Introduced by the University of California in 1979, the Chandler Walnut is one of the leading commercial varieties with a mild, pleasing flavor and dependable yields. The walnut was named after William Chandler, Professor of Pomology at U. C. Davis.
The Chandler Walnut tree is moderately vigorous and semi-upright, so it is well-suited to high-density plantings. Being well-known all over the globe, the trees produce heavy crops with high quality kernels and nut flavor profile.
Nuts, Shell and Kernel Qualities
Chandler nuts are large and smooth with well-sealed shells and a pearly kernel color (expect a 90% or better light color grade) with pleasant taste. Nut size is usually between 32-36mm. The shell is usually thin but becomes stronger in older trees. The kernel weighs about 6.5 grams. It is of extra light color and easily removed in halves.
This walnuts excellent color and halves coupled with almost no pest problems make it have an edge over most of the other competing varieties.
Planting and Growth Habits
Chandler is grown in nurseries in grafted form, which is the most popular method of propagation. Firstly, the seedlings are transplanted to farmland. Then the taproot takes hold in the ground after which the growth to mature trees continues. Appropriate spacing is about 8 meters between rows and 3 to 4 meters between each tree. It enables to create a necessary space for each tree so that it could get enough sunlight.
As a first rule of thumb, the average commercially grown walnut tree needs 1270 mm (50 inches) of precipitation every year. As a second rule of thumb, the walnut trees need more than 50% of the annual water supply during summer (June, July and August). However, in a very dry season, irrigation should be quickly applied in certain stages.
Nuts begin to show as early as year three or four of the grafted trees growth which is significantly earlier than other walnut varieties that usually start to appear at about 6 years of growth. The tree is medium and semi-upright, and bears fruit laterally. This means that a high tree density is possible in a farm.
Walnut growth is vigorous. Compared to other varieties, chandler is late to leaf and bloom which reduces susceptibility to frost, walnut blight and codling moth.
This variety of walnut is harvested in the month of September or early October. The yield is rich (4.5 tons per hectare) as the Chandler walnut is heavy bearing. Nuts for mass market should be dried as soon as they are harvested. Drying with hot air allows nuts to preserve their quality by maintaining humidity.