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Looking for american chestnuts

Posted by nywoodsman (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 27, 06 at 20:52

2o years ago after moving to my present location I realize that the woods around me had once been dominated by native chestnut trees.Their decaying hulks were scattered through out the forest floor with many still standing fifty years after they died.In fact the tallest tree one the property when I got here was a 100 foot chestnut snag down in the hollow.Although mostof them have now fallen, small trees still sprout here and there,only to be killed back by the blite.I would love to reintroduce a resistant strain of the native species but am having a hard time finding a grower.I've heard of the american chestnut project,but their literature seems to imply that their trees have only a 10% chance of desease resistance,and I thought that with having active blite still on may property,they would have little chance of surviving here.Has anyone heard of any other source?Years ago I read of someone developing a trans-genetic clone,with the gene for blite resistance spliced in from an asian species.Has this become available to the market yet?Re-establishing this wonderful tree to my area is an important goal of mine.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

The blight-resistant American Chestnuts that the American Chestnut Foundation are working on breeding are almost, but not quite, ready for release. Within 5 to 10 years, I think that their chestnuts will be available to the public.

However, there IS a source for blight-resistant American Chestnuts of a few varieties. These trees won't preserve all the genetic variations found across the vast range of American Chestnuts, but they are blight resistant from everything I've heard and make very good trees.

The company who produces and sells these trees is Oikos. Here's a weblink:

http://www.oikostreecrops.com/store/home.asp

Note that the page might not come up, in which case delete everything but the main website name (http://www.oikostreecrops.com/) and hit "Enter" and try again.

I hope this helps in your quest to restore the sadly lost American Chestnut to your land.


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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

Thanks Radagast,I ordered a dozen of their "timburr" variety,to see how they will do here.


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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

Let us know how it works out - I'd love to see the American Chestnut return! That, and since I don't have any land of my own, I have to get my tree fix by watching other people's trees grow!


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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

I say go for it. Just to be technical, I thought I should mention that (I think) the blight-resistant varieties have a little bit of exotic DNA mixed in - which is why they are blight resistant. Since it is that or kiss the american chestnut goodbye completely I think it is the right thing to do.


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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

Bob64,I know,but I was tired waiting on the the American Chestnut Project and decided to act this year.The hybrid trees are described by the grower as being "very native in phenotype" and I am additionally planning to cross pollinate them with the small surviving local stump sprouts,that occasionally bloom, to produce seeds more true to the local genotype,but hopefully with the added blight resistence.This is a long term project and I'm beginning to realize I don't have forever.


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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

I agree with you NYWoodsman. Let us know how your trees make out.


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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

Note that even the American Chestnut Foundation's blight-resistant trees will be hybrids: 15/16's American and 1/16 Chinese with the blight resistant trait. Barring genetic engineering or a lot of luck and time, I don't think that fully American Chestnuts that are blight resistant are going to happen, at least not now. But that's okay so long as the hybrid's basically behave like American Chestnuts, maintain their blight resistance, and provide good food to the wildlife, we should be fine.

Anyway, I am glad that more folks are planting these trees since that's the only way the American Chestnut has any hope of returning to our lands.


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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

NYwoodsman, how did your trees do this year?


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RE: Looking for american chestnuts

I work a bit with the ACF and the transgenics are "in-production" .... for use in research areas. I have heard no mention of the disease resistant transgenics being available to the public ... at least not soon!! One thing that I am finding out ... there seems to be no exscaping the blight .... at least not in the original native areas of their growth. The best we can all hope for is to keep planting the seeds (which DO NOT carry the fungus) and hope that by simply beating the odds, that some of the trees reach maturity. In the meantime, the research may come up with "a cure" for the blight ... that could be introduced to existing stands of American Chestnut trees. WE CANNOT Give Up!!!


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