Characteristics of the Sweet chestnut:

The Sweet chestnut or Spanish chestnut (Castanea sativa) is a deciduous tree from the beech family (Fagaceae).

The tree is tall, erect, with a wide, spreading crown. The root system has a strong central root and strong skeletal roots. The life cycle of a tree is up to 500 years. Depending on the variety, the sweet chestnut reaches a height of 10-40 m.


 

Planting the Sweet chestnut:

To plant a chestnut tree, choose a sunny and wide-open spot.

Before planting a chestnut, keep in mind that it does best in slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 5.5-7.0), and liming is necessary in more acidic soil. The soil should preferably be fertile, rich in organic matter and well drained. Heavy and soggy soils are not suitable. This saturates the pores of the soil with water and deprives them of oxygen, exacerbating problems like root rot.

<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@ripato?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Ricardo Gomez Angel</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/chestnut?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm

The trees are planted in spring or late autumn/winter. We recommend planting grafted chestnuts, as they start fruiting earlier (in the 2nd to 3rd year) and provide guaranteed quality.

 

With an intensive planting scheme (distance 4 - 8 m), 17-50 trees per hectare are required. With extensive planting, it is also possible to choose wide planting distances of 9 - 12 m.

The chestnut flowers from June to July and the fruit can be harvested from late September to early November. Good pollination is very important for high yields. In the case of the chestnut, this is done by insects. Chestnut culture requires cross-pollination with another suitable variety. It is therefore advisable to work with two varieties for larger plantations; self-fertile varieties can be used for smaller plantations or single trees.

Yield:

Yields can vary greatly between 1000-7000 kg/ha depending on the type of cultivation. Harvesting is done manually or with special machines.

New hybrid varieties are developed based on the four major families of European, Chinese, Japanese and American chestnuts.

<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@roby54?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Roberto Patti</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/chestnut?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_conte

Requirement:

Chestnuts have many uses. It is used in the culinary, cosmetic industry, in folk medicine and for obtaining excellent wood. It also finds interesting applications in the wine and leather industries.


 

Available varieties

 

French Sweet chestnut varieties:

MARIGOULE -  This chestnut variety is a hybrid crossed between the European and Japanese chestnut trees. Marigoule prefers soils that are rich in organic matter, slightly acidic, fresh, rich, deep and well-drained. The location should also be nice and sunny. Limestone is not a parent rock for this variety, and Marigoule does not like excessive humidity. The sweet chestnut tree is grafted onto Castanea sativa. The flowering period is in June and July and gives bees a lot of food with their long catkins. It usually takes 4-5 years after planting the chestnuts before they bear fruit. The nuts ripen in mid to early fall. Harvest time begins at the end of September and ends in October. The size of the nuts is medium to large and the colour is bright brown. The chestnuts have a pleasantly firm and sweetish taste and are easy to peel. Marigoule chestnuts are excellent to eat straight, roasted and with cream or jam. They can be stored very well in a dry place.

This variety is self-pollinating and can also be used as a pollinator variety for most non-self-pollinating chestnut varieties. A pollinator is recommended for higher yields. A recommended planting scheme is to plant every 2 rows with Marigoule, the third row with a pollinator. Because Marigoule is a hybrid variety, it has high blight and cancer resistance.

The tree has a beautiful declining habit and can reach a height of up to 20m after about 20 years of growth. For planting, we recommend a planting scheme of 6-15 m between the trees.

With regard to winter hardiness, the tree is damage-free down to around -26°C. It is also important that this variety does not require pruning. 

 

Hight and growth

Large: 13-20m

Tree form and crown

Upright straight with a wide crown

Flowering

June/July

Self-fertile

Partially self-fertile

Pollination

Good pollinatorvariety

Fruiting

Harvest starts after 4-5 years

Fruit

Medium size

Shell & pericarp

Bright red-brown, thin skin, easy to peel

Kernel

Firm and sweetish

Harvest

End of September until end of October

Winter hardiness

Very hard down to -26°C

Frost susceptibility

Little susceptible

Disease resistance

High blight and cancer resistance

Spacing

6-15m

Storage

Very good when stored in dry conditions

Soil requirements

well-aerated, humus-rich, deep soil, slightly acidic

Site requirements

Sunny, wide open side

 

MARAVAL - It was selected in 1986 by INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research) – the French institution for agricultural research. The hybrid variety Maraval, which is a cross between a European chestnut (Castanea sativa) and a Japanese (Castanea crenata), is medium-yielding and disease-resistant. The tree is upright with moderate habit and medium height. This allows for denser orchards than with other hybrid varieties. The variety is not very demanding on the soil and is suitable for planting up to 600m above sea level. After planting the grafted chestnut tree, it begins to bear fruit in the 4th to 5th year and the yields increase, as the tree ages. The nut is very large, almost 4cm, mahogany coloured and triangular to elliptical in shape. It can be stored well under dry storage condition. Harvesting usually begins in the second week of October. Due to the early sprouting, the variety is somewhat sensitive to late frosts in spring. The peculiarity of the Maraval variety is its ability to produce a large amount of pollen for the chestnut garden. A single tree can provide pollen for trees more than 70 meters away. It is important that the Maraval chestnut variety is also self-pollinating and can therefore also be planted as a single tree. The variety is also known for its resistance to root rot and chestnut blight.

