European Chestnut

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Jeroen Philippona
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European Chestnut

Post by Jeroen Philippona » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:29 am

James,

You asked Kouta about measuring European Chestnut, Castanea sativa. I have measured a lot of them, although not in really native forest stands, wich are in S.E. Europe. In the Netherlands it was introduced by the Romans, so not native but naturalised. The tallest measured here is 33,0 m (108 ft), in tall forest in Arnhem surrounded by European Beech up to 42,6 m (139,76 ft), European Larch up to 39,0 m (127,95 ft) and English Oak up to 37,5 m (123 ft). Normally in closed forest the height of Chestnuts is between 20 and 28 m, rarely above that. The largest in the Netherlands has a cbh of 850 cm (27,9 ft), the largest cbh of all trees in Holland. The largest Chestnuts are in the warmer Meditarranean countrees like Spain and Italy. Also in the western parts of France near the Atlantic and in the UK (were winters are very mild) there are very large (but not very tall) chestnuts. There are Chestnuts with cbh of 10 to 14 metre (33 to 46 ft), most of these are open grown with a height of about 15 to 25 m (50 - 80 ft).
largest European Chestnut in the UK-2
largest European Chestnut in the UK-2
largest European Chestnut in the UK-1 CBH 39 ft
largest European Chestnut in the UK-1 CBH 39 ft
The largest Chestnut of the UK has a height of 25 m (82 ft) and CBH of 12 m (39 ft). See two attached photos
European Chestnut CBH 34 ft
European Chestnut CBH 34 ft
and one of another Chestnut of CBH of 10,3 m (34 ft). Both are in Cowdray Park, West Sussex, England.

In Sicily, Italy, there are even larger Chestnuts, but while still alive their trunks have been rotting and falling apart in several pieces. Tallest in the UK is 35 m (114,8 ft). Even in the south European countrees I have never seen taller Chestnuts and I doubt if they ever reach 40 m.
So European Chestnut is amongst the largest trees in trunk-diameter in Europe, but not one of the taller species.
In Germany and more to the east there are fewer large Chestnuts because of the colder, more continental winters.

Jeroen

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James Parton
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by James Parton » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:36 pm

Jeroen.

Awesome chestnuts! They are huge! Our Live Oaks may be even second to these giants. Long ago our American Chestnuts were said to be giants but not anymore. I am glad European scientists were able to defeat the blight there. Hypovirulence worked like magic there.

Ed,

I would love to see Jeroen's part of this post w/photos included on the American Chestnut Project page. While they may not be eligible for the spreadsheet list, the post itself with photos would be a welcome addition to the Chestnut Project Page. It show how big a Castanea species can really get! Castanea Sativa to the best of my knowledge is the closest in appearance to Castanea Dentata.

James.
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Larry Tucei
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:29 am

Jeroen, Wow that is a huge tree! I'm curious to know how old would that tree be? 200-300 years maybe? I'd love to measure and photograph some of the European tree species some day. Larry

Jeroen Philippona
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by Jeroen Philippona » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:01 am

Larry,

About the age of these two chestnuts I know little. Dr. Owen Johnson of the Tree Register of the British Isles writes abou the largest of them in their book "Champion trees of Britain and Ireland" (Whittet Books, 2003) "this gigantic but relatively youthful Sweet Chestnut grows in the same field at Cowdray Park, W. Sussex, as the well-known Queen Elizabeth Oak."
This relatively youthfull is when compared with two other chestnuts with even larger circumference but wich are very hollow, burred and with complex trunks with parts decaying away and new growths. Hereby I send a few photos of such chestnuts. One of them, the Tortworth Chestnut, in the 18th century had a bigger circumference than it has now due to this decay.
These kind of chestnuts are said to be very old, even a thousand years, but litle can be proven.
The oldest chestnut (and tree!) in the UK with a known planting date is the Castle Leod Chestnut in Strathpeffer, Scotland, wich was planted in 1550 and has a girth at 5 ft of 8,10 metre / 26 feet 7 inches. So it is far from the biggest in girth, but it has a rather long trunk and a height of 28 m / 92 ft. It has known girth-measurements since 1867 when it was 18 feet 2 inches; in 1908 it was 21 ft 6 inches, in 1938 23 feet 3 inches. This is a relative slow rate of growth of less than an inche a year, probably because of the shorter cool growth-season in Scotland. Most chestnuts grow faster in Southern England with warmer summers, I know when young between 1 and 2 inches girth increment a year, but slowing down to about one inche a year when older.
In another park nearby, Petworth Park, I have ringcounted a cutted chestnut with a cbh of about 23 feet wich was 230 years. This is very normal for the species.
The huge chestnut of Cowdray Park will have grown fast, the girth is extra large because of root-swell. So the lifelong growth in cbh could be 3 to over 4 cm a year. I think it will be about 300 years old, 200 years seems to be very young for such a large tree of perhaps 4000 cubic feet, wich would be 20 cubes a year.

