Chinese Chestnut at Home Depot

They just reduced the price on their Chinese Chestnut trees from $34.95 to $20, so I picked up two at the Georgetown store.
I intend to plant them in a wooded area this week or should I wait until fully dormant?


I would plant them as soon as possible. Nice looking trees I hope the roots are not overly rootbound in those pots.

They’ll need to be watered at least as long as they have leaves. You could just strip the leaves.

I think I’ve read about your unirrigated plantings in central Texas. It can get awfully hot and dry in that area. I’d water during dry spells the first yr with anything.


I would not want to plant a seedling chestnut tree when grafted varieties with likely superior nuts are available. Chestnuts take a lot of space, grow quickly and the grafted ones aren’t that expensive.

But if you are not interested in the nuts for yourself, perhaps it is unimportant to you- especially if you have no shortage of space.

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What makes you think it is a seedling? That picture is the HD tag. The wholesaler tag (narrow orange one) will likely show if it’s a named variety.

It’s a good question.

The tag reads grown by Saxon Becnel and Sons. “Chinese Chestnut”
“Also great for Deer”.

I don’t see any signs of a graft!

I just found out that there are a few Chinese varieties.

Now, I have no idea which one HD is selling. The original price of $35 is a lot for a seedling, I would say.

Because it is from Home Depot! It would be extremely surprising if they sold grafted chestnuts or any kind of nut as they are not produced by big wholesaler nurseries of the type Home Depot tends to use. Propagating varietal nuts is not an easy business and requires grafting of the highest skill level.

Try Nolan River nursery if you want to grow some great varieties of chestnuts.


With apple trees I have bought there sometimes the grafts are buried when they transplant them into pots. Depending on how long they have been in the pot they tend to root out and it’s tough to get the graft level up. Not sure about nut trees there.

I contacted the grower and waiting for an answer.
Planted these two for now. I consider this a test.

Tried their website
Sadly, They will not be shipping anything until 2018!

Here is a source of both grafted and seedling trees. I have read accounts of folks growing this nursery’s seedling trees with good success because they start with seeds from grafted varieties.

I grow my own. Chestnut Ridge of Pike County has Dunstan Trees. They sell the chestnuts. I cold stratify them and start them in Rootmaker 18 express trays under lights in the winter. I then transplant them to 1 gal Rootbuilder II containers after 12-16 weeks. In late spring or early summer I transplant again to 3 gal Rootbuiler II containers. Here is an example:

This tree was started under lights last winter and planted in the field last October. The picture was taken this August. For reference, it is a 5’ tube.


Those HD trees are priced outrageously even when marked down and they don’t look very good either. HD probably bought the cheapest trees they could find from the wholesale nursery which was probably growing out the cheapest nuts they could find. The resulting trees are probably not going to produce very good nuts. For Chinese chestnuts your best option is usually to plant good quality nuts. If the resulting seedling produces good nuts, you’ve won. If not, you can graft them to something better.


Are you experienced at grafting chestnuts? If so, what methods have you used and found the most effective. Do you find incompatibility between rootstock and scions of different varieties. I have heard folks talk about. I’ve messed around with nut grafting and inverted radicle grafting but didn’t have much success my first try.

Since I’ve grown a lot of trees from Dunstan nuts, I’m sure I’ll have a mix of characteristics in the field. I’d like to find a high success field grafting method that would allow me to use scions from the most productive trees to convert less productive trees.

I did read about “green grafting” of chestnuts which I found interesting but have not tried it myself.

I prefer to top work established trees (5-10 years old or older). Chestnuts tend to abandon grafts on small trees. Because they are long lived vigorous trees, they would prefer to throw up a new root sprout than try to repair a damaged limb which is how they see a graft. Incompatibility is common but you tend to lose incompatibility when dealing with hybrids or trees that have been outbred for a few generations. That’s why Burbank was so successful with grafting chestnuts of different species. For example, I currently have a European x Japanese hybrid grafted onto a predominantly Chinese stock and the graft is beautiful. The graft works because I grafted a hybrid onto a complex hybrid.

Burnt Ridge has a ton of different types of chestnut trees. Cheap, too. $4 - $8 for seedlings. More for grafted trees. My understanding is that grafted chestnuts have poor survival rates, and seedling trees are the way to go.

Also keep in mind chestnuts grafted with the same variety can’t pollinate each other. So, if you use grafted trees, you may want some seedling trees (or another compatible variety) nearby since they are wind pollinated.

Grafted European x Japanese trees tend to have much better survival rates than grafted Chinese trees. Seedling Chinese trees are often of much better quality than seedlings of other species or hybrids. Seedlings of Colossal for example often produce junk. But seedlings of the Chinese cultivar Qing are often quite good. If I were planting an orchard in blighted areas I would plant Chinese seedlings (and later top work the bad ones) but if I were planting in a blight free area I would plant grafted European trees and European hybrids.

I’ve never lost a single grafted chestnut. The Dunston grafts were said to be fragile in my zone, but I think the problem may lie in their excessive precocity. I simply removed flowers the first few years until trees were well established.

In my nursery (Z6) I always have a few grafted chestnuts in the mix, though mostly Chinese or ChineseXAmerican types these days. My customers are looking for nuts- not timber.

I purchase trees from Nolin River.