2010 Picnic and Orchard Tour

Fifty members and their guests enjoyed a barbecue lunch at Paul and Nancy Pryor’s home before touring the recently inoculated back cross chestnut orchard planted on the farm in 2005. Click on any picture to enlarge it.

  • Scott and Nancy Pryor, whose home is located at the end of Will Hill Road, opened their home on November 6, 2010 to 50 Carolinas Chapter members and their guests. Nancy decorated their home for the fall event. Mick and Vonnie Pryor helped set up refreshments and the barbecue meal which were enjoyed by all.
  • As members and guests arrived, they drove past the back cross chestnut orchard, protected by an 8-feet high fence to keep browsing deer at bay. A lot of work and effort has gone into the planting and maintenance of the orchard over the past five years.
  • The first half of the orchard was planted in 2005. Nolan, Scott and Nancy’s grandson, who was three at the time, helped plant the orchard.  The little nut Nolan planted has grown into a tree twice his height.
  • By late spring 2010, the trees in the orchard were large enough to inoculate with two strains of chestnut bark fungus to test individual tree’s resistant to Cryphonectria parasitica.
  • Some trees are susceptible to the fungus and a significant amount of damage has occurred. The fungus grows under the bark of the tree, cutting off the flow of nutrients. A knife has been used to skin back the bark to detect the height and width of the damaged area. The measurements are used to rate the relative degree of resistance among the trees inoculated.
  • After everyone finished eating, Paul Sisco led a discussion about the orchard work being done by the Carolinas Chapter. He passed out and explained a color coded chart which identified the parentage of each tree in the orchard. A total of 230 nuts were planted in 2005 in five rows of 46 nuts each.
  • Paul Sisco led a tour of the orchard, initially explaining differences between the form of trees in the orchard. He compares leaves, twigs and leaf buds of pure Chinese chestnut trees to those of pure American chestnut trees that have been planted in the orchard as controls for inoculation ratings. The pure American chestnut trees were not inoculated, however, as they were of a parentage not used before for back crossing in Chapter orchards. The American chestnut trees will be left in the orchard to grow and to be used for pollination of other trees.
  • Paul also explained how the trees are inoculated, using a No. 2 cork borer to punch a hole in two places in the upper trunk where fungus, grown in a Petri dish on potato agar, is inserted and taped over to secure it. Two holes are punched in the lower truck where a more virulent strain of the fungus is placed in the two holes and taped over. Paul shows differences in the amount of canker growth put out by different trees in reaction to the fungus. The more resistant trees grow cankers that contain the fungus and keep it from girdling the trunk and killing the trees.  Tree No. 69 displays perhaps the best resistance to the blight among back cross chestnuts in the orchard.