Sweet-Hart Chestnut - 'Castanea dentata x mollissima'Around 1906, the chestnut blight called Endothia parasitica was introduced along the east coast of the United States and spread like wildfire through the forests. Devastating the once dominant American Chestnut, Castanea dentata, the blight had little to no effect on the Chinese Chestnut that were prominent throughout Asia. In the early 1960s, Mr. and Mrs. Harter successfully crossed a selected American Chestnut and a selected Chinese Chestnut and created the first Sweet-Hart Chestnut. Practically a perfect cross between the two chestnuts, the Sweet-Hart was not only blight resistant but also a wonderful producer of sweet chestnuts. Producing pale yellow flowers throughout June and chestnuts throughout the summer, animals absolutely love the chestnuts and the tree makes an excellent addition for deer, turkey, and other wildlife plots.
||Deciduous Shade Tree|
||Leaves are reddish upon unfolding and change to a lustrous dark green in the summer. They culminate to a shade of yellow and bronze in fall and throughout summer are 3 to 6 inches long and 2 to 4 inches wide. Leaves are alternate, simple, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, rounded at base, and coarsely serrate.|
||40 to 60 feet in height with equal spread.|
||Zone 4 to 8. For an idea of your plant zone please visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.|
||Rounded in youth, developing a rounded to broad-rounded outline at maturity, usually low-branched.|
||Slow to medium, 4 to 7 feet over a 3 to 4 year period.|
||Pale yellow or creamy, of heavy, unpleasant odor, monoecious, staminate in erect cylindrical catkins, pistillate on the lower part of the upper staminate catkins, usually 3 female in a prickly symmetrical involucre, borne in a 4 to 5 inches long and wide panicle in June.|
|Diseases & Insects:
||Blight, twig canker of asiatic chestnuts, weevils which damage the roots; this species is not immune to chestnut blight but resistant.|
||Best as a replacement for the American Chestnut; valued for fruits. While the fruits' prickly covers are a real nuisance and fall over an extended period of time, it has sometimes been used as a sidewalk and street tree. Go figure.|
||Prefers acid (pH between 5.5 and 6.5), well-drained, loamy soil. Does well in hot, dry climates and is easily transplanted when young.|
||Water regularly after initial planting and prune as necessary to maintain form and desired shape.|
||Fertilize an area three times the canopy spread of the tree 1 to 2 times a year with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Only fertilize an established tree.
||Dig a hole three times the diameter of the root system, with a depth no deeper than the original soil line on trunk. Break up the soil to the finest consistency possible. Place plant in hole and fill, compacting the fill dirt. Water the plant heavily to seal soil around the roots and remove air pockets. Water well, and remember to water regularly until they have started to grow.