Chestnut – Disease-resistant variety

Q: I’ve read that the American chestnut is being cross-bred with the Chinese chestnut to make a blight resistant tree. I’d really like to plant one! The ones I read about are mostly American and have all the American chestnut traits except blight susceptibility. I would love to replace a pair of blasted ‘Bradford’ pears with something of substantial value.

A:  Don Davis has written The Impact of Chestnuts on the Economic and Cultural Development of the Appalachians . His interest is to enlist help in watching for chestnuts, collecting pollen from flowering trees, and introducing genes from Georgia chestnuts into the gene pool of trees that are being developed. He believes we are two years away from having a disease-resistant chestnut that is virtually ninety-nine percent American chestnut, with their characteristic nuts, nut flavor, growth rate and growth habit. The next step is to develop strategies to re-introduce the tree into our forests.

The American Chestnut Foundation sells disease-resistant seeds….but you have to donate to the organization in order to to get them.

You can buy other types of chestnuts at Empire Chestnuts and others.

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