Planting Dunstan trees.(questions)


Yearling... With promise
I just bought two dunstan chestnuts from a local agway.They are maybe 3ft tall and in 3 gallon containers(i think).I have heavy clay soils that are moderately acidic(ph around 6). Questions 1. Should i try and find trees tubes,cut the branches off and tube them?? Or just plant and cage them? 2. How close together should they be planted for pollination reason?? Pretty sure there are no other chestnuts around. They will both be planted in my yard so they wont be much more than 100yds apart 3 Any planting advice as far as what to mix with the soil and mulch to use.Any advice would be appreciated! Also I have heavy deer densities here


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Glad you posted a pic. After looking at the trees I would tube them. It's cheaper and easier. Tubes were the best investment I made for my trees. I think I got my tubes from treeprotectionsupply or something like that for just over $3/tube. Chestnuts seem to grow aggressive enough I think 4ft tubes would be fine but many like 5ftrs
Good luck
I read a study that said tree tubes on chestnuts created weak trunks. They said wider tubes were better if you used them.

I then read those were old tubes and the new tubes (vented maybe) were better.

What advantages do tubes give over just cageing? Is it purely a cost thing?
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I think weak trunk issues happen when you take tubes off to soon. Directions say leave them on till tree is almost filling the diameter.
I have had nothing but bad results when using tubes for chestnuts. I do use them on very small seedlings and when I direct seed the nuts. A few years ago I did my own test with Chinese Chestnuts. I had 8 2 yr. old seedlings. I placed 4 in 48 inch tubes and caged the other 4. Just like in the past the trees in the tubes started out fast then withered and would have died. The 4 in the cages had a steady and healthy growth rate. I now cage all my older chestnuts.
I know many others have had good results with the tubes, but they didn't work for me.
Mo I remember you an others having this happen when planted in direct sun. Some talked about placing boards to provide some shade and other fixes. I'm trying a lil experiment. I planted them with sawtooths in a line down the edge of a field that runs east/west. I just planted eagle beans along side them. I'm hoping the beans will be tall when July/August hits giving the trees some shade. Time will tell. I posted a pic in the Selsor slice of heaven thread I started....

If 50% of those live and start producing you're going to have one heck of a chestnut orchard for them deer.
Thats what I was thinking.
looks like it should be a great orchard!
I planted 5 big dunstan trees and put cages around them.
Any chance that tubes can cook the trees once summer sets in?
There are pros and cons with tubing chestnuts. Tubes saved mine in drought, but when I removed the tube the trees bowed to the ground from weak trunks. My best chestnuts are growing in cages and require watering in a drought, so this year each chestnut got a 6 x 6 Lumite moisture barrier and a cage. From years of planting chestnuts, I think this is the best method for my location. I treat a chestnut like an apple tree.

Deer and chestnuts. Deer prefer young Chestnuts above all others for browse and bucks will rub a chestnut tree at every opportunity. I couple years ago I had a 5 year old chestnut that didn't need the tube anymore, so I removed it, a buck rubbed it, and it's now growing back from the roots. Since they require protection from rubbing, I cage all of mine, and I prune off the double trunks and lower branches.
The solid tube and mesh tube combination is good for the first year, and then I cut off the mesh at the top of the plastic sleeve, and cage for buck protection. If that's not done the chestnut will grow through the mesh and get girdled, plus a tube won't stop a buck. When I alternate to cages I leave the blue tube inside a mesh tube so that rodents can't gnaw the trunk. For some reason rodents target young chestnut, and I have lots of them coming back from the root with dead tops that were girdled by rodents.
That's the system I use for tubing, but I'm seeing trees right next to your Chestnuts. Chestnuts don't like shade or competition. Saplings that are growing near them are a problem, as they will get bigger also. Shade keeps nut production and growth to a minimum. I just cut HP that I planted a 3-4 years ago because it was shading chestnut. You might consider making small clearings for your chestnuts and throwing some clover in them. I need to get some pics, while my chestnuts are growing, I'm using the openings they're in for throw and grow clover plots.

From where I sit, bear and moose sound exciting, but I know they cause a lot of damage.
I agree, you'll get MUCH better results if you get rid of the competion now. The Dunstan grows much like a Chinese Chestnut and does better in an orchard type setting. If they were more like an American Chestnut you'd be fine.

What the heck do you do to stop a moose from browsing seedlings? lol.
Yes. I'm hoping to keep them sheltered for one or two more years and then open them up once their diameters get larger. The two that I had in more open areas did winter kill or had severe dieback. These did not.

Here is the link to the ACF article which covered chestnut cold tolerance:

Excellent article!
I am going to try and plant most of the Dunstans I have left this weekend - I am having a hard time stopping the squirrels from destroying the ones I have growing at home in pots...they destroyed 15 today..:mad:
Did you remove the nuts? I've found that once the nut is gone they don't mess with the trees. I lost a lot (I mean a LOT) one year before I knew that little tidbit

I removed the nuts a number of weeks ago when I was replanting to 2 1/2 gallon containers (I thought they were fairly safe)... the next set of nuts to go will have gray fur!...Beside the chestnuts, the squirrels ripped up three hickory seedlings a few white oaks and a couple of crabs. Thank god they don't bother the 12 apple graft I have in the same area.
Are they on the ground or up off the ground? I had a woodchuck take out some seedlings last week that were in one gallon pots on the ground.

Most are sitting on brick planters that surround our patio that are about 2 ft. high, the rest were sitting on the patio table.
I agree with Stu. Did you remove the nuts?

I built this cage to keep my younger seedlings with nuts attached. It's kept the tree rats out so far.


That's a nice looking cage - I will have to consider something similar next year...
The latest ACF magazine mentions that chestnuts give the best growth when they receive 30% shade. More than double the growth than chestnuts in full sun.

That's what made the "American Chestnut" the perfect tree! There are very few native trees that can out compete it. It spends it's early years making a root system and racing towards the canopy, once there it's flowers can receive full sun. It's the reason they were the dominant tree on the east coasts.
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Looking good Mo - Will this be the second year in the tube? Did you have any die back? Most of my Chinese Chestnuts back die back over the winter, but are doing well now. I checked a number of them this last weekend and a few of them had new growth reaching close to the top of the 5 ft tube.
I've been wondering how those CC's from Red Fern Farm did for you

I'll try and take a few pictures of the CC's with the tubes removed this weekend.