Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

Garden Design → Trees - Chestnut Tree

Chestnut Tree - Love A Cool Climate - Anne Frank Described one.

A chestnut tree will give the grower a great deal of pleasure, shade and many nuts. Chestnut trees are quite hardy and tough to grow, though they are susceptible to blight if the conditions are right. They have big, long leaves so create a beautiful shade and their flowers are truly something to behold. Of course, the nuts that grow in those prickly cases are also delicious to eat - and many wild animals think so too. Chestnut Tree

You do need a fairly large area to grow a chestnut tree in, as the roots of one just three years old can cover 100 square feet. The average home block is just not big enough. They also have a long taproot that must be carefully protected from injury when planting out the seedling. If planting from seed, they take about four years to bear.

Chestnut Trees Hardiness Zone 3 - 8

Chestnut trees prefer a cool climate, so hardiness  zones of 3 through 8 are suitable for growing them. They like full sunlight and well-drained soil that is kept moist. If you want one for the flowers but not the fruit, the cultivar Baumannii is for you. Its beautiful double white flowers last twice as long as other varieties, but it does not set fruit.

Both Male and Female Flowers

Chestnut trees have both male and female flowers on the same tree, but even so, if you want lots of nuts then you must have at least two trees planted no more than 100 meters apart. In their first year they should grow about two feet tall; after that they make up to three feet of growth per year.

If you purchase chestnuts to plant - great for a school project - then they must be kept in the refrigerator until they are planted in October. If planting into containers, you must use a 3-gallon size to give the taproot room to develop properly. Otherwise, dig a hole 2-3 feet deep, backfill with a soil/peat moss/mulch mix, water it and after it settles, add a stake and plant the seed on its side about one inch from the top.

Cover it with peat moss and add a tree shelter, fixing it to the stake and making sure the bottom is driven into the soil a couple of inches. This shelter must be cut away by August of the second year or it will inhibit the growth. Many little - and some big - critters will want to nibble on your chestnut trees, so find ways and means of protecting them.

A weld-wire cage at least 5 feet high and 3 foot across would be the strongest and most secure protection. This is in addition to the first tree shelter.