7th Annual
Indoor American Chestnut
Nurseries in Appalachian Schools
February 2015

120 kids getting their
hands in the dirt to
each plant a tree!!

Dutch Valley Elementary 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!

chestnut tree.jpg (13204 bytes)
These were proud, GIANT
trees at one time!!

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM), the Tennessee Mining Association (TMA), 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 Dutch Valley Elementary School 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.  Setting up the in-door chestnut nursery at Dutch Valley was done as part of its science fair.  


Dutch Valley students show off
their handmade chestnut pots


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 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

POTTING MIX RECIPE:  12 quarts peat moss, 12 quarts vermiculite, 12 quarts perlite, 1 tablespoon lime, and 1 tablespoon Terra Sorb

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

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)


Barry Thacker, PE, spoke to each class and
explained the rich history of the great
American Chestnut and how we
are working to bring it back

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