The Q&A Archives: Chestnuts

Question: We have an old chestnut tree from which we used to harvest a crop of nuts. During the last few years, the tree produces plenty of the spiny balls, but inside the chestnut is very tiny or underdeveloped. What's wrong?

Answer: Sounds as though there's a pollination problem. When weather is cold or windy, insects don't travel from flower to flower to transfer pollen. When that happens, you get a sparse crop. I'm wondering, too, if there was another chestnut tree in the yard or neighborhood that is no longer there. Some chestnut trees need cross-pollination to produce a crop of chestnuts. As long as the tree looks healthy, you'll just have to wait for Mother Nature to provide reasonable weather for the insects todo their thing.<br><br>If there is another chestnut around, it could also be a nutrition problem with the old tree. Older trees can benefit from some fertilizer high in p & K applied in spring. Try spreading some 5-10-10 fertilizer around the drip line in spring or even using the fertilizer stakes that are available in garden centers. This may help with the "meats" filling out.

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