By Montana Grant

Posted: December 29, 2022

The American Chestnut was an amazing tree. Many of the original wagons, train cars, and homes were made from the excellent wood provided by Chestnut. The weather resistant lumber and the tasty fruit/nut was also important. Most of North America’s Deciduous forests were rooted in Chestnuts.

Sadly, when the Chestnut Blight made it to North America, the native chestnuts were devastated. The blight attacked the base of the trees and death soon followed. Oak trees took over the void left by the diseased Chestnut forests.

These trees take around 100 years to mature. Oak trees are now facing the same kinds of issues. Insects, diseases, and blights are taking their toll. Fortunately, a new hybrid Chestnut tree is ready to help. These Chinese, American genetic hybrids are blight resistant.

This genetic mutation comes from wheat. This acid detoxifying gene allows the trees to survive fungal infections. The hybrid has been evaluated for decades and has no ill effects for known future health challenges.

Adding Chestnut trees to our forests will help protect and conserve our forests. Wildlife can enjoy the fruit, insects will consume the pollen, and a quality forest product will be restored.

Once planted, it will take over a decade for the trees to begin producing fruit. Over time, the Americas Tree will live for centuries to come. The restoration also includes using surviving trees, with natural immunity, to become re-established. This breeding, biocontrol, and hybrid trees will work together to restore America’s Tree!

Sometimes you feel like a nut!

Montana Grant

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