Episode 16: Growing Chestnut Trees

When you think of winter, do you think of chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Nat King Cole did as those are the opening words of his famous “Christmas Song” so in this show we explore chestnut trees, their history, how to grow them and which varieties to choose. Our first guest is  Alen Rosic, a 39-year-old immigrant from the Balkan Peninsula who helps organize an annual chestnut festival in Iowa for the strong Bosnian community there. In the second half of the show we chat with Dr. Sandra Anagnostakis who has spent years working to breed better and more disease resistant chestnut trees at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. We’ll learn how to choose cultivars, how to protect our trees from fungal disease, how to care for your trees and lots more.

What you will learn about growing chestnut trees in this show:

  •           How do you properly dry and preserve chestnuts?
  •         What are the methods of preparing chestnuts for eating?
  •         What is the Chestnut Festival?
  •         What is the history of the American chestnut tree?
  •         What diseases are chestnut trees susceptible to?
  •         How do diseases affect chestnut populations and tree growth? 
  •         What is the difference between the taste and appearance of different chestnut species and cultivars?
  •        What are the most common chestnut cultivars?
  •        What products can be made from chestnut trees?
  •        What are weevils?
  •        How do chestnut trees pollinate?
  •        How far should chestnut trees be spaced out when planted?
  •        How do you transplant young chestnut trees?

Chestnuts on the Colossal Chestnut tree. Photo credit: Dr. Sandra Anagnostakis

During the show we answer lots of live listeners questions. The discussion continues on this episode’s facebook post where you can find more links, photographs and information about this topic.

The Urban Forestry Radio Show’s host is Susan Poizner, creator of the award-winning fruit tree care training program www.orchardpeople.com and author of the award-winning fruit tree care book “Growing Urban Orchards”.

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