• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Chestnuts

 
Jay Hayes
Posts: 62
Location: Missouri
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi all, I did a search and did not come up with a thread on chestnuts. If there is one please direct me that way.

I have read about many folks, including Mark Shepard, successfully growing chestnuts in permaculture type settings. I am interested in doing the same, but an internet search has shown me a much greater variety of the trees than I realized existed. I am curious if there are specific varieties and tree forms that people have planted. I am outside of the native American Chestnut range so I feel no deep need to keep the native genetics pure. I have read that there are some hybrid varieties that are more "timber" formed, i.e. 70-90 feet tall, and others that were developed for nuts. I am keen on both.

Who has experience? I keep hearing the term "chinese chestnut" and I see them for sale, but I get the idea there are a great many varieties available within the Castanea mollissima line. Are there any specific types that have been noted as premium nut producers?

Also, the true chinkapins (chinqapins?) intrigue me. Does anyone have experience with the Allegeny or Ozark variety (castanea pumila, castanea ozarkensis) for nut production?

Thanks

J
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1322
Location: northern California
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that people plant the Chinese (and, in the West at least, Europeans and hybrids) because they are often high yielding and produce larger nuts than Americans and hybrids involving American genes..... There are quite a few named, grafted varieties bred for size, productivity, and other factors. I think most chestnuts are self sterile so you need at least two varieties or a named variety and a seedling. Moreover, some bloom early and others later, so even if you have two varieties if they bloom at opposite ends of the season you can get poor pollination anyway.... If you have enough space, you can simply plant a bunch of different ones and probably learn a lot. In my current site I only had room for two at most so it took several hours' internet research to find two adapted available varieties that would pollinate one another......
MO seems borderline with regard to chestnut blight....fungus spores can blow a long way. There are American hybrids out there now that are something like 1/16th Chinese and pretty much resistand AND American in tree form.....
Also, if you are a novice grafter, don't even bother trying with chestnuts....they are a challenge and have weird incompatibility issues. And also, as a beginner, remember the nuts form inside of a big prickly burr....not something you want falling all over your "zone 1" lawn, kids play yard, driveway, veggie garden, etc.
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chinese chestnuts were bred over the past few thousand years to be "orchard type" trees (30-50'), they also tend to be functionally immune to blight, that is why most people plant them.

Empire Chestnuts is a good source of materials, they sell grafted chinese cultivars, seed from those cultivars, seed from timber type hybrids, and bare-root of everything including chinkapins.

Regarding grafting, supposedly grafts are compatible between direct relatives (parents and children, for example). A friend of mine is planting out grafted cultivars from Empire along with seedlings from those cultivars (Empire will sell you seed from specific parents), once the seedlings get to a good grafting size he plans on grafting the proven parent onto all it's children, while allowing one rootstock branch to grow on. In this way he will have an orchard filled with proven producers while trialing a lot of new seedlings.

Personally I'm just planting seed from Empire, and seed from NNGA folks.

So I'd suggest joining the Northern Nut Growers and checking out Empire's site as a good starting point.

Good luck
peace
 
Daniel. Smith.
Posts: 12
Location: zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally, I chose Dunstan chestnuts from RealTree and a pyramid chestnut from Oikos. Mark Shepard talks about and grows the badgersett hybrids.

http://www.badgersett.com/info/chestnuts/chestnut2.html

Hybrid lines that produce nuts faster, but grow slower because they are using up energy on reproduction instead of growing.

"Our hybrids are intended to be closer to a Holstein cow—compared to pure species of chestnut, which might be more like a wild bison—in terms of milk production and tractability. Many of them will produce nuts in 3 years, and we continue to breed them for even earlier production. Experimentally, we have species hybrids which produce seed within 3 months, at the theoretical limit."

http://www.oikostreecrops.com/Nuts/Chestnuts/c-1-60-73/

Many species and hybrid lines. Good people to do business with.

http://www.realtreenursery.com/

Dunstan hybrid chestnuts. Hunters planting food plots for deer swear by Dunstan chestnut trees. Some people complain that they resemble chinese chestnut trees more than american chestnut trees.



