Growing chestnut from seed

Quick Guidelines to Planting Chestnuts

Seed Source

American chestnut seedlings are quite variable in their hardiness and vegetative health. Choose a seed source from a climate as similar to your area as possible with regard to minimum and maximum temperatures, latitude, and altitude. Many hybrids and pure Chinese trees do poorly if there is a warm period in the middle of winter they may lose their cold resistance and be damaged when the cold weather resumes. If you are gathering your own seed, be aware that isolated, unpollinated chestnut trees will produce burs anyway, with little, flat, shriveled nuts inside-these are not viable. Chestnuts are incompatible so you need more than one tree to produce viable nuts.

Storing Seed

Most experienced growers prefer to plant their nuts in the spring, as fall planting can lead to extensive, even total, losses to rodents. Nuts collected in the fall must undergo several months of cold storage before they can be planted in the spring. Chestnut seed has strict requirements for storage-it must not dry out at all or become soggy; it must not freeze or be stored very long above 40­ F. Chestnuts have been stored successfully packed in: sand, sawdust, peat moss, unmilled sphagnum, vermiculite, and plastic bags with a few holes. The storage medium must have some ability to retain moisture but must also be able to drain, as the nuts “exhale” quite a bit of water during storage and can become too wet in a totally closed container. The acid nature of sphagnum or fresh sawdust is useful in slowing the growth of spoilage fungi. If using a neutral medium such as vermiculite, wash the nuts in a diluted Clorox solution (mix one part household bleach with nine parts of water) and then rinse in sterile water (boiled water that has been allowed to cool). The storage container must be mouse-proof if keeping them outside. An alternative is the refrigerator. Layer the nuts and the moist (not wet) storage medium (in a jar) and cover loosely (with a Saran wrap-like material). Check the jar once a month, and if any green growth is evident, repeat the Clorox wash as stated above. It is common for nuts to start sprouting in storage (usually between late February and late March). If the roots get much longer than 1 inch, they are hard to plant. Refrigeration between 32­ and 34­F. may slow the sprouting somewhat.

Planting Seed

Plant the seed with the root shoot down or on a flat side if there is no root yet. Even in spring, planting chestnuts in wild areas is usually futile because of rodents. The way to get the most trees established is to plant the seed in a garden-type setting, a seed bed, which is protected from mice, squirrels, chipmunks, woodpeckers, blue jays, etc. Then the trees can be transplanted when they are one year old (or more) to their permanent site. If only a few seeds are being planted, you may want to start them in large pots, temporarily, until transplanted. Plant the seed about one inch deep, and when the seedling is about 8″ tall (roughly 4 months), it can be planted in a permanent site. If using a pot, make sure it is big enough so that (lie roots do not become root-bound. Twist off the old nutshell before planting outside.

Site

Chestnuts will do best on well-drained but moist soil. Soggy soils can actually kill seedlings. Sandy or gravelly soils are best, and loam soils are fine-heavy soils are less desirable. Deep soils will produce better growth.

More Planting Information…

To print a more detailed explanation of planting chestnuts, click here.

Later on… How do we tell which chestnuts best resist the blight? …
Inoculating Chestnuts with Blight

Chestnut Tree Propagation: Growing Chestnut Trees From Cuttings

A century ago, immense forests of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) covered the eastern United States. The tree, native to the United States, was attacked by a chestnut blight fungus in the 1930s, and most of the forests were destroyed.

Today, scientists have developed new strains of American chestnut that resist blight, and the species is making a comeback. You can propagate these trees for your backyard. If you want to learn about chestnut tree propagation, and how to grow chestnut tree cuttings, read on.

Chestnut Tree Propagation

Chestnut tree propagation is not difficult. In the wild, these trees reproduce readily from the abundant crop of nuts they produce. Each shiny nut grows in a spiky casing. The casing falls to the ground and splits as the nut matures, releasing the nut.

