Walnut toxicity- Walnut planks, horticultural plantings and wooden furniture

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Forum topic by Chris posted 03-18-2014 11:25 PM 942 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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358 posts in 4084 days

03-18-2014 11:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut toxicity walnut and horticultural plantings

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge regarding horticultural plantings in the proximity of rough cut, stacks of Walnut lumber? I understand that Walnut toxicity affects many plantings when growing in the vicinity of live trees or if the mulch from said trees were used in garden beds. But, I was wondering how stacks of dried lumber or small scaled pieces of furniture made completely out of Walnut might impact nearby plantings?
—-hold on, don’t shoot me short now…
read on.
I know the chemical Juglone is typically released from the leaves and root systems of these trees and apparently released into garden beds as it is solvated by water via rain. It seems from what I can understand that the residuals are there in the wood and may be released if the wood gets wet at some point. But, wondering if there could perhaps be airborne elements of the chemical that would affect plantings…

Say for instance if I had some of my Dracaenas sitting on a 6 foot Black Walnut dining room table, would that amount of lumber produce enough, if any, airborne conversions of that chemical in the room?

anyone have any experiences or knowledge?


-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

3 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile


1743 posts in 2474 days

#1 posted 03-19-2014 12:51 AM

I don’t know of any research on your question, but I do not believe that walnut wood or furniture creates toxic air. You should be OK.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2025 days

#2 posted 03-19-2014 12:59 AM

The type of toxicity your referring to is common in many trees, including all confers, pines, etc. It comes from the sap of a tree and takes time to build up and is meant as a retardant to prevent other competing trees from growing up under a existing tree. Once the tree is dead, aka, made into wood, it ceases to be a material issue. The only airborne issue is sap dripping from leaves. It’s not a nerve gas. While I would not advise stacking a load of fresh green lumber on top of a planting bed (why would you), I wouldn’t worry about a stack of wood that may be near a planting bed, and your houseplants are in no danger from a finished piece. It is also a natural chemical that washes away due to rains fairly quickly.

What is more a concern is man made chemicals that are used to treat lumber, especially creosote like is used in railroad ties and used to be in landscape timbers. That is very bad for everything, especially for people who eat crops grown in the soil these chemicals have leached into due to heavy metals. The natural compounds from trees may impact a garden plants ability to grow, but will not impact the healthiness of any fruit or vegetable grown as they are not harmful to critters like us.

One notable exception to this rule is Cherry trees. While the sap from Cherry trees does not exhibit this trait, the leaves contain cyanide which can be fatal to goats who graze on the leaves after they have fallen.

View Chris's profile


358 posts in 4084 days

#3 posted 03-19-2014 02:02 PM

Thanks so much for the information. Good stuff!

Whiskers thanks. Are you familiar with whether or not the chemicals found in conifers are similar, although I know they are not the exact composition? You are not making reference to auxins are you?

I found it interesting that you spoke of garden health. I’m a stickler for organic and natural farming practice but wasn’t worried about vegetables becoming tainted from some airborne chemical. Basically just concerned with plantings receiving uptake via airborne chemical exchange. But doesn’t sound like I have much to worry about.

Another reason I was asking the original question was due to the fact that I have lots of non-finished (no protective coating, poly, oils, etc;) Walnut carvings sitting around as well as a bunch of house plants and vegetable seedlings.

-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

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