 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3352
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
my parents have a lot of nice old chestnut trees on their land. they seem to be hybrids of C. dentata and something else. they've got a lot of the nice American chestnut traits (sweetness, easy to peel), but they're a bit bigger than the pure species. they also have some of the not-so-nice American traits, such as just sitting there on the tree after ripening so the squirrels get them before we even get a chance. they're really nice, straight, tall trees that coppice very well. rot-resistant and strong wood, grows relatively fast, great nectar source for honeybees. I plan to plant a lot more in the future.
 
Jay Hayes
Posts: 62
Location: Missouri
15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is good stuff. I really appreciate the info.

I actually saw some of the Dunstan var. Chestnuts in a Wal-mart nursery this spring and it really piqued my interest about them. The strange thing I have been running across is the huge amount of quality mast producing trees coming on the market for QDMA (Quality Deer Management). The food plot industry is really helping out my access to good cover crops and now it seems human edible nuts crops as well. Check out the link to the Wildlife group below. I am certainly going to order a few trees from them for next year. I don't know that they are breeding for human tasty nuts, but I have more than enough room to spare to get some good pig food growing for the future. The FW Schumacher price for seeds of american and chinese chestnuts is very appealing. I am guessing with their large seed size that seed starting would be a fairly straight forward affar?

Also, I know I have posted back and forth with Alder in the past about persimmons. Would Alder, or someone else be willing to take a look at the wildlife group catalog (linked below) and tell me if the asian persimmons listed their look like a decent price/variety. I am wanting to get a few for next year and could use some tips.

Thanks

http://www.qdma.com/articles/know-your-deer-plants-allegheny-chinkapin

http://www.treeshrubseeds.com/catalog.asp?genus=c


http://www.wildlifegroup.com/uploads/catalog/Wildlife_Group_2012-2013_Catalog.pdf#page=17
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1322
Location: northern California
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's a pretty average price for persimmons. Being grafted, they'll be pricey no matter what, unless you graft your own, which has it's own set of difficulties. Other sources will have more varieties. Oriental persimmons break down into two types, astringent and non astringent. The non astringents become edible as soon as they turn orange, while still crispy, while astringents must be mushy soft. Some or many varieties might be marginal over winter for you...I'm used to thinking of them as a Southern thing....
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I planted 2 sweet chestnuts several years ago and they are barely a foot tall now, they must take forever to grow ..also at the same time planted hickory (also slow) and lots of varieites of Juglans (black, carpathian, butternut and heartnut) also slow but not AS slow as the Chestnuts and hickory..the only ones really fast were the hazelnuts and the almond (hazels are bearing but almond had some die back this past year)
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That seems odd Brenda. I've got Chinese Chestnut seedlings planted a couple months ago that are over a foot tall. I'd be suspicious of the soil they're in maybe? They prefer fairly acid conditions.

peace
 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
just make sure you have acidic, low pH soil. I made the mistake of planting chestnuts on higher pH soil and their leaves turned yellow and died, they became chlorotic
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My sweet chestnuts are growing in acidic soil, near my blueberries and raspberries..they are doing fine they are just quite small..they were seedlings when I planted them and are about 3 or 4 years old now and are still quite small..i'll keep them growing..we have had drougts for several years but they are near a soaker hose so they shouldn't be suffering from the drought, although I only use the soaker hoses when absolutely needed.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ran across a fruiting chestnut, (presumably wild american chestnut with some degree of blight resistance) while climbing in the mountains of West Virginia. Wondering how rare this is? Seed not mature yet, but might possibly be a able to get some seed in the fall with some effort if it were really worth it.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3352
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yukkuri kame wrote:Ran across a fruiting chestnut, (presumably wild american chestnut with some degree of blight resistance) while climbing in the mountains of West Virginia. Wondering how rare this is? Seed not mature yet, but might possibly be a able to get some seed in the fall with some effort if it were really worth it.


any idea how old it is? the various chestnut species are pretty promiscuous, so if there's any other species within a few miles, chances are good the tree you saw is a hybrid, or its fruit would be hybrid.

they're also really hard to identify, at least for me. I tried my best to key out the trees I've got as anything but C. dentata, but that's all I could get. took it to somebody who knows chestnuts a lot better and he identified it right away as being a mix of C. dentata and at least one other species, though he couldn't say which. as I recall, the leaf buds were the obvious tell.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3352
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
if it is the pure species and blight-resistant, that's pretty excellent. seems worth collecting seed to me. propagation by cutting or layering works, too.
 
