Chestnut Culture in California

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Learn how to grow this sweet, low-fat nut, which is growing in market importance. Includes information on chestnut species and varieties, world consumption patterns, ecomonics, and marketing, as well as site selection, preparation, tree spacing, weed control, fertilization, diseases and pests, pruning, harvest, and storage.

The chestnut is a delicious nut produced on large, magnificent trees on millions of acres of native habitat in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in China, Korea, Japan, and Southern Europe. The entire eastern half of the United States was once covered with native chestnut trees until a blight fungus introduced from Asia destroyed them in the early 1900s. The fleshy nut is sweet with a starchy texture and has a low fat content, resembling a cereal grain. The nut are eaten as traditional foods in much of Asia and Europe, where they are consumed fresh, cooked, candied, and as a source of flour for pastries.

P. Vossen
Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California