Return to the Trees Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
American Chestnut

Posted by Edymnion z7 (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 13:14

I honestly have no idea if they'll survive, but I've got 20 acres of forest out here to myself, and I don't remember the last time I saw a chestnut tree. Maybe the blight burned itself out in my general area?

Probably not, but I ordered a couple of year old seedlings to plant out in the woods anyway.

I'll just need to keep an eye on them and use a soil pack if needed.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: American Chestnut

Good cause, and I wish you success. I'm not certain, but I think I read the the blight infectious reservoir resides in the red oaks until the chestnut comes along. Still, it's possible your trees will be lucky. Where are you getting them from? Hopefully the Chestnut Foundation that are trying to develop resistant trees.

In any event, I wish you and your trees success.

Arktree


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Edy, although the blight might not have any more chestnuts to infect, it is likely that if there were chestnuts, and that there are Red Oaks around, the blight lives in the red oaks. There were no Chestnuts growing here before I planted mine, but the woods are full of Red Oak and the blight is still endemic. Sorry to throw cold water on your hopes.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

In areas where American Chestnuts once grew, it's extremely likely that there are also still stumps that sprout and linger on, hosting the disease. Those are much more common than many realize.

If pure-bred American Chestnut trees are your goal, check out the American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Plenty of threads on this board discussing growing Am chestnut and the new varieties bred to try and resist blight.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

just do it man! Post some pics later on this year and dont forget to protect them from the deer and rabbits.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

does american chestnut make those badly smelling flowers? Is it so also for castanea sativa (probably among the greatest trees you could ever imagine)? I never saw a sativa in bloom...


 o
RE: American Chestnut

I heard its like a musky smell


 o
RE: American Chestnut

The bad smell is over rated, grin. It all depends on what smell receptors you got in the genetic shuffle. I find the pure Chinese smell sort of sweet, a bit composty, not quite musty. Americans smell sweeter to me, slightly more floral. Your nose is not my nose, so you'll just have to smell one and see what you get out of the scent. I never smelled a pure sativa in bloom, can't help you with that one. Maybe somebody close to you could mail you a male flower. It would dry out in the mail, but still have enough smell that you'd get its main notes out of it.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

The forest out here is mostly pine. Definitely do not recall seeing anything as colorful as a red oak out here. Some sweet gums, dogwood, stuff like that, but no large hardwoods that I can think of off the top of my head.

And hey, they will either make it or they won't, but they definitely won't if they aren't even given a chance.

This post was edited by Edymnion on Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 18:25


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Where is "out here"?

I think it's a pretty safe bet that they'll either make it or not make it, if that's the bet you want to make. Odds are about 100%.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

An article that advocates we keep trying even if they grow for just a few years.

Here is a link that might be useful: When a lost cause is a good bet


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Plant them somewhere you don't walk barefoot, just in case they made it.

From the photo I saw, their 'nut' casings make sweetgum balls look pretty tame.

Richard.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

  • Posted by beng z6b western MD (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 30, 13 at 8:35

There used to be quite a few stump sprouts of Am chestnut in the general forest, but recently even those seem to have vanished. The culprit, I believe, is deer overpopulation. Repeated stripping of every chestnut sprout has eventually killed even those surviving stump-roots.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Where is "out here"?

Hamilton County, Harrison, out between the lake and Sequoya nuclear.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

  • Posted by c2g 6 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 30, 13 at 13:06

A mature American Chestnut was recently identified in Philadelphia:

http://www.focw.org/2013/01/tree-in-carpenters-woods-confirmed-as-mature-american-chestnut/


 o
RE: American Chestnut

I found one slightly smaller than that this past summer. I was doing some hiking at high elevation in the blue mountains of PA and came across a flowering one.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

  • Posted by beng z6b western MD (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 9:38

c2g, the Am chestnut nearby when I lived in SW VA was prb'ly half again as thick as that one (prb'ly ~50' tall), and right up in the canopy. It flowered regularly, but no chestnuts.

I do not believe it was blight-resistant, tho. The base looked like a stump sprout, meaning it had previously been killed back by the blight.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

If you've found a wild chestnut, you should shoot an email over to the American Chestnut Foundation. Especially if its in their natural range. If they don't know about it yet, they'll want to send someone out to inspect it's health, take a few samples, etc.