Logan Simmering
Posts: 66
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are belived to be fewer then 100 mature specimins survivng in the american chestnuts native range, so if you found a new one its kind of a big deal and you should probably contact one of the groups working on restoration
 
Philip Green
Posts: 45
Location: Southern Ohio (zone 6a)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Logan Simmering wrote:There are belived to be fewer then 100 mature specimins survivng in the american chestnuts native range, so if you found a new one its kind of a big deal and you should probably contact one of the groups working on restoration


I live in Ohio and knew of at least one and perhaps more pure American chestnuts. The key word is "mature". The blight does not kill trees (at least the blight resistant ones) until a few years after they start fruiting. So the chestnut trees I knew of in Ohio were too young to reproduce or barely old enough to reproduce. This means that a perpetual series of young trees (a tree gets old enough to reproduce for a few years, then dies, but the seedlings from that tree manage to reproduce for a few years than die and so on - these are the types of trees that there is hope to develop a 100% American chestnut with strong blight resistance from) have managed to survive in some areas.

Now if it is a 30+ year old chestnut that is another matter and is extremely rare.
 
Lm McWilliams
Posts: 49
Location: USDA Zone 5
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yukkuri kame wrote:Ran across a fruiting chestnut, (presumably wild american chestnut with some degree of blight resistance) while climbing in the mountains of West Virginia. Wondering how rare this is? Seed not mature yet, but might possibly be a able to get some seed in the fall with some effort if it were really worth it.


Definately it is worth contacting the American Chestnut Foundation or another group working on preserving pure
American chestnut genetic material, and also on developing blight-resistant hybrids. Their website has information
on how to idenfify the American chestmut, but if I found an isolated tree, I would contact them directly.

There are a few trees scattered here and there through the mountains of the East that resprout from the base and
live long enough to produce a crop or two of nuts before succumbing. And a few legendary trees that are allegedly
truly mature (if not the forest giants shown in old photographs).

The plight of the American chestnut reminds me of Sepp Holtzer's comment about the trees when he was visiting
the USA (somewhere in the mid-west?)- that 'all the trees were sick'. While we blame the demise of the American
chestnut on the blight (an apparantly introduced fungus), I can't help wondering if other stressors in the environment
made the Am chestnut more susceptible.

For instance, it is well known that some species of trees are very tolerant of air pollution and other conditions found
in cities, and are considered to be good choices for 'street trees' - while others are known to be intolerant of air
pollution. While we may think of the environment of the late 1800s, and even the first few decades of the 1900s, as
having been relatively clean compared to today, the Eastern Seabord and the Appalachin Mountian chain had been
ruthlessly exploited for well over a hundred years, by then. In addition to the disturbance caused by careless
logging, large tracts of land had been burned, along with the use of coal to fuel the Industrial Revolution. My gut
feeling is that this had to have had an effect on the air, the rain, and the eco-system(s). Sigh.

 
Lm McWilliams
Posts: 49
Location: USDA Zone 5
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
tel jetson wrote:my parents have a lot of nice old chestnut trees on their land. they seem to be hybrids of C. dentata and something else. they've got a lot of the nice American chestnut traits (sweetness, easy to peel), but they're a bit bigger than the pure species. they also have some of the not-so-nice American traits, such as just sitting there on the tree after ripening so the squirrels get them before we even get a chance. they're really nice, straight, tall trees that coppice very well. rot-resistant and strong wood, grows relatively fast, great nectar source for honeybees. I plan to plant a lot more in the future.


Hi - I'm envious! I've heard that there are areas - outside the original range - free of Chestnut Blight where one can grow
both the American (Castanea dentata) and European (Castanea sativa) chestnuts, and hybrids of the two. Maybe your parents'
trees are one of those hybrids? But apparently the European trees and hybrids are susceptible to the blight.

Enjoy those trees!
 
