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The Chinese Chestnut is a broad spreading tree that grows to a medium height of 30′ to 40′. The late spring flowers are attractive to bees and insure a nut crop every year. Loaded we large deliciously sweet chestnuts that are preferred by people, deer and turkeys. Plant 2 for best results. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8.
Chinese Chestnut- Castanea mollissima is a long cultivated chestnut tree from the far east. They have been selected for centuries for precociousness and form. The ability to bear at a young age and to bear a heavy crop annually are the traits that have made this tree a significant crop tree.
The Chinese Chestnut is very different in form from the American Chestnut. The American Chestnut was a rapidly growing, tall, straight, timber type tree that soared to 100 feet or more. The Chinese Chestnut is by comparison a short, low branching, spreading type tree of 40 to 50 feet in height. they are much more suited to an orchard setting. American Chestnuts can take 20 to 25 years to bear their first crop of nuts. Chinese Chestnuts can bear their first crop in 4 or 5 years.
The ability to crop at a young age is this trees untapped secret. The U.S. imported 3781 metric tons of chestnuts in 2011 valued at 12.4 million dollars. The USDA does not report chestnut production in the U.S. To say that there is an untapped market for local chestnut production in the U.S. is an understatement.
There is a ready demand for locally produced Chestnuts. The local food movement is primed and ready for this crop. Both fresh nuts, in shell and shelled, are readily marketable as well as value added products such as chestnut flour.
Chestnuts can be produced on land that is marginal for other crop production. Young orchards could certainly be under cropped with soybeans or the grass cut for hay.
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