006, 12:44 PM
Timberdoodle,
Seed need to be cold stratified like acorns. Additionally, nuts can't be eatten by whitetails and the root systems are toxic to many species of very benificial plants and should be planted with careful consideration.

darkhollow1
12-24-2006, 06:51 PM
Walnut is probably the most valuable tree to harvest but provides 0 benefits for deer as far as I can tell.

USFWC
12-24-2006, 11:04 PM
The University of Minnesota extension has a good explanation of how to prepare and stratify the nuts: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/naturalresources/DD0505.html

timberdoodle
12-25-2006, 12:34 AM
Thanks for the help guys. USFWC, the site was very informative. In the site they said the deer like the walnuts. I will have to watch next year to see if they eat them at home. The squirrels take them so quick, I have never noticed if the deer eat them.

USFWC
12-25-2006, 01:09 AM
I believe they are referring to a different type of walnut other than the Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) of which you are probably thinking...or they are lumping the browse and mast foods together under the description of 'walnut'. It is very doubtful that they eat the walnuts that normally come to mind. Heck, a duck can eat a hickory nut and crush it up though, so it may be possible...on second though...naaah. :D

momark
12-25-2006, 01:17 AM
I've read on a number of occasions that deer eat walnuts or hickory nuts. I just can't imagine that they would be able to chew them, with the exception of pecans maybe, which are a type of hickory also. Does anyone have first hand knowledge or evidence that this is actually true? How about Anderson with his rumen content studies? Just curious.
Personally, I consider walnut to be somewhat of a weed on my property. I keep a few of the nicer ones here and there, but most I get rid of. I see very little benefit to wildlife, other than squirrels, and even they don't use them much if there are many hickory nuts and acorns around.

paleopoint
12-26-2006, 09:19 PM
If deer are your priority the walnuts should be de-prioritized. They don't eat 'em. They don't even eat the seedlings or new growth very much. And the toxin 'juglans' contained within the roots keeps more beneficial plants from growing near a black walnut.

I'm cutting them down on my farm in Michigan. Like Momark I'll keep a few of the fuller and more mature ones...the ones that regularly produce nuts.....for the fox squirrels. All the others have or are gettin the axe.

In "American Wildlife & Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits"..by Martin, Zim, Nelson..... (google it up) they recognize only four significant users of walnut trees (including the nuts): Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel, and Beavers. And even these animals don't use it that much. The species as a whole has 7 stars under MZ&N's scoring system.......compare that to oak with 263 stars (and 96 users); or apple with 46 stars and 51 users.

edisonck
12-26-2006, 09:31 PM
Unless you are not concerned about getting any financial return off your property, I would also remove all but the best walnut trees. I, on the other hand, am planting them by the hundreds on my best fields! Black walnut wood brings premium prices at the mill. The problem is that I will never see the $$$$$. I hope my kid(s) enjoy it. :-)

paleopoint
12-26-2006, 10:30 PM
I've been told that although BW timber has come up from its' lows it is still now where near its' highs.

Timber shades are fashionable, and the darker shades are currently not in vogue. Hard maple with its whitish coloration is the commodity log of choice.

I know, I know,......we all grew up on the idea that some BW log in our woodlot is gonna be worth $10,000. Well maybe, but today it has got to be a much bigger and better log than back then.

USFWC
12-27-2006, 12:43 AM
I've been told that although BW timber has come up from its' lows it is still now where near its' highs.

Timber shades are fashionable, and the darker shades are currently not in vogue. Hard maple with its whitish coloration is the commodity log of choice.

I know, I know,......we all grew up on the idea that some BW log in our woodlot is gonna be worth $10,000. Well maybe, but today it has got to be a much bigger and better log than back then.

Some of the bird eye maple logs up there in the U.P. of MI have brought in way more than that...some Japanese buyers have paid over $30,000 for some bird eye logs.

I haven't heard of many walnut veneer-quality logs going for over $3,000, what market is paying $10,000 for them?

