Grafting chestnut to hickory

idaho_gardenerNovember 6, 2009

I'm hoping someone like Dan will offer his wisdom. Here's the question; how likely would I be able to graft a hickory or chinquapin to an American chestnut?

I think both of these trees are related to the AC.

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lucky_p

Hickory and chestnut are not closely related enough to have any chance of graft compatibility. You can graft pecan & hickory to one another, but not to walnut, which is much more closely related to the hickories than chestnut. Chestnut is more closely related oaks(they're both members of the Fagaceae) than to the hickories and walnuts(Juglandaceae)

I've only done a few chestnut grafts - Dunstan varieties onto seedlings of the same selection - but my understanding is that there are problems with graft compatibility unless the scion and rootstock are pretty closely related. Don't know if you'd get a long-lived chinquapin graft on American or Asian chestnut rootstock.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 8:09PM
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idaho_gardener

Thanks, lucky_p. I was looking for ways to preserve American Chestnuts trees. I was thinking that grafting something onto dentata roots might help keep the roots alive and allow shoots to grow. Sounds like the best bet is one of those hybrids.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 11:26PM
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Dan Staley

how likely would I be able to graft a hickory or chinquapin to an American chestnut?

If you are successful, you could write it up and do a book tour for quite some time! I'm sure many folks would like this to be successful and likely tried it early on.

Hickory is very hard to graft first of all, but the trees you mention are not compatible with chestnut.

Most of the research in bringing back the American chestnut is in how to kill the fungus, backcrossing, and propagating some in China (where the blight came from and where the trees developed resistance). AIUI and IIRC the folks are getting pretty close to solving this problem and I do know some preliminary planting trials are going on. But the canopy is generally closed, and the issue of how to reintroduce this plant will need to be solved - much bigger than finding resistance to the blight...

Good question!

Dan

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 6:48AM
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idaho_gardener

Thanks, Dan. Sounds like I'll have to stick to grafting chestnuts to chestnuts.

I have requested some nuts from the ACCF. I'll be growing blight trees here in Idaho, away from the blight. With luck, I can make some cuttings, and then take a vacation to see my sister and brother in Connecticut and New Jersey to graft them onto chestnut stumps.

I've been to at least two old groves in Connecticut where there are stumps that could use the help, and I know of a tree in Greenwich.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 11:22AM
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idaho_gardener

Got the nuts on Thursday and got them planted today, Sunday. Let's see how they do in Idaho.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 9:24PM
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