Butternut


Butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Description:

There is some debate as to whether this species is a native species. There seems to be evidence on both sides of the argument, but it is rather academic. Butternut is native to the Saint John River valley in New Brunswick and would have eventually found its way here. It is a very exotic looking tree, with large, compound leaves made up of 11 to 17 leaflets. With light shading, trees become tall and stately and make good growth. In spring, the trees produce small, purple flowers.


Growing Conditions:

Butternuts do well in moist, rich soil and with light shading. Several butternut plantations were established at Macphail Woods in the early 1980’s. Those in full sun are excessively branched and have not made good growth, while those with some shading have done exceptionally well.

Propagation:

Collection begins when seeds begin to fall, from September to mid- October. As with red oak, fall or spring planting works well. When fall planting, keep nuts in a container for a few weeks until the husks can be rubbed off (this is a messy job, so wear gloves). For spring planting, store in a stratification bed (see page 20). Plant nuts every 2 in. (5 cm), in rows 8 in. (20 cm) apart, at a depth of 2 in. (5 cm). Butternuts produce tap roots and should be root pruned the same as oaks. Most seed will germinate the first season, but if the winter was very mild, some may not germinate until the second or third growing season. These trees also respond well to pruning, both in the nursery and especially in the field. It makes a world of difference to properly prune young trees, as they often suffer winter damage. If you don’t prune them back to a single stem, you will get bushy trees with structural problems. A few minutes with pruning shears will increase the health and value of these trees.

Wildlife Uses:

The nuts are widely used by blue jays, red squirrels and chipmunks. Smaller birds and mammals often consume butternuts on the ground that have split naturally or have been partially eaten by larger species.

Areas of Usage:

Excellent for diversifying young conifer plantations, these trees can also be planted in openings in old field white spruce. Light shade encourages tall, straight growth. Butternut is also a good choice for plantings around the home. The nuts are tasty, although smaller than walnuts and more difficult to crack. Selecting the largest nuts for seed should produce superior trees. The wood is attractive and easy to work. It is often used for making furniture and decorative woodwork.

Upcoming Events

Sep
29
Sat
9:00 am Ecological Bushcraft: An Overnig...
Ecological Bushcraft: An Overnig...
Sep 29 @ 9:00 am – Sep 30 @ 3:00 pm
Ecological Bushcraft: An Overnight Excursion @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Ecological Bushcraft: An Overnight Excursion September 29th-30th $225 Register Nowby ACTIVE Network Bushcraft is the art of living comfortably in nature. Learning to light a fire, construct a shelter or cook outdoors are just a
Oct
6
Sat
9:00 am Woodland Ecology: An Introductio...
Woodland Ecology: An Introductio...
Oct 6 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Woodland Ecology: An Introduction to Forest Stewardship @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Woodland Ecology:An Introduction to Forest Stewardship Saturday, October 6th $100 Register Nowby ACTIVE Network Whether it is one acre or one hundred acres, owning a woodlot can be a joyful but daunting task. Creating trails,
Oct
14
Sun
2:00 pm Autumn in the Forest
Autumn in the Forest
Oct 14 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
A walk along the trails of Macphail Woods, looking at both plants and animals. This is a great outing for people of all ages.
Nov
2
Fri
9:00 pm Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance
Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance
Nov 2 @ 9:00 pm – Nov 4 @ 3:00 pm
Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance Spring Session: April 27th-29th Fall Session: November 2nd-4th $250 Register Nowby ACTIVE Network Burning firewood can be an affordable and potentially carbon neutral way to heat your home. However, the vast

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