Jose Reymondez
Posts: 137
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Where I live Castanea Sativa is native. You can walk in to the woods and pick up all the chestnuts you want. Food rains down on to the ground every winter. Its amazing.
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am nursing along 4 chestnut saplings from nuts I planted and one sapling that I bought. My understanding from some professors in environmental sciences was that at this point of time we are facing such uncertainty that species will adapt fast enough to environmental changes that introducing new species for biodiversity is perhaps the best we can do .
 
Michael Qulek
Posts: 148
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've planted a variety of chestnuts on my land, which were some of the earliest bearing crop that I've gotten. Most of my seedlings were purchased from Burnt Ridge, http://www.burntridgenursery.com/nutTrees/index_product.asp?dept=53&parent=
which has a wide selection of grafted, layered, and seedling trees. I've bought all three. I've also tried sprouting chesnuts from store-bought nuts. That was very successfull. They need to be stratified, but will all sprout at once once it warms up in the spring.

There are a lot of commercial hybrids, ie: crosses of American and Chinese, Japanese an European, European and Chinese, ect. I purchased with the goal of diversity, but what I am seeing is that the grafted varieties are going the best, and the first to bear. I've already gotten nuts with Collosal and Skookum. But, grafted trees are noted for bearing earlier than seedling trees. So far they are the only thing that the animals can't get at.

I've seen chlorosis symptoms on some of my trees while still in pots. This is iron deficiency, and I've temporarily corrected that with a soluble iron spray. Once in the real ground, none have continued to show symptoms.
 
Matu Collins
Pie
Posts: 1967
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've got three big mature chinese chestnuts that bear lots of nuts some years and super lots of nuts other years. The nuts are delicious roasted, especially when dipped into butter and salt. Chestnut weevil control is our biggest concern right now. If we don't get right out there the squirrels get them all. Luckily the squirrels don't remember where they put them all and we have healthy seedlings that pop up here and there.

Our local land trust has been doing genetic experiments with crosses of Chinese and American chestnuts but so far the blight is still too damaging. More will be revealed!
 
Aaron Festa
Posts: 149
Location: Connecticut
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I haven't read everyone's replies but for what it's worth I recently watched a youtube video featuring "Skeeter" (I could watch that guy all day) and not that I fully understood the context of what he was saying but he said chestnuts should always be grafted. I'm guessing they are more productive that way.
 
David Livingston
steward
Pie
Posts: 2441
Location: Anjou ,France
74
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chestnuts are big here in France you can buy Chestnut flour in the shops Chestnut biscuits pastry etc chestnuts as a veg in a main meal is common too even tinned or bottled chestnuts in the local supermarket . I have even seen chestnut beer !
I have never seen this chinese chestnut does it taste the same ?
Does anyone know any sellers of chinese chestnut here in europe ?
Surprisingly to me my new place does not have any chestnut trees ! I will be changing that soon . So if anyone has a chinese chestnut here and europe and wouldn't mind sending me a sion next winter let me know

David
 
David Livingston
steward
Pie
Posts: 2441
Location: Anjou ,France
74
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Whoooops have discovered Chestnuts dont like clay soils could be a problem .

David
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1556
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Um.... not sure where you heard that David, it goes totally against my experience of woods here in the UK.

Here we have huge coppice chestnut woods, first established by the Romans. In my area they are pretty uniformly distributed on the clay regions rather than the chalk. The clay was historically too hard to farm and the chalk made great orchards and pasture. The woodland footprints are pretty much steady over hundreds of years following the transition between clay and chalk.

In our woods when a coppice stool blows over as sometimes happens it reveals thick pale yellow clay with very very little organic matter topped with a thin skin (12 inches max) of tree roots and black soil. My understanding of the geology here is that the London Clay deposit is hundred of meters thick.
 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
has anyone ever tried Henry's chestnut (castanea henryi)?....its a timber growing form of the chinese chestnut...looks almost identical to American chestnut but blight resistant. I tried looking for seed but it seems to be pretty rare.
'
 
R Scott
Posts: 3304
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sean Banks wrote:has anyone ever tried Henry's chestnut (castanea henryi)?....its a timber growing form of the chinese chestnut...looks almost identical to American chestnut but blight resistant. I tried looking for seed but it seems to be pretty rare.
'


Here is a seed source: http://www.treeshrubseeds.com/details.asp?id=923322

 
Michael Qulek
Posts: 148
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David Livingston wrote:Whoooops have discovered Chestnuts dont like clay soils could be a problem .

