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American Chestnut encounters

Posted by mazewalker NY (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 31, 13 at 11:51

Hi all,

While I was hiking two weeks ago I came across a littering of Chestnut seeds on the ground up on a ridge in Harriman State Park. Not knowing much about chestnuts except that there are some saplings that grow from old root systems, we bemoaned that their aren't more of these trees, marveled at their crazy thorny seed pods and went on our way (taking only the attached picture of the tree).

I expect that the tree is nothing out of the ordinary, but I wanted to ask some experts what I should seek to observe in order to confirm that fact. The reason I wonder is because most sites seem to say that the remaining Chestnuts seem to be saplings that grow from old stumps/root systems and die before getting too tall/sexual maturity, and this tree doesn't seem to fit that description.
1) there's no sign whatsoever that it is growing from an old stump,
2) it is at least 30 feet tall,
3) its bark looked perfectly smooth (and therefore presumably healthy) and
4) it produced a lot of seed-pods (though these were all already looted by animals and a few pods contained underdeveloped chestnuts).

I'll be hiking the same trail this weekend; any thing in particular that I should look for?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: American Chestnut encounters

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 31, 13 at 14:21

Could grow for some time yet in that location and then get nailed by the blight anyway. Way to test it would be to graft from it and then see how the resulting plants fared elsewhere, in the known presence of blight.

RE: American Chestnut encounters

You might be able to contact the ACF (American Chestnut Foundation) or ACCF (American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation) to see if they'd be interested in doing what bboy suggested.

RE: American Chestnut encounters

ACF might be able to help you ID the species for sure, and they could maybe use the pollen

see question #6.

Undeveloped nuts might be unfertilized - it takes two castanea trees to make babies! Are there other trees around?

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