Pisgah Chestnut Hunt  

TOPIC: Pisgah Chestnut hunt

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sun, Jun 29 2008 9:53 pm
From: James Parton

Last year fall I did a couple of outings on Mt. Pisgah near the Pisgah Inn looking for American Chestnuts that my father in past years had reported seeing there. I was not disappointed.
Friday I decided to return to Pisgah to look for more large American Chestnuts and hopefully see some in flower. I decided to start off trail on the Pisgah Ridge about
two miles down from Mt. Pisgah towards Asheville. Most of this was done off trail
alongside the Parkway. I hoped to find some that no one had seen since many
areas just off the Parkway are never explored. People just drive by. It turned out
that I found no large trees though smaller sprouts were common. This surprised
me since I had seen decent ones higher up only about two miles away. The largest
one I found here was just under 16 feet tall. Most were much shorter. However some
really nice oaks were found here. Some over 10 feet in girth. Due to the altitude here
being over 4000 feet the trees have a maximum height of about 65 feet. I am pretty
sure that many of these large oaks are probably old growth. The growing season
here is pretty short and the weather often harsh compared with lower altitudes.
Looking at the pictures, can anyone id these oaks for me? I am no pro with Quercus.
The Mountains-To-Sea trail runs alongside the Parkway here and I found it as I hiked
deeper into the woods.

After leaving the forest below Mt. Pisgah I rode a little ways up the mountain hoping
for more productive grounds. I hiked back into the woods on a paved trail on the
second overlook on the right ( From Asheville ) and found a picnic area. Here was
one nice Chestnut that was over 24 feet tall. It was healthy.
After waiting for the rain to quit I left for Pisgah Inn. This was a very Chestnut-rich
area that I was impressed with last year. Am Chestnuts are actually common here.
The biggest I found was barely under 30 feet tall. At first, that does not sound big.
but you must consider that at an altitude of nearly 5000 feet the canopy is not that
high. Except for the spruce, trees rarely top 40 feet here. So a 30 ft Chestnut is a
canopy tree! I did notice that a couple of sizeable chestnuts I had seen alive last
year has since died. The blight. Nearly every chestnut shows evidence of it.. Some
quite severe. However many trees here have lived long enough to get past the
smooth bark stage to a more mature bark form. Also the number of flowering
chestnuts was surprising. The flowering was still well ahead of peak but they
should be enough trees here to cross pollinate and produce nuts. Last year in
my limited search I did not successfully find any viable nuts. I hope for better
luck come fall. I also found some chestnuts with leaves a foot long!  Beautiful!

 American Chestnut

 Chestnut Leaves

TACF knows of this place. They have pollinated chestnuts at nearby Mt. Pisgah Campground for their chestnut restoration project.
                                CBH       Height
American Chestnut        8 1/2"   15.96' 
Oak                         10' 7 1/4" 
Oak                         9' 11 1/2"
Oak                         10' 4 1/2"
Oak                         9' 9 1/2"    57.00'
American Chestnut   1'0"           24.14'
American Chestnut                   24.74'
American Chestnut   4' 8"         29.44!  ( Nice tree! )
Hawthorn                 1' 11 1/2"  17.58'
American Chestnut   2' 1 1/2"    28.68'
I intend to return for a more detailed off trail excursion later in the year.
 James Parton

TOPIC: Pisgah Chestnut hunt

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Thurs, Jul 3 2008 6:32 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


The leaves and bark look like plain old Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) See the USDA plant Guide: