Chestnut Production?

KSQ2

I buy what is called pine fines from my local garden center in my town. In the past I would use pine bark mini but over time their quality control slpped greatly on the size of that product. Going to the pine fines has really worked well for me. As yoderjac does, I don't use the pine fines in the rootmaker 18s, but when I move the seedling to a larger pot from the rootmaker 18s, then I add the pine fines. I like about 30 to 35% fines, an HP mix at 30 to 40 %, with perlite, vermuculite and some compost. I add Osmocote Plus too but I see it getting more expensive each time I replace what I have used up.

If you have any questions, I would be glad to share what I know. As I tell my grandson, you know what you call a mistake? It is called experience and I have more than my share of experience.

wbpdeer
 
KSQ2

I buy what is called pine fines from my local garden center in my town. In the past I would use pine bark mini but over time their quality control slpped greatly on the size of that product. Going to the pine fines has really worked well for me. As yoderjac does, I don't use the pine fines in the rootmaker 18s, but when I move the seedling to a larger pot from the rootmaker 18s, then I add the pine fines. I like about 30 to 35% fines, an HP mix at 30 to 40 %, with perlite, vermuculite and some compost. I add Osmocote Plus too but I see it getting more expensive each time I replace what I have used up.

If you have any questions, I would be glad to share what I know. As I tell my grandson, you know what you call a mistake? It is called experience and I have more than my share of experience.

wbpdeer
I’ll be leaning on all of you guys when I begin purchasing material. I’ll be buying the R18s and hp soon; but holding off on some of the other stuff.
 
I’ll be leaning on all of you guys when I begin purchasing material. I’ll be buying the R18s and hp soon; but holding off on some of the other stuff.
I stopped growing trees a few years ago as I'm getting older and that part of our habitat improvement is done. I'd take any advice Wayne offers as he is still growing them and is keep up with the latest.
 
I had some real good news yesterday. I have buried chestnuts for two years, in Fall of 2021 & 2022. Digging them up is no fun but it works if you are playing the numbers. I filled 4 dorm/beer fridges up and put 2 gallon buckets and small plastic paint containers in the hole.

So in the 2023 I had so many chestnuts already stuck in growing media I made a decision to put together 2 ICU Tupperware containers full of nuts from the burial buckets and piled play sand on them. To me ICU represents Intensive Care Unit, the last effort to save some of them.

I placed both Tupperware containers beside my water spigot so any time I water they got a double dose, before I water all of the seedlings and then again when I returned to turn off the water. Well, they went nuts and bushed out big time. I had a young high school freshman helping me and gave him a chance to dig a few out for him. The rest I gave to the High School Ag teacher.

They up potted 97 and have them in their Greenhouse. They will hopefully sell a bunch of those to support their program. They have a huge spring sell and I buy ferns for my wife from that sale.

I am continuously amazed at how hard chestnut persist at survival. Some of them are just not going to die no matter how much stress you place them under. How deep were these containers, about 3 1/2 inches deep.

These 97 seedlings push me just above 590 for the 2023 cycle that I gave away. I handed the seedlings over in early December and we just got back in touch to check on the survivors this week.
 
I've been doing a lot of browsing for pine bark and I cannot find any that doesn't have bad reviews. It's not stocked anywhere locally, except Lowes; and the brand they sell has horrible reviews. If I buy the expensive stuff, it rivals the cost of the Promix HP, is there any reason to buy, if it doesn't lower the cost of the promix? I guess I could buy a bag of the bad stuff from Lowes and just filter out the good pine bark to use???
 
I've been doing a lot of browsing for pine bark and I cannot find any that doesn't have bad reviews. It's not stocked anywhere locally, except Lowes; and the brand they sell has horrible reviews. If I buy the expensive stuff, it rivals the cost of the Promix HP, is there any reason to buy, if it doesn't lower the cost of the promix? I guess I could buy a bag of the bad stuff from Lowes and just filter out the good pine bark to use???
Promix and other brands make bark based mixes. Check the BK and BRK series from PT horticulture. Lambert and Sungro have bark based mixes. I just got some Lambert LM-16 from the Greenhouse supply dealer near me
 
I used promix and added more bark to make the mix chunkier and save money. I did not care about reviews. This is a non-typical use of pine bark, so the reviews are likely for other applications. I just bought the cheap stuff from Lowes. If I was not growing trees by the hundreds, I wouldn't have worried about adding pine bark. For a few trees the cost of a single bale of Promix is not outrageous. It does add up when you are planting in volume.

One more note I'd make for @KSQ2 who is just starting out.

Don't be tempted to start trees early in a greenhouse. Dr. Whitcomb warns against this and I got to see the difference first hand. The angle of the sun in the sky is too low making the intensity too low. If you want to start trees early you NEED to use artificial light. You don't need fancy grow lights. I used cheap fluorescent shop lights. Light intensity diminishes with the distance squared. Fluorescent or LED are cool. Shop lights are 4' long. So, you can organize your 18s in express trays by height and hang the shop lights on an angle keeping them several inches above all trees.

It is easy to be deceived by what looks like good results. Trees will look great above ground, but the issue occurs with root development. A number of years ago, I corresponded with another guy who was also growing trees in root makers. We both happened to be growing pawpaw trees from seed. We started them at the same time. He started his in a greenhouse with no artificial lights. I started mine in the basement with shop lights.

We exchanged pictures along the way. Both his an mine all looked great above the soil. When it came time to transplant them, mine had nice dense root system with lots of good branching. His have very poor roots and most eventually died.

I don't think this matters for direct seeders. They can plant nuts anytime. The reason is that the energy from the nut mostly goes to putting down the tap root. Even when the weather allows top growth to begin, most of the energy is going to putting down that tap root. Normal root branching does not occur until later in the life of the tree.
 
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