Growers Recognized at 2009 Chapter Orchard Tour

Dr. Paul Sisco led the 2009 Chapter Orchard Tour. Forty attendees heard him describe the successive plantings in Louis Acker’s and Allie Funk’s chestnut orchard, inoculation of older trees in the orchard in 2008, the rating of the inoculation results, selection of certain trees with good blight resistance characteristics for further breeding, and the production of the Chapter’s first BC3F2 nuts in 2009 through pollination of trees within the orchard.

Some of the Growers Recognized:

  • Louis Acker, the grower of the chestnut orchard being toured. His wife, Allie Funk was also recognized, but she was back at the house preparing for the home tour to follow.
  • Ted Farmer of Ashe County supplies pollen from large growing American chestnut trees on his property to backcross pollinate trees in Chapter orchards.
  • Judy Coker, co-owner of Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley, NC grows a very fine orchard visited with great interest by many families who stay at the Ranch. Judy B. Sutton, Judy’s daughter, and Matthew, Judy’s grandson, help with the orchard. Visitors to the Ranch and acquaintances of the family learn about the American chestnut tree and efforts to restore it to Eastern forests from all three.
  • Scott Pryor who grows a chestnut orchard on property he and Nancy, his wife, own near Edneyville, NC. Scott told how seven of his and Nancy’s grand children were involved in the planting of the orchard, an important fact because they involved their youngest family members in the effort to restore the American chestnut. Scott also told of the success of the 8-feet high fence installed around the orchard in keeping deer away from the chestnut trees. The fence was installed using grant money.
  • Don Surrette grows a chestnut orchard on his property in Pisgah Forest, NC. Don also helps each year with the harvesting of American chestnuts along the Blue Ridge Parkway (by permit). Some of the collected nuts are used as controls in orchards to test inoculations since pure American trees are expected to have no resistance to the implanted chestnut blight fungus.
  • Russell Regnery grows hybrid chestnut trees in wooded areas on his property near Highlands, NC. Russell’s planting among other trees is unique to Chapter orchards and will provide a test of how well BC3F1 seedlings will do in a natural environment.