Chinquapin

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

Does anyone here have experience with growing chinkapins? I have a spot I would like to have a small tree and thought this would be a great idea. All of the pictures that I find show it looking more like a shrub. Can it be limbed up to look more formal? And, are two required to get the nuts? I am actually trying to get squirrels back in the area since many of them didn't make it through the hurricanes and thought this would be good food for them (and me).

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1993/v2-500.html. My experience with chinquapins is limited to clearing new ground and turning out the wild bushes when I was a kid. That was a while ago. They never got very big bushes before succumbing to a blight like disease. Apparently they are suceptible to the blight that wipe out our American Chestnuts in the 1920"s. There is a good deal of experimenting underway to develop commercial cultivars. Hope some of them pan out, because those little nuts are delicious.
http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/products/gallery/crypa1.html

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

Hopefully I could get one to survive the blight. There are not any chestnut trees around here that I know of, Asian or American. I know post oak serves as an alternate host, but they're aren't many of those around here either.

Glen Rock, PA

Hi E-guy. Since these trees tend to bear on the tips of the this year's wood, growing a multi-trunk, sort of large shrub, has distinct advantages. This growth pattern results in there being a large halo of 1 yr. wood (actually last summer's buds) on an oval mass, as opposed to a more linear pattern of shoots on a standard.

The first photo (kinda dark, sorry) shows a tree grown in almost full sun. The photo looks almost due south. On the right is Japanese Walnut (J. angustifolia) which shades the second, smaller tree which is the same age as the first one, planted only 20ft/6m away. This linked photo looks almost due east, with the Japanese Walnut at my back.



This message was edited Jun 28, 2006 11:47 PM

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Glen Rock, PA

And edited again and again to try to link the 2nd pic. Here it is in another post.

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Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

That is exactly what I was thinking of. Are two required for pollination, or will just one bear nuts?

Hopkinsville, KY(Zone 6b)

I'm extrapolating from chestnuts, so may be incorrect, but I'd presume you'd need at least two to get nuts.

Some of the Asian & hybrid chestnut selections are exceptional pollenizers, whereas others are really poor - some are pollen-sterile - so it can be pretty important to choose at least one really good pollenizing variety to ensure good nutset on the others in a planting.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

Lucky_P is right - I just planted two little ones because it takes two to fertilize! www.ediblelandscaping.com has nice information on chinquapins - and the only ones selling them that I could find. They say that the leaves will turn yellow in the Fall. How cool is that? Does anyone know how big or little the nuts are if the squirrels leave any for me?

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I see they have the Dunstan chestnut, I have heard of those before. Their prices are reasonable,

Hopkinsville, KY(Zone 6b)

Chinquapin nuts are tiny - about the size of a peanut - and I don't mean one still in the shell. My understanding is that they're very tasty - but I've planted every one I ever got my mitts on.
My dad, before he passed, was excited that I was growing some - he remembered gathering and eating them as a kid in Elmore & Lee County, AL.

E-guy, Dunstans are (allegedly) hybrids of American & Chinese chestnuts - and it's conceivable they they could cross-pollenate with chinkapins.
The latest 'American chestnut' discovered in AL has been genetically tested and appears to have some chinkapin genes, suggesting that one of its ancestors was a chinkapin.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I thought Chinquapin nuts were almost the size of regular chestnuts. If they are no bigger than a peanut I don't know if it would be worth it. Lucky P, do you know if the "Dunstan" chestnut has the American chestnut form, or does it resemble the Chinese version? Not just the nuts, but the whole tree.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Nope they are small, rarely over 3/8 inch in diameter. Closest flavor to the old American chestnut tho. They get wormy very fast, use to roast them soon after gathering.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

3/8"? I think my squirrels are going to enjoy them!

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I think I may go ahead with chinquapins too. I'm planting more for wildlife than for myself.

Hopkinsville, KY(Zone 6b)

I've got a dozen or so F-2 seedlings of some of the Dunstan selections, and mine have an upright growth habit - but they were grown in a nursery bed at very close spacing for 3-4 years before I got around to transplanting them at 6-8 ft tall.
Seednuts they were grown from were large - like Chinese.
I didn't get arount to caging, or at least driving a T-post next to them, last year and the dam*ed rutting bucks girdled 'em by rubbing on 'em, so they've had to 'start over' from about 1' above ground level. Grrr.

You oughta look into planting some bur oaks, too - I've got several out of AL, TX, & OK with acorns that'll run 6-7/lb, with the caps removed; they usually start bearing at around 10 years of age, and mine bear almost every year - maybe not so heavily, early on, as sawtooth oak, but the deer love 'em(don't know if a turkey could swallow one of those monster acorns, but those from northern seedsource are quite a bit smaller), and they are a native species(though only native to AL in a small pocket in Montgomery Co.)

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Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I did plant a few white oaks. The acorns on those are about twice the size of our typical water oak.

Glen Rock, PA

This is the size of the Chinkapins. Not much for size, but they are very good. The hull is soft like a chestnut and the whole meats are easily extracted without much pelicula. The print in the background is about like newsprint. The shelflife is about like a Pawpaw seed, that is, after a few days out, the nut turns to a little rock good only for grinding into flour.

Thumbnail by Penn_Pete

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