Conclusion: the oldest known chestnut in the UK for sure is 460 years now. Several extreme big chestnuts are thought to be older, but there is little proof.
The huge chestnuts of Cowdray Park are probably around 300 years.

Jeroen

PS Larry, you reacted before I had completed this post. I agree that probably few of the big Live Oaks are over 400 years. It is interesting if the largest of them will live on for several decades or more. The Locke Breaux Oak was said to have died of poison, could it not have died from great age?
When comparing great ages the oldest trees are often not the biggest, for example the oldest found white and chestnut oaks in the US till now are not very big. They have grown slow and have very narrow rings.
Attachments
The Canford School Chestnut, Dorset, England. Girth about 45 feet.
The Canford School Chestnut, Dorset, England. Girth about 45 feet.
The Torthworth Chestnut, Glostershire, England. Girth about 36 feet.
The Torthworth Chestnut, Glostershire, England. Girth about 36 feet.
Last edited by Jeroen Philippona on Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:21 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:42 am

Jeroen, Many trees in the US are often aged at well beyond what they actually are. Live Oaks are amoung these, Im learning based on growth rates that very few would be over 350-400 years. Those are huge Chestnuts 500 years, AWESOME! Perhaps someday we can come over and measure some of the European species. Larry

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James Parton
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by James Parton » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:46 am

Jeroen & Kouta,

Have you heard of the " Tree of a Hundred Horses " in Italy. It is supposidly the largest girthed tree in the world with a cbh of 190 feet and diameter of over 60 feet. This chestnut rivals the Tule Tree ( A Monteczuma Cypress ) and the giant Baobabs of Africa in size. It is true that the Hundred Horses Chestnut is a multi-trunked tree but it is counted as one because all trunks grow off the same root system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chestnut_T ... red_Horses

http://wapedia.mobi/en/Chestnut_Tree_of ... red_Horses


The tree also is believed to be of great age. 2000 years or more.

James
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Jeroen Philippona
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by Jeroen Philippona » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:19 pm

James,

Yes, I have heard about it. It could be that the rootsystem is of one genetic individual, but still the extreme large circumference was of several stems together. The trunks have decayed a lot and now there seem to exist a few seperate trunks. The largest of them seems to have a circumference of about 22 m, 70 feet, but strange is that I have never seen a realy good photo of it. I think each of these trunks has decayed in itself also a lot. So in my opinion it does not rival the Tule Tree and the largest Baobabs in size, while these have rather complete trunks of over 30 m / 100 ft girth.
About the age there is a lot of speculation, but while the old information of the huge tree is of the 18th century, I don't think there is proof of a historical, tree-ring, Carbon-dating or other scientifical kind wich gives proof to such a great age. I think that with several (12 or so) trunks growing from a common rootsystem such a great size could be reached within 1000 years. I hope some scientific research shall be done.

Jeroen

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Rand
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by Rand » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:06 pm

Thomas Pakenham includes this tree in his book 'Remarkable Trees of the World', If I remember correctly he said only a few of the original trunks that formed the original 18th century ring survive. I believe he said they used to pen livestock up inside of it, causing much of the damage.

http://www.amazon.com/Remarkable-Trees- ... 0393325296

Jeroen Philippona
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by Jeroen Philippona » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:51 pm

Hereby some photos of the trunks of the " Castagno dei Cento Cavalli / Tree of a Hundred Horses " I found on internet as well as three more old drawings / paintings of the tree, to see the seperate trunks.

Jeroen
Attachments
Castagno dei Cento Cavalli02.jpg
Castagno dei Cento Cavalli02.jpg (11.96 KiB) Viewed 3877 times
Castagno dei Cento Cavalli01.jpg
Castagno dei Cento Cavalli01.jpg (33.52 KiB) Viewed 3877 times
Castagno dei Cento Cavalli10.jpg
Castagno dei Cento Cavalli08.jpg
Castagno dei Cento Cavalli03.jpg
Castagno dei Cento Cavalli03.jpg (17.86 KiB) Viewed 3877 times

hamadryad
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Re: European Chestnut

Post by hamadryad » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:58 pm

Some very large Sweet Chestnuts (Castanea sativa) from Croft Castle, Herefordshire, U.K

ireland 403.JPG
ireland 415.JPG
ireland 350.JPG

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