They won't like alkaline clay, but they are doing well in my silty-clay loam. You have to take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt. I would say it doesn't work in clay after it doesn't work for ME in clay.

Don't know how many different topics that the poster says you absolutely must do it this way, or it absolutely won't work that way, but get the opposite result when I do it myself. So much "advice" you get over the internet is something that "adviser" has never themselves attempted, but are only mouthing what someone else previously said.

I'd say "go do it" and then post your results!
 
Richard Kastanie
Pie
Posts: 87
Location: Missouri Ozarks
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chestnuts ore my favourite tree. I have planted many here in the Ozarks of south central Missouri (zone 6b/7a), more every year since 2009. None of them have fruited yet as they're still small, the tallest one if about 7' high. However, a couple of them had a few flowers last year. It's interesting to see the genetic diversity of all the species and hybrids. I'll report what I know so far about establishment of various types here, but keep in mind that I know nothing about their yields or their form past the first few years. In addition, we had three very intensely hot and dry summers in a row, 2010 thru 2012, the years when most of these trees were planted, which was pretty hard on them. I watered them when I could but not as much as would be optimal, and lost some, but on the plus side it's shown me which ones are the hardiest in our conditions here.

Several types are from Oikos in Michigan, which are all seedlings and pretty variable even within the same category. The "European Hybrid Chestnuts" have done the best of the Oikos ones, all six that I planted in 2010 are still alive although the tallest is over three times the height of the shortest one. The twigs are very stout on these. The three "Pyramid" chestnuts from Oikos all died within months of planting. The "Timburr" chestnuts have been mixed, some growing well and some that died the first and second years. I just got some "Dwarf Korean Chestnuts" from Oikos planted last November and will see how those fare.

Badgersett has been another chestnut source for me, and I don't think I'll be getting any more from them. I'd definitely consider them if you have cooler summers than I do, but here I have lost most of them in their first season. It's true that I may have been able to save more of them if I had babied them more their first year, but even of the minority that survived their first year, over half the rest died in their second or third year. Only one of my badgersett chestnuts is healthy now. Badgersett sells them in tubelings (small cylindrical pots), most of which are sprouted in the spring and then shipped around June of the same year. That may work in the north, but it doesn't work at all in the Ozark summers. They also ship bareroot 1-year-old seedlings in the spring, but still later than is best to plant them here. I find that the vast majority of trees do best when planted in November here, as they have a chance to establish a little over the winter before facing a summer. The only exceptions are plants that aren't as winter-hardy, that I'm pushing the north end of their range such as figs, asian persimmons and muscadines, which should be spring planted so as to be more established before facing a winter. The first half of March is the best time for spring planting as long as they're dormant, the later you go into spring, the less time they have to establish before the heat of summer. Some years we're lucky and get a less intense summer, but I can't count on that. June has historically been a pretty wet month here, with July and August being drier, but every year since 2009 we've had much below normal June rainfall.

I have three dunstan chestnuts, they're pretty expensive so I only got a few. They seem to grow the fastest on any that I've planted if they have plenty of water, but also seem to be less tolerant of drought. Hopefully that will improve when they're more mature, but I'm not sure. They were bred in Florida, which has a summer rainy season. Dunstans may not be the best choice for resilience in this climate. They also break dormancy early, making their new growth susceptible to late spring freezes in this climate.

What I have the most of all in terms of chestnuts are ones that I started from seed myself. I collected a bunch of seed in the fall of 2011 from a stand of a few chestnuts that I think are probably pure chinese that were producing well about 60 miles from here. I stratified them in the fridge over the winter and planted them in a garden bed in March of 2012 about 8 inches apart. The next fall/winter, I periodically dug up the 1-year-old dormant trees and planted them around (as well ans giving some to friends). I got a few dozen in and they've all done well except for a couple that died that were in an area that I knew would be marginal at best for them. They're still pretty small but I have high hopes for them.

One of the healthiest trees I've got is actually one that I picked up in 2010 while in northern Michigan, from someone who was growing and breeding them on a small scale. It has done quite well despite being from a very different climate and having most of its top eaten off the year after planting by a cow that got into the wrong place.
 
