4th Annual
Indoor American Chestnut
Nurseries in Appalachian Schools
February 2012

Lake City Middle School, Anderson Co., TN
Norwood Middle School, Anderson Co, TN

Visit our
American Chestnut pages to
learn more about the process

CLICK HERE TO learn more about the
American Chestnut from Charlie Chestnut!

Image from blog.jackburchett.com

These were proud, GIANT trees at one time!!

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) are conducting research on whether American chestnut seeds should be planted directly on mine sites prepared by the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) or whether they should be grown at a nursery and then transplanted to FRA sites as bare-root seedlings.  Students at Lake City and Norwood Middle Schools in Anderson County will expand the OSM/TACF study by growing chestnut seedlings in indoor nurseries and then evaluating the success of transplanting potted seedlings at mine sites prepared by the Forestry Reclamation Approach.

Norwood students show off
their handmade chestnut pots

Foresters Chris Miller and Will Debord,
with the Office of Surface Mining (OSM),
instruct students on the
Forestry Reclamation Approach.

Thanks to teachers Denise Houdeshell
(Lake City Middle School) and Sherry
Anderson (Norwood Middle School).

Rather than merely planting American chestnut seeds in plastic pots, students are researching and experimenting to engineer a better chestnut pot.  Experience shows that bigger pots allow better root development to reduce transplant shock.  However, bigger pots are more expensive in terms of potting soil, nursery space, transportation, and labor to dig holes deep enough at FRA sites to accommodate the bigger potted seedlings.  American chestnuts prefer loose, rocky ground.  The loose part will make the digging easier, but the rocky part will present problems. 

(A big THANK YOU to Greg Miller, owner of Empire Chestnut Company for providing us with the nuts for our indoor nurseries!!

If a seedling can be grown in a biodegradable container, then the seedling can be transplanted without being removed from the container.  The theory is that transplant shock for seedlings grown in smaller biodegradable cylindrical containers will be comparable to seedlings grown in larger pots, but can be done at lower cost.

The step-by-step procedure used to make the paper pots can be found HERE!

Barry Thacker, PE, distributes nuts for students
to plant in their pots to grow for spring planting

Premium Coal Company has invited students to plant their American chestnut seedlings at its mine site in Anderson County on May 4, 2012, which is reclaimed by the Forestry Reclamation Approach.  Details of the mining and reclamation process in Tennessee can be found at www.coalcreekaml.com/MineRecLesson3.htm.  Details on the 2012 Arbor Day planting site can be found at www.coalcreekaml.com/AmericanChestnutPremiumCoalPlanting.htm

Data gathered during the growing and transplanting will be compiled and documented on this web page. 

The goal here is to gain experience for the day when blight-resistant hybrids are ready for planting on mine sites prepared by the Forestry Reclamation Approach.  Details of our planting events last year can be found at www.coalcreekaml.com/AmericanChestnutKopperGloPlanting.htm and www.coalcreekaml.com/LCMSFieldTripMay2011.htm.  

Additional photos and details are shown below.

Image from www.cooperativeconservationamerica.org

(Be sure to view Norwood Middle School photos below the Lake City Middle School photos)

POTTING MIX RECIPE:  12 quarts peat moss, 12 quarts vermiculite, 12 quarts perlite, 2 tablespoons lime, and 3 tablespoons Terra Sorb

FERTILIZER:  ╝ teaspoon (i.e. a pinch) of Miracid will be dissolved in a gallon of water for combination watering and fertilizing.

WATERING:  We want the potting mix to maintain the feel of a wrung-out dishrag and will water to maintain that consistency.  If the pot becomes saturated, then we will know to cut back on the amount of water.  Also, water that accumulates in the bottom of the container should be emptied.  Chestnut seedling roots may rot if they grow into standing water.


Equivalent Measures

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup
12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup
16 tablespoons = 1 cup (8 ounces)
2 cups = 1 pint (16 ounces)
4 cups (2 pints) = 1 quart (32 ounces)
8 cups (4 pints) = 1/2 gallon (64 ounces)
4 quarts = 1 gallon (128 ounces)


Image from kitchengardeners.org


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