Studies of Trees 1914- American Chestnut


TOPIC: Studies of Trees 1914- American Chestnut

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Date: Tues, Jul 8 2008 6:40 pm
From: "Edward Frank"

Studies of Trees
by J. J. Levison, M.F.
Lecturer on Ornamental and Shade Trees, Yale University Forest School;
Forester to the Department of Parks, Brooklyn, N. Y.
First Edition
First Thousand

Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

Distinguishing characters: The bark in young trees is smooth and of a marked reddish-bronze color, but when the tree grows older, the bark breaks up into diamond-shaped ridges, sufficiently characteristic to distinguish the tree at a glance, see Fig. 65. A close examination of the terminal twig will show three ridges and two grooves running down along the stem from the base of each leaf or leaf-scar. The twig has no true terminal bud. The fruit, a large, round bur, prickly without and hairy within and enclosing the familiar dark brown, sweet edible nuts is also a distinguishing mark of the tree.

Leaf: The leaves are distinctly long and narrow. They are from 6 to 8 inches long.

Form and size: The chestnut is a large tree with a massive trunk and broad spreading crown. The chestnut tree when cut, sprouts readily from the stump and therefore in places where the trees have once been cut, a group of two to six trees may be seen emerging from the old stump.

Figure 65: Trunk of Chestnut Tree

Range: Eastern United States.

Soil and location: It will grow on rocky as well as on fertile soils and requires plenty of light.

Enemies: During the past nine years nearly all the chestnut trees in the United States have been attacked by a fungus disease (Diaporthe parasitica, Mur.) which still threatens the entire extinction of the chestnut trees in this country. No remedy has been discovered and all affected trees should be cut down and the wood utilized before it decays and becomes worthless. No species of chestnut tree is entirely immune from this disease, though some species are highly resistant.

Value for planting: The chestnut is one of the most rapidly growing hardwood trees but, on account of its disease, which is now prevalent everywhere, it is not wise to plant chestnut trees for the present.

Commercial value: The wood is light, not very strong and liable to warp. It is durable when brought in contact with the soil and is therefore used for railroad ties, fence-posts, poles, and mine timbers. It is also valuable for interior finish in houses and for fuel. Its bark is used in the manufacture of tanning extracts and the nuts are sold in cities in large quantities.