Diseases of the chestnut tree

The chestnut

The chestnut or castanea is a genus of plant belonging to the Fagaceae family which includes trees very similar to oaks and beeches. The plant has a rounded crown and has heights that can reach up to 30 m. The species most present in Europe is Castanea sativa or European chestnut. The bark of the chestnut, with a brownish-gray color, presents in advancing age the cracks along the trunk that can also take the form of a spiral. It has deciduous leaves and inflorescences with a whitish color. The fruit is single and is enclosed in an achene, a fruit with a hardened pericarp, contained in a thorny dome, called hedgehog. The chestnut has a wide diffusion ranging from the Mediterranean basin to East Asia, up to the United States.

Chestnut cultivation

The chestnut is a plant that lives in areas where there is a mild winter climate and summer temperatures above 25 degrees. The chestnut does not require particular soils, in fact it can grow on poor soils, but neutral or slightly acidic and free of clay. It prefers soils that are neither too wet nor too dry. In winter the chestnut tree could withstand temperatures that even drop 20 degrees below zero, but for a very short time, otherwise it could suffer very serious damage. Flowering occurs in late spring or early summer, while the fruits are ripe in early autumn. In summer the plant needs watering when the soil is dry, while in winter it needs fertilizing with organic fertilizers.

Diseases of the chestnut tree

The chestnut is a particularly resistant plant even if unfortunately it can suffer attacks from parasites and diseases. A particularly infesting parasite that creates very serious damage to plants is the chestnut rooster cinipede. This insect is a species of wasp native to the East that has undergone a rapid spread in the woods where chestnut trees are present, due to the lack of natural antagonists in the areas it has infested outside the region of origin. This wasp deposits its eggs in the buds of the plant, causing the formation of galls that can be easily identified because swellings are formed with a true-reddish color. The damage that is caused by

Chestnut care

The Galligenous Cinipede is a very infesting insect, so much so that it is able to attack entire forests, which is why the fight with chemical means is strongly hindered by the extension of the affected areas. A further problem to combat this insect is the length of its life cycle, since it spends most of its life inside the buds in the form of a larva. Therefore, the most effective method to combat this insect is the biological one, introducing an antagonist insect such as Torymus sinensis in the infested areas, even if this kind of intervention takes a long time to be developed.A further problem that is involving chestnut plants is the attack of a fungus, the Gnomoniopsis Pascoe which is able to cause rot inside the fruit.

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