This very large walnut tree is in our backyard. Ever wonder where trees like this come from? How did it get there? How did it start growing?
The secret is in the walnuts…
When the walnuts first fall, they are covered in a soft, green, slimy shell. They are a LOT of fun to throw and watch them SPLAT against tree trunks. But there are many, many walnuts that fall from the tree every year- even my two sons and I can’t throw them all. Where do the rest of them go?
What forest creature do you know that likes to store nuts? That’s right- squirrels! They grab them off of the ground and bury them all over the place- click HERE to see one of the squirrels in our yard. They bury them hoping to find them later during the winter when they don’t have anything else to eat.
As much as they may try, the squirrels don’t find all of the walnuts they buried. After a while the ones they leave behind in the soil begin to grow. I dug out the walnut shell in the picture above- do you see the root growing down? What is that growing out of the top of it?
Yes- it is the baby tree. The walnut shell has split and the tree is growing right up out of it. Once the tree grows leaves it is able to get energy from the sun. But, it needs something else to eat until it can grow leaves.
Have you ever eaten a walnut? The part you eat is the white nut and that is exactly what the tree eats before it has leaves! Who knew that both you and a tree would eat the same thing?
If the baby tree can grow leaves and get enough sun and water then it will continue to grow and, one day, it will become a giant tree that drops MORE walnuts all over the place.