Jul 31, 2013 by

Chestnuts, and Chinkapin were the developmenThe Mighty Chestnut treet of around 8 different species and should  not  be confused with the Horse  Chestnut ( commonly used to play “conkers” in the U.K.) for these are poisonous. If you are thinking of planting one of these type of trees you must consider their height for a chestnut caAutumn glory of the Chestnut treen grow to 40 metres, although the chinkapin is often smaller but shrub like in appearance, both these trees are deciduous. The flowers produced in summer are catkin like, but do have a heavy, not-nice smell, the fruit produced are a spiny container for up to 7 nuts. These trees  grow well on an  acidic soil, but do not always thrive on limestone or akaline soil, however some growers graft them on  oak rootsock which can be grown on limestone or alkaline soils.

The American Chestnut was virtually wiped out due in the main to a fungal disease, the  chinkapin can also suffer with the disease, with their expertise the  growers are however, producing hybrids with the American Chestnut that are disease resistant. I would like to say a word in praise at this  stage, about the dedication of the growers, many of whom started from scatch with graftChestnuts in the burred trees, finding out the pitfalls, (like the survival in cold climates or the different soils, generally at great cost to themselves but their devotion is now producing a large amount of trees that give us the variety and pleasure in our gardens), so if you are worried, ask your growers and they will most certainly advise you on the best for your needs.



Chinese Chestnut fruit                  The chinese chestnut are a good feature for your garden as they are both ornamental and graceful, having a good tree shape and can produce superior size of sweet nut which are usually found on trees 7 years in age, with blossoms that give a sweet fragrance, and remember the fruit produced can be eaten raw or roasted over a fire.



GUIANA CHESTNUT.Guiana Chestnut flower

The Guiana Chestnut tree is one that can give a real show with its flowers, the buds can be as much as a foot in length but when it opens the cream petals curl back towards the stem revealing scarlet clusters, which are both picturesque and fragrant. The tree is native to the Mexican tropical rain forests, and those of both Central andSouth America, growing mainly on the shores of lakes or estuaries indicating the need for water, it is related to the Malabar Chestnut, ( which is a smaller nut). the football shaped pod can grow as long

as Guiana Chestnut30 cm., when ripe they open to reveal 7 or more nuts when eaten raw their flavour has a peanut type flavour, whereas if cooked by boiling or roasting then the taste of the chestnut is more apparent,some people also cook the leaves and flowers to eat as vegetables. I have indicated that they will need watering, and should therefor be planted in a position that they will not suffer with drying winds, with either full or part sunshine.



Japanese chestnut tree                   JAPANESE CHESTNUT.Japanese Chestnut

The Japanese Chestnut is one to enhace your garden as it is not only graceful but has an ornamental shape which produces large nuts when it matures between 5 and 7 years.

THERE  are other uses for edible chestnuts, which in southern Europe during the middle ages, and with little or no wheat to make flour, the chestnuts were ground to produce a flour which was used to make cakes, bread and pasta. For those of you already collecting your crop of chestnuts, you can store them for winter, by drying them (having taken them from the husks) and placing them in a container such as a box or barrel, covering with fine dry sand (3/4 sand to1/4 chestnuts) and if there are any worms they will climb through the sand for air and not disturb the other nuts, alternatively if your nuts are mature in the spring cover them with a moist sand, and preferably kept in a cool place to chill, think of what  squirrels  do by burying them in the ground. Store the nuts suggested and you could be eating them when others have none.

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