Fruit and Nut Crops

Apple | Blackberry & Raspberry | Blueberry | Bunch Grape | Chestnuts | Citrus | Fig | Mulberry | Muscadine Grape | Olives | Peach & Nectarine | Pear | Pecans | Persimmon | Plum | Pomegranate | Strawberry


Chestnuts

The chestnut is a unique nut-producing tree that may have some potential as an alternative crop for certain areas. Chestnut trees vary in growth habits, depending on the species, but generally make fairly large, spectacular trees. Four common species of chestnut have been grown in North America. They exist as pure species, or more commonly, as hybrids of the various species, because they readily cross with one another. It is difficult, in many cases, to distinguish specific species and almost impossible to determine the parentage of the hybrids through visible identification.

Fertilizing

During the establishment year, apply 1 pound (2 cups) of 10-10-10 fertilizer per tree in May. 

After establishment, apply 1 pound (2 cups) of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each year of age with a maximum of 7.5 pounds (15 cups) per tree in February and June.  Consider year 1 to be at planting, or the first year after transplanting.   

Pruning

Chestnuts bear on the bisexual catkins (slim, cylindrical flower clusters), which are located near the base of the current years shoot growth. The new flushes of growth occur in areas of sunlight, at the tips of branches. Pruning should maximize the amount of sunlight available to a tree. Open-center trees (like a peach tree) allow sunlight into the vase-shaped middle, as well as the tops and sides. The European orchards and the Japanese and Korean orchards are pruned in this fashion. The central-leader tree—produced by a pruning system commonly used in apples, pecans and walnuts—creates a cone-shaped tree that has bearing surface all around the outside of the cone. This method is also acceptable for use with chestnuts.  

Upright-form trees respond better to mechanical shaking to remove the nuts. Very spreading trees may be more difficult to shake off the nuts because the branches tend to droop and do not translate the vibration of the shaker. Evidence also suggests a smaller tree may be more desirable than those that are too tall for ease of harvesting. Pruning, along with genetic characteristics, will be important in determining final tree shape and size. Many small-tree chestnut cultivars have produced well in Florida with very little pruning. 

Like many nut trees, chestnuts are slow to start and require 2–3 years to become well established.  Burrs should be removed during the first three years to promote better tree growth.

For more information, see: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1155  Production and Marketing of Chestnuts in the Southeastern United States

UF/IFAS Publications

Castanea mollissima: Chinese Chestnut

Chestnut Pesticides

Florida Chestnut Production Information

Production and Marketing of Chestnuts in the Southeastern United States 

 

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