Direct seeding is the easiest way to do chestnut tree propagation. Up to 90% of the seeds germinate. Use healthy nuts from a mature tree over 10 years old and plant them in the spring in a sunny site with well-draining soil.

However, this is not the only way to grow new chestnuts. You can also start propagating chestnut cuttings. That way, you will be planting young seedlings.

Growing Chestnut Trees from Cuttings

Propagating chestnut cuttings is more difficult than direct planting chestnut seeds. When you start growing chestnut trees from cuttings, you snip off an appropriate piece of a chestnut tree branch, put it in moist soil and wait for it to root.

If you want to start growing chestnut trees from cuttings, find a young, healthy tree with strong greenwood. Use sterilized garden clippers to take a 6- to 10-inch cutting from a terminal branch tip about as thick as a crayon.

Slice off the bark from two sides of the cutting base, then dip the base in a root-promoting compound. Poke the lower half of the cutting into a moist mix of sand and peat in a planting container, then place the pot in a plastic bag and keep it in indirect light.

Water the soil mix to keep it moist and mist it every other day until roots emerge. Then transplant it into a container with good potting soil. Continue watering. Transplant the trees to their permanent locations the following fall.

Chapter 2: Starting Chestnut Trees from Seeds

The process of starting new chestnut trees can be broken down to these 3 to 4 steps depending if the tree is to be grafted or not.
1. Getting the chestnut to start germinating – extending the tap root out of the nut
2. Placing the germinating chestnut seed in a container of soil where the seed will complete the germinating and put up top growth of the new tree
3. When the seedling is big enough, the seedling will be transplanted into the field
4. If the seedling is to be grafted, then the following summer the seedling will be grafted with scion wood from a compatible cultivar
For a simple 3 step process, it.s a wonder why more nurseries are not propagating chestnut trees. In 2009 Fowler Nurseries sold its last chestnut trees. A short discussion with one of the managers brought out these issues with propagating chestnut trees commercially:
1. Low percentage of seeds germinate
2. There is a high percentage of graft failures
3. The price the chestnut tree will bring is low compared to the inputs
4. Chestnut trees do not grow consistently from year to year
This list does not even include insects, drought, late frosts, wet soils, gophers, deer, rabbits, and many more creatures that munch on chestnut trees. Knowing all this and still proceeding with propagating chestnut trees is likely going to be a money loosing endeavor, go right ahead! Let.s go at it and propagate us some chestnut trees.
The first order of business is to give up some money to buy chestnuts for seed and some moss (the type of moss put into hanging baskets). The moss can be purchased from a garden or nursery store. Be careful, buying chestnuts from grocery stores, many times the chestnuts will have had a hot water bath. The hot water bath kills chestnut seeds. The best way to purchase chestnuts for seed is directly from a chestnut grower. The nuts will not be any cheaper but they will be fresh and unprocessed and hopefully from a known chestnut cultivar. Be sure to purchase twice the amount of chestnuts you think you will need. This is to compensate for the low germination rates of chestnuts.
You now have the chestnuts for seed in your hands. Now you need to get the rest of the materials needed to start the germination process. Zip lock storage bags work well for storing chestnuts during the stratification period. Don’t put more than 25 chestnuts in a 1 gallon zip lock bag. The zip lock storage bags have to have holes punched into them to allow the chestnuts to breath during the stratification period.
Next take the moss, when purchased from a store it is usually dry and must be moistened. Place the moss in a bucket if water for about 5 minutes. Then drain out all the water. As you remove the moss from the bucket for placing into the zip lock bag, squeeze the moss to remove excess water. The chestnuts must be loosely packed in the moss. The moss has to be damp to help the keep the chestnuts moist. If the chestnuts dry out during the stratification period, the chestnuts will never germinate. This is the only time in the life of a chestnut that drought is a killer. When packing the chestnuts in the zip lock bags, pad the chestnuts with the moistened moss so the chestnuts do not touch each other.
The stratification process takes months. The storage temperature during the stratification period is very important. Most people put the zip lock bags filled with the chestnuts in a refrigerator. The chestnuts should never get colder than 28 degrees F. The chestnuts should not be stored at room temperature for more than a few hours at a time. The best temperature is between 32 and 38 degrees F. The chestnuts will remain stored in this cool place until February.
Planting Seeds in Growing Pots Indoors/Greenhouse
