Chestnut Planting Plan

Initial tree spacing is 20 x 20 feet (6.1 x 6.1m). This represents 104 trees per acre. This allows for better production in the early years of establishing the orchard. It also allows for the removal of poor trees, leaving the best in place.

In the plan above "s" represents the seedling chestnut trees that will stay in the orchard until they crowd the permanent "P" trees and the semi- permanent "S" trees. Stage 1 should remain for at least 10 years and with cutting back of the sides of the "s" trees to allow the remaining trees more light, Stage 1 could remain in place for 15 years or more. It is possible to tree spade the best of these trees to a new orchard area or to "P" positions where poor trees may have been located.

A tractor mounted stump grinder is the best way to remove the stump of the crowding trees causing the least amount of disturbance to the orchard floor. A sod cover will help to keep the ground smooth and in place for machine harvesting.

By removing the "s" trees, the orchard spacing is reduced to 54 trees per acre as shown in Stage 2 with a small reduction at first in production. Greater light penetration will soon have production rising again.

After Stage 2 "S" trees start crowding the permanent "P" trees in about 20-30 years, the "S" trees can be removed, leaving a final orchard spacing of 27 trees per acre.

The trees can all be seedling trees of improved selections, known for their blight resistance and good nut qualities. Alternatively, the "P" trees can be grafted trees to improve the chance of having the best permanent trees. Since some grafted trees may fail in time, they can be replaced by superior seedlings, tree spaded from "s" or "S" locations.

It will be important to mark trees each year with a code to identify the grid location, the ones that are poor trees slated for future removal, and good trees that can be considered for tree spading to "P" locations or a new orchard area. Latex paint is a good material to use for coding the trees since it can be visible for 5 years or more.

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SONG Members would like to thank the CanAdapt Small Projects Initiative 2000. Without their assistance this project would not have been possible.
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