Isn't this tree beautiful? That's what I thought...until recently. Actually, I still think it's beautiful, but practical to have in my yard? No. Until we moved into this house, I wasn't familiar with this type of tree; it's a black walnut tree. We have maybe a half a dozen of them, although I haven't counted. All but one, this one in the picture, are along the edges of the property. This one is very close to our house, and is on the "route" that I like to take from the backyard to the front (I could go around the other way, but this way is, or was, more practical).
About a week ago, the tree started dropping its nuts, and we're not talking about small little acorns. These things, in their hard shell, are probably a little bigger than a golf ball. I thought I'd test out how much getting hit by one of those things would hurt, so I held one about 5 inches above my head and let it fall. OUCH!!! And they're falling all the time! When I go outside, it's pretty much a guarantee that I'll hear what hit the ground at some point before I go back inside. I really don't think it's safe to be near it!
After reading about these trees on-line, I've learned that the walnuts are good but getting at them is quite a process. I don't remember all the details, but first, the shell is extremely hard, and it has to be opened in a manner so that the black stuff inside the shell doesn't get on you, because it provides a stain that is awfully hard to get out. Then there's the smell; they have a very strong, unpleasant odor (only noticeable when I pick them up). Oh, AND, apparently the roots of the tree can send out a substance that is toxic to some plants when they come in contact with the roots (such as tomato plants).
The wood from these trees is a quality wood (at least that's what I'm reading), and the shell can even be used for something, and the nuts have more protein than English walnuts.
What I'm a little confused about is that what I've read says that the nuts are harvested in early fall. Hmm....there are at least fifty on the ground right now. ???
******Edited after my trip outside*******
50 is a huge underestimate; it's more like 500