I’ve had no success grafting chestnut seedlings although I know it is possible. Chestnuts seem to respond to injury (the graft) by pushing up new shoots from the roots rather than pushing out the graft. In general, chestnuts seem to be more true to see than many other trees so why graft them?
I don’t for the most part. In this particular case, I’m experimenting. Not with the concept of nut grafting in general, I’m just using that as a technique.
The Dunstan seedlings I’ve grown just grow like mad. The Castanea seguinii I’ve had have been very slow. I bought a couple seedlings from the wildlife group. I containerized them and grew them for a season on my deck and they produced nuts very quickly but had very little growth. The second season, I planted those nuts in Rootmaker express tray 18s. I also brought the parent trees in from my cold room early and put them under lights as well.
I was also grafting some apple scions to seedlings indoors that winter. Some of the apple trees got some disease that caused the leaves to wilt quickly and they all died once they caught it. Other apple seedlings that I grafted were fine and showed no symptoms. The Castenea Seguinni got the same disease. Both the parent trees and all of the seedlings died except one. The growth of that one seems much more like the Allegheny Chinquapins I grow from seed. It is a very small slow grower.
The Willdlife group is not selling them this year and I could not find another source for nuts. So, I decided to do this experiment. I don’t know if the Dunstan cross is compatible with Castenea Seguinni or not, but if it is, what will the resulting tree do. With Castena Seguinni still be a slow grower on Dunstan roots? Will it still produce nuts early in its lifecycle or will I need to wait for 5+ years for nuts. If it produces nuts soon, I’ll have a nut source to grow seedlings.
JDARL was also kind enough to send me a few nuts. I’ll probably try the epicotyle grafting method s well.
The only other reason I can think of to nut graft is if there is a specific nut characteristic you want. For example Auburn has patented a few varieties of chestnuts with specific characteristics. They must have some way to clonal propagate them. I was told that some of them are nut grafted. I believe they are all Chinese. chestnuts (Castanea mollissima), just a specific variety. I’m not sure if the same compatibility issues would exist.