Ranking Chestnuts by taste/nut quality


The Asian stores are usually selling Korean nuts, not Chinese nuts.


Good to know. I am tempted to take a few of these nuts and put them in a glass of water, searching for signs of life. I dont have any room for the large size tree that chestnuts become, but I could plant them in parks.


Thanks. I’ve tried both. I’ve even tried nut grafting. I just haven’t had the success that I’ve seen others have. They can be finicky…at least for me.


Most of my chestnuts are a cross between American and Chinese (Dunstan). I have very heavy clay soils. They are doing pretty well for me, however, I don’t direct seed them. I grow mine in a root pruning container system and then use a unique planting technique. I use a tractor auger to dig a hole that is very deep but very close to the diameter of the 3 gal Rootbuilder II that is my final stage before planting. I rake the sides of the hole to mitigate glazing from the auger. I back fill the hole with quarry stone and then add the tree so that the medium (promix) is about an inch above the soil line. I then use the clay from the hole to ramp up to the tree covering the medium. I never select a site that is low enough for ground water to drain in.

In my area, we get reliable and ample spring and fall rain but summers can be dry. What happens is that instead of the roots being drown by water during heavy rain, any pooling occurs well below the root system in the quarry stone. Water infiltrates the promix much faster then clay, so it can dry out quickly in the summer. That is why the diameter of the whole is very close to the size of the root ball. By the time summer rolls around, the lateral roots of the very dense root system have grown into the clay which holds water well.

This system has worked well for me (with Dunstans) but I’m not sure how well it would work in other climates.


Chestnuts can be finicky about grafting and Dunstans can be worse than average. That’s probably one reason why they don’t sell grafted Dunstan trees any more. Although most Dunstan trees have very little American genetics, they have enough that it may cause some of the grafting problems. Chinese trees do not graft well on American trees and American trees do not graft well on Chinese trees. With respect to your planting procedures it sounds like they are optimal for your soil and your weather.


@castanea what is your typical spacing between trees? I’m planting out 20+ seedlings from the seeds you sent last year.

The biggest seedlings have already been planted. Have about 10 that I still need to dig and plant in their permanent spot. Just wondering how tight I can plant these last few.



Very understandable, Jaime.



If you want Chinese trees for commercial orchard production, then they should be at least 15x20 feet apart by the time they start producing heavily. Some growers plant 10x10 now with the plan to take out every other tree when they start crowding. If you have trees that are more vigorous than Chinese they might do better with minimum 20x25 spacing at maturity.


The closer spacing increases nut production in the early years since they are wind pollinated. As you say, eventually, they cull when they start competing for resources.