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Old 07-04-2009, 07:39 AM
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Walnut shells

Hi friends,

I am Mani Nair from Mumbai, India. During our recent visit to Kashmir, India, we bought some walnuts. I like to recycle the walnut shells. Can I use the walnut shells as a mulch in the orchid pot? Is there any harm ? Please help.

Mani.
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Old 07-04-2009, 08:16 AM
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I've read/heard that some chemical in walnut is harmful to other plants. I don't know if it's the shells/leaves/roots/or other but something makes it impossible for other plants to grow in it's presence. Sooo...my first instinct would be not to use the shells in the pots.

Hopefully someone that knows the details better than I will be along soon.
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:12 AM
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Thanks Katrina. I have also searched google and found the answers similar to you and immediately I removed all the shells. Why to take risk unnecessarily. Thanks - Mani.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:43 PM
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Yes I think it might be tannin in the leaves (and other parts?) which makes the soil around the tree very harsh. If it werent for that though I think the shells might make a good media.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:51 AM
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Walnut shells are fine

I replanted my orchid into english walnut shell pieces because it was what I had. What I have found is that it works just fine. It does not hold moisture as long as fir bark and I must water a little more often. However, I also used a planter with holes in it, so the additional watering is not only due to the media.

My guess is that the chemical that walnuts produce to discourage competetive plants is in the leaves and or husks.

Do a search on "A Note on Potting Media." for more information.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:22 AM
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Live black walnut trees seem to retard the growth of other plants around them. Likely a biochemical defense to reduce competition.
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Old 11-04-2015, 05:56 PM
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Most people in the US, for some reason, think of all walnuts as Black Walnuts when the most popular type of walnut is actually the English Walnut. English Walnuts are very different from Black Walnuts. The shells of an English Walnut tree would not harm an orchid as it doesn't contain the chemicals that harm the growth of other plants.
We have a young English Walnut tree (just twelve years old but they are SLOW growers) in the front yard and, unlike the Black Walnut tree one of our neighbors recently removed, the grass grows just fine underneath and the Chestnut and almond trees nearby are thriving. The English Walnut is really a different tree from its cousin. You could even use the wood for a mount (although it is so pretty, you'd probably want to use it for furniture, a picture frame or a carving instead).
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