What Will Grow Under Walnut Trees?

Question:

What vegetables and flowers will survive under the drip line of walnut trees?

Hardiness Zone: 3a

Lorraine from Lone Rock, WI

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Answer:

Lorraine,

The only vegetables immune to juglone (the toxic substance produced by walnut trees) are squash, melons, beans, carrots, corn, and black raspberries. Some veggies are very susceptible to the effects of juglone (e.g. tomatoes, peppers, potatoes), so for that reason, I recommend composting any debris from your trees (leaves, twigs, husks, and wood chips) before adding it to the garden. This give the juglone time to break down into non-toxic components, and minimizes the risk of injuring highly susceptible plants.

Here is a list of ornamental landscape plants hardy to your zone that should do well under walnut trees:

  • Astilbe
  • Bee Balm
  • Bellflower
  • Bloodroot
  • Cinnamon Fern
  • Cranesbill
  • Crocus
  • Daylilies
  • Dutchmans Breeches
  • Garden Phlox
  • Glory-of-the-Snow
  • Hollyhock
  • Hosta
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Lambs Ear
  • Lungwort
  • Morning Glory
  • Pansies
  • Pot Marigold
  • Sedum
  • Siberian Squill
  • Snowdrop
  • Spanish Bluebell
  • Spiderwort
  • Sundrops
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Violets
  • Wax Begonia
  • Zinnea

Good luck!

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

May 19, 20080 found this helpful

I DON'T KNOW BUT HAVE ALWAYS HEARD NOT TO PLANT ANYTHING UNDER THEM. I KNOW THE LEAVES ARE SUPPOSE TO BE POISON. WE ALWAYS TAKE THE LEAVES AND RELOCATE THEM IN THE FALL.

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May 20, 20080 found this helpful

It's the roots that release a substance that is toxic to other plants to prevent competition. It's a great survival tactic but a challenge in the landscape. I would suggest putting down bark chips and a bench.

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May 21, 20080 found this helpful

I feel your pain. We have TWO walnut trees. Most plants will not do well anywhere near the walnuts but I've found most hostas and coral bells do fairly well. Everything else I've tried has died.

FYI - the root system is the most toxic but the leaves and nuts that drop are also toxic. So, if you can keep the leaves cleaned up, a built up bed with a plastic barrier in the bottom below some new fill dirt may work.

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May 26, 20080 found this helpful

I have had much success with periwinkles, zinnas and cosmos. They return each year.

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November 29, 20080 found this helpful

Plants for a Future has some excellent info on the uses of walnuts. Doesn't go into what will live under the drip line though.

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Juglans+regia

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