Monday, May 23, 2011

American chestnut's revival is taking root in Louisville, KY

American chestnut's revival is taking root in Louisville | The Courier-Journal |

This time of year a century ago, Kentucky ridges would have looked almost snowy with blooms from the American chestnut tree.
It's a sight local volunteers want future generations to see again.
American chestnuts — massive hardwoods highly prized for their timber, tannin and nuts — were all but lost a half-century ago to an Asian blight that killed 4 billion of them, decimating 25 percent of the Eastern U.S. tree canopy.
But years of efforts to restore the American chestnut are finally taking root across the country — and in the Louisville area.
Nuts from a major research farm in Virginia that were bred over 28 years to be blight resistant were planted at public and private sites in the Louisville area this year. Only a limited number of nuts were available.
Also, members of the Kentucky chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation are breeding offspring of the state's 20 surviving trees for blight resistance and research. An orchard in Oldham County is expected to bear nuts this fall for the first time.

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