Chinese Chestnut (improved)
Shipping Autumn of 2022
Improved Chestnuts are medium to large understory tree with broad crown. Native trees have two to three small fruits (2-3 cm diameter each) in each spiny cupule. Chinese chestnuts grown from seed of superior selections readily cross-pollinates with other species of chestnut to form hybrids.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
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In the early days of the United States, millions of American Chestnut Trees grew across the land, from Michigan to Maine and south to Mississippi and northwestern Florida. The largest specimens were over 100 feet tall and had trunks 12 feet thick. The durable wood supplied people with the material to make furniture, railway ties, and utility poles. Then, in 1904, a deadly Chestnut blight from China appeared at the Bronx Zoo. By the time Nat King Cole was singing about roasting chestnuts in 1946, most of the country’s Chestnut Trees had fallen victim. We offer seedlings from mature, surviving Chestnut Trees in northwestern Illinois in an effort to help get this glorious species reestablished!
Don't let this understory tree fool you; this Chinese Chestnut variant will produce 2-3 nuts per spinous capsule. Even though Improved is an understory tree, this tree will still grow to a medium-large height, making it an excellent shade tree to include in your landscape. To ensure that you have decent chestnut harvests, you'll want to plant another Chinese Chestnut nearby to cross-pollinate with.
Height: 30-60 ft
Width: 20-40 ft
Exposure: Full Sun
Fall Foliage: Various Shades of Yellow
How to Grow
Improved Chestnut appreciates good, rich, moist, well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine. Provide regular irrigation. Chestnuts are encased in prickly, sea urchin–like pods, so you’ll want to keep this tree away from patios, pools, sidewalks, and other places where bare feet may wander. In rural areas, semi-wild spaces are ideal, as local wildlife like turkeys, jays, and grouse will love to share in the bounty. Before planting, check with your local extension office about the presence of Chestnut blight in your area and the feasibility of planting Chestnuts on your property.
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