Dunstan Chestnuts Castanea dentata X mollissima
Dunstan Chestnuts seedling trees™ are the best and most widely planted chestnut trees in America - they combine the excellent nut quality and tree form with blight resistance (not immune). Dunstan chestnut trees have been grown successfully from Maine and New York, west to Illinois and Wisconsin, and south to east Texas and Florida. They are excellent for commercial and backyard orchards, and are the best tree to plant for attracting deer and wildlife.
Dunstan Chestnuts™ begin to bear at only 3-5 years of age of the tree, care and climate they receive. Trees planted in colder regions such as USDA zone 5, may bear between 5-7 years of age. The best location is a south slope, with good air and water drainage - avoid frost pockets. A sheltered north-facing slope protected from drying winds and low sun of winter may be better for cold windy sites.. They produce heavy annual crops (never skipping a year like oaks) of very large, sweet tasting (no tannin) nuts that average 20-35/lb in size, and can produce 20 lbs/tree after only 10 years, and as much as 50-100 lbs/tree at maturity. They are easy to grow and thrive in a variety of locations.
Trees are like children: you get out of them what you put into them. The more you can help with water, fertilizer and good conditions, the faster they will grow and the sooner they will come into production. New plants haven't developed enough feeder roots or storage roots to find and store the water they need to survive, so you must water new plants. Water with intelligence, not just on a rigid schedule. Place your finger in the soil above the plant's roots each day. If the soils is dry, water. If the soil is not dry then do not. The roots of a tree need oxygen, and too much water deprives them of that. Harming a plant's roots when it is young can negatively affect the plant for the rest of its life.
Your planting site selection should be well-drained (better drained than apple trees require), non-low lying area, sandy loam soils with a pH between 5-6.5. The best location is a south slope, with good air and water drainage - avoid frost pockets. A sheltered north-facing slope protected from drying winds and low sun of winter may be better for cold windy sites.
The most common mistake in chestnut cultivation is to plant them on sites that are too wet or too "heavy" (too much clay). Dense clay soils stunt root growth and hold on to too much water, leading to weak, slow-growing trees. Clay soils can be tolerated if there is good surface drainage (slope), but chestnuts do best on deep, sandy loams.
Full sun is required for nut production minimum of 6 hours of full sun. Non-filtered sun. Prepare the area by removing any weeds prior to planting. This step is often overlooked but is absolutely critical to any successful planting. Weeds and grass steal light, water and nutrients from your trees. We recommend weed mats.
Dig the hole twice as wide as the pot but no deeper than the root-ball. Do not add amendments to the soil such as mulch or organic matter, this acts like a sponge and increases root rot and robs the trees of nitrogen from the fertilizer (microbes breaking down the organic matter use nitrogen in the process).
Carefully remove the tree from the pot keeping the soil around the roots intact. It helps to tap the outside of the container to loosen the edge. Do not yank the tree out of the container as this can separate the roots from the tree. Carefully separate the roots if they are root bound.
We recommend keeping the pot stake attached to the tree for 1 season. After 1 season you can remove the pot stake. If the tree appears stable staking is not needed. If using Grow Tubes then staking the tree is not necessary. If staking is necessary, hold the trunk with one hand to find the height at which the unsupported top can stand up on its own and will spring back to a vertical position if lightly flexed. Allow trees a slight amount of flex rather than holding them rigidly in place. Tree straps should be made of material that will not injure or girdle the tree. Instructions for staking trees
Remove any ties, tags and labels from trees to prevent girdling trunks and branches.
Plant the tree at the same height they were grow in the pot, not deeper. Bare root trees will have a noticeable color difference between the roots and the trunk. Plant at the depth of this color difference.
Fill in the planting hole with the native soil. Set the tree in the middle of the hole. Avoid planting the tree too deep. Using some soil, secure the tree in a straight position, then fill and firmly pack the hole with the native soil.
We recommend creating a water-holding basin around the hole and water the trees in thoroughly at planting. Remove the berm at the end of the second growing season. Water slowly at the drip-line. Water in thoroughly, making sure there are no air pockets around the roots. Air pockets prevent roots from growing into the soil around it. After the water has soaked in, spread a protective layer of mulch 2-4" deep around the trunk pulling the mulch a few inches away from the trunk to keep the moisture from accumulating next to the bark. Choices for mulch, leaf litter, hay, shredded or fine bark, pine needles or use weed mats to prevent weed competition and to reduce water evaporation.
Plant at least 2 Dunstan Chestnut seedling trees for pollination, but production is better with more trees when planted 20-50’ apart. Ideal spacing for nut production is 35-40' apart.
It is important to provide a balanced fertilizer such as Scotts Osmocote time release with minor elements or Espoma Holly Tone Organic Fertilizer. Minors are very important because if they are not available in certain soils, as they can be a limiting factor for plant growth. We recommend using Scotts Osmocote for younger trees Indoor/Outdoor (19-6-12) recommend amount per directions or Espoma Holly Tone Organic Fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer evenly under the entire canopy of the tree avoiding a 5-inch area around the trunk. Mix in top 1-3 " of soil, then water in. For mature trees we recommend using Scotts Osmocote Vegetable/Flower (14-14-14) recommended amount per directions.
