As you may recall from a previous post entitled Black Walnuts On My Mind, we have from 200-300 black walnut trees on our property, out of which I have located and mapped 94 individual trees that are prolific nut producers this season. Eventually, the time comes for the nuts to fall from the protective limbs of the walnut trees onto the ground below – that time has now come, as you can see from the following photograph.
Of the 94 productive trees, 7 are located in the yard surrounding our house, which, for aesthetic reasons, I like to maintain as mowed lawn. The walnuts that fall from trees in our pastures and fields remain where they lie, until our friend Jasper comes to gather them (which will probably be in the next two weeks, and the subject of a future post). But the nuts that fall upon my lawn get gathered soon after they fall from the tree, for two reasons. As you can see in the photo above, the walnuts can easily cause twisted or sprained ankles for the unwary person traversing the lawn, so for safety reasons I like to remove them quickly.
As you can see in the photo above, the walnuts begin their decomposition soon after hitting the ground, and the black, tar-like substance that emanates from within the husk will kill the grasses that lie beneath the rotting nut if it is allowed to remain on the ground. If this happened with only a few nuts, it would not be a problem, but with thousands of nuts falling from each tree, the lawn would soon disappear beneath the trees if the nuts were not rapidly removed after falling.
What you see here is a tool for picking up walnuts (and other types of nuts, as well) that Retta was kind enough to purchase for me from a farm store she was visiting in Ozark, Missouri a couple of years ago. Each and every time I use this tool, I am grateful to her for having had the foresight to buy it, as it has eliminated the back-wrenching stooping that I used to go through in order to pick up the walnuts that were befouling my cherished lawn.
Here, you can see how simple this tool is to use – simply roll it along the ground where the nuts have landed, and like magic, the nuts end up trapped inside. Soon, the tool will fill with nuts, as seen below, but it is quick and easy to empty the nuts into a suitable container and continue with the task at hand.
Each morning, after gathering the nuts that have fallen the previous day, I dump them into a pile, where they will remain until either; A) Jasper picks them up, or B) “my” squirrels gather and bury them for their winter sustenance.
The picture above is the pile of nuts that had fallen in one single day from these seven trees in my yard. I will gather these nuts on a daily basis until the trees are barren and enter their winter slumber, saving their strength for the crop that they will surely produce next summer.
It is hard to say with any degree of certainty how much an un-hulled black walnut weighs. As you can see in the photograph above, the size of the nuts that fell from the same tree are quite variable. To try to ascertain an average weight of the un-hulled nuts, I filled a five gallon bucket with walnuts, as seen below.
After filling the bucket, I weighed it on our bathroom scale, and determined the net weight to be 24 pounds. A manual count indicated that there were 337 nuts in the bucket. Therefore, simple arithmetic yielded an average weight of .0712 pounds/nut, or about 14 nuts per pound. Remember these figures, for they will be used in an analysis of Jasper’s labors in a post that will appear here in the near future.