Chestnuts - Knowledgebase Question

St. Louis, MO
Avatar for ecoulson
Question by ecoulson
December 29, 1997
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 from NGA
December 29, 1997
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.

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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