“95% American” Chestnut trees planted on Appalachian Blue Ridge

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Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service.

Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

This classic bit of American verse by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow marks a bygone era, not just because there are fewer neighborhood smithies, but because the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) has not been seen much in true tree form for decades due to a fungal infection carried in on imported trees.

An article from the Charlottesville, Va., Daily Progress describes a restoration project where blight-resistant trees (American-Chinese hybrids) are being planted on a 1,000-acre tract of Nature Conservancy property known as Fortune’s Cove Preserve. Read more here.

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