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Chestnut, Sweet   /   Castanea sativa

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Sweet Chestnut, European Chestnut - Castanea sativa, Castanea vulgaris (latin)

Areas of origin: Asia Minor where fossilised leaves dating from approximately 5000 years ago have been found. It has become indigenous in the Mediterranean Basin and within the boreal hemisphere between 30° and 50° .
Adult Dimensions: Height up to 30 m (98.4'), width up to 20 m (65.6').
Foliage : Deciduous.
Soil Type: Well drained. Dislikes soil that is too wet.
Hardiness: Hardy to -20°C.
Exposure: Semi-shade to full sun.


Properties and uses:
The magnificent foliage and the production of chestnuts in autumn make this a very interesting tree for parks and gardens. It can be planted alone or within a windbreak hedge. This tree is also important within forests, the wood is very hard and is therefore very good for making fence posts. It is also much used in carpentry. For the intensive production of sweet chestnuts, the varieties favoured are 'Marigoule', 'Maraval' and 'Comballe'.

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Jean-Michel Groult vous conseille

What you need to provide it with
The Chestnut tree thrives in soils which are not too calcareous, like in sandy soil or in areas where schist and granite are naturally present. A white soil, as very chalky, is definitely not for him. Just as the Chestnut tree does not like sea wind unless it is sheltered behind a tree's hedge facing the sea spray first. A taller subject is easier to establish than a very young tree, as during its first years, a chestnut tree has a very slow growth. Afterwards, it makes up for it!

Think about space!
The Chestnut tree is a majestic tree which occupies a lot of space when reaching maturity. As it does not like pruning, you must plan for a site where it has the required space to thrive, that is to say the equivalent of 5m around the trunk, in every direction. It will only occupy this space after a long period of time. At the beginning, the Chestnut tree grows upwards, and then progressively it starts spreading out widthways, approximately after 4 to 5 years.

Pruning
It is not necessary to prune a Chestnut tree. On the contrary, Chestnut trees loathe it. However you can force it to grow branches which are near the ground in cutting the main stem at the end of winter, in dry weather conditions. In order to get a tree which has a rather straight trunk and which does not fork out until it reaches a certain height, remove the growths which form along the sides of the trunk.

Diseases
The Chestnut tree is not sensitive to the usual diseases found in orchard-grown trees. It is therefore not necessary to apply the same treatments that the ones you would apply to Apple and Cherry trees. Nevertheless, it can suffer from diseases rather rare in our gardens but that can be lethal. It is canker, a disease which kills trees and for which there is no remedy. The other disease is spread about by destructive insects recently introduced and which lay their eggs in the buds thus preventing the tree to form leaves. The solution is to set up specific traps, but it is not easy to protect an entire tree.

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