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Chestnuts??

 
                
Posts: 11
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I am trying to find chestnut trees or seeds to sprout to put in on my land. I am a little confused and I'm sure you guys can help!
I understand about the blight issue. I have seen sources of American Chestnut trees though, from Willis Orchard and a couple others. Are these just kind of "take your chances" kind of trees?
What about the Chinese Chestnuts? I am trying to stick to natives if possible, though.
The "new" hybrids are way too expensive for me, and one of the pollinators doesn't grow in the type of soil I have.
I found a Chestnut tree near me, and collected tons of chestnuts from it hoping to grow them from seed. After inspecting the nuts, I was just plain confused. Some (two) looked like "real" chestnuts, while all the others were split into three sections and looked different. After doing some research, it looks like maybe the ones in three sections (the majority) are sterile as it was a lone chestnut tree and they need a pollinator. The two that looked like chestnuts got pollinated then, somehow?
So I guess right now I am leaning toward ordering the Americans from Willis... Any advice greatly appreciated!!
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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I have found St. Lawrence Nursery to be an excellent source of trees:

http://www.sln.potsdam.ny.us/
 
                                    
Posts: 59
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I would suggest you check out the customer reviews of Willis Orchards before you order from them.  Many people have been burnt by them:

http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/c/6348/

There are some very reputable sources for chestnuts.

Try Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery:

http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/c/1120/
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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In addition to chinese, there is also Japanese (C. crenata) and European (C. sativa), and blight resistant crosses between them.  Our local nut guru is Mike Dolan at Burnt Ridge Nursery.  I have only eaten C. sativa, so have not basis for comparison.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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The american chestnut foundation has been cross breeding the smaller blight resistant cheinees variety with the larger sweeter american nuts for many years.  Penn State has one now that I believe they claim is 90% as sweet as the american nut and blight resistant.  The Pa Game commission has started to try and re-introduce the american chestnut back into our state forests and state game lands.  The foundation believes that they have a variety that should be 100% blight resistant,  but they won,t be sure untill their field tests are completed.  So it maybe 2015 to 2020 until they know for sure.  When you are planting the seeds you need a male and a female.  You can look at the seeds and tell,  one will be flat on the insde area,  the other will be curved.  If you have 2 good seeds that have been growing in your local area I would say plant them.  What do you have to loose?  The smaller seeds maybe no good,  or they may just be from a variety of tree that produces small nuts.  I wouldnt plant them if it was me,  I want larger nuts.  The american chestnut will grow around here,  get to maybe 20' high or so and then die back.  There are several sites you can check on line to get more info about the newer varietys.  Hope that is a help.  Good Luck. 
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I planted 2 tiny chestnut trees in our yard 3 years ago, they seem to be having a bit of difficulty growing....or it might just be my imagination

they really leaf out late late late in the summer, so that might be why I think they are dead all the time..or maybe the tops are dying and they are sending out new growth from the roots I'm not sure, but I've been babying them and theya re still alive..but not robust
 
Paula Edwards
Posts: 411
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The gardening book says chestnuts need good drainage, maybe that's the problem.
If a tree is not happy at the site you planted it, I would transplant it, it often works.
We have two chestnut trees, both very healthy (but I think we don't have the blight in Australia) on land which has not a good drainage, just at the creek. I don't know how old they are or what type, but one flowers profusely, while the other doesn't (they are the same size). Last year the nuts haven't been filled properly. Maybe it was a pollination problem? Or maybe the summer was too wet? (This summer is very wet too).
I would always go for the expensive grafted trees. At least always one or two of them. simply calculate how much you spend at the grocer until your seedling bears. I would plant the seedlings at the fringes of my property, or even outside my property.
 
                              
Posts: 47
Location: Ohio zone 4-5
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I have a Chinese Chestnut on clay soil overlying shale siltstone. The clay is saturated in wet weather with poor drainage because the siltstone is impermeable. The tree is fine. It had a setback when the 17 year locusts, Cicadas, decimated it by laying eggs in the branches, killing them. As a result, the tree coppiced itself into a  wonderfully broad shape and now produces nuts. I was told that it needed another to cross pollinate for the vast amounts it could be producing, so I planted a few more.

My preference would have been for the native chestnut but when I planted ours that wasn't available.
About 2 years ago I went to a presentation by a native chestnut tree farmer who was attempting the improved hybrids in NE Ohio. He received good funding from the state but was discouraged with the loss. The method ended up being over planting a row knowing that he had to thin 85% of it. That is quite a loss. He wasn't just trialing them, but attempting to build several profitable venues. 
For our area it isn't a reality yet.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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well my two babies have good drainage and great soil and are mulched, we have had a 2 year drought that might have set them back some, but I did water them deeply  during some really dry spells
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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I have been looking on line for chestnut varietys.  There is an American hybred called the Dunstan.  It was grown by a guy in Ohio and they claim it is blight resistant.  There have been american chestnut trees discovered growing wild that were not killed by the blight,  one in Ky,  one in Oh,  and I know of one growing in a state game lands in Clearfield co Pa.  Nuts from these resistant trees have been used to cross breed a blight resistant strain of american chestnut.  These trees are much taller than either the chinees or japanees trees.  Good luck with picking a variety that will work in your area.  If you truely want an american chestnut I would sugest spending the money to get a blight resistant strain.  Otherwise your tree may grow and start to mature,  and then die from the blight.  The blight does not kill them right away,  so pick wisely. 
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
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I've got a lot of chestnut trees where I live.  I thought they were pure Americans for a long time, but Mr. Dolan from Burnt Ridge looked at a branch and said they're most likely hybrids of American and who knows what else.  either way, they're delicious and abundant.  I hope to cut some of the trees up for building material, as well, as they coppice well.

where are you at, BarnKat?  if you're not in the historical range of American chestnuts, there's a good chance you don't have to worry too much about blight.
 
Paula Edwards
Posts: 411
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I looked at this chestnut tree yesterday, and the side where the creek is the tree looks unhealthy. The tree which is a bit further away looks good, but refuse to flower.
How big do these trees get - not the height but the spread?
I drew a 20 meter spread in the plan of our property and was really astonished how much this is! I really recommend doing this before planting a huge tree like this.
Can they kept pruned smaller without they stop producing?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
75
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chestnuts can get roughly as wide as they are tall.  ours are narrower because they're crowded, but given the space, they'll spread way out.
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