Not really core to the forum, but does anyone have any experience grafting Chestnuts? I want to know what methods worked for you and what timing. I have a bunch of seedling chestnuts that are now 1 year in the ground and healthy (about 4-6 ft tall). I was going to buy some chestnut scionwood to topwork them next spring, and I am assuming whip and tongue will work best, but it sounds like chestnuts may need warmer temps to get the graft to take? I am experienced with apple and pear grafting, but my skill level is still fairly amateur.
This topic is totally appropriate for the list. Unfortunately, I don't have experience grafting chestnuts. I have a limited suburban yard, so it doesn't really make sense for me to plant two enormous trees that would completely dominate my entire space. I do believe that chestnuts will become a very important crop here in the PNW in the next few years, though, because the right varieties will grow very well here, with limited upkeep, and help to sequester carbon and cool the area. I like chestnuts, and I think they can be an important food crop for the future as well. Just not in my limited yard.
This is not the PNW specific forum, but its defiantly about chestnut grafting, the photos are quite good. I am a member of growing fruit and recommend it as a supplement to this forum. The do have a PNW regional forum, but this was from the general category.
Mike Dolan of Onalaska WA shares good advice on how to graft chestnuts. His whole driveway and pasture is lined with his nut breeding projects and he's more of an expert with nuts of anyone I've ever met. He meets all the many challenges chestnuts face about timing and cultivar specifics in one well explained youtube.
Challenges that are listed are mainly bleeding, phenotype, and temperature as you said so listen to every word of it or you may be sorry.
Mike sold me a chance 3-way interspecific hybrid exactly 30 years ago. Interspecifics are often infertile so in my case fertility happened for the first time ever this year. Such a delay won't be likely with known producers. In case Mike wants nuts it's not planted at my house because it's too large. It's at the Leiser street Shell station on Mill Plain blvd, Vancouver WA. The house to the south side of the mini-store there just to the east side of Leiser.
I have 5 seedling chestnuts from a variety of trees in this area. I too am out of space so I am going to try to maintain them as large shrubs vs. let them become giant trees. Two of them died this year, but I overplanted with the intention of thinning, so they did that for me. All of them do seem somewhat stressed by the summer drought. Not sure if they will grow out of that or not. No big deal if they all die. Although I think one may actually be an American chestnut which is a bit unusual.
Shelling and peeling the nuts has been a bit of a challenge for me. I finally think I have a decent procedure. But the different varieties make that process easier or harder.
Which varieties are easier to shell?
John S said
Which varieties are easier to shell?
Unfortunately I don't know the varieties. The area where I work was apparently orchards many years ago, and there are quite a few nut and fruit trees in the undeveloped pockets. I have collected chestnuts from all the trees and found that some are easier to process than others.
I would guess that varieties from a nursery would be easier to process. Although I'm sure there are many factors to consider such as flavor, size, disease resistance, etc.
Years ago I found an extra dwarf chestnut tree northbound of Andresen road and approaching Mill Plain blvd. It's my car, me and touching one small prickly fruit that developed. So there are a few nuts being produced for the first time this year. It's some kind of dwarf chestnut of another species that exhibit more differences in many respects such as timing of pollen, cluster size, and of course tree size.
I am by no means an expert so I better just link to google for public reference to what I think this tree is -which I think is chinkapin.
Yes, chinkapin is a native plant. We had one in my old neighborhood. Not much to eat, but the pollinators love it.
Thank you all for your replies. I have done a bit more research since posting this and I think I will be purchasing scion wood from Burnt Ridge and Fruitwood nurseries, holding it in the fridge until temps are a bit warmer in the late spring and topworking my existing seedlings up high. Some of the seedlings I will leave as just seedlings to assess the nut quality. Typically seedlings make decent chestnuts but size is smaller and the peeling ability is usually lower. Most of the European and European/Japanese hybrids have good peeling and improved flavor/size.
Colossal and Bouche de Betizac are the two most common commercial varieties in this area but they are both pollen sterile so need a pollinator. I am going to be trying about 10 other varieties and I will update the forum with how they do. I am lucky to have about 1/2 acre that a farmer has leased me for the project.
Rooney, that doesn't look like a chinquapin to me, they have narrower leaves and generally grow more upright. It may be some kind of shrubby true chestnut, there are a number of species.
I guess I got curious if this short version of what is voted now as chestnut got so short and if pollinated how well the nuts would size and I cracked one husk:
Indeed there are two kernels inside proving this is not chinquapin and as carefully observed the kernels indicate the lack of tree pollinations going on here. Then it makes more sense to double verify the authenticity of it by trying to pollinate flowers on it next year, then guage mass of the kernels once more, then this might narrow down the exact sub-species?