Growing Walnut Trees for Profit

Tanja Folnovic

Agronomy Expert

The oldest tree food known to man, walnut (Juglans regia L.), has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Walnuts were first grown in the Middle East, known as the "Persian Walnut'' and were traded to England, where they were reserved for royalty. English merchant marines transported the product for trade to ports around the world and they became known as "English Walnuts." England, in fact, never grew walnuts commercially. Today the nut trade continues to be a well-established, ordered and structured business, and the California walnut is well known as the top quality walnut for the world.

Walnut trees produce a double income, as the nuts and as the trees growing to harvestable size for timber. For timber is usually grown black walnut, which growers call a “legacy tree”, because it takes about 30 years to reach it’s prime harvesting size of about 16 inches or so for a veneer log. Along the way, the walnut stand can be thinned to provide income, but the real payoff comes at harvest. First walnuts have been grown primarily for their timber, which is valuable and prized for making decorative furniture and gunstocks.


To bring in income while the walnut trees are growing, many new plantings are using “agroforestry,” which uses double-cropping of walnut trees with pasture crops for harvesting or livestock grazing. Trees are planted in widely-spaced rows, at about 100 trees per acre, with other crops between the rows. In addition to pasture crops, high-value crops like raspberries or blueberries can be used. Agroforestry can provide income for different ways. For the first few years, the only income is from the crop planted between the trees. As the trees become larger, they are thinned to about 30 trees per acre, with wood from the thinning being sold. After a few years, the walnut trees begin to produce nuts for harvesting. When the remaining thinned trees are mature, they are harvested for veneer logs, which bring thousands of dollars per log.


Walnuts in agroforestry

The trees need little management during their first five or six years, during which time they will not bear fruit. Agrivi system gives you all activities and measures how to properly manage your farm. It will also help you track all farm activities, workers, finances and productivity of your walnut orchard. Although there is a range of diseases which walnuts may become infected with, they are, on the whole, not serious and will not endanger the plantation. Good husbandry can control most problems. The most serious issue is the control of squirrels. In areas with large populations of grey squirrels, walnut production may not be viable.


Squirrel on walnut tree

Although it may take a bit more work and patience to establish a planting of nut trees compared to “instant” crops like vegetables, the trees will continue to increase nut production and profits, for many years as the trees grow. Nut trees can produce for decades as well, producing a dependable income for many years.


Walnut farm in Turkey, Anatolia

The global production of walnut has increased within a few couple of years and the largest increase is observed in Asia continent. In 2010, the production of walnut exceeded 2.55 million metric tons thus resulting a valuable rank in most used dry fruits.

Top 10 largest walnut producing countries in the world:

Rank Country Name Tonnes
1 China 1,782,573
2 Iran 450,398
3 USA 425,956
4 Turkey 194,572
5 Mexico 110,794
6 Ukraine 96,397
7 India 46,923
8 Chile 38,205
9 France 36,625
10 Romania 31,928


Growing trees for profit is an ideal part-time or full-time business for anyone who enjoys being outdoors and working with plants. Trees are a valuable and renewable resource that can be grown in a tiny backyard or on a 100-acre tree farm.

Raise your walnut orchard and start profitable farming today with Agrivi system.

; ; ;