Concerned about our 50+ year old American Chestnut Tree

Asked July 8, 2020, 6:50 PM EDT

This tree has bloomed exuberantly every June for years, as can been seen in the 2015 JPEG file attached. The crown is blooming right now, as you can see from the current picture taken today. The tree has produced many very prickly nuts each year, but the kernels have been rather shriveled and not edible. I've been told it's because it has no cross pollination. We took this tree as a small transplant from a healthy fence row of American Chestnut trees at the location listed below about 50 years ago. It has thrived for many years, in spite of the fact that the original trees in northern Michigan apparently succumbed to the blight in the 1970's. Location: "The grove, owned by James Rogers, is (was) located at Chimney Corners (SE ΒΌ Sect. 35, T27N, R16W) at the top of the Point Betsie Moraine, a massive 300-foot glacial ridge which flanks the north shore of Crystal Lake." Just this May a couple of limbs on the tree started to show leaves beginning to wilt. Now the two lowest branches on the west side of the tree appear to be dying. It obviously needs help. Can anyone suggest an arborist that could help us treat the tree? Perhaps it has reached the end of its life, or is suffering from the blight, but we hope not. Please advise.

Livingston County Michigan

1 Response

Hi There

From the pictures provided I can't tell if it is blight or not, though that would be my first concern as American chestnut are highly susceptible and rarely grow beyond the size of your tree before collapsing. Can you possibly send some pictures of limbs and trunk up closer? Particularly focus on the branches that are failing and look for any areas of irregular bark that appears slightly caved, dark, etc. if you see some orange looking pimples--that is diagnostic for chestnut blight.

I have included some pics--but it isn't always this obvious.

Chestnut blight
Canker on chestnut