Restore The American Chestnut

You can help restore the American Chestnut to the Kentucky landscape.

KYTACF encourages people to submit photos of chestnuts with leaf and twig samples. Learn how to use the TreeSnap App to identify American chestnut trees. Identifying American Chestnut Trees is designed to help you distinguish among several species of the chestnut family commonly seen in North America.

Contact the Kentucky TACF chapter to suggest sites where you would like to see chestnut groves.

Establish and maintain an orchard. The Kentucky Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation is looking for people willing to help with Backcross Breeding Orchards, Germ Plasm Conservation Orchards and, in the near future, Transgenic Tree Orchards.

Chestnuts are self-infertile, that is, in order to produce healthy and edible nuts, a tree needs another tree quite nearby that is not related. Therefore, all plantings need to have several chestnuts in a grove, and these chestnuts need to come from several sources.

The Backcross Breeding Orchard is a basic unit of the TACF breeding program. This is the planting program that is the most rewarding and the one we need the most. It is a commitment of an acre of well-drained soil, and of 8 to 10 years of care. Any conscientious person can become a “chestnut steward” and help grow American chestnuts.

When you plant a Back Cross American Chestnut Orchard, you open a door and step over a threshold to become a participant in the TACF program. At some level, you are now a citizen scientist and a plant breeder. You are now personally safeguarding at least two Kentucky American chestnut sources and incorporating their contribution to the future of the species. No successful orchard works if there isn’t an onsite chestnut steward and manager for the project.

If you are interested in obtaining the Restoration chestnuts for private planting, go to the National American Chestnut website. They are available in limited numbers for sponsorship donors.

An effort is underway to locate potential sites to establish mother orchards. If you are interested in becoming involved, you can contact Rick Caldwell at rcaldwell@bernheim.org or call him on his cell phone at 502-807-2257.

Read more….  Restoring an American Classic in Kentucky Woodlands Magazine.