Chestnut Grows in Brookline MA

Karl Davies karl at
Mon Oct 9 19:50:58 EST 2000

Marvin Minsky wrote:

> In 1994 I found some sprouting chestnuts in the local supermarket.
> I planted them in a pot in a little greenhouse.
> Three of them grew.
> Next year I planted them in the nack yard.  One died.  Another is not 10
> feet high.
> The third one is now 35 feet high, with trunk about 8 inches diameter.
> It has about 50 tennis-ball size fruits.  They just started to fall off.
> Squirrels got some.  The burrs have long very thin, very sharp spints

That's pretty amazing for Massachusetts.  I'd suggest you save and propagate
as many of those nuts as you can.  You may have something of value there.

Given the type of chestnuts generally available in stores, it's probably a
European chestnut.  This species is not resistant to chestnut blight and
will probably get infected and die eventually.

But if it can grow that fast and produce nuts that quickly, it may have
value as a coppice tree for use in woody agriculture.  See

> Each fruit contains about three rather flat, soft chestnuts.  About an
> inch in diameter but only a quarter-inch thick, not like their nice
> spherical parents.

It's typical for seedling trees to have characteristics different from
parent trees, including nut characteristics.  The same would apply for
growth characteristics of seedling trees.  That's why grafting would be the
best way to propagate this tree--rather than by seed.

I've cc'd the secretary of the Northern Nut Growers Association on this
email.  He will know of people in your area who could help with grafting and
identifying the species of this tree.

> Any suggestions?   I have never hear of a hardwood tree growing this
> rapidly.  Presumably, there are no others in the area (Brookline, MA)
> Marvin Minsky
> and I wonder how they got fertilized—or did
> Sent via
> Before you buy.

Karl Davies
Northampton, MA

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