Rare Native American Chestnut Trees Available

Jim Hickland jhickland at skybest.com
Mon May 28 10:54:49 EST 2001

Rare Authentic Native American Chestnut Seedlings For Sale.

Cultivated from Chestnuts harvested last year from what is believed to be
North Carolina's only producing natural stand. 2 for $29.95, shipping
included. Limited Supply. Trees will be between 12" and 24" tall. Quantity
discounts are available.

Mail check or money order to:
American Chestnut Consortium
633 Covington Road
Laurel Springs, NC 28644

Or Contact:
email: JHickland at Skybest.com
Phone: 336-982-9829 FAX : 801-730-2560

We are now cultivating nearly 2,200 native American Chestnut seedlings from
nuts gathered during our harvest last Fall. Under our Cooperative Agreement
with the United States Forest Service, we are committed to donating 25% of
our annual seedling production to them for their reintroduction of the
native American Chestnut to our National Forests in North Carolina. After
this donation, we still expect to have nearly 1,600 native American Chestnut
seedlings available for sale by Autumn. If you know of anyone who would like
to own true American Chestnut trees - a real piece of American History –
please let them know we have a limited quantity available.

We’ll be selling them in pairs – at least two trees are required to produce
fruit – for $29.95, shipping included. The seedlings are unconditionally
guaranteed for one full year from purchase; should a seedling die for any
reason, we will replace it. Should anyone want more than a pair of trees,
quantity discounts are available. Typically, it takes 7-8 years for a
chestnut to bear fruit. Very fast growing – 1’>2’ per year early on, 2’>3’
later on - they grow well in almost any soil, in partial shade to full sun,
and are one of the more drought resistant species of hardwoods.

If you know of anyone who’d like to purchase chestnut seedlings, or simply
visit our stand of naturally occurring trees and see chestnuts under
cultivation in our greenhouses, please have them write, call, or e-mail me.
For those who don’t really know much about the American Chestnut, I’m includ
ing a brief historical overview below on this nearly extinct species, as
well as a brief history of our stand of trees, which is believed to be the
only producing stand of naturally occurring Chestnut trees in North

Thanks for helping to spread the word.

Best Regards,

Jim Hickland

American Chestnuts – Brief Historical Overview

"The Year was 1904; the place the Bronx Zoological Park in New York City;
the beginning of perhaps the greatest single natural catastrophe in the
annals of forest history – the discovery of the chestnut blight. In less
than 50 years more than 80% of the native American Chestnut trees in the
eastern hardwood forest were dead; the rest were dying. A tree species that
once occupied an estimated 25% of the eastern forest, encompassing
200,000,000 acres of forest land and numbering 3.5 billion trees was gone."
[Foreword – Proceedings of the American Chestnut Symposium, January 1978].

"The demise of any species, flora or fauna, weakens the fabric of life on
earth, but the loss of the American Chestnut represents a tragedy of epic
proportions. Prior to the blight, the chestnut may have been the single most
important species in America’s Eastern forests. Although not the largest of
our native trees, it did attain heights of 100’+…the nuts, technically a
seed, were sweet and plentiful, coming by the bushels from every tree in
multiples of two to three to the burr. The annual food production per acre
from mature stands of chestnut rivaled – in some cases surpassed – that of
cereal crops such as wheat or even corn. ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
’ were traditional holiday treats, and the nuts were also an important
ingredient in stuffing. The remainder of the crop served as fodder for
livestock and as the mainstay in the diet of native wildlife. [John Arno –
The Demise of the American Chestnut – January 1992]

Our Stand of American Chestnut Trees – Brief Historical Overview

In 1993, for the first time within memory, a Producing Stand of naturally
occurring true American Chestnut trees was discovered in the Blue Ridge
mountains of northwestern North Carolina. The stand surrounds our home and
has over 100 trees ranging from 2 to 35 feet in height were identified, with
17 over twenty feet tall. Over the years the trees in our Stand have been
studied by plant pathologists, geneticists and timber specialists from the
US Forest Service, NC Forest Service, North Carolina State University,
American Chestnut Foundation, and North Carolina Arboretum-Asheville. As
early as four years ago, they found virtually all of the larger trees (20+)
to be infected with the blight. Yet instead of quickly dying as would be
expected - given the intensity of the blight in this area, nearly all of
these trees continue to grow and produce nuts. Although none of the trees
appear to be immune to the blight, most aren't typically susceptible either.
The specialists have all differed in their conclusions as to why so many of
these particular trees had/have not as yet succumbed to the Chestnut blight.
Many believe the trees possess an here-to-fore unknown mild resistance to
the blight, others believe the trees are benefiting from some mild
resistance coupled with a non-deadly form of the blight, while a few believe
the trees in our Stand are just extraordinarily lucky.

In 2000, 18 of the Stand’s trees produced over 3,000 chestnuts, of which
2,400 appeared to be pollinated. All of the Stand’s annual production of
chestnuts have been cultivated as seedlings. Until this year, nearly all of
these seedlings have gone to fulfill our obligations:

Seedlings & sion wood for research at North Carolina State University
demonstration project at the NC Arboretum at Asheville
educational forest project with the NC Forest Service
National Forest reforestation project with the US Forest Service
In addition, each year a portion of the seedling crop is dedicated to the
establishment of our own Chestnut Orchard. In 2000, for the first time,
seedling cultivation exceeded the number required to fulfill these
obligations, and were able to sell a small number (120) of trees. This year
we hope to sell all 1,600 trees available, which will help us fund our
American Chestnut restoration efforts.

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