Southeastern Outdoors
Southeastern Outdoors
  Home > Flora > Trees > American Chestnut Tree
To Wind and WeatherWeb Site Advertising

Saving the American Chestnut

Before the 20th century, when a wild turkey wanted a snack, it headed for the nearest American chestnut tree. In fact, animals everywhere in the Appalachian Mountains feasted on this major food source each fall.

Then disease--a type of fungus called a chestnut blight--killed millions of American chestnut trees. Today, few chestnuts remain and acorns have become the most popular food for animals in the Appalachians.

To bring the chestnuts back, the U.S. Forest Service, Virginia Tech and the NWTF are combining their research and resources to help the American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation (ACCF) fight the blight along the east slope of Sinking Creek Mountain in Virginia's Jefferson National Forest.

The ACCF has developed a three-pronged approach to fighting the fungus. First, they breed blight-resistant chestnut trees and plant them in good chestnut habitat. Then they inoculate these trees with a weak strain of the blight containing a virus that attacks the nastier wild strain. Finally, they cut away parts of the most successful trees and graft them onto root systems of trees that have already succumbed to the disease. This grafting allows healthy, blight-resistant sprouts to use already established root systems to grow more quickly into mature, nut-producing chestnuts.

The NWTF helped support the ACCF's chestnut research and restoration work on good potential chestnut habitat in the Jefferson National Forest. Because of these efforts, the American chestnut may once again become an established food source for wildlife.

For more information on the American chestnut or to reclaim American chestnut habitat on your land, contact the American Chestnut Cooperator's Foundation at ACCF, 2667 Forest Service Road 708, Newport, VA 24128. Or e-mail Lucille Griffin at


Related Links & Resources:
Iowa Bur Oaks Face Terminal Fungus
Saving The American Chestnut Tree
Largest Pecan Tree in The United States
Dogwood Trees


American Chestnut
Pecan Insects
Gardening Forum
Landscape Forum
Sponsor Links
Gardens Alive!
What's This?
Related Links
Tree Books