Dunstan Chestnuts worth it?

j-bird

Moderator
I have a chance to purchase some contanier sized dunstand chestnuts at $30 each (yep they are pretty proud of them I guess). Trees are roughly 4' tall from native nursery at my local wal-mart. I hear once they produce nuts that the deer love them. I have some areas where I can plant them in full sun and protect them from deer browse - but are theywort it? Iaready have some apples just starting to produce fruit and some oaks and beech for hard mast and Iamsurroundedby cornand soybean production. I like the idea of planting someting that will feed the deer far beyond once I am gone, but I can get 100 bare root saplings from my DNR for $30! Does anyone out here have any exp with these trees and when they will actually begin to produce?
 

Spur

5 year old buck +
The saplings are probably Chinese chestnuts and they are a good alternative to Dunstans. Dunstans can produce regularly at 3 years and the nuts taste excellent. Would I pay $30, h to the e to the double L NO! Buy the seeds from Bigeight or wait till fall and I will be selling seedlings grown in Rootmakers.
 
S

Spiker

Guest
There is no question that the Chestnut tree is a great addition to any habitat plan. But is the Dunstan that much better than a Chinese seedling? I don't think so, if you look at older Dunstan trees they resemble the Chinese trees in growth form, and let's remember that these are seedlings not grafted trees, so it's a crap shoot to some degree as what you will get. Growing them from seed makes much more sense, but if you can't locate the seeds I would just purchase the Chinese trees...I'm sure the deer can't taste the difference.
 

nwmn

5 year old buck +
Buy the seeds and get them going in roottrapper bags. I've got some seeds from Stu that are literally like 2' in my basement. Probably will zap out this winter, but it's fun in trying. For where you are, it may be worth it to buy a hundred, maybe 2-3 lbs, and invest in the 18 cell trays, or the 8" bags and a grow light or two. That will cost you less than or around $200, or the price of 7 of those at wal mart. Plus, with these you can look at them in a few years and have the sense of pride that you gave birth to them, well not really, but you started them from infancy.

It's fun too. You can reuse all the material and the seed is the only cost each subsequent year.

http://www.chestnutridgeofpikecounty.com/
 

nwmn

5 year old buck +
Buy the seeds and get them going in roottrapper bags. I've got some seeds from Stu that are literally like 2' in my basement. Probably will zap out this winter, but it's fun in trying. For where you are, it may be worth it to buy a hundred, maybe 2-3 lbs, and invest in the 18 cell trays, or the 8" bags and a grow light or two. That will cost you less than or around $200, or the price of 7 of those at wal mart. Plus, with these you can look at them in a few years and have the sense of pride that you gave birth to them, well not really, but you started them from infancy.

It's fun too. You can reuse all the material and the seed is the only cost each subsequent year.

http://www.chestnutridgeofpikecounty.com/


This is where I bought some 2 years ago. For me, I am going with just locally harvested acorns from here on out with maybe a few giant burs (doing AWESOME alongside the chestnuts)

 

nwmn

5 year old buck +
Should mention the dunstans in the background, with bur oak in the bags and swamp white oaks in the flats.
 

OHIOShedder

Yearling... With promise
J- if you take the plunge remember that you need to buy at least 2 for pollination so it's actually $60 plus tax. Some stores seem to sell out of them quickly. Those that don't often discount them in summer.
 

OHIOShedder

Yearling... With promise
Also, I bought 4 of their biggest trees 2 summers ago and they have not produced a nut yet....keeping my fingers crossed for this year.
 

Jordan Selsor

5 year old buck +
If your to busy to grow your own mossy oak native nursery has them for 5.50 a tree. Ones I received last fall were 2ft + tall. Burnt ridge nursery also has a wide variety of chestnuts at a reasonable price. I have not seen any of their seedlings but been happy with their fruit tree orders in the past. I bought 6 of the dunstans from wal mart last yr, they were 5ft tall. One even got a nut last yr. I wanted to get a handful of older trees in the ground so I could see the results sooner. Some might say I'm impatient. Good luck
 

Gator

5 year old buck +
I believe they are worth it. Obviously not as worth buying the seed but if you are time constrained then definitely worth it IMO. Last year I grew some from seed. Tried again this year but something went wrong and none of my chestnuts sprouted so I bought three more from Walmart. One of the trees I just bought has the little dohickie's (technical term) that produce the nuts.
I lost one tree at the farm that was just planted this spring that was grown from seed last year. It was just gone!!
 

j-bird

Moderator
Sounds like I may get only a few (3) from wal-mart (happy birthday to me) and then try to grow some as well. I tried growing some oaks this past fall and had some success. I don't have the time to essentially grow them inside. I too am impatient. I agree growing them yourself would be more rewarding, but I think that maybe later down the road.
 

