Chestnut trees grow anywhere between 30 feet and 180 feet, the American chestnuts on the larger side. if grown with plenty of the space, the crown will spread wide, but if planted close to other trees of similar size, they will grow more erect. The chestnut fruit is nutritious, the only "nut" with Vitamin C. Chestnuts taste better when roasted. They can be prepared by being candied, boiled, grilled, ground, fried, steamed and canned. To keep chestnuts for several months without refrigerating, soak in cool water for 24 hours, dry in the shade and cover with sand.
Planting Tips for Chestnut Trees
- Chestnut trees are hardy in zones 4 to 8, sometimes able to survive through winters in zone 3.
- Plant when seeds are ripe in the autumn or place in a perforated ziploc bag, covered in peat moss or vermiculite. Store in a refrigerator around 35 degrees.
- Sow seeds in containers root or flat side down, about 1 inch deep. Seeds will germinate in late winter or early spring.
- Transplant seedlings to outdoors or larger containers when they reach about 8 inches tall.
- Plant in a well-draining, fertile soil, preferably in a pH range of 5.5 to 6.0.
- Although chestnut trees grow better when they experience winter, they are vulnerable to frost when they are young. Place indoors or in a greenhouse through the first winter.
- Plant in area that receives full sun, about 8 hours of sunlight a day.
- Plant 2 trees so they can pollinate each other. Plant the two trees at least 10 feet apart.
Watering Tips for Chestnut Trees
- Water weekly throughout the first year, about 8 to 10 gallons of water a week.
- Once established, watering is only necessary during times of drought. Chestnut trees are drought-resistant.
Mulching Tips for Chestnut Trees
- Before planting a sapling or transplanting outdoors, dig a hole 2 feet deep and fill half way with leaves, sand and peat moss. Leave for a couple months before planting.
- After planting, mulch a couple inches thick around the tree with leaves, twigs, manure or other available compost materials.
- Don't allow the mulch to touch the trunk of the tree.
Fertilizing Options for Chestnut Trees
- Fertilize in spring and autumn with a water soluble fertilizer with a high percentage of nitrogen.
- Start fertilizing a couple weeks after planting.
- Fertilize with an organic fertilizer, such as bone meal