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Grown Here at Home: Virginia Chestnuts selling chestnut seedlings; now’s the time to plant

If you’re looking to spruce up your landscape, maybe chestnut trees are the way to go.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:25 AM EDT
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LOVINGSTON, Va. (WDBJ) - David and Kim Bryant are the owners of Virginia Chestnuts in Nelson County. They planted more than 1,500 trees in their orchard by hand. It has truly been a labor of love, and they want to share it with you. They’re selling seedlings and dug trees, so you can enjoy your own chestnut trees at home.

“Virginia used to be home to millions and millions of chestnut trees, so we’re re-introducing a blight-resistant tree to the state of Virginia. It is a hybrid tree, but it will grow and provide great shade, and great food supply,” David said.

There are a few things to keep in mind before you plant chestnut trees. First, make sure it’s a place that gets plenty of sun.

“Chestnuts like full sunlight. They don’t like it shady. They don’t like to be planted in the shade of another tree. They will live, but they won’t produce any nuts,” David said.

You also don’t want to dig the hole too deep.

“The most important thing is, don’t plant it deeper than it is in the pot. Don’t plant your tree deeper than necessary. That will actually stunt its growth,” David explained.

Now is the perfect time for spring planting. David says beyond Mother’s Day it gets too hot and will stress the tree. Once they’re in the ground, David recommends putting a tree grow tube around the seedlings for at least the first five years. It will protect them from wildlife, but it will also create a greenhouse effect. The tree should emerge from the grow tube within the first couple of years.

“Once it gets out of the top of the grow tube, it will really take off. You should have nuts in four to five years,” David said.

You can try your hand at planting your own chestnut trees. Virginia Chestnuts will be selling seedlings and dug trees Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The farm is at 5990 Wheelers Cove Road in Lovingston. For more information on the sale, visit virginiachestnuts.com.

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