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Walnut Cultivation: Land Preparation, Climate & Fertilizer Requirement, Best Varieties, Harvesting & Much More

Walnuts are popularly known as "akhrot" in India and they are grown in the northwest Himalayan belt, which includes Sikkim and Darjeeling.

Sandeep Kr Tiwari
Walnuts grow in well-drained deep silt loamy soils rich in humus and supplemented with lime.
Walnuts grow in well-drained deep silt loamy soils rich in humus and supplemented with lime.

Walnut ((Juglans sp.) is one of the temperate nut fruits that belongs to the family of " "Juglandaceae". Walnuts can be grown between 900 and 3000 metres above sea level. Mexico, the United States, China, Ukraine, Turkey, and Iran are the major walnut-producing nations in the world.

Walnuts are popularly known as "akhrot" in India and they are grown in the northwest Himalayan belt, which includes Sikkim and Darjeeling.

In India, commercial farming of walnut is limited and it is primarily grown in Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh. The most significant temperate nut produced in India is the Persian walnut. Commercial walnut growing is also progressively increasing in other states. In India, walnuts are primarily divided into four categories: hard shelled, medium shelled, thin shelled, and paper shelled. India's main walnut-producing state is Jammu and Kashmir.

Local names for Walnut:

Akhrot (Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati, Tamil, Assamese), Akrod (Marathi), Acrota (Kannada), Akrotandi/Akroott (Malayalam).

Best Varieties:

Wilson, Kashmir Budded, Placentia, Eureka, Franquetfe, Lake English, Opex Caulchry, Chakrata Selections, etc

Soil and Climate Requirements

Walnuts grow in well-drained deep silt loamy soils rich in humus and supplemented with lime. An ideal soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.5 would result in a good yield. Don't forget to add good boron and zinc to the soil.

Typically, walnuts grow well in cool climatic conditions. Frost conditions during spring may not suitable for walnut growth. Additionally, they do not prefer hot summer climates. It can grow and produce well with an annual rainfall of 800 mm that is distributed uniformly. When the temperature rises above 38 °C results in sun-burning hulls & shriveled kernels which negatively affects the yields.

Land Preparation

The weeds should be removed from the land and it should be well prepared. Previous crop roots should be removed. Land should be ploughed 3 to 4 times to get soil tilth stage.

Propagation Technique

Walnut trees can be propagated through seeds or grafting or budding methods. Popular propagation is done through seeds. Better to Use the local walnut seedlings as rootstocks.

Planting and Spacing in Walnut cultivation:

Walnut farming uses a square pattern on flat land and contour planting on hills with steep slopes. Plant spacing should generally be done in the way that is described below.

Seedling trees: 12x12 m

Fertilizer Requirement

While preparing the soil, add the required amount of well-rotted farmyard manure. NPK in the following quantities should be added to the soil. Apply P & K in small doses for the first five years (about 100 grammes per plant). Thereafter, 45-80 kg/ha of P & 65-100 kg/ha of K should be applied. In terms of nitrogen, a dose of 100 grammes per tree should be applied the first year, and 100 grammes more should be added every year.

Harvesting

Usually, walnut trees will become ready for harvesting in 10 to 12 years after planting the seedlings. After 18 to 20 years from the time of planting, full commercial output is to be expected. However, grafted planting begins fruit production early (in 4 to 5 years after planting). Full commercial output in grafted plantations should begin within 8 to 10 years.

Yield

A fully mature walnut tree can produce as high as 150 kilograms of nuts. However, one walnut tree can produce an average of 40 to 50 kilogram of nuts every year. Generally, the yield depends on the cultivar and farming techniques practices.

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