Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nuts Varieties for Utah

A columnar English oak can be grown in
many suburban gardens with out taking
over the full lot.

One of the most neglected plants in the edible landscape is the nut tree. In my native Utah, walnut trees are a common sight, but often outgrow the space they are planted in.

Below, I've put together a list of trees that can be planted on a typical quarter acre lot. Not all of them are the best choices for all home owners. When choosing a nut tree remember to account for size at maturity, how quickly it produces, how well the nuts will store, and yearly productivity. And don't forget personal taste!

Common Name Scientific name Cultivar Height Width Notes
Bur oak Quercus macrocarpa 70-80' 80-90' Big prickly acorns, favorite ammunition for kids.

Swamp white oak Quercus bicolor 50-60' 60-70' Great for wetter areas. Will get chlorotic (yellow) leaves in alkali soils.

English oak Quercus robur species 40-60' 40-60 Susceptible to mildew and aphids.

Fastigiata 50-60 10-15' Will get wider after three or four decades. Susceptible to the same pests as the species.

Gamble (scrub) oak Quercus gambelii 15-25' 15-20' Native oak growing in clonal clumps with small acorns that attract bluejays. Given enough time and little maintenance clumps may get to be quit large.
Almond Prunus dulcis All-in-One 15-20' 15' Hardy to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Best in warmer valley areas.

Hall 20-30' 20' Best with a pollinator, Joranolo or Texas. Small slightly bitter nut. Starts blooming with apricots and ends with the peaches.

Mission 20-30' 20' Small nut with a harder than usual shell. Late bloomer and pollinates best with Hall or Nonpareil.
Filbert (hazel) Corylus 15-20' 15' Varieties vary greatly depending on where you buy them. Make sure you have an appropriate pollinator.
English walnut Juglans regia 60' 60' Many varieties, make sure you get one listed as 'Carpathian' type for good winter hardiness. Nuts should be small to medium and well sealed for best quality.
Butternut Juglans cenerea 50-60' 50-60' The tastiest nut in the Juglans genus but do not stand under the tree when they fall. The nuts are heavy enough to do damage.
Apricot Prunus armeniaca Chinese (Mormon) up to 38' Use only sweet pit varieties as a nut, others are toxic.
Piñon Pine Pinus edulis 30-65' 25 years to cropping. Will only crop heavily every third year.
Single-leaf Piñon Pinus monophylla 30-65' 25 years to cropping. Will only crop heavily every third year.

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