Motsinger Orchard near Elkin, NC
May 15, 2005
First, second and third year chestnut trees grow in the Motsinger Orchard. They have been sprouted from nuts that are crosses of American and Chinese chestnut parents back bred to American chestnuts to strengthen the American chestnut characteristics. In time the trees will be inoculated with the chestnut bark blight to determine which ones demonstrate blight resistance. Blight resistant trees with strong American chestnut characteristics will be saved for further back breeding while the vast majority will be culled.
Steve Motsinger tends the orchard on land adjacent to his home. Aluminum cylinders are used to keep voles and other varmints from attacking the nut as it grows into a seedling. These will be removed as the tree grows. A plastic collar keeps deer from browsing on the young shoot during the first year of growth and also protects the young seedling from damage from herbicides sprayed around the seedling to control competing weed growth. Once the trees outgrow their collars, they are protected with fencing too that keeps deer from browsing on the leaves and other critters from chewing on the bark of the tree trunk. Some of the 2 year trees demonstrate good American chestnut characteristics and, hopefully, will prove to be blight resistant. A picnic sponsored by The Carolinas Chapter will be held at the Motsinger’s home in late July or early August, 2005. Details will be posted on the Events Calendar on this Web site.