Denny C. from Ohio writes to ask about chestnut trees.
"A friend of mine owns some property here in southeastern Ohio, and he
has planted some chestnut trees. I told him they would die, but he said they
were Chinese chestnut rather than American chestnuts, and they would survive.
This fall the trees were 6 years old and they produced a fair number of
chestnuts that the deer seemed to love. I've heard that chestnuts used to be a
great deer food 'till we lost them all due to a fungus. Can we get the chestnut
Denny: Chestnuts used to be a major mast producer in our forests. Then, in
the early 1900s a fungus invaded this country and literally wiped out the
American chestnut. However, all is not lost. If you go to the website of
the American Chestnut Foundation (www.acf.org) you will discover that a lot of
research is being done to hybridize the American chestnut with the
fungus-resistant Chinese chestnut. If that works, everyone should get seedlings
and plant them in deer range because chestnuts are an outstanding deer and bear
mast species, I think this will happen in the next 10 years and if and when it
does, wildlife, especially whitetails will benefit big time.
Thanks for the question and good hunting!