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Dunstan Chestnut Trees

In the early 1950s, James Carpentar of Salem, Ohio, discovered a large living American chestnut in a grove of dead and dying trees. A member of the Northern Nut Growers Association, Carpentar was very impressed with the tree as it showed no evidence of blight infection. Over the next several years, he inoculated the tree with active blight spores and mycelia, but failed to induce any infection in the tree.

Carpentar sent budwood to Dr. Robert T. Dunstan, a fellow member of NNGA and well-known plant breeder in Greensboro, N.C. Dunstan grafted the scions onto chestnut rootstock and the trees grew well. He cross-pollinated one with superior USDA released Chinese chestnut selections, to provide blight resistance.


Castanea dentata X mollissima

In 1962, Dr. Dunstan selected the individual with the most hybrid characteristics, and crossed it back to the American and Chinese parent trees. The resulting second generation was moved to Alachua in north central Florida, where the trees have been growing and bearing every year for almost 50 years!

In 1984 we planted a grove of 500 Dunstan trees, and many are now over 50' tall and 12-16" in diameter. These trees show a combination of American and Chinese traits. They are healthy, vigorous, and bear heavily every year. We have chosen several cultivars that have the very best combination of nut and tree characteristics. The Dunstan Chestnuts are the first chestnuts to ever receive U.S. Plant Patents.

The blight-resistant (not immune) Dunstan Chestnuts make possible the re-establishment of chestnut trees and the original native forest in America!


Dunstan Chestnuts have been tested for resistance by inoculation with blight. No significant canker formation was observed for 4 years. Limited growth of the blight cankers was seen on only a few trees and in most cases, the inoculation wound healed completely.

Reports from growers at thousands of locations around the U.S., from New England to Michigan, south to Florida and Texas have shown that the Dunstan Chestnuts have excellent survival, growth, and nut production in a variety of climates, from Zones 5-9. 
Chestnuts can survive average minimum lows of -20F when fully dormant, but can be damaged by early fall and late spring freezes.

Many chestnuts sold in the U.S. are not blight resistant, such as seedling American chestnuts, or European x Japanese hybrids. Blight resistance is extremely important, even in areas that currently do not have blight. Accidental outbreak can destroy susceptible trees. In blighted areas (most of the U.S.) only blight-resistant trees will produce.


Dunstan Chestnuts produce heavy yearly crops of very large and sweet-tasting nuts. The nuts average 15-35 nuts/lb, as compared to Chinese nuts (35-100/lb) and American nuts (75-150/lb). The nuts ripen in September and October, and most fall free from the burrs for easy harvesting.

Dunstan Chestnuts grow rapidly and have an upright growth form, with spreading branches, similar to the American chestnut and unlike the smaller, more spreading Chinese form. These trees are long-lived, can grow up to 100' tall, and have timber value at maturity comparable to walnuts. Chestnuts are excellent for reforestation.

Chestnuts are the very best tree for wildlife. Their consistent yearly crop of large, sweet nuts (unlike oaks and other nuts that cycle between heavy and light years) provides consistent, high quality food for deer, turkey, squirrel, bear and many other game and non-game species.

Some chestnut growers lease their farms for deer hunting in the fall. One grower reports income of over $1500.00 per week leasing their grove to hunters, more than they make off selling the crop!
The Big Bucks Love Our Nuts!

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1-1/2 yr  Dunstan Chestnut Tree seedlings chestnut, dunstan
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Item #: 1-1/2 yr Dunstan Chestnut Tree seedlings - Dunstan Chestnuts Castanea dentata X mollissima Dunstan Chestnuts seedling trees™ are the best and most widely planted chestnut trees in America - they combine the excellent nut quality and tree...
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Dunstan Chestnut Tree Seedlings dunstan, chestnut
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Price: $24.95

Item #: Dunstan Chestnut Tree Seedlings - The best and most widely planted variety of chestnut in America, also providing heavy crops for deer and wildlife.
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