A review of black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) ecology and management in Europe

Abstract

Black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) is a light-demanding, competition-intolerant, and tall forest tree species, introduced in Europe from North America at the beginning of the seventeenth century. It has an important economic role in Europe for producing wood and fruits, in agroforestry systems, as an ornamental tree for parks and avenues, for rehabilitation/restoration of degraded lands. The best sites for black walnut growth have warm and mild climates, with frequent and well-spread precipitation, and rich, deep, near neutral, well-drained and moist soils. Black walnut is a fast grower in youth and its height and diameter growth reach their peaks before age 30–35 years. It is globally the best known allelopathic species due to the juglone substance present in all parts of black walnut trees. The species is storm-resistant and not affected by any major pest or disease in Europe. It is regenerated by planting or direct seeding on bare land, in monocultures and mixed stands. The management of stands with black walnut, with a rotation period generally up to 80 years, include weeding (mandatory), cleaning-respacing (in dense stands), thinning (mostly from above), high and formative pruning (mandatory), with the aim of producing valuable wood for sliced veneer, solid furniture, flooring/parquet, cabinetry, panelling, sculpture, musical instruments, gunstocks.

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Fig. 1

Photo A. Zeidler

Fig. 2

Based on the data from https://web.extension.illinois.edu/forestry/illinois_timber_prices.cfm. Accessed 07 Jul 2019

Fig. 3

Based on the data from https://web.extension.illinois.edu/forestry/illinois_timber_prices.cfm

Fig. 4

Photo B. Biro

Fig. 5

Photo VN Nicolescu

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Photo V. Sfeclă

Fig. 7

Romania, Decei et al. (1986)

Fig. 8

Romania, Decei et al. (1986)

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Photos VN Nicolescu

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Photos VN Nicolescu

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Photos VN Nicolescu

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Acknowledgements

This paper is an output from the European COST Action FP1403 ‘Non-native tree species for European forests—experiences, risks and opportunities’ (NNEXT) which was active during 2014–2018. The authors also acknowledge helpful suggestions from the reviewers and the editor.

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This work was not funded by any source but carried out voluntarily by a group of university staff and researchers from different European countries interested in the ecology and management of black walnut.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation and data collection were performed by all authors. Data analysis was performed by Valeriu-Norocel Nicolescu. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Valeriu-Norocel Nicolescu and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Nicolescu, VN., Rédei, K., Vor, T. et al. A review of black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) ecology and management in Europe. Trees 34, 1087–1112 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-020-01988-7

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Keywords

  • Black walnut juglans nigra L.
  • Ecology
  • Growth and yield
  • Management