Fill the 1 gal growing pots with the sterilized potting soil leaving about 1 inche from the top of the pot. Only use chestnuts showing signs of germinating in this process from step 15 above. Place one germinating chestnut in the center of the pot on top of the soil. Now leaving about 1 inch spacing from the center chestnut place 5 germinating chestnuts evenly spaced around the pot in a circle. Place about 1 inch of sterilized potting soil on top of the chestnuts. Slightly compress the soil with your hand. This helps prevent moisture lose. Place the entire pot inside a small size clear trash bag. Tie the bag shut with a wire tie. This keeps the soil from loosing moisture. Between the time you seal the bag to the time the chestnut tree emerges from the soil the bag will remain sealed.
Twice a week check the pots for emerging chestnut trees. When the chestnut trees start emerging, remove tie on the plastic bag. Keep the bag around the pot. When you water the seedling trees the plastic bag helps keep the water from running all over the floor. The seedlings need sunlight to grow. Place the seedlings in the pots near a window that gets full sunlight. The seedlings will remain in these pots until there is no further chance of frost (usually mid May). In May the seedlings will be removed from the pots and transplanted into the field/yard.
Directly Planting of Chestnut Seeds
Farmers use the term “direct planting” to mean the seeds are placed directly in the ground outside. Direct planting of chestnut seeds has its hazards. The two greatest hazards are rodents and freezing. If chestnut seeds freeze they will not germinate (this is a fact and not just a possibility). If you live in an area where the ground freezes then do not plant the chestnut seeds until the ground has warmed enough to prevent freezing. Rodents love chestnuts. There are only two methods known to work well to keep rodents out of chestnut seed beds. The first is to use a ground sounder used to keep moles at bay. These sounders are placed in the soil near or in the chestnut seed bed. The sounders emit a 300 hertz signal about every 30 seconds. The other method uses wire mesh in the ground around the seed bed and on top of the seed bed. The wire mesh has to be buried at least 12 inches to keep the rodents out. This takes more labor but does the best keeping the hungry ones out.
When direct seeding chestnuts, remove about 1 to 2 inches of soil where you want to plant the seeds. Place seeds no closer than 4 inches apart in the rows and the rows have to be 18 inches apart. In addition, the seeds can be covered with peat moss to keep the chestnuts moist. Once the seed have been placed, put the removed soil back on top of the chestnut seeds. Do not let the soil dry out. If the seeds are in dry soil the seeds will also dry out killing them. Keep the seed bed weed free at all times. It will take 3 to 6 weeks for the seeds to complete the germinating process and start emerging. Soil temperatures must be above 55 degrees F for the chestnuts seeds to continue the germinating process. Temperatures below this will cause the chestnut seed to take longer to emerge from the soil. Direct seeded seedlings will be transplanted the following spring between mid March and mid April depending on soil conditions.
Transplanting Chestnut Seedlings
Finding the right location for planting chestnuts consists of finding sunlight and well drained soil. Do not plant chestnut trees it clay or heavy soil, they will die. Chestnut trees will grow in partial shade but they grow slow and will not produce lots of chestnuts. Chestnut trees should be placed no closer than 25 feet apart with 30 to 40 feet being best.
Chestnut seedlings started pots with potting soil can be transplanted any time after the last frost. If a chestnut seedling gets frostbit, it has a 50/50 chance of surviving. It will get set back for weeks if it does survive, so it is better not to chance placing the seedlings out to early. When transplanting dig the hole about twice the size of the container the seedling is being removed from. This gives space around the seedling with soft soil to extend its roots into. When separating the seedling from other seedlings in the pot be careful of damaging the roots and keep as much soil as you can with the seedling. Place the seedling with the potting soil around the roots into the hole you dug. Fill the hole around the seedling. Do not compress the soil other than with your hands. The newly transplanted seedling has to be watered right away. This causes the soil to settle around the roots. This is a very important step and can not be left even if it is raining. If the soil is already water saturated then the seedling will die in a few days. A better choice would be to plant the chestnut seedling in well drained moist soil. Use water soluble fertilizer such as “Miracle Grow” when watering chestnut seedlings. Never over water chestnut trees/seedlings as this could kill them. If the soil contains to much water for chestnut trees to grow, it makes a squishing sound under foot steps.
Return to Chestnut Guide Index

