[NAFEX] growing chestnuts

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Sat May 17 21:10:52 EDT 2008

I have grown to size and sold grafted Chinese chestnuts and Dunston
chestnuts for close to 20 years and have several large trees growing on my
own property and the only ones to ever fail were absolutely neglected trees
I planted in small forest clearings.  I was told that the grafted Dunstons
would have difficulty surviving my zone 6 but I have found that if the
flowers are removed for the first 3 or 4 years the trees can survive here
just fine.

The only pest to threaten them has occassionally been mites (1 tree, 1 site
actually) and of course the squirrels want all of their nuts when the trees
are young.  The soil I've grown them in has usually been an extremely well
drained slightly acidic silt-loam.

I only wish I enjoyed the nuts more.  I love them in a turkey stuffing and
will eat some roasted ones in the fall but they rot quickly if I don't
freeze them and I don't prize them enough to push out more important items
from my freezer.  I have read that in Europe they are eaten more by
livestock than people.
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