Nut trees are not only sources of food but also provide fuel, timber, shade and shelter to wildlife. Nut trees can be grown successfully with a little attention to selection of species and planting site. The majority of nut trees prefer neutral to acidic soils and grow best in a well-drained, elevated site. Adding composted organic matter helps to ensure healthy nut trees and a good nut production.
Almonds are among the most popular nuts in the world and are even mentioned in the Bible. Almonds are the native of China and Central Asia. California's Central Valley is the largest almond-producing region in the world. The nuts grow best in areas of hot and dry summers. Almonds are a source of magnesium and vitamin E. Eating a handful of the nuts provides as much fibre as an orange or apple. Almond trees are a member of the Rosaceae or rose family. The trees are small to medium sized and grow to a mature height of about 10 to 15 feet. Almond trees grow best in well-drained, deep, loamy soils but also tolerate poor soil. The trees thrive in areas with mild winters and low humidity, hot summers.
Black walnut trees are valuable both for their nuts lumber. Black walnut wood is prized for its colour, durability, strength and wood stability after drying. Those portions of trees that are not used as lumber are used in novelty items. Black walnuts are used extensively in the production of ice cream, commercial baking, candy making and retail sale. The ground-up shells are used as an additive to well-drilling mud and as a polishing abrasive. The nuts are an important food source for white-tailed deer, woodpeckers and squirrels. The large-sized trees in the landscape provide shade and the black walnut is among the six walnut species grown in the United States.
Pecan trees are the largest member of the hickory family and often grow more than 70 feet high. The trees prolifically produce edible nuts on branch terminals in clusters of two to five. The nuts are surrounded with a fleshy green husk while they are growing. The husks then split open in the fall to reveal brown nuts streaked with black. Pecan trees are multipurpose, as they are a source of nuts, and provide shade and protection for wildlife. Pecan trees are also a low-input orchard tree. Pecan trees need lots of room to grow optimally and are best propagated by transplanting the grafted trees of desired cultivars. The trees start producing nuts 4 to 6 years after planting.
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