Edible Landscaping – Yes, You Can Grow Chestnuts

The American chestnut tree is a majestic, sprawling, large tree that was a mainstay of eastern U.S. forests before blight wiped it out.

Chestnut burrs (fruits) contain the chestnut seeds or nuts that we love to eat.

Chestnut blight is a fungus from Asia that spread throughout the eastern U.S. one hundred years ago, killing most wild chestnut trees in its wake.

American chestnuts are smaller-sized than Asian and European species, but many consider them the best eating.

Growing nut trees is a long term proposition. They take up lots of space, but have so many uses, not the least of which is yielding edible nuts. There’s no more rewarding a nut to grow than the chestnut. Many have heard the story of the American chestnut. The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was once the queen of the eastern forest. This majestic tree grew from Maine to Georgia and across the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River and Great Lakes. In the southern part of its range the American chestnuts could grow 100 feet tall. Not only was it a majestic tree in the forest and landscape, it also had many economic uses. The rot resistant wood was highly prized for building, fencing, and furniture and musical instrument making. The nuts were collected and sold and were also a great source of food for wildlife. In its heyday in the late 1800’s this tree dominated the native forest.

Unfortunately, in the early 1900’s a blight disease was inadvertently imported from China on some Chinese chestnuts. The blight quickly spread from New York City into New England and the Southeast. By the 1940’s the great chestnut forests of the east were mostly gone. While saplings and young trees still grow in the forest today, they usually succumb to blight before they grow large enough to flower and bear fruit.

This chestnut story isn’t finished though. Other species of chestnuts, such as Chinese chestnuts, are blight resistant and can be grown across the country. Plus, many researchers have been breeding the resistant Chinese chestnuts with American chestnuts to get blight resistant trees that are closer to the original American chestnut that graced our forests 100 years ago. So think about growing a chestnut trees or two in your yard. Even if you don’t have a large yard, there are selections that grow to shrub-like proportions.

Why Grow Chestnuts?

There are a lot of reasons to grow a chestnut. Unlike many other large tree species, chestnuts are moderate to fast growers and quickly become an important landscape feature in your yard, increasing your home’s value and helping to reduce global warming by sequestering excess carbon in the atmosphere.

Although it may take eight years or more to start getting nuts, depending on the species, they taste great when they come. Chestnuts are lower in fat than other tree nuts, but are high in vitamins B and C, minerals, and phytonutrients. The meat is starchy, like a sweet potato, but has high quality proteins. Plus, they are a lot easier to eat than other tree nuts. The thin shells open easily when roasted to reveal the fleshy meat inside. This time of year you’ll see bushels of chestnuts in markets for Thanksgiving and the holidays. These mostly come from other chestnut species grown in Europe. But why spend your money on these, when you can grow your own?

How to Grow Chestnuts

The first thing to remember about growing chestnuts is that most will eventually become very large trees. Choose your site wisely. Make sure it’s far enough away from houses, outbuildings, power lines, and underground utilities.

The next step is to select a variety that is blight resistant and adapted to your area. While research continues toward developing a pure American chestnut with blight resistance, there are other options available now for the home gardener. Here are a few choices.

Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) – Although some consider these nuts inferior in quality to those of the American chestnut, the tree is blight resistant and will grow to 40 feet tall producing good tasting nuts. Chinese chestnuts are hardy in USDA zone 4 and widely adapted across the country.

Dunstan – This cross between an American and Chinese chestnut has been grow for over 20 years without any reports of blight. Many trees are now more than 50 feet tall and are producing an abundance of tasty nuts. It’s hardy to USDA zone 4.

Colossal – Another grafted Chinese and American cross, this chestnut grows up to 70 feet tall and is especially well adapted to growing out West. Its parent is another cross called ‘Nevada’ that gets its name from Nevada City, California. It’s hardy to USDA zone 5.

Chinquapin – This small, shrub-like tree is native to the Southeast. It produces one nut per burr, but starts producing only four to five years after planting. It grows only 10 feet tall, is hardy to USDA zone 5, and makes a nice landscape plant.

European – European chestnuts (Castanea sativa) primarily are grown in the West, and the trees are not as cold hardy as the Chinese types. They produce 65 foot tall trees with delicious nuts, but can be susceptible to blight. That’s why they have better success in the West where chestnut blight is not as prevalent..

Growing Chestnuts

Once you decide you have the space and penchant for growing chestnuts, here’s how to get started. Your planting location should ideally be on sloping, well-drained soil in full sun. Chestnuts like a slightly acidic soil and don’t tolerate heavy clay well.

Plant at least 2 different varieties for cross pollination. While direct planting chestnut seeds is less expensive and a way to grow many trees inexpensively, for a small landowner buying transplants is a smarter way to go. Space trees at least 25 feet apart. Dig a hole twice the width of the container or rootball, and plant at the same depth as the tree was growing in the container. Water well and mulch to keep grasses and weeds away. Protect the trees from browsing deer with tree guards or plastic tree shelters. Use tree wrap to protect the bark from gnawing mice and voles.

Keep the trees growing strong each year by applying a balanced fertilizer each spring and keeping the soil mulched and watered.

More information on chestnuts:

American Chestnut Foundation
Growing Chestnut Trees
Chestnut Culture in California (PDF)

Seed Sales

American Chestnut Seeds for Sale and Planting Options

Chestnut seedlings

We are glad you share our enthusiasm for growing American chestnuts!
More and more folks are inquiring about getting chestnuts to plant, probably due in part to the continually increasing publicity about the work of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF), and the prospect for blight-resistant chestnuts becoming available for planting in Maine’s forests in the near future. TACF’s chestnut breeding program is progressing and has begun producing potentially-blight-resistant seeds from the breeding research farms in Meadowview, Virginia. Small numbers of these Restoration Chestnuts v 1.0 are available to TACF members and donors.

O .
Our breeding program in Maine is progressing (there are satellite breeding programs in 15 states now) and should
start yielding Maine-adapted, potentially blight-resistant chestnuts for test plantings in about 5 years from now. We
expect that blight resistance will improve during the 2020s and ’30s, as we refine the populations in our seed
orchards, based on the results of our test plantings.
Meanwhile, the Maine Chapter collects seeds from several of the remaining native chestnut trees in Maine every
year, for research purposes, to supply Fedco Trees, and grow seedlings that we give to volunteers and new
members and sell to support our breeding program. These will be susceptible to blight, but we have seen that trees
grown in Maine from wild chestnut seeds can thrive for 10-30 years without blight. We all want to plant blightresistant chestnuts ASAP, but with that option still a few years away, planting native-Maine American chestnuts will
be very rewarding:
# They are likely to thrive blight-free at least until blight-resistant chestnuts are available.
# Your 5-10-year-old native chestnut trees can provide an ideal nursery shelter for a planting
of blight-resistant chestnuts when they are available.
# Growing inexpensive native chestnuts now will give you the best chance to start testing
the suitability of your sites and learn what is needed to get good growth.
# Growing native-ME chestnuts helps preserve the genetic diversity of our remaining chestnuts.
# On a good site, chestnuts can grow 4 feet in height and 1” dbh per year.
# At 10 to 20 years, your native chestnuts will be producing nuts, poles, and small saw-logs.
Direct seeding in a forest cut can be very successful if you give each seed protection from rodents and birds. Small
openings in forest canopy or forest-field transitions are ideal for planting chestnut seeds. The soil must be acidic
and well-drained.
Here are your options for planting American chestnuts this spring:

