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Growing Chestnuts

Growing Chestnuts

Chinese Chestnut

Chinese Chestnut item #22149


Chestnuts are hardy, productive nut trees available in two forms. Chinese types (Castanea mollissima) reach 40 to 60 feet tall at maturity and begin bearing 5 to 7 years after planting. Colossal Chestnut is a hybrid of European (Castanea sativa) and Japanese (Castanea crenata) species that begins producing in 3 to 5 years and grows to 25 feet tall. Both are vigorous, attractive trees with good yields of sweet nuts used for eating fresh, roasting, and in cooking. Chestnuts also make good shade trees and has good quality lumber.

Requires a pollinator for the best production, so plant two trees or one of each variety. Hardy in zones 4 to 8.

How To Plant

Plant bare root Chestnut in spring 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Prepare a planting hole 12 to 18 inches wide and deep amended with compost or other organic matter and plant with the roots as deep as when grown in the nursery. If space is limited, two Chestnut trees can be planted in a single large hole and grown as a multi-stemmed tree. When planting two trees together, use a hole 18 to 24 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches deep.


Plant in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Trees are drought-tolerant once established. Benefits from light pruning in winter to remove weak, broken, and dead limbs and those with narrow crotch angles or growing closely together.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Chestnuts are moderate feeders that benefit from regular fertilization. Use full rates of ALGOplus All Purpose 6-6-6 liquid fertilizer, Osmocote slow-release 14-14-14, or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

Common Problems

Chestnut blight wiped out the majority of American Chestnuts (Castanea dentata), but resistant species and hybrids allow these excellent, once popular trees to be grown successfully in American gardens. Both Colossal and Chinese Chestnuts are naturally resistant to Chestnut blight disease. Weevils sometimes feed on plants, and diseases including anthracnose, leaf spot, and cankers are sometimes problems.

Alternative Products

Other hardy nut trees include filbert, pecan, and English walnut.

Product Recommendations

Use Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew to treat insect pests. Products like 70% neem oil and Serenade can be used to protect trees from diseases.

Chestnut Facts

Chestnuts should be cured by storing in a refrigerator for several weeks after harvest so they fully develop their sweetness.


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