Chestnut Trees

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by vicki in NW OH, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. vicki in NW OH

    vicki in NW OH Well-Known Member

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    I received the Fedco Tree catalog for 2005 this week and they offer American Chestnut seedlings. They stated that they are blight susceptible. Why would anyone plant them in that case? Has any one tried growing American Chestnut or a hybrid, and how did it go? And, if all the American Chestnut trees are gone, how is the fungus still surviving. Does it stay in the soil or another site forever?

    All the woodwork, staircase wood, and woodfloors in my house is chestnut and it is such a pretty warm golden brown color. What a shame the chestnut tree is gone!
     
  2. Rita

    Rita Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I worked for the Forest Service there was one man doing work on bringing back the Am Chestnut. He traveled all over getting cuttings from trees that had grown back and grafted them to the Chinese Chestnuts. The Am. trees that regrow usually die after they get a certain size and then will resprout again. I can't imagine this nursery got enough chestnut seeds to be able to plant and sell them! As you say who would want to if they will only die. Some do survive but very very few. Rita
     

  3. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    Vicki,

    After 100 years the blight still resides in the soil. There is a variety of chestnut that is supposed to have a higher resistance to blight called the "Dunstan" it was breed from a grove of trees up north which apparently had some resistance to the blight. A company called Chestnut hill nurserys sells it. I believe they're in Florida.

    At one time in the north east 70 percent of the forest was chestnut. It is fast growing, rot resistant and provides a lot of high quality food for wildlife. There is also a society trying to get enough money together to do genetic engineering to restore this tree. Most of the plant genetic engineering today is done by big seed companies to make plants resistant to the poisons they promote (ie roundup ready soybeans) Perhaps a little genetic engineering can be applied to the chestnut or perhaps by planting them a person like you or I could lead to a breakthrough in producing blight free chestnuts.

    As far as the Chinese strains I've read that their chestnuts aren't as tasty and their habit is much more bushlike that the tall American Chestnut. So despite addiing blight resistance they kind of take away from the American's better properties.

    Hope that helps a little
     
  4. treeguy

    treeguy Active Member

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    is the blight in the soil, or is it carried by insects? the other thing i wonder is, is it fungal or bacterial. We have american chestnuts growing right here where I live but most of them don't get large enough to develop nuts and the ones that do lose them immediately to squirrels and deer and turkey. One of the biggest problems we have is that people cut down trees in there own woodlots for firewood, or worse yet they buy 5 acres of woods and bring in lawn mowers and bulldozers to make the woods more pretty, and they destroy many trees without knowing what they are. I've seen more than one person cut down black cherry because they thought it was black ash???? cherry was selling for $4.00 per board foot on the stump at the time. I have american elm trees that are fully grown in my woodlot that are perfect. they are worthless for lumber and firewood but name me one person alive who can tell me there real worth. we need them just for...well more than they need us.people need to be educated before they go in and change things......OK getting off my stump ;)
    Does anyone know the name of that childrens book about the child who grows up with a tree?
     
  5. vicki in NW OH

    vicki in NW OH Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I am going to check out The American Chestnut folks. I'm not sure if many chestnut trees grew in my area of OH because we have limestone soil. More of them grew in eastern OH. I am going to try and find an oldtimer who knows for sure if any chestnuts grew in this area. Seems to me, that a hybrid would be better to plant. I'll try looking for "Dunstan. Wouldn't hurt to try.

    treeguy, I know what you mean about folks just cutting down trees without really knowing what they are doing. In this area of OH, there are only small woodlots, yet folks buy them up and destroy most of the woods by building their trophy house in it. Or, they get the woods "thinned" which means the healthy trees are taken down for furniture building in the Amish areas of OH, and the diseased trees are left standing. Seems backwards to me.

    I found out that chestnut wood that is taken from old barns and houses and refurbished is worth $10-$16 a foot depending on width. I almost had a brain hemorrhage when I realized what just one wood floor in my house is worth. Our woodwork, floors, etc. are worth more than we paid for this old house! (Although, it is taking me a long time to redo it all.)
     
  6. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That would be "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein.
     
  7. treeguy

    treeguy Active Member

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    That's the one!!! I'm 46 years young and I just read that for the first time this year....I have twin 5 yr olds. That book should be required reading for every adult. It's a sad thing indeed when a childrens book can bring a tear to a grown mans eye. probably just happens to primates and squirrels.
     
  8. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    They used to make ships hulls from elm because it is a very hard wood and water resistant. Seems those elms should be useful for something besides firewood.
     
  9. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's one of my favorites, too. And it brought tears to my eyes.