  1. Buy native-ME pure American chestnut seeds from the ME Chapter of TACF: April/March 2020
    $30 for 10 seeds
    $50 for 25 seeds
    $100 for 100 seeds
  2. Join ME Chapter of TACF for $40 and receive 10 seeds as a new member reward.
  3. Help the ME Chapter plant our seed orchards this May, and receive 10 seeds or 2 seedlings of nativeME chestnuts.
  4. Buy 1-yr old seedlings in 1-qt pots at Viles Arboretum in Augusta, in summer months, for $15. Viles
    splits the proceeds with ME-TACF.
  5. Buy 2-yr-old native-ME chestnut seedlings from Fedco Trees (www.fedcoseed.com/trees/) for $22.
    Fedco buys seeds from the ME Chapter, and gives us $3 from each sale.
  6. TACF members are eligible to buy pure-American seedlings (very limited supply, see www.acf.org)
  7. A donation to TACF at the level of $300 or more entitles you to small numbers of potentially blightresistant American-type Restoration Chestnut v 1.0 seeds.
    See https://www.acf.org/store/seed-level-membership/
  8. Many commercial mail-order tree catalogs offer hybrid chestnut seedlings that are described as being
    blight-resistant and good nut producers. These are likely to be mostly Chinese and so would not be
    well-suited for forest plantings, but could be an interesting addition to a home orchard.
    You can apply for membership, indicate your interest in participating in our activities, and order seeds by using the
    application form here: Multipurpose Form

If there are any trees in your area, you may have noticed that a couple of major changes come over them at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Branches end up laden with fruit, nuts, seed pods, and cones in preparation for seeding the next generation of trees. These majestic beings have been self-propagating for hundreds of thousands of years, but what if we’d like to harness some of that growing power to start our own food-bearing trees?

Food security is a top priority these days, and with rising food prices, it’s more vital than ever for the average person to learn how to feed themselves. Gardens packed with vegetables, tubers, and berry bushes are spectacular, and adding to one’s outdoor pantry with a couple of food-providing trees can help supply even more nutritious edibles. In this post, what we’re aiming to determine is whether a person of limited means, who has a bit of land but no access to seedlings or orchards, can use a couple of apple seeds or a chestnut to grow a food-bearing tree from it.

Fruit and Nut Trees

When it comes to self-sufficiency, the ability to grow one’s own food isn’t just an asset—it’s a necessity. Fruit and nut trees are invaluable additions to any garden, and can add luscious variety and nutrition to your diet. That said, most people choose to plant fruit tree seedlings that are a few years old with good reason: standard-sized trees can take 5-8 years to bear anything edible (although some dwarf species can start bearing at 3-4 years), and most of these trees are actually clones, wherein branches from existing trees were grafted onto rootstock. If you save the seeds from a gorgeous Empire apple and grow trees from them, you won’t end up with Empire apples: you’ll get the fruit that the rootstock was meant to bear. Should you happen to plant a few different apple varieties, they’ll cross-pollinate and you’ll end up with a variety of different apples altogether. If your goal is just to have edible fruit growing in your garden, or merely to grow trees because they’re beautiful, then go right ahead and start them from seed. Should your ultimate goal be to grow a specific kind of fruit, however, it’s best to purchase an actual seedling.

