Tag: MorewithLes

Walnut trees have what they need to survive in the wild

Juglans nigra, as black walnuts are botanically identified, is a native tree with a variety of features and uses valued by humanity. The southern range of this tree is the non-coastal zones in counties of north Florida and is not adapted to coastal environs with sandy alkaline soils.

It grows in the wild and planted groves in areas east of the great plains in the U.S. and into southern Canada. Well-drained soils with a high organic matter content will support this slow growing hardwood. In the case of Santa Rosa County expect to see examples in its northern most acres.

The shape of the tree depends on the setting where it grows. Wild trees which occur in forested areas tend to be tall with a straight single trunk and a canopy reaching about 90 feet above the ground.

Walnut trees growing in open areas with full sun exposure tend to be much shorter. Trunks, while usually single, will have noticeably larger girth as compared to specimens of the same age which grew in heavily forested sites.

This tree is always started from its nut which, if planted with the previous season nuts, commonly have a high rate of germination. Started in one-gallon pots, they are easily transplanted into permanent sites in the landscape or grove.

The leaves, technically, can be up to two feet in length and may contain up to 23 leaflets. A healthy tree’s canopy produces dense shade under its reaches, which suppresses the growth of many other plants.

Additionally, to eliminate competitors, this species produces an allelopathic chemical in its root zone to give this tree an added advantage. This natural form of biological warfare kills some plant species and deters others, so, if added as a specimen in the home landscape, this factor should be considered.

The chocolate brown lumber is valued highly for its use in furniture, paneling and many other products. To a lesser degree, its nut meat is used in a variety of recipes, usually as a flavor enhancer.

Extremely hard, it takes a steel hammer or some other ridged tool and much physical effort to crack these tough nuts. The challenge discourages many.

In the coming weeks the nut’s husk will turn from green to dark brown and drop from the branches.

Hard wood, harder nuts and the ability to conduct chemical suppression of competitors – all factors needed for survival in the wild.

To learn more about this desirable tree in Navarre, Gulf Breeze and Santa Rosa County, contact the nearest UF/IFAS County Extension Office or visit https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/find-your-local-office/. To read more stories by Les Harrison visit: Outdoorauthor.com and follow him on Facebook.

Live Oaks provide shade in the summer

As July fades into August, more residents are questioning how the trees in their home landscapes would fair in a tropical storm or hurricane.

Some have a high potential to cause problems, other like the Southern Live Oak are less likely to damage structures.

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Singing the blues with birds

Blue is a color which usually has negative or depressing connotations and implications. For example, people feeling depressed or out-of-sorts, are said to have the blues.

Blues singers always have a sad song about love lost or some other gloomy situation beyond the control of the person suffering through the unhappiness and indignities.

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Camphor shot borer has peculiar appetite

The recent stormy weather, with all its potential problems, has focused many Santa Rosa County residents on alternative tools for a variety of uses to keep civilization at hand. In some cases, gasoline powered engines are necessary to achieve a level of 21st century comfort.

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