Jordan Selsor

5 year old buck +
Well I stopped by orschlans farm supply this morning and they had about 20 3 gal dunstans from chestnut hill. One of them was quite a bit taller than the others and had huge leaves and a good trunk. So I had to buy it lol. They had them marked down from 29.99 to $20. Not to bad for a good size tree I guess. Suckers got me again
 

mikmaze

5 year old buck +
I like to go by and look at em about 2 weeks after the first real blast of heat knocks em bak to looking like heck, by then they are marked down as low as they are going to go, and I snatch them up, give them a nice sheltered location for the summer, and plant them out in the fall. I can get 4 times as many trees that way, and if they are alive and kicking when I get em, they will handle just about anything.
 

Jordan Selsor

5 year old buck +
I like to go by and look at em about 2 weeks after the first real blast of heat knocks em bak to looking like heck, by then they are marked down as low as they are going to go, and I snatch them up, give them a nice sheltered location for the summer, and plant them out in the fall. I can get 4 times as many trees that way, and if they are alive and kicking when I get em, they will handle just about anything.

That was my plan as well mikmaze but i gave in today!
 

paleopoint

A good 3 year old buck
I don't know if they are worth it. At least, not yet. I put some in last year. They died.

Myself, along with several friends bought about a dozen from a local WalMart in central Michigan last May. None survived the Michigan winter of 2012/14. All were well cared for....some even in shelter tubes. But they died anyway.
 

CrazyEd

5 year old buck +
my 3 managed to survive winter, I was surprised.
 

CrazyEd

5 year old buck +
Not from what I can tell but they are just getting ready to leave out at our place. WAY behind just about everything else. So it's a little hard to tell. I should have a better idea in a few more weeks but they had lots of green buds ready to pop open. The only 2 pictures I took out don't look like much.

CameraZOOM-20140524122959880.jpg


Ironically my neighbor (ozzz) just asked me the same questions yesterday via email. What do I think about Dunstans, did mine survive. Etc. This is my response.

You know me well enough by now to know i do a lot of experimenting and testing. So I bought my 3 dunstan's from chestnut hill farms in Florida in 2012. The first year I kept them home in my garden in 7 gallon roottrapper bags and watered the heck out of them. They put on a heck of a root system that first year. In spring of 2013 I planted them out on the farm and gave them the same treatment that I give all my apple trees. A good cage, 2-3 bags of composted manure backfill, plastic/lumite, pea gravel, watersorb, the whole 9 yards. They did surprisingly well over their first year even though we had some drought conditions the later part of summer. Another key in my opinion to their success was planting them in a place where they would get some shade in the afternoon which is typically when the sun is the hottest of the day. I've read of plenty other people suggest this technique, they will burn up otherwise. Then the next test was winter. And as you know we had an absolutely brutal winter, one of the coldest in recent time. Much to surprise my Dunstan's are loaded with green buds. They're not actually leafed out yet (as of saturday) but there is lots of green buds and they should leaf out any day. So since they survived this past winter, I think that was a good test for hardiness.

So overall my thoughts, I would not plant thousands of them but if you want to plant a few I would think they should be ok. Any tree you plant in our sand, there is always a chance it can die. It's a tough climate up there in that sand, you are always rolling the dice. But so far in my limited testing they can hold up to a harsh winter. If you can get the walmart dusntans you would be doing good, they are typically a lot larger caliper stock to start with versus the trees I bought directly from chestnut hill farms. Who knows if these dunstan's will be all the rave that people actually claim they are. I don't believe there is any golden ticket or silver bullet. However, adding diversity is always key and important. These might be just another piece to the puzzle.
 

CrazyEd

5 year old buck +
Mine have a huge red oak immediately to the west, and some taller jack pines as well. So far they have done pretty good on our farm. I spoil them like i do my apples but still, our conditions are pretty tough between drought and harsh winter. Not bad for 3 trees from Florida. Time will tell and I will due my best to keep everyone posted on my testing.
 

split toe

A good 3 year old buck
I know some of the wal-marts in Arkansas have their Chestnut Hill Dunstans marked down to $15 (originally $29). I'll probably wait another week or two and grab a few after they are marked down a little more. I plan on just keeping them over the summer and plant this fall.
 

Jordan Selsor

5 year old buck +
I'm gonna have to try some of this watersorb. Where you get your Ed?
 
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