Planting American Chestnut Seedlings in Jefferson National Forest, Craig County, Virginia, November 27, 2012
|The orientation for planting American Chestnut Seedlings|
By Guy Buford
WOW! We planted over 600 American Chestnut seedlings on Tuesday. There were three BRFAL Chapter members (Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes) along with other volunteers as well as representatives of the Forest Service, the Virginia Department of Forestry and the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF), a total of 15 to 20 people.
The seedlings we planted are the result of over 25 years of controlled breeding for blight resistance. This is one of a relatively small number of plantings of its kind that are being used to test the viability of the TACF breeding stock. TACF staff will come back periodically in future years to track their progress. This planting could also serve as a cornerstone for the restoration of the American chestnut at that general location. When these trees start to produce nuts, as early as 3-5 years old, they will be an important source of hard mast (food) for many kinds of wildlife.
The planting site , approximately 4 acres, was a recently clear cut harvest of predominately red oaks heavily damaged by an infestation of Gypsy Moths. The site was a westward facing mountain slope with moderate to steep slopes with all the remaining slash from the logging operation, a typical mountain site for reforestation. The mountainous terrain together with all the logging slash made for hazardous footing and difficult working conditions.
The BRFAL members look forward to participate in future plantings!