*Note: Whenever possible, try to use seeds and nuts that have either been sourced from organic plants, or ordered from companies that specialize in organic/heirloom seeds.

Image © Annais

Cherry

If you’re going to try growing a cherry tree from a pit, you’ll have to put it into cold storage for several weeks first: these pits need to experience the cold conditions of over-wintering before they’ll germinate, so once you’ve cleaned the flesh from the pits, pack them in compost-rich soil, tuck them into a lidded container, and chuck them in the back of your fridge for 10-12 weeks.

Plum/Peach/Apricot/Nectarine

I’m lumping all of these together because the growing technique for pitted fruits is exactly the same. Additionally, depending on your climate, you may be able to see fruit on your own trees in as little as 3-5 years: much earlier than most other fruit-bearing trees. Try to get local fruit (as you know it’ll thrive in your region), and dry the seeds out well before preparing them for planting.

Apple

Now, these are tricky trees to grow from seed. Most apple trees are clones, in the sense that branches from existing trees have been grafted onto rootstock in order to produce the same kind of fruit as the parent tree, so when you plant a tree from an apple seed, you will not get the kind of apple you ate: you’ll get a blending of the parent trees, whatever they were. In fact, if you plant 10 seeds from one single apple, you’ll end up with 10 apple trees that all produce slightly different fruits. Thus, if your goal is to grow a specific kind of apple, you’ll have to purchase seedlings or saplings that have been cultivated by grafting. If your end goal is just to grow some edible fruit and you don’t care whether it’s a pure variety, then you can easily grow from seed. Just remember that the fruit will be far inferior to that grown from a grafted variety.

The bottom line: if you have the means to purchase a few cloned apple seedlings or saplings, it really is best to go that route.

Avocado

Avocado trees won’t actually bear fruit up here in Canada as the climate isn’t hospitable for such shenanigans, but those of you who live in warmer climes would likely have a fair bit of luck with these beauties. I managed to grow one from seed several years ago (and named it “Clarence”), and it grew to over 15 feet in height; not bad for a tropical tree planted outdoors in downtown Toronto.

There are a few different ways of growing avocados from their pits, and the most common method is to suspend the pit in water to allow it to root. I never had much success doing it that way, and instead just planted mine in a compost-rich soil and kept it very well watered until it sprouted.

Related: How to grow an avocado tree from an avocado pit

Image © the author

Lemon

These beauties are ideal for gardens in hot, sunny climates, but can also produce fairly well if grown indoors. If you’re growing indoors, aim for Meyer lemon seeds, as the plants tend to be smaller. Lemon trees grow amazingly well from seed, and you don’t have to grow more than one for cross-pollination; you’ll get lemons as soon as it’s mature enough to produce, which will be around 3-5 years. Just keep in mind that the flowers need to be pollinated by insects, so if the occasional bee or butterfly gets into your house, let it do its work.

Related: How to grow a lemon tree from a seed

Image © Eagle Effi

Chestnut

These seem to grow really well from nuts, provided that you choose those that are either indigenous to your area, or of a similar planting zone: a chestnut that thrives in Virginia will not do as well in Alberta. Keep in mind that at least 2 chestnut trees are needed for cross-pollination, and most won’t begin to bear until they’re at least 5 years old—more like 10-15 for some species. If you can get your hands on some saplings instead, it’s best to go that route.

Hazelnut (Filbert)

This bearer of tasty morsels can also be grown easily from their nuts, but like cherry pits, they need to have a period of cold dormancy or they won’t germinate. You’ll need at least 2 trees for cross-pollination, and they have to be from different parent plants: there has to be significant genetic difference between them or they won’t pollinate. Ideally, you’ll have 3 or 4 genetically different trees on your property, with no more than 30 feet between them.

