This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
We have often had accounts of large and otherwise remarkable trees, and other objects of interest; but I do not know whether my walnut tree, Juglans regia, has received the respectful notice it deserves.
The Juglans regia (English walnut) seldom attains maturity in this section of the country, the young trees generally perishing from the severity of our winters. From a small tree of this description, and whose precocious fruiting was probably the result of its decline, I procured six well characterized English walnuts in the autumn of 1826. The nuts were all planted and grew.
During the summer (1827) five of the number grew to the usual height of five or six inches. The remaining one made a more vigorous growth, reaching full eighteen inches, with a stem half an inch in diameter. The second year (1828) the same disparity of growth continued. While none of the five exceeded ten or twelve inches, the one 1884.] And horticulturist. 271 reached to over four feet, with a stem to correspond. In the ensuing spring (1829) they were all set out; within five years the small ones had all been winter-killed, and the larger one had become a tree.
This tree is now fifty-seven years old, round topped and spreading, and still manifests the same endurance, the same extraordinary vigor; certainly extraordinary for the species, which appears to be of limited growth.
At the height of ten feet the trunk divides into three branches; the following is the result of recent measurements: Height, about 90 feet; circumference at the surface, 15 feet; one foot high, 12 feet; circumference 8 feet high, 10 feet; horizontal extent of branches on the N. W., 51 feet; N. E., 49 feet; S. E., 46 feet; S. W., 46 feet; making 48 feet radius of circle. Area of the circle of branches 7,238 square feet.
The tree has several peculiarities, which are worthy of notice. Though it annually produces a profusion of catkins, and its wide spread branches are crowded with pistillate flowers, it never has matured much fruit; every year a few dozens, once or twice, perhaps a half peck. Apparently, the catkins came too early before the leaves, and being very large and heavy are broken off by the wind, or from some abnormal condition, before the nutlets are sufficiently matured for fertilization. The nuts readily vegetate, but the few trials I have made the trees have not proved very vigorous, and have not borne fruit. The fruit is peculiar in form and appearance, approaching nearer to that of Juglans nigra, than J. regia, giving rise to a suspicion that our tree may be a hybrid between the two. Inclosed pleased find the only perfect nut that is now available. Toughkenemon, Pa.
[Very singular walnuts, but similar variations are found at times in the Old World, where there can be no hybridism, and they are regarded now as natural variations. - Ed. G. M].