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Estimated Time to Maturity: Planting Black Walnut

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From: Bulfrano Garcia
Round Lake Beach, IL
hello Jay, my name is B.Garcia and I live in the Lake County Illinois area. I'm thinking about growing Black Walnut tree's for lumber. But I was wondering if you can help me out with some facts. On some websites I read said that black walnut tree's take about 25 to 35 years to reach maturity for harvesting. Other websites say a black walnut tree takes 60 to 80 years to reach maturity for harvesting. I would like to hold on to these tree's until their value reaches the $20,000 to $25,000 range each. How old would each tree need to be reach this maturity level and value ? Also can you refer me to the closest forester or forestry agency that can help me put together a game plan and help me manage this investment. The location is in the Lake County Illinois area. And I would like to plant about 200 to 250 tree's. Thank you for any help or assistance you can provide me with.

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

Hi Bulfrano:

Age to economic maturity is based upon several key factors: soils & site, and intermediate stand management treatments (pruning and thinning). On the highest quality sites, it would be possible to grow "some" merchantable walnut timber within 40 years; however, the most valuable trees would be required to grow 60-80 years. I don't want to burst your bubble too harshly, but I'm puzzled as to who told you that you could receive $20-25K per walnut tree at maturity? I've only heard of a dozen or so "perfect" trees that ever sold for that kind of money. $1000 walnut trees, however, are much more common in areas that grow high quality black walnut. Just remember, the key to maximizing the value of your standing trees is to MARKET them to the highest prospective buyer. Please contact your local IL Dept. of Natural Resources district forester for tree planting assistance: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/forestry/pdf/tfb-nres-201-14.pdf


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