Chestnuts - First fruit bearing

35-acre

5 year old buck +
I wish I would have taken a photo to show you all.

I planted chestnut trees from Chestnut Hill in 2017. They were 2 year old trees. This year I finally had chestnuts! That means they were 7 years old when they first bore fruit. And of course, I have questions:

1. Does that seem right that it took so long to produce chestnuts?
As a side note, I ask this because I also have some pear and apple trees planted that have yet to have any fruit - I'm hoping those have success next year (but I seem to hope that every year).

My second question is really the big one.
2. When the husks broke on the chestnuts, the nuts themselves were smaller than I expected. I would say they looked more like over-sized candy corn. There were 3 in each husk and they were slightly "shriveled" and a bit soft. Is this just because this was the first year?
 

Hoytvectrix

5 year old buck +
1. I think it depends on the size and health of the tree for how soon they produce. I think some of the Chinese hybrids can produce in as soon as 3-5 years if taken care of.

2. That means that the flowers were not fully pollinated. You may have other chestnut trees nearby that are necessary for the cross pollination to occur, but there was not a pollinator present or not enough pollen from the the other trees. Anecdotally, if you are seeing burrs with the shriveled chestnuts, you are probably pretty close to having viable chestnuts. Just make sure that you have some other chestnut trees nearby to help with the pollination.
 

35-acre

5 year old buck +
1. I think it depends on the size and health of the tree for how soon they produce. I think some of the Chinese hybrids can produce in as soon as 3-5 years if taken care of.

2. That means that the flowers were not fully pollinated. You may have other chestnut trees nearby that are necessary for the cross pollination to occur, but there was not a pollinator present or not enough pollen from the the other trees. Anecdotally, if you are seeing burrs with the shriveled chestnuts, you are probably pretty close to having viable chestnuts. Just make sure that you have some other chestnut trees nearby to help with the pollination.
Thanks. I do have some other "nearby" but they are possibly too far away? I'm going to guess and say that the trees are about 15 yards apart. They are the same distance form apple and pear trees. They are all just inter-mixed in and around a field that I put in.
 

Hoytvectrix

5 year old buck +
Thanks. I do have some other "nearby" but they are possibly too far away? I'm going to guess and say that the trees are about 15 yards apart. They are the same distance form apple and pear trees. They are all just inter-mixed in and around a field that I put in.
15 yards is plenty close enough. Shriveled nuts inside could be from drought during seed fill, but that would have to be extreme drought. More than likely the tree will be fine and produce chestnuts next year.
 

35-acre

5 year old buck +
15 yards is plenty close enough. Shriveled nuts inside could be from drought during seed fill, but that would have to be extreme drought. More than likely the tree will be fine and produce chestnuts next year.
Thanks. We did have a really dry summer here in NY; aspects of drought conditions were prevalent in the weather forecast, etc.. So that could be it; hoping you're right and next year I see better nuts.

I was so shocked to see them this year! 3 of my 4 trees had them and I am thrilled.
It was a long time coming and I hope the trees continue to grow and produce. My trees mid summer looked like this, you can see the husks and see the other trees in the background a bit:

1667330357404.png
 

TreeDaddy

5 year old buck +
You are off and running

Each year numbers will increase and probably exponentially so

Those look like healthy young trees

bill
 

The Fishman

5 year old buck +
I also planted four 3-gallon Chestnut Hill trees in 2017. One died, but the others have done well. One tree had burs last year, but I don't know if they were pollinated or not. That tree had approximately 100 burs this year while my 30 other chestnuts I have added the past few years did not have any. I do not live on my property and was pleasantly surprised to see this past weekend that approximately 25% of the burs were still hanging at the end of October. I shook the tree and several fell. Some of the burs contained three fully formed nuts. Other burs contained a single nut and yet others had one or two viable nuts and an unfertilized nut.

The claims that nurseries make about how quickly chestnuts or any trees will produce is exaggerated in my opinion. I bought Chestnut Hill 3-gallon trees (2-years-old) that had burs on them in the Wal Mart parking lot but have not produced any since. They are approximately 15 feet tall but still nothing. I have straight Chinese trees that I grew from nuts that are 3-4" DBH and still no nuts. I am not in a rush. I was encouraged that it looks like the deer have figured out that the chestnuts are good to eat as I could see signs of them eating the nuts under the tree. It will be great in a few years. I just have to remain patient.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I wish I would have taken a photo to show you all.

I planted chestnut trees from Chestnut Hill in 2017. They were 2 year old trees. This year I finally had chestnuts! That means they were 7 years old when they first bore fruit. And of course, I have questions:

1. Does that seem right that it took so long to produce chestnuts?
As a side note, I ask this because I also have some pear and apple trees planted that have yet to have any fruit - I'm hoping those have success next year (but I seem to hope that every year).

