chestnut trees

Asked March 4, 2014, 7:15 PM EST

I am looking for some chestnut trees to plant after I got my woodlot timbered . I was wondering if you could tell me what kind to plant and do you sell them or knows who does .

Huntingdon County Pennsylvania forestry trees and shrubs chestnut horticulture

3 Responses

I am making an assumption that you are planting these chestnuts for wildlife purposes, and they make a great source of food for a lot of wildife. If this is the case, I sugest planting Chinese chestnuts. These trees are blight resisant and will grow well if the site is a good site for them, and put off a lot of nuts once they start producing. IF it is a good site and the trees are maintained properly you may start getting some nuts in 7-10 years. They will prefer an acid soil, pH of around 5 would work. Be sure to provide some sort of protection from the deer until the trees get about 6 or 7 feet tall or they will be browsed back continuously.
There are many nurseries that sell chestnuts. Just do a search on you should have no problem finding one. The other thing you can do is collect seed form a chestnut tree this fall (before the squirrels and deer get them) and put them in a peat mixture that is moist (not wet) then put them in a plastic bag with a few holes punched in it. Then just keep them in the refridgerator through the winter and plant them about 1-2" deep in early April. You will be surprised at how fast they will grow the first year when you plant seeds. When you plant them be sure to use some sort of protection to keep the rodents, raccoons, etc out. When you collect the seed you can put them in a container of water to sort out the nuts that are not viable....if the nuts float, they are no good. Only keep the nuts that sink.
In a forested setting, make sure the chestnuts are getting a pretty good amount of sunlight and do not plant them in an area that lays wet. They don't like wet feet.

These tree are going to be going in with other tree's and I didn't think chinese would be good for that .I am going to be planting them in areas in a ten acre wood lot . I know over at Raystown Lake they are crossing some type to replace the american chestnut and thats more like what im looking for .

If you are looking for American Chestnuts, I would contact The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF). A link to the website for the Pennsylvania CChapter is: http://www.patacf.org/ I will tell you that the seed that they believe to have blight resistance is not available to the public at this time and will probably be several years before it is. They are in the very early stages of developing seed orchards with the final backcross. I believe that the final seed product is available to purchase from TACF but it is a very limited amount, very expensive, and reserved for members of TACF. You would have to check with them for all of the details on that.
That being said, there are pure American seed available at times as well as some of the early back-crosses but they are NOT blight resistant seed. They may grow long enough to produce some seeds and the top will die off from the blight. If the tree is othewise healthy it will resprout and live until it gets the blight again. It may go on in perpituity.

If wildlife is your main goal, and you have good sunlight hitting the forest floor, Chinese chestnut should serve you well. If you do not good sunlight hitting the forest floor, even American chestnuts will probably not do well. If American Chestnuts are your main emphasis, I would suggest contacting TACF and learn about how you become involved with the group. The coordinator is housed at Penn State University and there are lots of opportunities to get involved.