 

Overview:

 

Hight and growth

Medium size 11-20m

Tree form and crown

Upright straight with rounded crown

Flowering

June/July

Self-fertile

Self-fertile

Pollination

Perfect pollinator variety

Fruiting

Harveststarts after the 4th year

Fruit

Large - almost 4cm

Shell & pericarp

Mahogany coloured, triangular to elliptical, thin skin, easy to peel

Kernel

Tender and sweet

Harvest

Starting second week of October

Winter hardiness

Good winter hardiness down to -21°C

Frost susceptibility

Slightly susceptible in spring

Disease resistance

Especially resistantto root rot and chestnut blight

Spacing

6-15m

Storage

Good, when stored under dry conditions

Soil requirements

well-aerated, deep soil, pH 5.5-7.0

Site requirements

Sunny, wide open side

 

Bouche de Bétizac - is a French chestnut variety that was bread in 1962 by INRA (National Institute of Agronomic Research). It is a controlled hybrid between Castanea sativa and Castanea crenata. Growth is upright, fast. Fertile, slightly acidic soils without limestone are suitable. It takes about 4-5 years from planting the saplings to start bearing fruit. The size of the nuts is large and the colour is light chestnut brown. The variety Bouche de Bétizac is pollen sterile and needs a pollinator for better yields. The following varieties Belle Epine, Marron de Goujounac, Maraval and Marigoule can be used as pollinators. The variety is resistant to blight and cancer. It is suitable for plantation up to 400 m above sea level.

 

Overview:

 

 

 

 

Hight and growth

Medium size 8 m

Tree form and crown

Upright straight with rounded crown

Flowering

June/July

Self-fertile

Pollen sterile, it needs a pollinator

Fruiting

Harvest starts after 4-5th year

Fruit

Large – 40 gr up

Shell & pericarp

Easy to peel, light brown

Kernel

Sweet and aromatic, with a good taste

Harvest

Early September

Winter hardiness

Resistant to low winter temperatures down to -21°C

Frost susceptibility

Sensitive to spring frosts

Disease resistance

Particularly resistant to chestnut blight

Spacing

6-15m

Storage

Shelled nuts will keep well in the refrigerator or freezer for one month

Soil requirements

Deep, fertile, well-drained soil without limestone

Site requirements

Sunny, wide open side

 

Turkish chestnut varieties:

KEMER

 

Originating in Anatolia, this Turkish sweet chestnut species (Castanea sativa) is very intriguing for growth at elevations as high as 

1500 meters.

Additional qualities that speak highly of the Kemer type are the exceptionally high quality of the chestnut nut with its soft core and good storage stability.

Dig holes that are at least 40 cm deep before planting sweet chestnuts.

Both deep and well-aerated soil are desirable.

The ideal soils are volcanic soils with a pH of neutral to slightly acidic.

Avoiding waterlogging is advised.

Slopes in the sun are ideal.

Rainfall should be at least 600 mm annually, but it's also important to remember that too much moisture and rain during the growing season will encourage fungal diseases.

During the first few years of a drought, all kinds of sweet chestnut require more irrigation.

In Kemer, the second or third week of October is harvest season.

The Kemer chestnuts have a lovely thin skin, are medium in size, and are rather flat.

Kemer is also resistant to cancer well.

Kemer is a well-prunable sweet chestnut type. It is typically true that the tree can be pruned at the height at which the initial branching is wanted upon planting, albeit the precise management and row spacing play a major role in the pruning technique. Remove deep shoots as soon as possible during the first growing year. Moreover, the tips of the side branches may be shortened.

 

Height growth

large

Tree and crown shape

Upright with falling crown

Flowering time / leaf emergence

June, July

Self-pollinating

It is best to plant at least two varieties for better pollination

Pollinator varieties

 

good pollinator variety

Fruit layering

Start of yield after 4-5 years

Fruit

Medium-sized

Pericarp (the shell or pericarp)

Lighter brown, thin skin, easy to peel

Fruit core

Soft and sweet

Harvest time

2nd-3rd October week

Winter hardiness

Frost resistance down to -30°C

Late frost

 

little risk of late frost

Disease resistance

high resistance to cancer

Graft

9-11m

Shelf life

Store well cooled and dry - keeps well

Soil claim

well-aerated, humus-rich, deep soil, volcanic source rock.

Location

Sunny, spacious location

 

 

 
ISIKLAR
This self-pollinating famous chestnut variety is very popular in Turkey. Originally Isiklar chestnuts come from Anatolia. The chestnuts are medium-sized and the variety produces high yields on a very constant level. If stored dry, the chestnuts can be stored very well.