My second question is really the big one.
2. When the husks broke on the chestnuts, the nuts themselves were smaller than I expected. I would say they looked more like over-sized candy corn. There were 3 in each husk and they were slightly "shriveled" and a bit soft. Is this just because this was the first year?

I think so. I planted Dunstan nuts and gave them a jump start in rootmakers indoors. It still took about that long to get the first nuts. Some of my trees still have not produced nuts and the trees that are producing are not yet prolific. It just takes time. All of the "time to fruit" numbers I've seen from orchards are for optimal conditions. Trees are a good fit for the climate and soil. They get good sun. They are cared for as in a backyard orchard with spraying, fertilizing, pruning, and such. I think it takes wildlife trees much longer to produce. I don't care for wildlife trees other than protecting them after planting. I could never maintain the number of trees I've planted. They have to go it on their own.

It is not uncommon for trees to produce non-viable nuts when young.

Thanks,

Jack
 

Davewp

5 year old buck +
I wish I would have taken a photo to show you all.

I planted chestnut trees from Chestnut Hill in 2017. They were 2 year old trees. This year I finally had chestnuts! That means they were 7 years old when they first bore fruit. And of course, I have questions:

1. Does that seem right that it took so long to produce chestnuts?
As a side note, I ask this because I also have some pear and apple trees planted that have yet to have any fruit - I'm hoping those have success next year (but I seem to hope that every year).

My second question is really the big one.
2. When the husks broke on the chestnuts, the nuts themselves were smaller than I expected. I would say they looked more like over-sized candy corn. There were 3 in each husk and they were slightly "shriveled" and a bit soft. Is this just because this was the first year?
likely not pollinated by other tree
 

bigbendmarine

5 year old buck +
Have to start by sharing I live in North Florida so the climate for growth is quite different than New York but I can speak to my experience with the candy corn sized chestnuts.

I planted a dozen or so saplings in 2016. I got my firsts husks on one or two of my trees in 2021, but as you shared when the husks fell they only contained very small candy-corn sized chestnuts.

This year, however, the trees that last year dropped the candy-corn sized nuts dropped mostly large, filled out chestnuts though a much smaller percentage of husks than last year did contain the candy-corn sized chestnuts.

The girth on most of my trees looks quite a bit larger than the picture you shared (best guess on the trunk diameter of most of my trees is approximately 6") which I'm guessing may be due to the length of our growing season -- we typically only have a few frosts during Dec, Jan, and Feb, but interestingly a few of my trees have been slower to grow and are closer to 2.5" in diameter and the smaller trees have yet to produce at all yet and that's with spacing identical between my trees as well as the direction planted.

So with all of the above shared, think you'll see better and better results each year going forward. 👍
 

Teeder

5 year old buck +
Thanks. We did have a really dry summer here in NY; aspects of drought conditions were prevalent in the weather forecast, etc.. So that could be it; hoping you're right and next year I see better nuts.

I was so shocked to see them this year! 3 of my 4 trees had them and I am thrilled.
It was a long time coming and I hope the trees continue to grow and produce. My trees mid summer looked like this, you can see the husks and see the other trees in the background a bit:

View attachment 47000
Your trees are about the same size as my Dunstans. They just started producing the last season or 2. Some burs had nice filled out nuts and some were as you described.
 

Angus 1895

5 year old buck +
Your trees are about the same size as my Dunstans. They just started producing the last season or 2. Some burs had nice filled out nuts and some were as you described.
How old are your trees?

where did you get them from?

did these trees “ die back” from winter scald?

Thanks
 

Teeder

5 year old buck +
My trees are about 7, but I haven't paid close attention to them. About 1/2 of my trees have died completely or die back some each year and look like a multi-stemmed bush. A few of them look great. These were marked as "Dunstans " and bought at a local agway as potted trees. IIRC, they were about 3' tall when I got them.
 

TreeDaddy

5 year old buck +
i began growing baby chestnuts from seed every february in containers starting in 2016

Gratifying when your own progeny start to produce

bill
 

Angus 1895

5 year old buck +
I have read u need to paint the stalks with latex paint ….white?

the early spring thumps them
 

hunts_with_stick

5 year old buck +
Not a bad idea to plant them. I assume probably not good to plant them near fruit trees since they grow pretty tall and might block out the sun?
 

Angus 1895

5 year old buck +
Where I live the magpies ravage the fruit trees .

I haven’t planted many.

just crab apple, persimmon and wild pear.
 
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