In 1904, American Chestnut trees were struck by blight, and by 1950 four billion trees had died as a result. Today the tree is attempting to make a comeback.
This stately tree grows to about 60-80 feet tall with a spread of 30-40 feet. It grows at a moderate to fast rate.
American Chestnut tree leaves are oblong and large (5-8”) with saw-teeth edges. The leaves are shiny and yellowish-green on the topside and pale green on the underside. Leaves change to yellow and brown in autumn.
In early summer, pale whitish-green flowers develop on the tree. Some trees have only male plants while others have a combination of both types of flowers. Male flowers appear in mid-summer as small white to pale green, six to eight inch catkins. The female flower is positioned near the base of the catkin and has a distinctive scent.
The trees major feature is its production of sweet, tasty nuts. A tree will not produce nuts until it is about seven to eight years old. In late summer, green burrs develop. Each burr holds up to three nuts. These open and fall to the ground at the time of the first fall frost.
The American Chestnut tree requires full sunlight to grow. It does best in well-drained, acidic, clay, sandy or loamy soils. Hardiness Zone: 4-8.