Your local extension service will make recommendations along with the soil test. Strong rains can also leach away much of the Nitrogen, which is highly soluable. Nitrogen is a key element required for plant growth. Do not fertilize at planting. Quick-release lawn or garden fertilizer can burn the tender roots of young trees before they become established. We recommend waiting at least a month after the trees have leafed out before fertilizing with a time-released fertilizer such as Scotts Osmocote. After applying the fertilizer make sure you water your trees lightly for absorption.
Once the trees are established, fertilize in early spring (Mar-April) when growth begins and again in early June with the start of summer rains. Do not fertilize in the fall, which can promote late season tender growth that can be damaged by early frosts.
The best time to fertilize fruit trees is during the growing season, starting in early spring (after bud break) and finishing by July.
Water is the single most important factor for tree survival. If the year you plant is like the severe drought experienced by the Midwest several summers ago, if you do not water your trees they will die. The truth is that many trees die from too little or too much water during the first few months after planting. Trees are likely to get too little water in well-drained soil and too much in soil that is poorly drained. We recommend for best success to supplemental water your newly planted trees for the first two years.
Newly planted trees planted in the spring should be watered regularly (2-4x/week) for the first year or two especially if rains are infrequent. Water thoroughly but do not over-water; the soil should dry down slightly between watering. Irrigation from lawn sprinklers is generally not sufficient until the plants are well established. This is the most critical step in the establishment of your new trees!
If you plant in the fall, water in at planting, and then 1x/week until they lose their leaves and go dormant with the onset of winter. Resume watering after leaf out in the spring. Make sure water is applied to the original root ball. Adjust water according to soil type, temperature, rainfall, and other irrigation.
Make sure water is applied to the original root ball. Adjust water according to soil type, temperature, rainfall, and other irrigation.
The first year is a critical time for the establishment of a new pear. Water thoroughly twice a week on light soils and once a week on clay soils. Soak the entire root system deeply.
Water regularly, especially during dry periods.
Soil's acidity or alkalinity is determined by pH. The best range for growing most fruit and flowering trees is between 5.0 and 6.5. Soils in much of the South fall within this range. Soils in pine woods are often lower (4.0-5.0) , and need to be raised by the application of lime or dolomite (see your County Agent for a soil test and recommended rates). Other areas (such as Texas) have soils with pH>7, which will need to be acidified or lowered by the application of nitrogen sulfate or other sulfur-based fertilizers.
It is important to keep grass and weeds from competing with young trees - they are the biggest competitor for young trees and steal water and fertilizer from the new plantings. Try to keep a 2-3' circle clear of weeds from the base of the trunk. Mulch moderates soil temperature extremes and helps moisture retention as well as keeps weed growth down. We recommend Grow Tubes, because you can spray Roundup or other herbicides close to the tree without hitting the stem. If you do not use Grow Tubes, be very careful with herbicide, especially on young trees, because they can absorb it directly through the bark. It only takes a few drops to kill the tree; so apply only when there is no wind, use a colored dye mixed in the herbicide so you can see it being applied and protect the trunk with a shield or hood on the fertilizer wand.
Late spring freezes are a problem in northern locations, especially after the plants have leafed out. If your trees have already started to grow and you expect a late freeze, then you should make every effort to protect them, such as using Grow Tubes and other protective measures. Click for information on properly using frost cloth.
Some areas even in Zone 5 can have killing frosts as late as Memorial Day! Dunstan Chestnut trees can tolerate temps as low as -20 degrees when fully dormant and established trees.
Size Shipped 1+ year old seedlings 30"-40" container grown - $31.95
Price does not include Shipping and Handling.
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Mature Height: 40-60'
Mature Spread: 30-40'
Tree Form: Central Leader
Flowers: Showy catkins
Pollination: Plant at least two Dunstans' for cross pollination
Bloom season: May - June
Bears: Sep-Oct Depending on climate
Light requirements: Full sun
Soil type: Well-drained, non-low lying areas, sandy loam and pH 5.0-7.0
Fertilization: Do not fertilize at planting.
Pruning: Pruning consists of the removal of dead, diseased, or damaged branches, maintaining size (width within your landscape).
Watering:Newly planted trees should be watered regularly.This is the most critical step in the establishment of your new trees. See watering section under "How to plant and grow"
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
Normal growing altitude is 4,000'. The Dunstan Chestnut requires 250 chill hours for for the chestnuts to ripen.
Available for pickup at farm Treeband(Qt size), 3-gallon, 7-gallon, 15-gallon, 30-gallon, 45-gallon and 65-gallon trees.
Please call for quantity prices for larger sizes, and shipping costs.