Fruit trees

Chestnut (Castanea sativa)

The chestnut is one of the most cultivated fruit trees in all temperate regions of the world: not only for its fruit, which is delicious, but also for its ornamental value and rusticity. As if that were not enough, it is one of those plants that, as they grow, provide a pleasant shade, something that is undoubtedly appreciated in summer.

Its maintenance is not complicated, although it is true that when the weather is not good (that is, when it is temperate, tending to warm, instead of cold) it usually has problems due to its low tolerance to extreme heat. For the rest, it is very interesting to meet him. You fancy?

Origin and characteristics

Image – Wikimedia/ Giovanni Caudullo

Our protagonist is a deciduous tree whose scientific name is Castanea sativa. It is native to southern Europe and Asia Minor. It grows to a height of 20 to 30 meters, with a somewhat wide crown and a trunk up to two meters in diameter with brown bark, being also longitudinally cracked in the oldest specimens, and smooth in the young ones.

The leaves are 8 to 22cm long and 4.5 to 8cm wide, and are oblanceolate, with a rounded base, a serrated margin, glabrous on the upper surface and slightly pubescent on the underside. They are green in color, although in autumn they turn yellowish before falling.

The male flowers are catkins of up to 20cm, while the female ones are composed of 7 to 9 styles at the apex of the ovary, and are cream-colored. They sprout in spring.

And the fruit is a subglobose dome that is covered with thorns up to 11cm long. Inside it contains about 2-3 achenes, which are chestnuts, which measure about 2-4cm, have a domed shape, and are edible.

What are their cares?

Image – Flickr/ Ramón Durán

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:

Location

It is a tree that must be outside, in full sun. Being large, it is important that it is placed at a minimum distance of ten meters from walls, walls, pipes, etc., and at least 6m from other large plants. In this way, you will be able to have an excellent development and, therefore, it will be a joy to contemplate your beauty .

Earth

  • Garden: grows in cool and humid soils, rich in organic matter, and slightly acidic.
  • Pot: it is not a plant to grow in a pot throughout its life, but during its youthful years and as it grows at a medium-slow rate, it can be had in one with mulch (get it here ) mixed with 30% perlite (in sale here ).

Irrigation

The chestnut is a plant that does not withstand drought, but it does not like flooding too much, unless, of course, it is punctual (for example, if it rains torrentially a few times a year, and right where it is the water remains stagnant and a puddle forms, the tree will not be harmed. Another thing would be for it to rain that way frequently).

Therefore, to avoid problems, on average it is advisable to water it 3-5 times a week in summer, and once or twice a week the rest of the year. But beware, this only has to be taken as an orientation: if it rains often in your area, you will not need to water as much; On the other hand, if it rains little, you may have to increase the frequency of watering.

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Guano powder.

It is advisable to fertilize it with organic fertilizers during spring and summer, at least once a month. Fertilizers such as guano (you can get it in powder here and liquid here ), or chicken manure (if you get it fresh, let it dry in the sun for at least 10 days) are very rich in nutrients and will allow it to grow very healthy.

In case of having it in a pot, use liquid fertilizers, following the indications specified on the container.

Harvest

Chestnuts are harvested in the fall.

Multiplication

It multiplies easily by seeds in winter. The way to proceed is as follows:

  1. The first thing to do is get the chestnuts, whether from the tree itself or from an organic food store (in this case, take the ones that are sold in bulk, natural).
  2. Then, fill a pot of about 20cm with mulch mixed with 30% perlite, and water thoroughly.
  3. Then, sprinkle with copper or sulfur to prevent the appearance of fungus.
  4. Next, place a maximum of two seeds in the pot, and cover them with a layer of substrate thick enough so that they are not too exposed.
  5. Finally, place the pot outside, in semi-shade.

However, and keeping the substrate moist but not waterlogged, they will germinate throughout the spring.

Plagues and diseases

  • Chestnut ink: it is a disease caused by Phytophtora cambivora and Phytophtora cinnamomi fungi. It extends from the roots to the rest of the tree, causing the progressive death of the apical twigs and the necrotization of the tissues that are under the bark.
    To treat it, you have to use copper-based fungicides, but the best thing we can do is prevent it by controlling the risks and buying healthy specimens.
  • Attacks by hairy lizard ( Lymantria dispar ) and brown-tailed lizard butterfly ( Euproctis chrysorrhoeas ). They are two lepidoptera that feed on the sap of the leaves, especially the tender ones.
    They can be fought with potassium soap or neem oil.

Rusticity

It resists frosts down to -17ºC, but it is harmed by late ones. The extreme heat (over 30ºC) does not like it either. It cannot live in tropical climates.

What uses does it have?

Apart from being able to be used as an ornamental tree, as an isolated specimen or in groups, without a doubt its most widespread use is that of a fruit tree. Its fruits, chestnuts, are edible, and in fact they are very nutritious. Its nutritional value per 100 grams is as follows:

  • Calories: 225kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 44.17g
  • Fat: 1.25g
  • Proteins: 52g
  • Vitamin B1: 0.144mg
  • Vitamin B2: 0.016mg
  • Vitamin B3: 1,102mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.352mg
  • Vitamin C: 40.2mg
  • Calcium: 19mg
  • Iron: 0.94mg
  • Magnesium: 30mg
  • Phosphorus: 38mg
  • Potassium: 484mg
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Zinc: 0.49mg

What are the benefits of chestnuts?

Eating some chestnuts from time to time will help us stay healthy, since they are satiating, strengthen teeth and bones, stimulate the nervous system, protect the heart, improve intestinal transit and can be eaten in case of anemia as they contain iron.

I hope you liked what you learned about chestnut .

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