USFWC
12-27-2006, 12:55 AM
Unless you are not concerned about getting any financial return off your property, I would also remove all but the best walnut trees. I, on the other hand, am planting them by the hundreds on my best fields! Black walnut wood brings premium prices at the mill. The problem is that I will never see the $$$$$. I hope my kid(s) enjoy it. :-)

I would recommend doing the same, but as part of a management strategy that is well planned out that is aimed toward stand improvement (not TSI, that implies more input than return). I hate to see you go in and 'hack and squirt' a bunch of trees just a few years before you have a saleable product. Even walnut with fair form has a pretty high value as long as the heartwood isn't diseased and rotten/hollow.

buckdeer1
12-27-2006, 10:53 AM
I harvested 85 walnuts a couple years ago and made some good money,I would only plant ones to replace what are harvested and sold.That way maybe you're kids can make some money of land without selling it.Deer rub saplings but I too have never seen one eat a walnut.I see them eat pecans all the time

edisonck
12-27-2006, 11:48 PM
Paleopoint- Based on your comment, I am assuming that the value of logs is somewhat regional???? The information that I have received from the forestor that I work with and WI DNR puts Black Walnut value at the top of the list for my locality.

With timber prices being cyclical, I wouldn't bet against the BW coming back into popularity down the line... In my opinion, diversified, well-planned forests equate to sound management. Again, sound management differs if you are talking about deer habitat versus timber production. I am striving for that happy medium.

Lickcreek
12-28-2006, 09:05 AM
Just a couple thoughts on Black Walnuts.....

I have never ever seen a deer eat the nuts!

They are extemely toxic to many other types of trees and plants

As a rule..only those trees grown in river bottom type senarios will grow tall and straight with no limbs...the type that they want for veneer.

Most black walnut trees grown in open fields without well thought out "trainer trees" around them...will never be worth a dime.

I wouldn't waste a second of my time planting them on my place when there are so many other fast growing trees that will produce preffered mast for deer, such as chestnuts and many new oak hybrids.

Just my 2cents after graduating from the school of hard knocks....:D

PYseeker
12-28-2006, 10:10 AM
Some of the bird eye maple logs up there in the U.P. of MI have brought in way more than that...some Japanese buyers have paid over $30,000 for some bird eye logs.

I haven't heard of many walnut veneer-quality logs going for over $3,000, what market is paying $10,000 for them?

USFWC, I just recently had a forester on my place in NC Missouri and he said I have several Walnut-veneer trees that he thought could fetch at least 6-7 thousand a piece. Maybe it's a regional thing?

smsmith
12-28-2006, 11:01 AM
I can tell you from experience that unless you have a LOT of black walnut trees (like 40+ acres worth) the logs are worthless. Why? Because you can't get someone in to harvest a couple of trees. It isn't worth their time. I have about a dozen of them that I've tried to get harvested without luck. I have many more that are anywhere from 8 to 40 feet tall right now. The young ones are going to get cut down because of the juglone from the roots. Most fruit trees can't grow within 50' of a walnut. Since I manage my land for deer, the walnuts gotta go.

USFWC
12-28-2006, 01:52 PM
USFWC, I just recently had a forester on my place in NC Missouri and he said I have several Walnut-veneer trees that he thought could fetch at least 6-7 thousand a piece. Maybe it's a regional thing?


Yep, most likely...I knew that they had a huge market in that area for walnut, but I didn't realize it was that good. I'll definitely be developing a new list of bidders from that area if they are paying that much. They may outbid the locals and still cover their costs of transport. Thanks for the insight, PYseeker.

USFWC
12-28-2006, 02:07 PM
I can tell you from experience that unless you have a LOT of black walnut trees (like 40+ acres worth) the logs are worthless. Why? Because you can't get someone in to harvest a couple of trees. It isn't worth their time. I have about a dozen of them that I've tried to get harvested without luck. I have many more that are anywhere from 8 to 40 feet tall right now. The young ones are going to get cut down because of the juglone from the roots. Most fruit trees can't grow within 50' of a walnut. Since I manage my land for deer, the walnuts gotta go.


