The American Chestnut Tree

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A neighbor of ours has two rare trees in his yard. American Chestnut. They are relatively small compared to the number of Pine, Oak and Tulip Poplar trees which dominate our neighborhood. These two trees have been pruned to maintain their health, and they survive, to annually drop their nuts to the ground, encased in prickly husks, where they rest until the squirrels get at them. Or me. I wish there were more trees like these Chestnuts here in Virginia, and perhaps one day there will be, given the amount of efforts underway to help sustain their revival. For your education, there’s a bit of history about the Chestnut Tree in Virginia after the two photos below that show the prickly shells with nut inside.

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“The American Chestnut was once a common dominant tree in the deciduous forests of eastern North America and Virginia. In some parts of the Appalachians it was estimated to comprise 25% of the timber volume. The chestnut tree was relatively fast-growing and had a strong sprouting ability. The chestnut blight, caused by a fungus was first reported in New York in 1904. Within 50 years it had spread throughout the natural range of chestnut and virtually all Chestnut Trees were killed by the blight.”

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