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The real walnut (Juglans regia) is often of an imposing size and often stands out in the tree population. Mature trees can reach a height of between 15 and 25 meters and depending on the location they can even be a few meters taller. How tall a walnut tree gets and how fast it grows per year depends on various factors.

walnut growth

influencing factors

Various influences can increase or slow down the growth of the walnut. The following overview shows which factors influence the growth of Juglans regia.

age of the trees

Uneven growth in height in the first few years

A walnut tree develops irregularly, especially in the first few years. Depending on the conditions, the tree does not even grow by 20 centimeters a year until it is about three years old. Often the development stays far below and it is only a few centimeters that it grows. It is not clear why the tree grows so weakly in the first few years, but it is probably due to the way the tree is cared for, because the trunk circumference itself also has an influence on development. For this reason, the tree does not grow evenly until it is about 10 years old.

Young trees with strong growth

Once a tree has developed, it can take better care of itself and bring nutrients to greater heights. After the first three years, a tree is usually so developed that it can grow between one and two meters over the next few years. From the 10th year, the walnut tree shows constant growth of between 50 and 100 centimeters a year.

Hardly any growth in size in the aging phase

At around 80 years of age, a tree has reached its maximum height and will not increase noticeably either in crown width or overall height. In addition, the harvest is decreasing, but this does not mean the end of the tree. A walnut tree can easily reach an age of up to 160 years.

trunk circumference

A large trunk size favors development

An important factor in how a tree develops is its trunk circumference. So-called vascular bundles run in the bark, which supply the walnut tree with water containing important nutrients through the capillary effect, right down to the last tip of the leaf. The more space there is for vascular bundles in the bark, the better it can be supplied, which promotes growth both in height and in width.

Now the question arises, why doesn't the walnut tree grow endlessly when the trunk could get thicker and thicker? The reason lies, among other things, in gravity. At some point, gravity is so great that the capillary effect of the vascular bundles is no longer sufficient. As a rule, the maximum height is reached at 25 meters, in rare cases the trees can reach up to 30 meters.


Good soil promotes growth

How many centimeters the tree grows per year also depends on the soil and the supply of nutrients. The walnut prefers a calcareous loam or clay soil. In addition, it needs a nutrient-rich environment, which strongly favors growth, especially in the middle years of development. If the site conditions are good, a tree can even grow more than 100 centimeters a year.


If you buy a walnut tree, you have to reckon with the fact that the tree will not develop as much in the first few years as a tree that has grown on the spot from a nut does. The reason for this is that the root system of the trees is not yet dense enough for the tree to be adequately nourished. The reason for this is the so-called schooling of the trees from the trade, in which they are transplanted and the roots are cut back for a compact growth. On average, an average increase in size sets in after two to three years.

Stock density affects height

An optimal location is not always conducive to height growth. With the walnut tree it can even be a hindrance, because in a dense stand the tree literally pushes for the light and tries to overtake other trees. In dense stands, the walnut can easily reach around 30 meters and grows very quickly, especially in the first few years. However, this only promotes height growth. A faster or more productive harvest will not occur in a shorter time despite the altitude.

It is especially its nutritious fruits that make the walnut tree so popular.

To cut

Pruning does not encourage growth

Although pruning can be beneficial for the growth of many tree species, this is not the case with walnuts. This has the advantage that it is also a very low-maintenance tree, as it only requires a pruning if the tree takes up too much space. However, pruning does not prevent the walnut tree from developing and it continues to grow, comparable to the previous year.

Varietal differences

Whether a tree reaches 25 to 30 meters at all and in what period of time it does so also depends on the variety. There is the variety "Geisenheim Walnut No. 26", which does not even reach two meters during its entire life and is therefore recommended for very small gardens. In addition to the Geisenheim Walnut No. 26, these varieties also have a maximum medium growth and are also suitable for smaller areas:

  • Esterhazy II
  • Vineyard 1
  • Weinheim walnut No. 139

There are also varieties such as the "Moselaner Walnut No. 120", which has strong growth in height and width. The advantage of these cultivars is that they can be bought to match the size of the garden or tree population. If you have plenty of space for a walnut tree and would like to have an impressive tree in your garden, you can also try one of these varieties:

  • Kurmarker Walnut No. 1247
  • Red Danube Nut
  • Miracle of Monrepos

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