Richard Kastanie
Pie
Posts: 87
Location: Missouri Ozarks
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A little about wild chestnuts and chinquapins,

I've had a lifelong interest in trees and plants, and I remember reading about the chestnut and the blight when I was a child. When I was a teenager I lived in Rhode Island, sometime around 2000 or 2001 I was walking around an Audubon society preserve called Powder Mill Ledges in the fall and came across a patch of chestnuts. There were three chestnuts that were canopy height in the stand and a bunch of saplings around them. The ground was covered in seeds and their spiny burs. I remember thinking they were probably chestnuts but taking some of the nuts and leaves home to make sure, and they were definitely chestnuts. I moved with my family to the Midwest shortly afterward, but did some research at some point and realized how if those were truly American chestnuts, how rare three fairly mature ones with nuts and saplings would be. I emailed the Rhode Island Audubon society and askes about them, as they were right off the trail and I wondered if they were aware of them, and they said yes they knew about them but they weren't actually healthy and actually had the blight. I had been there in the fall when the leaves were brown already, and I didn't know at that time how to spot blight, so I had thought they were healthy. Even if they were dying, now I wonder if they had some blight resistance just to get to the size they were (I think they were about 1 foot in diameter, but I may be remembering wrong). Even if the three big ones were actually dying, possibly some of the saplings are still around now, but I haven't ever gotten the chance to go back there.

The American Chestnut isn't native west of the Mississippi, but here in the Ozarks we have the Ozark Chinquapin, castanea ozarkensis. It neer got as tall as the American Chestnut and has smaller nuts, and it's been hit just as hard by the chestnut blight. It used to be common in at least some parts of the ozarks, in areas where the soil is right for them. It doesn't seem to be commercially available but there is a group working to save it, it's the Ozark Chinquapin Foundation I've been meaning to look more into them but haven't gotten around to it. I'd love to get a few planted here, even if they'd be likely to be killed by the blight. I've only ever seen them in the Leatherwood Wilderness area in Arkansas, where they were sprouts no more then 20 feet high.
 
Richard Kastanie
Pie
Posts: 87
Location: Missouri Ozarks
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another chestnut question, I'm interested to see if anyone is growing chestnuts anywhere west of the Mississippi with very hot summers, hotter than southern Missouri, such as Texas, Oklahoma or parts of Arkansas south of the Ozarks? I've come across people growing them in the southeast such as north Florida/south Georgia, but the truth is that although some places in the southeast have longer, more consistenlly hot and humid summers than here, the extreme temperatures can be more intense around here. In 2012 we had around 25 days with highs above 100. That isn't typical now but I suspect it may become more typical in the future because of climate change. A lot of plants that are perfectly happy with highs in the upper 80s/low 90s start to get stressed more and more with every degree above 95 that it gets. Chestnuts, at least young ones, seem to fit this pattern from what I've seen, but I've yet to find any discussions on their heat tolerance. If there's anyone with healthy chestnuts in Texas or adjacent states, I'd love to hear about them and what varieties they are, as I'd probably plant some of them here if they're ones I don't already have. For tree crops I have to take future climate possibilities into consideration.
 
David Goodman
gardener
Posts: 496
Location: Zone 9a/8b
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"If there's anyone with healthy chestnuts in Texas or adjacent states, I'd love to hear about them and what varieties they are, as I'd probably plant some of them here if they're ones I don't already have. For tree crops I have to take future climate possibilities into consideration. "

There's a good grove of chestnuts a little ways north of me here in Florida - that's where the Dunstan chestnuts are propagated. I've planted four of them on my property. We get 100 degree+ days here.

Also, I wouldn't put all your eggs in the "warming" basket. There's some compelling evidence that the trend already peaked and we're headed for an ice age.

I'm planting trees from both further south and further north. I'd love for things to get warmer... but now I'm doubting it will.
 
Amy Woodhouse
Posts: 48
Location: NC, Zone 7
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David, we have several hundred Chinese chestnuts in clay that you could dig out of the ground and take straight to the potters wheel and they are doing well so far (two years old). I think the key is slope in a clay soil as they like to be well drained. If you land is more flat you can do a swale slightly off contour and plant them in that.
 
