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Natural Awakenings

Blighted Icon: Chestnut Tree Comeback on the Horizon

Jul 31, 2013 12:37PM

The American chestnut tree once dominated the American landscape from Georgia to Maine, providing the raw materials that fueled our young na tion’s westward expansion and inspiring writings by Longfellow and Thoreau. But by the 1950s, the trees, stricken by blight, were all but extinct. Now, after 30 years of breeding and crossbreeding, The American Chestnut Foundation believes it has developed a potentially blight-resistant tree, dubbed the Restoration Chestnut 1.0.

The group has adopted a master plan for planting millions of trees in the 19 states of the chestnut’s original range. This year, volunteers in state chapters are establishing seed orchards that will produce regionally adapted nuts for transplanting into the wild.

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