Other Trees

Maple

These trees are ridiculously easy to grow from seeds. As anyone with a maple tree within 100 ft of their property can attest, if they don’t rake up the little spinny “helicopters” that carry maple seeds, they’ll end up with an entire lawn full of seedlings to pull out. If you’re considering growing maple trees because you’d like to tap them for sap (mmm, maple syrup), keep in mind that most maple trees aren’t tapped until they’re at least 40 years old. This is fine if you’re a patient sort and longevity runs in your family, but don’t expect to see your little seedling turn into a decent maple syrup harvest anytime in the near future.

Image © Mercadante Web

Moringa

I only heard about this tree recently, after trying out some of the leaves in powdered form. It’s native to northern India, is now grown in sub-tropical regions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and its leaves are absolutely packed with protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. Its seeds are also high in protein, and can be processed into meal or flour. This tree is being hailed as a possible savior for poverty-stricken, soil-depleted nations, as it’s an incredible food source and can grow in the meanest conditions.

Although moringa trees can be grown from cuttings, it’s also ridiculously easy to grow them from seed, and can be grown indoors or outdoors. Since these trees grow incredibly quickly—often more than 10 feet per year—they can overtake other trees planted nearby, or overwhelm a smaller indoor space. Should you decide to grow one indoors, it’s of vital importance to keep these trees pruned and tamed so you don’t wake up one morning to discover that your home is just a collection of furniture around a giant tree. That said, if you’re diligent about keeping your moringa well pruned, you can have a great source of vegetable protein year-round, as these will thrive indoors in even the coldest climates, provided that they’re kept warm and are given extra artificial light and plenty of water.

Happy growing!

Chestnut Tree Care: Guide To Growing Chestnut Trees

Chestnut trees have been cultivated for their starchy nuts for thousands of years, at least since 2,000 BC. The nuts have been an important source of food for humans in the past, used to make flour as well as a substitute for potatoes. Currently, nine different chestnut tree types grow in temperate areas around the world. All are deciduous trees belonging to the family Fagaceae, like oaks and beeches. If you are thinking of growing chestnut trees, read on for information about chestnut tree care.

Chestnut Tree Information

Before you start growing chestnut trees, read up on chestnut tree information. That will help you determine whether your backyard will be a good site for one of these trees. Additionally, it is important to note that these are not the same trees as horse chestnuts (Aesculus) – of which the nuts are not edible.

The size of chestnut trees depends on the species, but, generally, chestnuts are big trees. The tallest species is the American chestnut that scrapes the sky at 100 feet. Be sure you check the mature height and spread of the tree you are considering before you plant. In addition to American chestnut (Castanea spp), you will find both Asian and European varieties.

Chestnut trees are attractive, with reddish-brown or grey bark, smooth when the trees are young, but furrowed with age. The leaves are a fresh green, darker on the top than the bottom. They are oval or lance-shaped and edged by widely separated teeth.

The flowers of the chestnut tree are long, drooping catkins that appear on the trees in spring. Each tree bears both male and female flowers, but they cannot self-pollinate. The potent fragrance of the flowers attracts insect pollinators.

How to Grow Chestnut Trees

If you are wondering how to grow chestnut trees, the most important consideration is soil. All chestnut tree types require well-drained soil to thrive. They can grow in partially clay soil if the land is on a slope, but they will grow best in deep, sandy soils.

Be sure your soil is acidic before growing chestnut trees. If you aren’t sure, get the pH tested. You need a pH of between 4.5 and 6.5.

Chestnut Tree Care

If you read up on chestnut tree information, you’ll find that growing chestnut trees is not difficult if they are planted in an appropriate site. When planted on good, deep soil, the trees are very drought tolerant when established. Young seedlings require regular irrigation.

If you are growing chestnut trees for the nut production, however, you’ll need to provide more chestnut tree care. The only way you can be sure of getting abundant, large-sized nuts is if you water the trees regularly throughout the growing season.

Most chestnut tree types only begin to produce nuts after they are three to 7 years old. Still, keep in mind that some chestnut tree types can live up to 800 years.

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