[nafex] chestnuts

Phil Norris COUSINPHIL at ACADIA.NET
Thu Mar 7 20:54:35 EST 2002


Dear Karl,

I know of an extensive grove of American Chestnuts in Rockport, Maine.  
I used to live next to this grove 20 years ago and was on a committee to 
protect them.  One of the old timers on that committee was a woman named 
Una Ames who had lived there all her life and she swore that they had 
been there when she was a child.  The grove has since been donated to 
the Nature Conservancy.

I may be wrong but I understood that the American Chestnut was native to 
Maine and that Rockport was the northernmost extreme of their range.  
And because Maine was the northernmost extreme the chestnuts had escaped 
the worst of the blight.  The  thinking then was that this grove was not 
a stand of extra resistant trees but that the blight had just never 
found it.

Be that as it may, I was able to obtain a sapling from seeds from that 
grove and succeeded in getting this tree to thrive on a piece of hill 
property I had in Rockport.   I planted it on an old manure pile outside 
of a horse barn and the tree took off like a rocket.  Last time I was 
over there the tree was about 6 inches in diameter and was quite a large 
tree.  I still expect that it will get struck down one of these days by 
the Chestnut blight but it hasn't happened yet.  Who knows, it may 
outlive me.

Phil Norris
East Blue Hill Maine
Z4


> Although I know of people claiming to have chestnuts in Maine, I 
> believe they
> have microclimates that allow these to survive in this northerly 
> climate;
> perhaps they are coastal.  In my reading I believe the native American
> Chestnut was growing as far north as northern Massachusetts.  So , 
> others
> must have been planted out of their native range.    I believe I sent 
> some
> Dunstan nuts up north and as far as I know they are still alive.  Try 
> the
> Dunstan hybrids....that may be a help.  ....but I suspect you are too 
> cold to
> get them to produce and /or survive.  There is a stand of 
> transplanted(out of
> native range) American Chestnuts in Michigan...so they may be able to
> withstand constant cold, but not the up and down of a New England 
> winter.
> Try to use only seedlings...as they are generally hardier as there is no
> graft to damage.  Also, if you graft, use as rootstock, seedlings of the
> cultivar you are trying to graft to.....thus you have less of a chance 
> of
> incompatibility between scion and stock...  Iv'e seen this 
> problem....and can
> ruin your entire effort in this area.  I Know that dunstan hybrids fail 
> often
> on Chinese stock, but graft well on their own seedlings.
>
> I have great luck budding on growing seedlings in the heat of a
> greenhouse...helps callouse (sp?)  well.
> Hope this helps
> Karl Olson,,,zone 5 CT
>
>
>
>
>
>
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