Large American Chestnut

Could these large trees be blight survivors? January 8, 2010

I have an American chestnut tree and Iím looking for input on value, drying and etc. There are actually two trees with 18 to 30 inch trunks. I would appreciate any info.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor Y:
If they are alive you should leave them alive.

From contributor S:
There is ongoing research to try to find a blight resistant chestnut variety that can be used to restock forests where they used to grow. Although your trees are your private property and you can use them as you think is best, I urge you to contact one of the research institutions and let them collect the chestnuts or take cuttings or collect any other data that could help their research efforts.

From the original questioner:
The trees are on property that is being developed so they will come down regardless of my sawmills hunger for exotic raw materials. This is in northwest Washington state, so could that be why they are not blighted?

From contributor C:
I've read that there are less than 20 known live trees that have escaped the blight in the US. Contact your county extension and notify them of the trees. They will be able to tell if these trees are truly blight resistant or not. There are many young chestnuts growing all the time, only the blight kills them after about 8-10 years. Cutting the trees you describe, and selling the lumber may not be unlike killing a bald eagle and trying to sell the feathers. I would suggest making every effort to learn as much as you can before cutting these trees down. Google "American Chestnut" and you will find an enormous amount of useful info. Let us know how it all shakes out.

From contributor W:
I always thought that the blight never made it out west and that there were still American chestnut trees around. I'm in the Appalachian mountains and I know of a few trees that are fruiting and not blighted yet. Itís like any other disease - the resistant will be selected for and in a few generations the trees will start to reappear. As for value; I've sold old chestnut boards (wormy) off my barns for $3 per foot. These were probably milled in the thirties and had been on the barns that long. I don't mind saying that some of these boards were crap. But the guy bought every one of them. He planes them and resells them for around $7 per foot. This is in an area where you canít really get any more chestnut so yours would be different. It might be worth trucking them east if the price was right though. Iíd like to see some fresh milled chestnut that wasn't wormy.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
It is my understanding that there have been claims about living old American chestnut trees, but when checked out, every report has been false. There are some hybrids that look promising. I also understand that all trees in the USA were affected.