They're still keeping a close eye on survivors, seeing if they can find any pure natives with resistance (as well as collecting seed from them).


 o
RE: American Chestnut

beng,
Actually it is possible that the tree you saw IS resistant even if it was previously killed by the blight. Even resistant plants to a particular disease can have that resistance overcome due to extremely high disease pressure (i.e. when a disease first arrives) or by particularly favorable climatic conditions, or by some stress or wound. Even if it was suseptiable, there is still potential for resistance to arise through a somatic mutation. The blight kills down to the root flare/roots which are resistant. This means that there is some mechanism for that resistance already present that is active in those regions. Through random mutations at the point where new sprouts originate, that existing mechanism may be "turned on" to some extent in the new shoot, resulting in that new shoot being resistant to the blight. In which case, this could possible be carried to potential offspring. Point mutations could also occur, resulting in resistance arising as well. There are other possible mechanisms as well.

Point being, and trees surviving the blight really need to be cataloged and studied etc. These potentially resistant, but no doubt isolated trees genetics could be critical to recovery of the species.

Arktrees

This post was edited by arktrees on Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 11:01


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Yes, and they may want to pollinate it with pollen from deemed resistant trees or tested trees and come back for the seednuts later. If it has no pollinator, they may even plant a young one for it, after growing the seedling in a pot for a couple of years and observing it to make sure it is not infected with blight. Seednuts can be infected with blight and sprout into a blighted seedling, so watching the potential pollinator seedling for a couple of years before outplanting it is wise.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 12:57

I grow some of the American kind and seem to be isolated enough for time being, so far the oldest has lived 30 years, but I grow resistant ones, too for insurance.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Yeah I actually found an even larger one several yards ago on a Boyscout Reservation in the Poconos. It was around 40 feet tall close to 1 foot diameter. I was camping with my troop and I walked into the woods 100 yards or so and found that the forest floor was littered with empty chestnut burs. I looked up and there it was, a perfectly formed American Chestnut. It was as straight as an arrow and single trunked growing in the middle of a small clearing. I took one of the leaves and sent it to the American chestnut Foundation and they confirmed that it was an American Chestnut. I didn't see any cankers but their was blight on the bark and yet it seemed unfazed. I am not sure whatever became of the tree. Never got a chance to go back to check on it, if its still alive its probably twice the size 80 feet I would estimate. The tree was growing in acidic, rocky soil with white pine, white oak, hickories, mountain laurel, Hickories, Lycopodium, and tea berry.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Was just talking to my aunt and it came around to the fact I had just bought some chestnut trees. She scolded me saying "Well why didn't you say thats what you wanted? There's a big one out here that carpets the ground in seeds every year, you could have had all you could carry."

I've been out there plenty of times, and while I don't remember the tree in particular I don't recall ever seeing anything that looked like a sick or blighted tree.

Being that its currently winter there's no easy way to check on if its actually an american chestnut or not, but I'm making a note to go check it out soon as it leafs out. If it is, I'll shoot the ACF an email.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Edy,
Please keep us informed. I for one would love to hear about individuals tree overcoming this disease at last, which of course can potentially be utilized in recovery.

BTW, see the link below for a similar story from the same blight destroying the related Ozark Chinquapin.

Arktrees

Here is a link that might be useful: Ozark Chinquapin


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Yeah, I'm not getting my hopes up quite yet. It could be a chinese chestnut. I've got an email reminder set up for May so I can head out there when its fully leafed out.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

  • Posted by beng z6b western MD (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 9:11

arktrees, the chestnut blight can't live at or below the ground 'cause of an antagonistic fungus that is present in the soil. That's where I got the method of applying mudpacks to the cankers to combat the blight (and that actually worked on a sprout right by the house that reached 30' tall (but very skinny)).

The site may have had something to do with it -- the tree was crowded by Table mnt pines colonizing the "road cut" there, and also because it was a rather xeric spot near the ridgetop (the canopy height was only 50'), there were no nearby N red oaks.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Just came across this interesting old pic of American Chestnuts in the Smokies:
Big American Chestnut photo bigchestnut_zps455105e0.jpg


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Ah, what nature could grow before man came along!


