Chinese chestnut tree

Asked March 10, 2020, 3:09 PM EDT

I planted 50 Chinese chest trees (under NRCS program) in 2011. So far only three (the fourth one died two years ago) have grown to about 8' tall and borne fruits; the rest, either gone or only stems with sprouts around. My questions is should I continue to take care of those dried stems with sprouts around (pics. attached)? I planned to plant 25 more from seedlings this year. Also what did I do wrong to see only 3 threes grown to mature size? Looking forward to seeing your advice soon. Thanks.

Genesee County Michigan

1 Response


I suspect the trees that didn’t grow well had one or more issues- too little water, damaged roots, deer or rabbit browsing would be most likely.

If your trees were not grafted but are growing on their own roots, then the sprouts coming up will be the same variety of tree. You can select one strong sprout, prune away the rest and let that sprout become the new tree. Protect it from deer and other animals as you would a young tree with a hardware cloth barrier. If your trees were grafted onto a different species root stock, the sprouts are from that different species.

A response to your earlier question contains info on caring for the trees-

Be sure to correctly plant your new trees- not too deep, don’t damage the roots or trunks, mulch correctly, and keep them watered their first two years.

Here is the Tree Owner’s Manual from the USDA. See pages 9 – 12 for correct planting and mulching information, and a guide to basic tree care. See page 14 for how to protect young trees from wildlife.

The extra effort for the first couple years will give the trees a good start. If you can’t do this for all of them, water and protect as many as you can. Thank you for using our service.