K-State Research and Extension News
June 03, 2013
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Attend Walnut Council Field Day to Learn about Black Walnut

Can Be Significant Income Source to Landowners

ABILENE, Kan. -- Black walnut is the most commercially valuable tree in Kansas. Since 1981, black walnut volume has increased by 95 percent, providing significant income to Kansas landowners who recognize its value, according to Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service. The rich chocolate-colored wood of this fast-growing shade-intolerant tree is highly valued worldwide for veneer, furniture, cabinets and guns stocks. The nuts are also in high demand for use in cookies and candies and the shells are used for abrasives. 

On Thursday, June 13, Kansas landowners and natural resource professionals will have an opportunity to learn more about the management and care of this important tree species at the Walnut Council Field Day, Atchison said. The field day provides an opportunity for landowners, foresters, scientists, forest industry and other natural resource professionals to learn the latest information about the growth, management and marketing of black walnut and other fine quality hardwoods.    

This year’s event will be held immediately northwest of Abilene on the John Chase Walnut Plantation. The field day starts at 9 a.m. and adjourns by 3 p.m.

The 39-year-old, 20-acre stand of black walnut featured at the field day, provides the opportunity to discuss management strategies for trees that are almost half-way to their rotational age or time of harvest.  The field day will begin with a background and history of the plantation, provided by Larry Riat, former Dickinson County agriculture and natural resources extension agent, who has been responsible for the care of the plantation. 

Six 30-minute outdoor sessions will be offered by Kansas Forest Service staff, K-State foresters, private forestry consultants and wildlife biologists, including:

  • pruning and thinning young understory trees;
  • conducting timber sales and projecting market value at the time of harvest;
  • soils’ effects on black walnut growth;
  • enhancing wildlife habitat and controlling competing brome grass;
  • updates on insect and disease issues including Thousand Cankers Disease; and
  • determining appropriate stocking rates based on tree crown competition.

Registration for the field day is $12 per person, which helps cover the cost of the refreshments, lunch and other expenses. To register, contact Larry Rutter at 785-484-2509 or lrutter@embarqmail.com. A registration brochure and news release for the field day is available at Kansas Forest Service by clicking on News and Events and Training. 

The Walnut Council is a national non-profit organization that assists landowners in the technical transfer of forest research to field applications, helps build and maintain markets for wood products and nut crops, and promotes sustainable forest management, conservation, reforestation, and utilization of American black walnut and other hardwood tree species. The Kansas Chapter of the Walnut Council is a subsidiary of the Kansas Forestry Association. Additional information about the Walnut Council is online.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Elaine Edwards
K-State Research & Extension News

Bob Atchison - atchison@ksu.edu