David Goodman
gardener
Posts: 496
Location: Zone 9a/8b
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Amy

I'm imagining hand-turned chestnut wood bowls on fine ceramic bases...
 
Amy Woodhouse
Posts: 48
Location: NC, Zone 7
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like the way you think David...
 
Valerie Dawnstar
Posts: 291
Location: North Central New York
11
bee chicken food preservation forest garden tiny house woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since the Chestnut topic is already started, I thought I would add a recent article here. They are doing a lot of research in saving the American Chestnut and it is happening just down the road from me - Syracuse, NY.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/chestnut-forest-a-new-generation-of-american-chestnut-trees-may-redefine-americas-forests/?WT.mc_id=SA_printmag_2014-03

At the same time, I have just received about a dozen American chestnut sprouts from a neighbor who reports the parent tree shows signs of blight resistance. I am eager to see how my little seedlings survive. I am very interested in Chestnuts because I don't want to eat wheat and the nuts are high in carbohydrates.
 
Dustin Powers
Posts: 42
Location: Washington State
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just picked up 30 1' seedlings, and 50 lbs of nut from washingtonchestnut.com. Washington has a chestnut blight quarantine so finding sources can be a challenge.

I plan on direct seeding all the nuts, and planting all the seedlings, in the next week. Most of them will go in my native clay soil. My goal is 5-15% success, following the STUN method. This should effectively thin out any phenotypes that wouldn't survive falling on the ground and sprouting on their own.

Next spring I plan on buying 500 more seedlings from them and doing the same thing. If anybody else in the PNW is interested in seedlings next spring, let me know and we can combine orders for a better price.
 
Derrick Gunther
Posts: 33
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thought I'd throw my two cents in here on chestnuts, especially in the West. There is a mature (not huge, maybe around 12" diameter) chestnut (can't tell the species, but it's definitely Castanea) growing in a park here in Klamath Falls, OR. It's by itself, or at least I can't find another chestnut in the vicinity, and I've looked for several hundred yards around it. Last year it dropped it's seed and all the nuts were little, shriveled and empty. This year I checked again, and while the majority were the same, there were several fertilized nuts of decent size. This means one of two things: either there is another chestnut somewhere close enough that some pollen was transferred (we had some gnarly wind this spring), or the tree figured out how to self-fertilize. My money is on the former, but trees are ingenious bastards, in their own way. I collected the seed, of course, and will see what I can get growing. I don't know what type of soil this park has (the region is extremely variable, soil type wise). We are a dry summer climate, but the tree is in a city park, so it gets irrigation.
On my property we have sandy soil, but the pH is up around 8. This spring I planted 2 Colossal seedlings from onegreenworld.com, and one seedling I had started from seed I bought from a farmers market in PA, and the seller had no idea what kind of tree the nuts came from. My own seedling and 1 of the 2 Colossals did well; sent out new growth and were happy all summer (until a deer got in and munched their tips). My understanding is that Chinese (C. molissima) are supposed to be more okay with alkaline soil, so that's why I went with Colossal, which I thought was a Chinese/Japanese hybrid, but now I'm reading that it's a Japanese/European hybrid. Who knows, but one of the two did well. I started small, as I had little hope for success with my alkaline soil, but after seeing them do well for one year I'll definitely scale up now. I guess my main point in posting is to echo some of the others sentiment that you never know until you try. My region should be terrible for chestnuts, but they seem to be having some success.
I should say that in the Cascades, not too far from town there is a shrubby tree locally called chinquapin, but it is in the genus chrysolepis, which is in the same family as the chestnuts (and oaks). The soil up there is generally acidic (it's mixed conifer forest), and they get 2-4 times the precip than we do down in the basin, so the conditions are fairly different.
 
Matu Collins
Pie
Posts: 1967
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Two falls ago my twins were two, I was pregnant and my husband was running for office. We did not do a good job on the chestnut harvest! The bad effect was that the chestnut weevil population was high last year. The good effect is that the squirrels planted a lot of successful seedlings! Many of them are in places that I don't want spiky chestnut hulls all over the ground, so if anyone in the northeast wants seedlings, come see me here in Rhode Island.

 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic