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Author Topic: American chestnut  (Read 3198 times)

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Offline JimMartin9999

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American chestnut
« on: November 19, 2009, 09:52:04 PM »
In a few years American chestnut seedlings and nuts which are resistant to the blight are going to be available.
If I plant some now which do not have resistance, the root systems will be well established  by the time the risistant  ones are available.  Will I be able to graft on the resistant cuttings , and gain a few years on getting some established on my woodlot?
Jim

Offline thompsontimber

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 09:46:05 AM »
What is your source of seedlings/nuts of pure American?  If you know the location of any American Chestnuts that are producing seed you should contact the American Chestnut Foundation (www.acf.org), as they are always looking to find more sources of "mother trees" for their backcrossing programs.  I'm by no means an expert, but I have my doubts that grafting on resistant cuttings will provide the desired results.  However, if you have the availability of seed or seedlings, time, space, and the inclination to do so, I'd say by all means plant the chestnuts. I know the ACF encourages people to plant the American not for reasons you have in mind, but in order to learn how to properly grow and maintain the tree, ensure that the site is conducive to growth, and provide new genetic material for the future.  I know they sell the non-resistant seeds and seedlings as well.  I spoke with one of their scientists the other day from the Asheville headquarters and he informed me that you can now obtain 3 of their most blight resistant seeds for a $300 donation.  Now I'm not too keen on the idea of getting 3 seeds that may or may not grow and may or may not mature without blight down the road if they do grow for $300, but some of you folks with deeper pockets and the interest might want to grab a few.  They are first come first serve and are limited in availability. 

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 04:52:44 PM »
I've been in the ACF for about 10 years and haven't heard of the 3 seeds for $300 donation.  Is this new?

The biggest problem with the old root stock is that the roots are already infected with the blight.  They continue to throw up shoots that quite often are bigger than the previous batch of shoots.  Before the ACF, I was told the thinking was that in 400 years we would have blight proof chestnuts.  That was through natural selection.

Grafting to the old root stock might be OK, but I haven't seen anything that would encourage it. 
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline BrandonTN

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2009, 10:15:05 AM »
Hey JimMartin, what do you mean by grafting?
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."- Ralph Emerson

Offline JimMartin9999

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2009, 08:07:57 PM »
BrandonTN asked what grafting was.
I am not a pro.  Some of the other guys are so Ill make it real short and suggest you  look up grafting on Wikipedia or look at the book titled The Grafters Handbook by R.J. Garner.
     The are many ways of helping nature produce  the kind of plant or tree you want.  One method is to join  the cambium  of two different plants together and get them to grow from that joining (graft).  The simplest graft might be taking a cutting from plant A and joining it to the rootstock of plant B.
     Almost all orange trees use this principle.  Sour orange trees have good roots but are sour.   Sweet orange tree roots give growers all kinds of trouble.  So they graft a branch of a sweet orange tree onto the root of a sour orange tree.
   This thread was meant to get some of our pros to comment on grafting  the American chestnut which has been crossed with the Chinese chestnut to produce blight resistant  trees onto American chestnut rootstock.
    I have chestnut root sprouting on my land and was thinking I could plant non-blight-resistant nuts arount my land and when the Chestnut society finally starts selling  blight resistant  nuts for a reasonable price I will graft sprouts from them onto the rootstocks which have had a few years to develop.
   One goal of this  is to get a jump start on getting a seed source for blight resistant chestnuts in my woods. 
   The other other and possibly more interesting question is whether the rootstock would contribute some genetic variety to the blight resistant trees which I understand are very limited in their genetic variety.
Jim

Offline thompsontimber

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2009, 04:42:09 PM »
Sorry Ron, been MIA for a few days and didn't see your question to respond.  Yes, the $300 donation is new, was told about it at an SAF meeting in Asheville on Nov 10.  The ACF moved their headquarters from Vermont to Asheville, NC and they made a presentation to us at the meeting. All 14 of us in attendance were informed of the blight resistant seedlings for $300, and we were also told that we were the very first people to be made that offer, but that it would made public within the coming weeks.  You have to sign off on an agreement to follow their protocols and act as a field researcher for the ACF, documenting the planting, growth, etc.  They remain the "property" of the ACF, but you get to plant them on your land and be active in the ongoing research hands on. 

As for the adding of genetic diversityJimMartin, it is my understanding that a lack of genetic diversity throughout the natural growing region of American chestnut probably played a big role in the lack of resistance to the blight in the first place.  In fact, the most genetic variety among American Chestnut was in the western NC area, and that is one of the factors that played into the ACF moving their headquarters to Asheville.  Through most of the growing region, their was nearly no genetic variety amongst the American chestnut trees.  Genetically, a chestnut forest was composed of pretty much the same tree.

Offline SPIKER

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2009, 10:42:30 AM »
Has there been any further study into the native stand that was found out in Wisconsin I think it was about 3~4 yrs back that had no signs of the blight?

I wish I had the 300 to help, but been off work for a good while all year had hours cut and woman lost her job and not working for a very long time...

mark
I'm looking for help all the shrinks have given up on me :o

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2009, 03:42:02 PM »
If I recall, the ACF had an annual meeting in La Crosse, WI and had a limited tour of the stand.  The stand is isolated because it was planted outside the normal range.  But, it has shown signs of blight.  That's why they limit the tours. 

I ran across this article that says they are using some sort of slurry mix that helps trees recover.  It talks about the La Crosse stand. 

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/wnrmag/html/stories/2002/aug02/chest.htm

Is this the stand you're thinking of?

I never heard of the slurry mix, which is a virus that attacks the blight. 
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline Dana

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2009, 09:27:24 PM »
Jim, why not plant Chinese chestnuts and when the new American ones are introduced graft them onto the Chinese tree? That way you will have hardy rootstock.
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Offline letemgrow

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2009, 04:38:30 PM »
Blight will not affect the roots of the american chestnut, just the stems above ground so I do not see why you could not graft onto those rootstocks when you get some scions.  Your best bet may be to get some seeds/seedlings of the resistant cross when they become available, grow them and collect the scions for the rootstocks from those seeds/seedlings a few years after planting.  This way you get a 2 for 1....also, The American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation has seeds you can get...you donate 20 bucks a year and they will send you 10 seednuts.  I have pure American Chestnuts from them that show blight resistance.  One of the trees with blight has never died back and keeps growing strong, while 3 others from the same batch died back because of the blight and they are all planted close together on the same north facing slope.  The blight is orange on the resistant tree, but then turns brown the following year, then a new spot will pop up and the same thing will happen again. 

Offline letemgrow

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2009, 04:40:21 PM »
Here is a blighted area on the resistant 2 year old pure american chestnut tree...



Here is the same spot on the tree as a 3 year old...


Offline JimMartin9999

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2009, 04:12:18 PM »
Here is some correspondence I have had with the ACF

Sara Fern Fitzsimmons
> > Northern Appalachian Regional Science Coordinator
> > The American Chestnut Foundation
> > The Pennsylvania State University
> > 206 Forest Resources Lab
> > University Park, PA 16802
Jim
Well, of course, grafting is up to you.
Grafting should not affect the quality of the seed production.
Growth of the graft is determined by the scion, yes.

The blight does typically only hit the tree above
the roots, but in all but 2 grafting methods I
know, the graft union is significantly above the
roots. And the two grafting methods where the
union is not above the roots, the methods are far
less successful. As a side note, it's not that
the blight won't affect the roots at all -- it
will. But only if the roots get exposed. There
is something in the soil that protects the
roots. That is why mudpacks are successful.

Sara

At 06:07 AM 12/1/2009, James Martin wrote:
>Ms Fitzsimmons:
>From what you wrote, grafting reisistant
>scions on non-resistant rootstocks would gain me
>in my effort to reforest chestnut trees. at
>least 2 to 10 years of nut production even if
>the grafts later die. If the grafts do not
>fail, I would get longer lasting
>benefits. Considering the time gain and the
>expected high cost of nuts and seedlings, this
>seems to be a bargain and good strategy.
>
> This leaves open the question of whether
> the non-resistant rootstock would affect the quality of the seed production.
>I seem to recall that all growth above the
>graft is determined by the scion. Is that correct?
>
> The possibility that the blight might
> affect the rootstock later and kill the
> tree is a serious problem. I had the
> impression that the blight only hit the tree above the roots.
>I will forwaard the information you send me to
>the Forestryforum where this topic was started.
>Sincerely,
>
>Jim Martin
Jim

Offline JimMartin9999

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Re: American chestnut
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2009, 05:58:06 PM »
here is one more email from  the chestnut pros
Hi Mr. Martin,

I got your question from Daphne.

Yes, when cuttings are available to members/the general public (they are currently somewhat tightly controlled), then you would be able to graft to the non-resistant rootstock.

However, be aware that the non-resistance rootstock could still get the blight and die, thereby killing your graft.

Also, I'm not sure how familiar you are with grafting in chestnut, but there is a good deal of delayed graft incompatibility in chestnut.  Many grafts do not survive beyond 5 years of age.  But you should get fruiting from those grafts in 2-3 years, before the incompatibility shows up.

If you were growing these trees for nut production, I would recommend grafting.  But for our purposes - reforestation - I would recommend against it and rather say that you should just plant a seed or seedling.  They'll start producing nuts in as little as 5 - 10 years as long as there's enough sunlight.

Sara
Jim


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