Black Walnut Timber: The 50 Year Crop

Black Walnut is one of the many asset crops that Propagate focuses on. It is a long term timber product and has a value added nut crop until it reaches timber maturity.

One of the best breeders of timber products is The Martell Research Forest at Purdue University. They breed superior black walnut genetics. These trees are often robust, straight, tall, and have grown quickly. However, when we take them out of the forest, we take their genetics out of the ecosystem. If we create forests full of inferior genetics, we compromise our ability to harvest superior timber trees in the future.


48 years ago, Purdue gathered seed from wild specimens that were already straight and disease-free and started breeding trees. Currently, they supply both grafted stock and seed stock from superior trees. Below are several photos from their plots.

Black timber also has understory cultivation potential which could include, commercial grain farming, grazing poultry and small ruminants, human recreation such as running trails, or even shiitake mushroom cultivation.

The environmental benefits of Black Walnut include:

  • Soil Erosion Control
  • Soil Building
  • Wildlife Habitat
  • Ground Water Infiltration
  • Water & Fertility Retention
  • Carbon Sequestration

Black walnuts are easily harvestable using tarps. They are used for a variety of products from dyes to abrasive spray. It's timber is amongst the most valued wood species that exists today.