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Don Kinzler, Published October 18 2013

Fielding questions

Q Our son would like to plant a black walnut tree like the large one that was planted by his grandfather years ago. Is there a seed inside the walnut? And where can trees be obtained?

– Donna Lund, Enderlin N.D.

A Black walnut, Juglans nigra, is a wonderful tree highly prized for its valuable lumber. They are a great boulevard and yard tree and the nut is edible, and actually more flavorful than the common English walnut. The tree produces a green fleshy fruit about the size of a tennis ball, and the nut, which is the seed, is located inside. The nut consists of a very hard outer shell and the inner soft edible nutmeat.

Black walnut trees are available from local nurseries or they can be planted from seed collected from local trees.

Seeds should be planted in the fall because they need a cold over wintering period before germinating next spring. Remove the walnut from the green fruit. Wear gloves because the fruit contains a brown dye that stains. Place the walnuts in a jar of water. Good seeds will sink.

Plant about six seeds four inches apart and two inches deep in the desired location. Next spring prune out the weakest seedlings and leave the most vigorous.

Q Is it too late in the year to plant a Honeycrisp apple tree?

– George Roelke, Fergus Falls, Minn.

A Trees can be planted until the soil freezes solid. Root growth does occur in the fall until the soil temperature cools to about 40 degrees, so the earlier the better.

Tree prices are sometimes reduced in the fall if nurseries want to reduce the inventory that will need to be carried through winter.

Q My spider plant isn’t producing little spiders. Any suggestions?

– Shirley Mercado, Hudson, Wis.

A Spider plants make great houseplants, and they’re one of the most effective plants for purifying indoor air.

Spider plants need to reach a certain age and size before they begin sending out runners with little spiders.

If the soil is old and hard packed, repot into fresh soil. Pot size should be increased gradually as the plant grows. They like to be a little pot-bound, which also tends to encourage the production of spiders.

If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city, and state for appropriate advice.