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Why I Need to Know if My Trees Are Champion American Chestnuts  RSS feed

 
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Why I Need to Know if My Trees Are Champion American Chestnuts



My story telling effort to infect minds (thanks Paul Wheaton) with permaculture continues.

We have two large, fruitful chestnut trees on our homestead.

In the early 20th century a lethal Asian fungus infestation (known as the chestnut blight) swept across native habitat of the American chestnut tree and wiped out about 4 billion American chestnuts. In circa 1925, the fungus reached our ecosystem in western North Carolina killing the American chestnuts here.

Most chestnuts growing now are Chinese chestnuts or hybrids. The Chinese chestnut species has an immunity to the blight. However, the American Chestnut Foundation is using science to seek out and restore blight-resistant American chestnut trees to our biome.

The first option for the American Chestnut restoration project is to locate naturally-resistant all American (not hybrid) trees. Champion trees could save the species. A champion would have a natural immunity to the blight, and would be capable of passing that immunity down to her children through her seeds. Here is an article about the ACF restoration project: Restoring the American Chestnut Tree. Another good piece is Chestnut Champions by Meghan Jordan, TACF, Page 12.

There is only a very slight possibility we have American chestnuts on our homestead. There is an even smaller probability still that our chestnuts are champions. But even the faintest possibility of a champion chestnut tree on our homestead creates a duty to check. That is why we must identify our chestnut trees. We owe it to our ancestry and progeny. Stay tuned.

 
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