Notes on different Chestnut growing containers.....


Active Member
Ok ya'll, first time tree grower here so I have been picking all of your alls brains for quite some time. Guys like Wayne are probably getting tired of all my novice questions that have been already answered many times between here and the old forum.
For my first year growing Chestnuts, I am fortunate to have some great sources for Chinese and Dunstan nuts so I can experiment with several different techniques. I fall direct seeded both Dunstan and Chinese nuts from Wayne with spectacular results. (19 out of 21 are alive and thriving)
Due to the passing of a very close family member last fall, I kind of just forgot about all the nuts I had stratifying in my crisper. I guess I did not forget about them I just didn't care with the circumstances. In May I decided to try to germinate what I had before they went bad. I have tried to go the air pruning way as much as I can but I just had too many nuts to do them all this way. I plan on planting most of my seedlings once they go dormant this fall. My air pruned seedlings were started in RM 32s and then transferred to both 1 gallon 4 year root pouches and some went into 1 gallon standard rootmakers ( I wish I would have went with Rootbuilders knowing what I know now).
The remainder of my nuts were all started in just standard quart sized tomato containers and then transferred into 3, 4, and 5 gallon standard plastic nursery pots. I drilled holes all over the sides of the standard pots to help with air flow and drainage. I am very shocked at how well the standard pots are doing.

Although almost all of my seedlings are healthy and doing good, my best looking and strongest looking seedlings are in the standard pots. My 1 gal rootpouch seedlings are doing great but they are more spindly and leggy than the ones in the pots. Pictured is my best container seedling next to my Walmart Dunstans I purchased on sale this spring. Keep in mind that these were germinated in mid May and not under lights in the late winter/early spring so they are behind schedule...

I guess my purpose to this thread is to find out what works best for you all. I will most likely continue to move towards air pruning but some of this has opened my eyes to how simple we can actually grow these with success. Feel free to share your experience with other types of growing containers. I will be curious too see how bad my taproots are circled in the standard pots. I noticed my Chestnut hill trees still had the hollow nuts partially buried in the media which I'm guessing that means that they started the nuts directly in the 3 gallon pots.

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We all learn from each other.

Your questions have probably been asked by most of us at one time or another

I enjoy reading about experience with different techniques

Thanks for sharing

I am going to respond to the seedling that is in the large round container right beside the gallon milk container. It has good growing media based upon the appearance, the little pine bark and white perlite. You have plenty of holes which most people think about drainage but I think about air infiltration. The roots needs oxygen. Your growing media does not look pasty or thick like peanut butter.

Your seedling is in good shape because of the good choices you made. To me if you eliminate those holes - your results will be less attractive.

I like answering questions about chestnuts - especially when people work at it and take the advice to heart. Your seedling looks great!!!!

Summary - holes allow drainage and provide oxygen to the roots.