Have you talked to a state or consulting forester in your area? Either should be able to find someone willing to get them off your hands for you. A dozen even fair trees have a significant value. Without seeing them, I'd say you could get at least $6000 for the bunch assuming each has a decent log you can get out of them. I'm not sure what you've done to actively sell them, but that is what needs to be done to get a small cut sold...actively pursue the sale, preferably through a consultant.

timberdoodle
12-28-2006, 05:47 PM
USFWC, do you think with a time frame of 35 to 50 years that walnut trees will provide more income than any other type of tree? I have black cherries from stump sprouts growing for about five years, but little else worth anything. The trouble with the cherry is how long it takes for them to be worth harvasting. I am looking for something worth growing for profit to benefit my kids at retirement. More in the 35 to 40 year period. If the income is about the same I would lean toward trees that benefit the wildlife. Do I want oaks? The walnuts were to be an experiment, but maybe it's the way to go for my timber goals.

Help.

edisonck
12-28-2006, 10:05 PM
I think landowners need to consider what they are managing for- deer, timber, or both...

If you are managing strictly for deer, Black Walnut would not be my first choice of tree to plant! Since I manage for both timber and wildlife, I don't think a few thousand board feet of Black Walnut is a poor investment (along with Black Cherry, Red Oak...). Time will tell.

I enjoy the timber production/forestry aspect of owning property and spent a lot of time trying to learn how to do it the right way (if there is such a thing...). One of my best investments, of both time and money, was to hire a consulting forester. If you have marketable timber on your property and want to sell some, I would highly recommend hiring a forester. I would also recommend "interviewing" multiple foresters before contracting with them. It's important to find one that respects your goals for the property.

smsmith- I would be surprised if you could not sell those Black Walnut trees. Have you worked with a forester?

USFWC
12-28-2006, 10:22 PM
USFWC, do you think with a time frame of 35 to 50 years that walnut trees will provide more income than any other type of tree? I have black cherries from stump sprouts growing for about five years, but little else worth anything. The trouble with the cherry is how long it takes for them to be worth harvasting. I am looking for something worth growing for profit to benefit my kids at retirement. More in the 35 to 40 year period. If the income is about the same I would lean toward trees that benefit the wildlife. Do I want oaks? The walnuts were to be an experiment, but maybe it's the way to go for my timber goals.

Help.


It depends on a lot of things. To say it is and will be the best in 50 years would be irresponsible of me. As with any market, it is susceptible to fluctuations of supply and demand. In my opinion, the supply of walnut timber will continue to decline and the demand will at least remain constant. As for how it will compare to cherry timber in your area at the end of that same time frame, I do not know.

The best thing you can do for maximum returns is to set up your property for multiple-use, often referred to as agroforestry or agrosilvipasturing. If you plant walnuts, there are a few different additional things from which you can make money. If you plan out and manage for timber, mast production, cropping and/or livestock grazing, you will make significantly more than you would just managing for timber...and you do not have to wait until the end of the rotation to start seeing a return on your investment, which is a definite plus. The problems with this are that you will be putting a lot more time into managing your resource and the costs may be higher depending upon what usable resources you already have at your disposal/in your region that relate to this type of property management. The planning is the most essential part of making it a success though, so do not rush to get things going on something like this until every event regarding the management has been planned and scheduled.

Also, if your property (or planting area) is a smaller acreage, this probably would not be the most practical use for you. In that case, I would suggest just starting a plantation that you can do most of the active management yourself...pruning, fertilizing, TSI, etc., and manage for the highest quality timber that you can.

Although some 'wildlife' trees can produce a significant amount of money, they are usually not going to be the best route when trying to maximize your returns. There is no reason why you cannot retain some very good hunting though if you plan things out thoroughly. By scheduling grazing rotations to coincide with hunting season, leaving patches of cover and wildlife mast trees, planting food plots/crops and harvesting your deer wisely, you should be able to have what you want while doing well for your deer.

An area where I typically hunt is mostly pecan grove/cattle pasture and we have some of the best hunting in the state (in my opinion). We quite possibly had the largest-bodied deer taken in the state this year at 230 lbs. There are typically very few deer taken over 200 lbs in the state and there were 3 at, near or over that this year taken from 'our' area. So, you can manage for things other than wildlife and still have good hunting; you just have to do it a little differently than it would be traditionally done.

smsmith
12-28-2006, 11:15 PM
Thanks for the suggestion USFWC-however, I tried both those routes. I've contacted my local forester several times and every timber buyer in my area (150 mile circle), none of them have any interest. It simply isn't worth the time for them. To transport their machinery and men to an area where they will only get a dozen or so trees simply isn't economically viable for them. My estimate of their value is similar to yours, about $6000. When you consider the money involved with bringing in the machines and a work crew at $150-$300 per man for a crew of a eight to a dozen, $6000 goes away pretty quickly. My only hope is to find a small buyer who can come in and work in his "off" time. I haven't been able to do so yet. I too thought that I had some very valuable trees. They have value, just not enough I guess. Perhaps if the Japanese start going crazy with walnut veneer again like they did in the '70's I'll be able to sell them.

Bottom line on walnuts for me: to deer they have zero value. If you have the acreage (I'd say 40 minimum), the time and the ability to grow STRAIGHT trees in a high density planting, and you want to manage your land for money for your kids (grandkids?), I'd say go with the walnuts.

USFWC
12-28-2006, 11:40 PM
Thanks for the suggestion USFWC-however, I tried both those routes. I've contacted my local forester several times and every timber buyer in my area (150 mile circle), none of them have any interest. It simply isn't worth the time for them. To transport their machinery and men to an area where they will only get a dozen or so trees simply isn't economically viable for them. My estimate of their value is similar to yours, about $6000. When you consider the money involved with bringing in the machines and a work crew at $150-$300 per man for a crew of a eight to a dozen, $6000 goes away pretty quickly. My only hope is to find a small buyer who can come in and work in his "off" time. I haven't been able to do so yet. I too thought that I had some very valuable trees. They have value, just not enough I guess. Perhaps if the Japanese start going crazy with walnut veneer again like they did in the '70's I'll be able to sell them.

I forget that you all do not have the same source of cheaper labor as we do down here in the south. I hate to say it, but most immigrant workers take less and work twice as hard as some American workers. The crews are typically smaller to get the same amount of work done too.

Where exactly is your property located, smsmith? ...and do you have the tree measurements and gradings available?

pinwheel
12-29-2006, 08:55 AM
In my opinion, diversified, well-planned forests equate to sound management. Again, sound management differs if you are talking about deer habitat versus timber production. I am striving for that happy medium.


Of all the posts on this thread, I like this paragraph the best. Diversity, that's the key to successful wildlife. There is more to habitat than just providing a food source. The point that walnut is noxious to some plants keeps being brought up. That's not entirely a bad thing IMO. Wildlife needs open areas with bare ground inside the timber. I don't care if it's deer, turks or just squirrels. I understand that this is a site about deer management, but one of the most important things that I've learned since I've been a landowner is that if I build habitat to promote other wildlife, the deer benefit as much or more. Myself, I'm planting about 300 new walnuts this spring. I'm promoting the growth of the walnuts I already have growing along my creek. I'm also planting other trees that are not mast or fruit bearing for habitat reasons other than a food source.

As for lumber prices, I'm a professional woodworker. I'm very fortunate to live in an area with quite a few sawmills. One of which has their own kiln that I buy my lumber from. I can buy good quality red oak for $2.00-2.25 a bd for. Walnut starts at $3.50 & goes to $5.00+ a bd ft. Personally, I think walnut is a good investment on my property.

USFWC
12-29-2006, 12:15 PM
I understand that this is a site about deer management, but one of the most important things that I've learned since I've been a landowner is that if I build habitat to promote other wildlife, the deer benefit as much or more.


I agree, deer are 'easy' to manage their habitat for in relation to other species. Since they are generalists, they often benefit from management of the habitat for other species. When regenerating aspen stands for ruffed grouse by way of a clearcut, they have more browse and a good bedding area. Prescribed burning every 3-5 years and thinning, when necessary, produces good nesting habitat for eastern wild turkeys and, again, provides good browse and cover for deer. They are not as needy as the food plot marketers would have you believe. The main thing that most properties need to manage for is cover. If you manage for a variety of cover and habitat types, the food will be there. It is usually just a matter of managing the deer numbers and sex ratio after that issue has been addressed, assuming there are no people problems such as poaching, management resistance, ignoring sanctuaries, etc.


