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Maine Soil and Water Conservation District Contributes to American Chestnut Research

Randy Martin, Central Aroostook SWCD Executive Director, courtesy of Al Faust, ME-TACF Chapter President

An article from the Maine Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) details their latest collaboration with the ME-TACF Chapter. Armed with about 30 chestnut seedlings, the district began working to clone these seedlings for blight resistance. The district’s efforts have prompted the ME-TACF Chapter to donate another 300 seedlings.

Central Aroostook SWCD Executive Director Randy Martin (pictured) and Forester Ethan Hill are using explants from nut-bearing native trees and four hybrid clones that were developed by crossing the American chestnut and the Chinese chestnut, which is resistant to the blight. The Chestnut tree planting is slated for spring 2023.

To protect the trees that are planted in the field from predation, the district is growing apple trees for deer and other animals to eat. The apple trees are not intended to produce fruit but do give the wildlife, primarily deer and moose, alternative browse that Martin and Hill hope will steer them away from the growing chestnut trees.

Read the full article here.