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Interesting how there may be some disease resistance out there. A friend of mine lives in the original family farmstead from the late 1800s....they cut down a lot of Elm trees years ago that died from DED. But one has survived and they didn't cut it down. I want to check it out better when winter has passed.

I might be able to make room for a Chestnut seedling...

vince


 o
RE: American Chestnut

So I went out to check on that tree myself today.

By gum, I think its an American Chestnut. Its at least 40 feet tall, and even this late in the winter I had no problems just picking up all the burs and nuts I could ask for under it.

At least 40-45 feet tall, and thats an old garden hose there in the lower right hand corner of the picture of the trunk/bark, so I'd say it has to be a 2-3 foot diameter trunk. Far as I could see perfectly healthy, not so much as a pockmark anywhere on the bark. Found some of the dead leaves, they also looked right. About as long as my hand, sawtoothed edge, and definitely the longer leaf compared to the short chinese chestnut leaves.

I've already sent an email off to the guy listed on ACF.org as being in charge for this area, see if there's anything he wants to do now with it, or if he wants me to wait until it leafs out in order to send in the full sample set.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

I think you might have just the blank nuts, meaning the unpollinated ones. Have a look at these.

[URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/15/pollinatedversusblanknu.jpg/][IMG]http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/8321/pollinatedversusblanknu.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Uploaded with [URL=http://imageshack.us]ImageShack.us[/URL]


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Try this in case the first one won't open.


 o
RE: American Chestnut

I did get a reply from the chestnut foundation contact for this area. Was about what I expected. General "Yeah, thats a big healthy looking chestnut alright. Won't be able to tell for sure if its pure American without a fresh leaf sample though. Make sure and send us one soon as you can."


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Did you considered contacting the ACCF?


 o
RE: American Chestnut

I concur with brandon7 - you should consider contacting ACCF as well. They seem to be loosing the PR war to TACF, but have IMHO a more noble goal - breeding resistant trees from all American genetics, vs cross breeding with Chinese genetics as TACF is doing. Hard to tell if either org has the better science, but sure would be nice to repopulate the forests with all-American trees...


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Edy...What's the status on the chestnut? were you able to send samples to TACF? They donated about 20 pure American Chestnut seedlings to a youth forestry event we hosted in northeast Texas this past spring. So far I think we've only lost about 3 or 4 to heat and weed competition. One the the ACF scientist said that the blight lived in scarlet oaks, post oaks and live oaks, but usually in the American chestnuts natural range. Texas is a bit further west but although the blight apparently once swept through parts of east Texas and killed off the Ozark chinkapins which where native to the area, there are no known stump sprouts existing in the area therefore chances of blight in the area are slim in our area. As you said they will either make it or they won't but hopefully we see some chestnuts in the next few years...


 o
RE: American Chestnut

Grace,
The causative organism is still present in other hosts. For instance, the Post Oaks mentioned are native to NE Texas. As such, your Chestnuts are likely to be eventually infected. However, I would LOVE to be COMPLETELY wrong.

Arktrees


 o
RE: American Chestnut

That is true but as Edy said...you never know until you try and if blight does show up I'll just hold it off as long as I can with the mud pack treatment.

Although the blight lives in post oaks, it's rarely found outside of chestnut range according to TACF head Scientist. He said there's a pretty good chance that the trees could make it to a significant age in my area.

Although northeast TX was once home to Ozark chinquapin, most of this particular area had been timbered, burned and transformed into agriculture ranch lands in the early and mid 1900's. In the last 50 years most of the land in our area have become regenerated forest.

Although post oaks are a host for blight but it doesn't sweep through a post oak forest and affect them the same as it does a chestnut forest. When the blight first swept though chestnut forest, the alleghany and Ozark chinquapin range overlapped the with the chestnut range which allowed the blight to sweep west of the Mississippi in the early 1900's. It killed off all of the Ozark chinquapin in east Texas although the Alleghany chinquapin still grows in parts of east TX.

Although post oaks are native to northeast TX I've only seen one 4 1/2 foot tall sapling growing on our entire place besides the tiny seedlings I planted this past spring. There are mature southern red oaks, water oaks, sweet gum, sassafras and loblolly and short leaf pines. I know there's always a chance but I'm quite confident that I'll see some chestnuts at some point in the future...even if I have to use the mud pack treatments for the next 5 - 10 years on any outbreaks...


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Trees Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here