Learning how to identify a black walnut tree can help you understand why you have problems growing certain plant species. In this article, the professionals at Southeast Tree, your preferred arborist services in Marietta, GA, explain more about how you can identify a Black Walnut.

Where Are Black Walnut Trees Most Commonly Found?

This deciduous tree is popular in Central-East America, from the central plains to the East Coast. The Black Walnut is one of five types of walnut trees we have in the United States. It likes the sunny transition areas between rivers and dense woods and has compound leaves.

You are likely to find it where the following trees grow:

  • White Ash
  • Silver Maples
  • Basswoods
  • Yellow-Poplar
  • Hackberry Trees
  • Elms

The tree spreads fairly easily thanks to the activity of squirrels that remove the nuts.

Why Are Black Walnuts Dangerous?

Knowing how to identify a Black Walnut Tree is important because of the chemicals the roots release. These chemicals affect several plant species, slowly poisoning them. If you plant tomatoes or potatoes near the tree, they will die.

The offensive chemical is juglone, and it affects several types of plants. That’s not to say that the area around the tree needs to be a dead zone. It is, however, important to know what you can plant near it.

Interestingly enough, juglone can stay in the soil for quite a long time. Therefore, even if you remove the tree, the soil may remain toxic. 

What Do Black Walnuts Look Like?

Black Walnuts are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves in winter and become dormant. The tree grows between 30 and 130 feet tall and is massive. The canopy is round in shape.

The Bark

The bark has ridges in it and is much darker than its’ cousin, the Butternut Tree. The bark has vertical ridges that form diamond shapes with compound leaves growing out of it. The outer layer is gray to black in color. 

You can identify the tree by cutting into the stem of a twig. Inside, you’ll see that the pith is chambered.

The Leaves

The pinnate leaves contain an odd number of leaflets that grow from a central stem and are serrated. The leaves fall off in winter when the trees enter dormancy. 

The Nuts

The tree produces a hard-shelled nut that is round in shape between September and October of every year. The nut is green to begin with and around one to three inches wide. While the nuts look similar to those of the Butternut Trees, they are more rounded.

The nuts remain green until they fall to the ground, and the husk shrivels and decays. Then it is easy to tell the fruit apart from others because the outside is black in color. 

The Leaf Scars

While the trees look much like Butternuts, the leaf scars look different. Black Walnut leaves leave smooth scars rather than those with a hairy edge. They have a shamrock shape with five or seven scars. 

You can notice the leaf scars more easily after leaf drop in winter. Simply check the bark and see what type of scars are left on the trunk. You may cut through a twig or check the nuts for further confirmation.

Contact the Professionals

Want to know how to properly care for new trees? Knowing how to identify a Black Walnut Tree is the first step in creating the garden of your dreams. Now move forward by calling the professional arborists at SoutheastTree at (770) 977-8733 and start making your vision a reality. 


SoutheastTree is one of the best, top rated full-service tree removal companies serving the Atlanta, GA area. Our team of trained arborists are experts in the art and science of removing trees.

Contact Us

4710 Lower Roswell Rd. Suite 100
Marietta, GA 30068

Phone : 770-977-8733 (TREE)

24/7 Emergency Tree Removal:
(678) 631-7382

Email : info@southeasttree.com

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