After seventeen years one of my black walnut trees has produced its first crop of nuts. There are only six on this tree but this one, which happens to be the tallest, is the first of the trees to produce nuts. The trees (there are six of them) although far from full size measure between 16 and 25 feet tall. Black walnut does not grow this far north on its own and fruiting can be sporadic as the flowers are sensitive to cold temperatures so this is a bit of a success story. And it prefers deep, rich, moist loamy soil which I do not have making their survival here even more difficult. But they have survived and grown.
I planted the seeds of this tree and its companions in 1998. In the early spring 2000, I transplanted the whole lot. Because black walnut makes a long taproot the first year of its life I first dug five-foot deep holes with a post hole digger for each seedling. Next, I did the same by each tree and then carefully slid the seedling and its long roots out from the soil into the hole. The roots were over five feet long so I had to dig a trench (using a shovel, no machines) to stand in so I could get all the roots out safely.
Transplanting to the new holes was easy. I just put the root into the post hole, watered, back-filled a bit, watered, filled some more, and watered again and topped off the hole so it was level with the ground. Every tree lived and began growing again that spring. Now they are seventeen years old, not a one was lost. Maybe next year this tree will produce more nuts and some of the others will, too.