“Mature, Blight-Free American Chestnut Found in Strathroy-Caradoc”
October 28, 2017 was a serendipitous Saturday morning hike for Dan Brinkman, a Land Stewardship Technician working for Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA). ‘I was exploring a private woodlot near Mount Brydges when I found a sound American chestnut in perfect health, apparently free from the blight that felled 99.9% of our native chestnut trees across Southern Ontario over the past century. I was not expecting to see such a healthy 60-70 year old specimen as most of the chestnuts I find are suckers sprouting up from a stump or hybrids from American and Chinese chestnut.’ Knowing the rarity of such a find, he, with the landowner’s permission, reported the find to the Canadian Chestnut Council.
On November 13, representatives from the Canadian Chestnut Council – Ron Casier and Dr. Dragan Galic, met with Dan Brinkman to examine the tree and to discuss restoration and research projects they are working on that they would like to implement in the Lower Thames watershed. With the landowner’s permission, they will plant blight-resistant seedlings around the lone surviving mature chestnut tree in a ‘breaking isolation’ planting, as solitary trees are unable to produce offspring. To create new stands of chestnut they will also plant chestnuts at Longwoods Road Conservation Area over the next couple of years in ‘gene conservation’ plantings. From both of these types of plantings, seeds will be collected, once they mature in seven years and used to advance chestnut restoration efforts across their native range in Ontario.
LTVCA staff work with landowners to implement agricultural stewardship and wildlife habitat projects across the watershed and are looking forward to working with the Canadian Chestnut Council to include gene conservation plantings on suitable sites starting in spring 2018.
For information contact:
Land Stewardship Technician
Longwoods Road Conservation Area
8348 Longwoods Road, Mount Brydges, On
519 280 2027