When the bur split open to reveal the chestnuts, they will be very close to ripening. When they fall out of the bur, they are definitely ripe. Sometimes, the burs fall off retaining the nuts inside. It is best to have some very thick leather gloves because those burs are sharp.
Some of the burs will have unpollinated nuts and the shells will be empty. These may fall off first, kind of like an oak shedding unpollinated acorns.
There are more experienced growers on this site that can provide more information. I am a bit of a novice and I did make the mistake of picking all the burs from this tree 3 years ago, when the burs split open, to find that I had picked the only pollinated nut on the tree a bit prematurely and that is the only nut this tree has produced in the past.
I am expecting that it will be a bit of a challenge to beat the animals to the nuts and I am anxious to grow more trees from these nuts. I am in the very northern zone where these trees will survive the winter and I have several varieties. Some do poorly in surviving the winters and have winter die off annually.
Yes. wait for the bur to start splitting, that way you'll be sure they are ready. Just keep an eye on them if you can. The splitting process could take a couple of days. Most gradually split until nuts fall out.
My american hybrid chestnut had 23 burs that opened up 2 to 4 days ago and there was not one pollinated chestnut! I have a chinese chestnut with 8 burs. Four of them opened with no viable nuts. I had to leave the remaining 4 burs to return home 200 miles away. They may or may not be there when I return.
Looks like those nuts did not develop because they did not get pollinated by a second tree. When this happens, all you get is an empty shell. The nuts will adhere to the bur and turn brown in a day or 2. Pick them and squeeze the shell to see if they are empty, the flat ones are obviously empty. If there are more burs that have not opened, leave them until they open. They may have viable nuts.
Wait until they look like this. These just came off one of my Chinese trees today. This is actually a good example of a bur that didn’t get fully pollinated (shown on bottom that has been opened and discarded) and the one up top that did get fully pollinated
Those are from a tree that’s close to my house that I grew from seed that I planted six years ago. The idea is to have a few trees by the house that I can collect nuts off of for eating plus use to continue efforts to grow trees on our hunting property.
Yes I do have a few weevils.
When I first started harvesting this old mans orchard it was over grown and not taken care of . So I used to give the nuts a hot water bath to kill the egg . Last year and this year the nuts look a lot better .
I have a guy coming Sunday from Iowa . He wants to buy all I have .
I’m keeping about 300 nuts to put into cold storage for germination