American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation

this site sponsored by

Virginia Tech Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology & Weed Science



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.

Thank you for stopping by! 

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.


Please do NOT send us news of any new American chestnut discoveries but please continue to report on your ACCF plantings!


Please visit the Virginia Wildlife  Volume 70 Issue Number 2, February 2009 Link below: 

Pursuing an American Dream -Restoring the American Chestnut to Our Forests and Our Wildlife

Featuring Dr. Gary Griffin, Lucille Griffin and ACCF

2017 Newsletter  Previous newsletters are archived below.  

Changes in the rules, toward better management of chestnut harvest & distribution:

How to Get Nuts and Participate

Chestnuts from the 2017 harvest will not be mailed to growers. Growers will come and pick their own nuts or arrange to get nuts from a nearby designated ACCF member who volunteers to pick for others. Growers will have to process their own chestnuts in the hot water bath at 120F for 20 minutes to kill weevil larvae. All who share in future crops must submit a new Grower Agreement Form including a pledge to have the number of planting holes and cages ready for October planting and permission to pass your email address to others for the purpose of chestnut distribution. In September, we shall email, to all growers who have submitted the new form, the dates of open harvest mornings, which will probably be Mondays and Wednesdays, with a Saturday thrown in if nuts are dropping when there is no home football game. We hope you may be able to cooperate with this new arrangement.


We have received request forms from 15 states; eleven of which have at least one harvest volunteer (VA, OH, PA, TN, WV, MA, NY, KY, IN, MI, WI). It may also be possible for growers from other states who are unable to attend harvest to get their burs from a harvester in the vicinity of Knoxville (TN), Rochester (MA) or Whitesburg (KY).

The NY volunteer lives out East on Long Island. On reading the summary above, perhaps some additional growers may note a possibility to acquire chestnuts; you may ask for the new Grower form via email and should mail it to us by mid-August.

          Open harvest days will be September 12, 16, 19 & 26 and October 3, 7 & 9. We shall accept no more than five volunteers on each of the first two dates, because we have just a small number of chestnuts that crack burs and drop nuts early. If you choose Sept. 12 or 16 send early notice, to be sure to get your desired date. 

          I shall verify your date choice via e-mail and everyone who plans to participate will receive a sheet of directions to the Airport and the Big Field on Mt. Lake, along with what to wear and complete chestnut processing information. We start at 9 a.m. at the Airport, then move on to Mt Lake.

*** 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 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 Chestnut Grove Academy

If you want to learn more.... Checkout our Webrary

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:

  1. Growing American Chestnuts

  2. Grafting For Resistance

  3. Managing Aging Clearcuts For American Chestnut Revival

  4. Nutgrafting

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 

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 10/08/2017