American chestnut trees in vented tree tubes: “Straight as an arrow”

A customer in Mississippi used our vented 5ft tree tubes on a few dozen American chestnut seedlings (that he had started from seed in root pruning pots).  He had been told by several experts within the chestnut restoration community that American chestnuts do not grow well in tall tree tubes, and instead should be given a combination of a 2ft tree tube for rodent damage and initial survival and a wire mesh enclosure for deer browse protection.  (This longstanding recommendation was based on some poor early results with American chestnut seedlings in the old, unvented tree tubes that came over from the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s; problems included a spiral growth habit within the tree tube, and in some cases winter injury or die back.)

Luckily this customer chose to try both methods:  Short tree tubes along with a wire mesh cage for deer protection, and 5ft tree tubes.  After a full growing season he reports that, “Tubes for chestnut should be 5ft and the trees should be above the tubes by August.”  Keep in mind that when he says the trees should be above the tubes by August he planted 18 inch tall seedlings in April or May!

Here are a couple of photos he sent of American chestnut trees emerging from 5ft tree tubes in the first growing season.  Of the trees’ form and growth habit he writes, “The spiraling wasn’t significant and now the tree have emerged straight as an arrow.”

tree tube on American chestnut

Straight, healthy American chestnut tree planted as an 18″ seedling in spring 2013 and emerging from a 5ft tree tube in August, 2013.

tree tube on chestnut

Customer’s champion American chestnut, planted as 18″ seedling in spring now more the 24″ past the top of a 5ft tree tube!

The best part is the second tree actually has a name:  Sam Henry.  Not only do my customers send me daily growth reports, they actually name their trees.  That’s so cool!


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