New germplasm conservation orchard (GCO) in Clinton county

This orchard was established three years ago to preserve the genetic material of the Indiana American chestnuts at the Duke orchard at Purdue. The Duke trees were all cloned from old existing chestnuts from all over Indiana. Unfortunately, the Duke chestnuts have all become severely blighted, and we are in danger of loosing this valuable genetic material which we would like to use to breed blight resistant trees in the future. We were partially successful in treating the Duke trees with fungicide but we feel that the safest strategy is to reproduce the entire Duke orchard in a separate location far enough away that the seedlings could avoid blight for several years. This is why the new chestnut orchard was planted on farm land in Clinton county, Indiana.

Unfortunately, we have found blight on a few of the new trees. On October 6, 2022 chapter president Glenn Kotnik revisited this orchard and found the blight is now well controlled after a single fungicide application. Most of the trees look healthy, are growing well, and are showing their fall colors.