Lone Chestnut Tree

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RyanLeClair
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Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by RyanLeClair » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:41 pm

Right next to Middlebrook Elementary School in Trumbull, Connecticut (a quarter mile from my house) is a small municipal park. I have often gone exploring through the forests there. It's not clear how old the growth is, but some of the individual trees are substantial. I have measured a tulip tree at 3.1 ft. DBH, and there are other tulips out there of equal size. A large red oak was 3.5 ft. thick when I measured it three years ago. In addition, the forest floor is dotted with many large logs, which suggests some age. Someday I'll see if I can get the exact date when the land was set aside as a park.

Anyways, while meandering through the woods recently I came across a substantial American chestnut tree. There is plenty of chestnut growth around my house, but the lot of it is nothing more than basal sprouts. Such was not the case with this plant. It is a genuine tree.

As for the measurements, I didn't do the height. First thing, I'm not very experienced when it comes to doing the heights of deciduous trees. Secondly, this particular chestnut has an odd shape -- it leans heavily towards a sunny opening in the canopy. If I had measured it though it probably would have come out in the 20 ft. range. I did get a CBH, though: 22 in.
Attachments
Castanea dentata leaf
Castanea dentata leaf
Chestnut Tree 013.JPG
22 inch CBH -- not just a sprout
22 inch CBH -- not just a sprout
Leaning Chestnut tree
Leaning Chestnut tree

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James Parton
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by James Parton » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:37 pm

Ryan,

Congratulations on finding a decent American Chestnut. They certainly are not that common that size.
James E Parton
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New Order of Druids

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RyanLeClair
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by RyanLeClair » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:19 pm

Thank you James, I can see why this is one of your favorite species, it's wonderful.

At what age do chestnuts start producing nuts? It would be neat to raise a seedling from this tree. Blight-resistant specimens are needed.

--Ryan

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edfrank
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by edfrank » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:15 pm

Ryan,

Nice chestnut tree. I am not sure what age they begin producing nuts, the big thing is there needs to be a high enough concentration of mature trees for the flowers to get pollinated.

http://www2.volstate.edu/tnchestnut/Gre ... 202009.htm
Occasionally some of these trees reach respectable size before being killed by blight infection. Trees eighteen to twenty three inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) and up to eighty feet tall are known in Tennessee. Trees of this size may flower, but chestnuts are not self fertile, and require another nearby tree for pollination. Except in a few places like Sugarlands Mountain where American chestnuts are plentiful, the larger flowering trees are isolated and natural nut production does not occur.
I wondered about the species identification because the tip of the leaf seems to be foreshortened, but American Chestnut seems to be the right ID. Many of the leaves have a much longer and narrower tip:
American chestnut from my backyard
American chestnut from my backyard
Likely there were others on the tree that were more pointy, at least they appeared so on your tree photos. For shorter trees like this you are often better off measuring with the leaves on - after they fall I find I have trouble getting the laser to focus on close-up branches as it seems to want to focus on those in the background.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Rand
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by Rand » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:05 pm

Occasionally some of these trees reach respectable size before being killed by blight infection. Trees eighteen to twenty three inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) and up to eighty feet tall are known in Tennessee. Trees of this size may flower, but chestnuts are not self fertile, and require another nearby tree for pollination. Except in a few places like Sugarlands Mountain where American chestnuts are plentiful, the larger flowering trees are isolated and natural nut production does not occur.
It's probably linked on that page somewhere but this page shows pictures of a lot of the big trees that they found in tennessee.

http://www2.volstate.edu/jschibig/resur ... estnut.htm

RyanLeClair
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by RyanLeClair » Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:37 pm

Ed, Yes, the acuminate tip on my leaf is missing, but it just looks to be damage. I might measure this tree before its leaves fall -- I just want to make sure I don't post bogus numbers.
That is a very neat site, Rand. Are you familiar with this photo?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41460075@N08/4285883510/

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:03 pm

Ryan, That's cool to find a Chestnut. Down here in the deep south they grow in the central and northern parts of the states. I've been meaning to get up the northern Ms, Ala. and find some. They are rare but do exist down here, perhaps I can locate some this fall, winter and post on them. Larry

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Rand
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by Rand » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:59 am

RyanLeClair wrote:Ed, Yes, the acuminate tip on my leaf is missing, but it just looks to be damage. I might measure this tree before its leaves fall -- I just want to make sure I don't post bogus numbers.
That is a very neat site, Rand. Are you familiar with this photo?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41460075@N08/4285883510/
Yes, I've seen it reproduced relatively often in chestnut literature. It -is- an impressive photo. Though I'm fairly sure the relative size of the two foreground trees is mainly a perspective affect.

RyanLeClair
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by RyanLeClair » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:29 pm

If you get any good ones please post them, Larry. And Rand, that would make sense, the two in front are redwood-sized, that just doesn't seem possible.

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Rand
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Re: Lone Chestnut Tree

Post by Rand » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:14 pm

RyanLeClair wrote: And Rand, that would make sense, the two in front are redwood-sized, that just doesn't seem possible.
Well, I was fooled many years until I saw how camera perspective tricks were used to make the hobbits look small in the recent Lord of the Rings movies. It's the same idea how they make dear head trophies look huge in hunter pictures. Put the head real close to a wide angle camera lens.

Also we've had a couple other decent threads on chestnuts on this board that you might find interesting.

http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f ... nut#p10886
http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f ... n+chestnut

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