As for lumber prices, I'm a professional woodworker. I'm very fortunate to live in an area with quite a few sawmills. One of which has their own kiln that I buy my lumber from. I can buy good quality red oak for $2.00-2.25 a bd for. Walnut starts at $3.50 & goes to $5.00+ a bd ft. Personally, I think walnut is a good investment on my property.

...very good example of the values of walnut relative to another highly-demanded wood...and it is about twice as much!

buckdeer1
12-29-2006, 01:00 PM
I found that trees are like any crop and when left in the field too long become worth less in some cases.Some of the trees had rot holes for 10' up the trunk.If you keep walnut trees for future harvest you can make them worth more by trimming the low limbs.I was able to open my canapy and make 10K so I was happy.This was with a 50-50 split with the logger and all I had to do was provide the trees.Always discuss what damage is allowable and make sure you are present when the buyer prices the logs.

smsmith
12-29-2006, 02:21 PM
USFWC-I'm located in north east Dane County, WI. Madison is about 10 miles to the south of me, if that helps. I don't have the measurements or grades. I've never been able to get someone out that would do that for me. I'm hesitant to hire a consulting forester because I don't think they'd be able to get the trees sold. I'd be out the consulting fee and get nothing in return, maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. All I know is that none of the timber buyers I contacted had the slightest interest.

USFWC
12-29-2006, 03:09 PM
USFWC-I'm located in north east Dane County, WI. Madison is about 10 miles to the south of me, if that helps. I don't have the measurements or grades. I've never been able to get someone out that would do that for me. I'm hesitant to hire a consulting forester because I don't think they'd be able to get the trees sold. I'd be out the consulting fee and get nothing in return, maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. All I know is that none of the timber buyers I contacted had the slightest interest.

I only charge a percent of the sale price when making a sale, so the landowner is never out money. Most consultants I know operate the same way. If they do not, it is probably best to avoid them, because they are not concerned about your welfare at all.

A consultant will measure, evaluate and market the timber for you. The total process of measuring the trees and sending out bid notices for a sale that small should not take more than a day. If there is not an acceptable bid, then the consultant takes the loss of only his time and some travel expense, not you...unless you have entered into a service agreement that states otherwise.

USFWC
12-29-2006, 03:37 PM
I found that trees are like any crop and when left in the field too long become worth less in some cases.Some of the trees had rot holes for 10' up the trunk.If you keep walnut trees for future harvest you can make them worth more by trimming the low limbs.I was able to open my canapy and make 10K so I was happy.This was with a 50-50 split with the logger and all I had to do was provide the trees.Always discuss what damage is allowable and make sure you are present when the buyer prices the logs.

You did a pay-as-cut on your own? That is a really good way to get ripped off...I hope you didn't. How long did the cut take place and how many trees were cut? Did they repair damages to your property, seed to control erosion and reduce the slash down to acceptable levels? Also, was the logger and buyer one and the same?

timberdoodle
12-29-2006, 06:11 PM
Sorry I didn't give you more specifics USFWC. I have 200 acres in north/west Pa of which 30 acres is a bog or beaver swamp and the rest is totally wooded with the only openings being a power line right away and several small food plots. The rest is rolling terrain, no steep hills. The property was diameter cut about five years ago. They pulled about $400,000 to $500,000 of cherry off of it. At least that is what I can figure out from the info concerning the land purchase, timbering and selling off to me. Like I said there are sprouts from some of the stumps and the rest is maple and junk as far as deer and timber are concerned. I have acres of blackberry mixed in and very few cherry trees that made it through the cutting. Envision large cherry trees 30' apart and being able to see hundreds of yards beneath them. The area was clear cut in the early 1900's. It was an even age stand.

Any more help on what to plant for timber. If I wait out the cherry it will benefit my grand children, not my children. I bought the property for hunting, but it would be foolish not to create deer habitat as well as timber income. With four kids and only two of them involved in hunting, I cannot pass it on to my kids with only two of them benefitting from it. With the future timber income, the hunters can manage and use it while they can all share in the timber profits.

What to do, what to do?