SW WA Gardener
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:31 pm
Location: WA State Zone 8a

New Chestnut Tree Growth

Good Morning!

Last winter I planted 3 mail-order hybrid chestnut trees. All three are Japanese/European hybrids. Depending on who you believe, they are fast growing, fast producing, and disease resistant. One was a seedling of Marissard, and two were grafted (Maraval and Marigoule). I made some mistakes in my thinking. I am not getting any younger. I want them to bear sooner rather than later, and seedlings take longer than grafted trees. In addition, the seedling was from a variety that does not have pollen, so it may also grow into a non-pollen producing tree. Hard to say, since maybe it would inherit the pollen producing gene from it's pollen parent?

The seedling and one hybrid variety (Maraval) grew fast - starting at 2 feet tall, now 7 feet tall. The other hybrid variety (Marigoule) was only 1 foot tall, and only grew about 4 inches. It does have nice, big dark green leaves.

My thought now, is that puny little one might have something wrong with it, maybe the scion is not not graft compatible with the rootstock, or maybe some other problem, and may continue to be very slow or even die out over the next season. That would leave me with only one good, known, pollen-bearing, fast growing hybrid.

Here are my thoughts -
1. Buy a replacement hybrid variety for the puny one. I can move that little tree to another spot, in case it decided to take off and grow. I have one picked out - called Regina Montis, which is said to grow fast and also produce pollen for the other hybrid.
2. Or, see how the puny one does in it's current place. Take a chance it might never grow, or might take too many years. But I want my own chestnuts in my lifetime :-)
3. Buy scion and graft onto the seedling tree. I kind of hate to do that and interrupt what appears to be a good start. I'm good with grafting apples, pears, plums, but chestnuts are a complete unknown to me. Maybe the grafts wouldn't take, and the tree growth would be in interrupted for a year?

On another site, I was advised to leave the puny one in place, thinking that it will grow much faster the second year. But I don't know... It is still way behind what the other two were, when they were planted.

Any experience here with chestnuts? Do they graft easily? Do they sometimes take off and grow the second year, after a year lag? I would love to read thoughts and experiences.

thanrose
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Location: Jacksonville, FLZone 9A

Re: New Chestnut Tree Growth

I don't know the answer but suspect that grafting onto the tiny tree will not be satisfactory. The roots determine the viability and habit of growth. Small, slower growing root system means your scion will also be small and slow growing.

Someone with more knowledge will probably come along and give you a better reply.

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!potatoes!
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Re: New Chestnut Tree Growth

Conventional wisdom says that grafting chestnuts outside of very close familial groups (i.e. grafting a parent onto its offspring) doesn't work that well, though I've heard of some folks that claim they haven't run into any issues with it.

Seedling chestnuts frequently yield surprisingly fast - about 8 years from seed. Several midwestern chestnut growers that i visited last year have entirely switched to planting new orchards out with seedlings (frequently hybrids of all species), as the quality and quantity of nuts improves a surprising amount with each generation (with few exceptions ). Seeds planted in situ are even stronger and faster growing, since they're on their own unbroken taproot.

Meanwhile, I would expect the straggler to pick up speed pretty quickly and would personally give it a full growing season after the year it was planted before giving up on it.

SW WA Gardener
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Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:31 pm
Location: WA State Zone 8a

Re: New Chestnut Tree Growth

Thanks for the replies. Right now I think I'm leaning toward buying a replacement tree. Some claim to start bearing in 3 to 5 years.

I found a spot to move the little one to, where if it doesnt grow, that's OK, but if it does, it's in a better position to pollinate the others.

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