Chestnut

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Fri Nov 26 23:29:49 EST 1999


In article <383EC510.29D8C779 at olympus.net>,
  Mike Hagen <mhagen at olympus.net> wrote:
> The air in the PNW is too dry? I never would have thought it.
> How do you think they'd grow in former Big Leaf Maple ground?
>
> Another good article. Thanks!
>
Thanks for the compliment Mike. Wish I had written the article. <g>

I think that chestnuts do pretty good in the Willamette Valley. There
are several oranmental chestnut trees within 5 miles of my home in
Portland (near Mt. Tabor) and even on relatively flat land, they seem to
be pretty productive and fast-growing trees.

A potential problem with chestnuts here is that they interbreed easily.
Unless the nuts have been collected from isolated trees with known
single-species trees nearby, seedlings literally could be almost any
combination of hybrids from the species already introduced here. Not
that that would be bad, necessarily, but different hybrids do have
different desirability in terms of nut sweetness, tannic acid content,
growth, shade tolerance, and rooting structure.

One advantage to chestnuts, I feel, is that most of the roots are near
the surface, and tend to stabilize relatively steep slopes. In shallow
soils, it may be necessary to create a sink of pit containing enough
soil to get the tree established. But once established, there are
naturally occuring fungi which evidently are spread mostly by raptors,
which should ensure longevity. I think chestnut cultivation makes more
sense than walnut, cherry, and many other hardwood species. And once the
tree is large enough to make lumber (I've seen 25-year-old chestnut
which are near lumber size) there is a pretty stable market for the
lumber in renovation of historic structures. A tree need only be 50 feet
tall and have a basal diameter of 20 inches for it to be commercially
important.

Daniel B. Wheeler
www.oregonwhitetruffles.com


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