The American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation is a nonprofit scientific and educational foundation dedicated to restoring the American Chestnut to its former place in our Eastern hardwood forests. Priorities include the development of blight-resistant all-American chestnuts and economical biological control measures against chestnut blight in the forest environment. As of April 2009, American chestnut cooperators have planted 188,849 seedlings and seednuts from our all-American orchards.
In the first 40 years of the 20th century, blight destroyed 3.5 billion American chestnuts. What had been the most important tree in our Eastern forest was reduced to insignificance. No comparable devastation of a species exists in recorded history.
"It is not beyond the grasp of science to restore the American chestnut to economic importance. It could be accomplished within the next 50 years. "--- Prof. Gary Griffin, Virginia Tech
The principal objective of the American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation is to raise funds to support graduate and undergraduate student research projects in Virginia Tech's Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology & Weed Science. This research makes possible the nut distributions from our all-American breeding program to restore American chestnuts to our forests.
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Impact of American Chestnut Blight on Forest Communities
When Money Grew on Trees
To learn about some American chestnuts in the heart of the natural range which continue to survive although they have been infected with the blight since 1982, click on the link below. While reading this story be sure to keep in mind that blight control is possible only when American chestnuts have blight resistance.
Integrated Management for Chestnut Blight Control
ACCF chestnuts are all-Americans from open pollination in several Virginia and West Virginia plantings. The mother trees are blight resistant, but this characteristic may be inherited by perhaps 10% of their offspring. More generations of breeding are necessary to produce American chestnuts with blight resistance that is regularly inheritable. Meanwhile, from the first very small sample of F2 progeny of Ruth and Miles which are over 1.5 inches dbh and have their first blight cankers, it appears that in the second generation we may expect at least 25% in this breeding line to inherit blight resistance. In the past few years, the maturing of many grafts of original blight survivors, as well as selected F1 and F2 progeny, and regular cutting of those chestnuts in our breeding plots which do not pass durable blight resistance tests has greatly improved the quantity of nuts with improved blight-resistance expectations which we can distribute to our growers. When ACCF stock is planted within the area infested by blight, natural selection will reveal the resistant individuals; scions from these can then be grafted into the new shoots on chestnuts killed by blight.
Before you ask that question, PLEASE scroll down and check our other pages in The Chestnut Grove Academy, where most of the answers can be found.
Featuring Dr. Gary Griffin, Lucille Griffin and ACCF
2015 Newsletter Previous newsletters are archived below.
Changes in the rules, toward better management of chestnut harvest & distribution:
1.) We shall distribute chestnut seed by mail only to requests received before September 1.
2.) Well in advance of harvest, all helpers must declare how many chestnuts they are ready to plant, and be prepared to take home their chestnuts in the burs for processing themselves and planting on their land or to share with other designated ACCF growers. The $20 fee is waived for these most helpful cooperators.
3.) Although first-time growers will still be limited to 10 chestnuts apiece, established growers may request 20, and anyone who has helped us during past harvest(s), may request up to 100 (processed and mailed).
With the above rules in place, once again I shall look forward to future harvests. They should permit me to control the number of chestnuts we harvest to nearly match the numbers you have requested and to keep that number we mail out below 4,000. We are content to share the rest of the crop with the animals which should become the ultimate benefactors of our breeding program, especially, the squirrels who reliably forget where they have stored their take, and thus give back to us a steadily increasing number of seedlings. This past fall, thanks to the squirrels, I have transplanted more than 30 of these volunteers.
*** We supply American chestnut seednuts to cooperators who make their request on a Cooperating Grower Agreement Form (available upon request) and contribute a minimum of $20 annually to support our research on behalf of American chestnut restoration. We can no longer send seednuts to those growers from previous years who have not sent a current report of their ACCF American chestnut planting.
Cooperators can report via the Online Report Form OR copy/paste from this Email Report Template and send your report via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We rely on the reports of cooperating growers to learn the numbers of ACCF chestnuts which have inherited blight resistance.
To take part in the American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation chestnut seed distribution, you must first obtain an Agreement Form via e-mail or by writing to: ACCF, Forest Service Road 708, Newport, VA 24128.
If you wish to start an American chestnut revival project, please scroll down to the Chestnut Grove Academy (below) and check out the Habitat page first, to help you locate an appropriate site; next visit the other pages to learn about the disease and the work necessary to establish or reclaim an American chestnut grove. If you find that your land is suitable, it is a good idea to prepare your planting site in the winter or spring, for planting the following fall. If you do not find on these pages the information you need to get started, please e-mail Lucille (below) with your question(s).
It is never too early to establish defenses to keep deer out of your plantings: here in Virginia, where the deer herd is out of control, we must protect all chestnut seedlings and grafts with staked weldwire cages, 5 feet tall and at least 2.3 feet in diameter, decorated with bright flagging to help deter collisions.
To join or support our work, please request a Grower Agreement Form via e-mail or by writing to: ACCF, Forest Service Road 708, Newport, VA 24128.
The original Chestnut Habitat was the Eastern United States.
The North American invasion of the Blight Fungus was catastrophic for chestnut trees.
The ACCF revival project is based on a program of Breeding For Blight Resistance .
The ACCF revival project will succeed because of Restoration Efforts of many volunteers:
Growing American Chestnuts
Grafting For Resistance
Managing Aging Clearcuts For American Chestnut Revival
The Genus Castanea has several species throughout the world.
Chestnut Lore stores memories of the days when American chestnut dominated our Eastern forest.
The American Chestnut Bibliography popular magazine articles, followed by scientific papers of ACCF researchers.
Answers to LEAF QUIZ (from bottom of Castanea Page): 1 & 6 are Allegheny chinkapins, 2 & 5 are Chinese chestnuts, and 3 & 4 are American chestnuts.
ACCF Online Site
Send ACCF e-mail to Lucille at email@example.com
All information on this site was written &/or approved by Lucille & Gary Griffin and John Rush Elkins, respectively, Executive Director, American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation, Professor of Forest Pathology at Virginia Tech, and Research Chemist & Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Concord College, West Virginia. You are welcome to copy everything printed on this site for your information. Please credit anything quoted for publication to The American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation.
This site was created February 1997. Last updated 01/15/2016