When Will Chestnut Bloom?

quercus_alba2December 19, 2013

How big does an American chestnut have to be to bloom? I have one that is 15 years old and about 20 feet tall.The last few years I thought it would bloom,but no luck so far.

On the plus side,no sign of blight either.

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Probably depends on how much shade is around. I've had them bloom around my height in the open before.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 7:57PM
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How old is it? They grow FAST so it might be 20' and only a few years old.
Mine are in a thick clay soil and grow 2-4 feet a year. In general, I have noticed they get to about 7 years and will flower. The following year, they create burrs.

Where in MN are you growing chestnuts? I am in the Twin Cities.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 8:54PM
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oops sorry - you said how old it is. that does seem odd. You might try hitting it with phosphorus to induce flowering


no warranties!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:09PM
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It was a bit shaded when younger,but for the last few years has been a good deal taller then its' competitors.

It is 15 years old.It was about a foot tall when planted.

I'm also in the Twin Cities.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:15PM
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I have been putting some of those tree spikes around it the last few years.It grows well,about 2 feet a year,but still no flowers.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Are you just growing it for the flowers or growing more than one so you can get nuts, too?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes: cross-pollination will probably be required for filled nuts.

Do not apply phosphorus without specific evidence (such as soil analysis report) showing it is needed. Phosphorus leaches extremely slowly and like other soil minerals becomes toxic to plant growth when over-applied - you pretty much have to dig up and replace affected soil to remove the toxicity.

Tree spikes are granular fertilizer that would otherwise be broadcast over the root zone that has been compressed into spikes, making fertilization less efficient (and more expensive). Crumble any remaining spikes and broadcast them as a powder - if any additional fertilization seems to be called for. If you have done nothing to check what soil mineral situation you had before you fertilized and what mineral content the fertilization has produced you may want to do that next.

With fertilizer blends containing multiple ingredients there is a high likelihood of buying and applying nutrients that are not needed on a given planting site. Typically a location will be short on one or two minerals - if any - rather than an entire range of them. Products containing a lot of phosphorus or trace minerals in particular can have potential for producing a toxicity when applied repeatedly.

In my area it is a pretty general rule the nitrogen is all that needs to be supplemented, and even this may mostly be the case on disturbed soils where the natural nutrient cycling system has been disrupted.

This post was edited by bboy on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 14:57

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 2:53PM
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phosphorus is not for plant health. Elevated levels will induce more flowering. Although if your spikes already have phosphorus, you may have other issues. most spikes are MOSTLY nitrogen for plant growth - any idea what yours were?
Another dumb question - are you SURE it is a true chestnut and not a horsechestnut or something?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 7:04PM
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I have a second tree,but it is much smaller and years away from blooming.The spikes I am using are 16-4-4.Yes,that was a dumb question ! ; )

Are there visible flower buds that I could look for?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:05PM
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In the winter I am not sure there is any way to tell. But my first year flowers were NOT OBVIOUS even once they were developed

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 10:57AM
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Nothing will show up in winter as they make flowers on current years growth. I took pictures last winter of the ones that bloomed this year, and, nothing.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 12:55PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

for what they are worth.. just send me the money you waste on tree spikes ... and i will pray for them ... crikey ...

last pic.. just above.. not a weed in the lawn ... you treat your lawn.. yes ???? ... including fert...yes?? .. which would include the tree with its roots under the grass... yes???

then if the spikes were in fact useful.. wouldnt you be double fertilizing????

IMHO ... just stop using them ... how do you even know you are pounding them anywhere near a root for this tree????

also.. as to ANY soil amendment.. regardless of which responder above is right ... NEVER AMEND YOUR SOIL W/O A SOIL TEST .... no guessing ... or winging it on a non-locals guess .. now.. if your county extension agent were to suggest such.. there are good odds.. he has enough local info, to act upon ....

frankly ... look around your county ... i will submit.. short of the desert ... there are millions of trees in your county.. that no one ever fertilized ... and they are doing just fine ... so on that logic.. why do yours need fertilizer..????

a tree will become sexually active .... when it darn well ready to [just like a teenager] ... there is nothing you can do to change that exact moment in time .... but based on that ... one then has to step back and wonder.. if what you are doing.. is counterproductive ... so my usual response .. applied on my own garden .. is let them be free ... other than water for the two years after planting .... thereafter.. totally free range ...

the alternative.. is to love it to death .... of which.. i have done so ... lol ... and learned that benign neglect is better ... lol ..


    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 9:47AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

'Timburr' hybrid chestnut from OIKOS after 8 seasons here shows no sign of blooming yet.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 10:29AM
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too much fertilization will prevent blooming. All the excess nutrients will go into making leaves and wood. The tree does not see a need to bloom because its too "happy". The whole purpose of blooming and reproduction is to ensure the continuation of its genes. If conditions are too perfect then the tree "thinks" it safe and doesn't need to put energy into making seeds/nuts.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 2:41PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Except on clearly deficient soils such as barren sands the best general practice to enhance establishment and growth of plantings is mulching.

Where there is a known significant deficiency you won't be likely to get a full response unless you also fertilize - and fertilize with something that corrects that particular deficiency. This means the right mineral in the right amounts.

This post was edited by bboy on Sun, Dec 22, 13 at 18:57

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Ken, the picture just above is not from the original poster. It's from my tree which did bloom this year , but the photo was taken after a thaw in early winter to show that chestnut does not set flower buds the year before. I have livestock, so they fertilize for me. My tree made catkins this year and it was 7. It was started from a seednut in 2006.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 8:27PM
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nick_b79(4/5 Southeast MN)

Hybrid chestnuts from Oikos, planted as 6-12" seedlings at my dad's farm 30 miles north of St. Cloud, MN, bloomed and bore nuts for me within 5 years of planting. Growth rate was only 1-1.5 ft/yr though, which I attribute to being at the northern edge of their limit.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 12:55AM
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Yes, I have one hybrid tree too, and it also bloomed earlier. I can't remember how much earlier than the pure americans, just earlier. I'm in PEI, east coast of Canada, so I get slower growth in the open too. The ones by the driveway are perhaps 10 to 12 feet, and were nuts in 2006. The same seedlot is bigger in the woods, but not by a whole lot, perhaps 3 feet more. Geographic location does seem to affect growth rate. I'm at 46 degrees plus a bit. Bunnies eat some of the ones in the woods too, if they can pry the mouse guards off. Those ones have to start over again from the root.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Any hybrid stock that is grafted will have the sexual maturity of the stock plant; seedlings of large-growing trees such as American chestnut might be expected to take decades to reach flowering size, if it is not known otherwise that the species blooms small.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 11:31AM
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Pure americans, C dentatas, they do bloom small. In the open, in good soil, they bloom at about 7 or 8 years, longer if it's too much shade.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 7:26PM
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