Walnuts Latvia

Common walnut (Juglans regia)
Private walnut breeding project to obtain Northern Europe climate adapted cultivars with good nut size, productive and healthy trees.
Project first stage is to create a genetic pool of second/third generation seedlings from the best trees available in Northern Europe and similar climates elsewhere. All seedlings are planted in one location to let them free cross-pollinate (agroforestry planting). Around 2030 trees will be evaluated and best selected for further propagation (seed/grafting).
Second project goal of project is find the suitable clones for timber use as forest trees.
WANTED: Seed source from Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)
Project progress:
2020 first walnut trees selected for seed source and seeds collected,
2021 first plants came out fro nursery, The first Latvian walnut  tree inventory and tree selection done,
2022 first plants planted in nut orchard, in situ seeding experiments in forest,
2023 planted more trees in orchard and in various forest conditions. Second stage of Latvian tree inventory is done,
2023 seed dispersion to wider public in Sweden and Finland,
2023 available seedlings for sale: Upisa Gen3 (LV), Kivik(SE), Simrishamn (SE), Torup (SE)

Walnuts (J.regia) in Latvia, a short history
Actually there are a lot of walnuts in the Latvia. Most of trees are in the west part of country, but more and more I find in the east part of Latvia with quite harsh winters. Oldest trees I guess is older than 100 years. Some trees in quite old age have been frozen down to earth and then grew back.

  • Most of trees are propagated by seed on site (up to 1990ties) or youngest trees (from about 2000) have been bought from nurseries as seedlings. . Seed origin : Ukraine, Moldova, Caucasus and middle Asia. Only few trees have western Europe origin. 
  • Oldest trees have experienced very cold temperatures during winters  (-30 to -40C)
  • Lot of the youngest trees (after 1991) comes from Gunvaldis Vesmiņš (1931-2017) nursery. Second generation Moldavian walnuts.
  • Some local origin second generation trees are very promising as potential variety for propagation by grafting. Today (2023) still no one graft walnuts in Latvia
  • There are some selected walnut trees from Dobele horticulture institute/ Upitis third generation trees with very big nuts, but there are known only two trees in private garden. Today no scientist continue this work there.
  • Nut bearing started fro y7 to y 20, some average number 12. In coastline areas vegetation season is shifted by two three weeks. Nut harvest times vary fro beginning of September till October
  • No pests and decease what affects harvest. Younger trees suffer from late spring frosts. Main pests are crows and in some places squirrels.
  • I could wish the better pruning and care about one leader. If there is a space then trees grow very wide.
  • There are few walnut orchards with aim to be commercial. The first one could start to have nut production in 2025 i small commercial scale.
  • Today in plant market possible to buy some local propagated walnuts from private persons (very small scale), imported plants from Poland.
  • There are some small scale experimental plantings with Moldavian origin grafted walnuts.
  • Almost all walnut trees grows on private properties and are not publicly accessible.

Pests and diseases (gallery)

Trunk issues and variety (gallery)

Nut selection, one nut from each tree

Distribution map

Commercial walnut orchard Latvia