Going Nuts for Nut Trees: The Best Picks for Ontario Gardens

Hey there, fellow garden enthusiasts and foodies! Today, we’re going nuts – and by that, I mean we’ll be exploring the best nut trees to grow in our lovely Ontario gardens. Not only do nut trees provide us with tasty, nutritious treats, but they also make beautiful additions to our landscapes. So without further ado, let’s delve into the top nut trees that will thrive in Ontario’s diverse climate.

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

The black walnut is a native tree that loves Ontario’s climate. With its majestic height, reaching up to 30 meters (100 feet), it’s an impressive addition to any large garden. This tree is self-fertile and produces a crop of delicious walnuts packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins. Just make sure you give it plenty of space, as its roots release a chemical that can inhibit the growth of nearby plants.

Heartnut (Juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis)

A close relative to the black walnut, the heartnut is perfect for those who want a smaller, more manageable tree. This attractive tree will grow up to 12 meters (40 feet) and boasts a stunning display of yellow fall foliage. The heartnut produces a thinner shell, making it easy to crack and enjoy its heart-shaped, tasty nuts. These nuts are perfect for snacking, baking, and sharing with friends and family.

Hazelnut (Corylus avellana)

If you’re looking for a nut tree that’s a little more compact, consider the hazelnut. This bush-like tree grows up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) tall and can be easily pruned to maintain its shape. Hazelnuts are self-sterile, so you’ll need at least two different cultivars for cross-pollination. The nuts are incredibly versatile in the kitchen, from homemade Nutella to toasted hazelnut salads.

Northern Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)

Although not as common in Ontario, the northern pecan is a hardy variety that can tolerate our cold winters. This tree can grow up to 20 meters (65 feet) and produces a delicious, buttery nut that’s perfect for pecan pies and other delectable dishes. Be patient, though, as pecans can take up to 10 years to start producing nuts.

Now that we’ve covered the best nut trees for your Ontario garden, let’s move on to a mouth-watering recipe to inspire your inner chef.

Recipe: Heartnut Pesto


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup heartnuts, shelled and roasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine basil, heartnuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  2. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until smooth.
  3. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve the pesto with your favorite pasta, spread it on a sandwich, or use it as a dip for fresh veggies.

There you have it – the best nut trees for Ontario gardens and a scrumptious recipe to boot! Don’t be afraid to go nuts and add these versatile trees to your landscape for a bountiful harvest and culinary inspiration. Happy gardening and bon appétit!

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