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Ray of Light


My Story

My Life

How to Recognize Me

Plant Me in Your Yard

Lesson Plans


Printable Activity Sheets

Plant Me in Your Yard

I am a fast-growing tree and am adoptable to different soils and climates. I can also withstand drought. That said, I prefer well-drained slightly acidic sloped areas, preferably east-facing.

Planting me at the top of a slight slope allows for extra water to drain well and prevent my roots from getting soggy. I thrive in deep, sandy soils. Soils that contain rocks and gravel are also acceptable. I am not a big fan of heavy clay soils or limestone soils since the PH is often too alkaline for me to survive.

I can grow in a range of climates and can be started from either seed or seedling.  I like plenty of space as I am a big tree. Ideally, I would be happy to have about 40 feet of free space around me, with my companion chestnut trees at about half that distance, roughly 20 feet, for adequate pollination.  We should be planted in pairs or groups, as at least two of us should be planted together to bear fruit. For us to produce nuts, the second chestnut tree should be within 200 feet. We begin to bear fruit when only a few years old!


Planting From Seed


You can plant my seeds directly in the ground or in containers and later, in a year or two, transplant. Saw chestnuts right after they are harvested and cleaned in the fall, or store the nuts and plant them in early spring. It’s best to store the nuts in a refrigerator. They must not dry out or become soggy.  The storage container must have some ability to retain moisture but also drain. It can be sand, sawdust, moss, or plastic bags with a few holes. The nuts should spend about two to three months in temperatures between 32 and 34 degrees for germination.  Check the container once a month, and if any green growth is evidence, wash the nuts in a diluted Clorox solution (one part household bleach with nine parts of water).


If you have any questions about planting us or where to procure seeds, please email

Planting Seedlings

We recommend these farms and nurseries to buy American Chestnut seedlings:

  • Musser Forests Nursery Chestnut, American Hybrid (Castanea dentata x)

  • Perfect Circle Farm Chestnut, American, Pure (no guarantee of blight-resistance, but the farm has good results and there is a good chance of the seedlings bearing nuts.

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