2nd Annual
Indoor American Chestnut
Nurseries in Appalachian Schools
February 2010

Briceville School
Lake City Middle School
Elk Valley School
White Oak School


Monday, April 12th

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!!

View the progress at each school
in photos below!

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 in a nursery and then transplanted to FRA sites as bare-root seedlings.  Students at Elk Valley, Lake City Middle School, Briceville Elementary School, and White Oak School will expand the OSM/TACF study by growing chestnut seedlings in indoor nurseries and then evaluating the success of transplanting potted seedlings on Monday, 12 April 2010 at a mine site in Coal Creek prepared by the Forestry Reclamation Approach.

Image from www.cooperativeconservationamerica.org

Thanks to teachers Vijaya Morton (Elk Valley),
Denise Houdeschell ( Lake City Middle School),
Robin Lindsay (Briceville School),
and Ms. Green (White Oak 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 and Sam McInturff from the TN Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation 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!

The folks at the Coal Creek Company have invited students to plant their potted seedlings at a mine site in Beech Grove Fork on Monday, 12 April 2010.  We will also be planting 400 bare-root American chestnut seedlings, and 500 other hardwood seedlings.  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.  We want to have a high survival rate because there won’t be a lot of hybrid nuts available in the beginning.  Also, there won’t be seedlings to plant that first year, only nuts, so we want data to justify which techniques to use (i.e. direct seeding, transplanted potted seedlings, or growing seedlings in a nursery with transplanting of bare-root seedlings before the start of the second growing season after hybrid nuts are produced).

Additional photos and details are shown below.

(Be sure to view Lake City Middle School, Briceville School, and White Oak School photos below the Elk Valley photos)

A few weeks later...

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

FERTILIZER:  ¼ 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. 


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

Few weeks later...


Sprouts growing!!!    


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