The tragic demise of the American chestnut tree and the Herculean efforts of several dedicated groups of professionals and passionate laymen to restore it are stories that I have told several times.
I have also discussed at length how advances in tree tube design – most notably the development of large diameter, vented tubes – and led to dramatically improved performance as compared to the narrow, unvented tree tubes introduced from the UK in the late 1980s.
The original, unvented small diameter tree tubes imported from the UK in the late 80s and early 90s were, candidly, not ideal for American chestnut. As was chronicled here and other places, unvented tree tubes caused several problems for American chestnut seedlings, including winter injury, spindly stems and stem deformation (although I think in many cases this latter was caused by the landowner lifting the tubes to check on the seedlings and then bending the terminal leader downward when lowering the tube).
For these reasons many chestnut growers and organizations began recommending – wisely, based on the tree tube designs of the time – using 2ft tree tubes, and then supplementing with wire mesh enclosures if additional deer browse protection was necessary.
AMERICAN CHESTNUT GROWERS USING MODERN 4FT VENTED LARGE DIAMETER TREE TUBES (SUCH AS THE TUBEX COMBITUBE PLUS TREESHELTER) HAVE NOT HAD ANY OF THESE ISSUES. The results have been uniformly outstanding.
Unfortunately, it takes a long time to overcome negative first impressions. But the tide is turning. More and more chestnut growers are getting the word about 4ft vented large diameter tubes. They are seeing outstanding results, and are being spared the added cost and hassle of the old 2ft tube + wire mesh cage system.
Skeptical? I invite any American chestnut grower or organization to put the new vented tree tubes to the test. Contact me and I’ll be happy to send some sample tubes for you to put to the test.
The recovery and reestablishment of the American chestnut is too important a goal to base on old, outdated information and technology!