In preparation for the deregulation of the Darling 58, PA/NJ TACF is organizing several controlled pollination workshops this month. We have two scheduled and hope to add a third for folks out West. Our neighbors in Ohio have organized the third workshop in Western PA on June 26th. All these workshops are free but you must register.
Thursday, June 17, 2021 (3:00 PM – 4:30 PM)
Arboretum at Penn State Chestnut Orchard, University Park, PA
These workshops will be lead by Sara Fitzsimmons, Director of Restoration for TACF. Participants will learn about the breeding work being done in the research orchards and the current status of efforts to restore the American chestnut to the forests of the Mid-Atlantic and beyond. Following the introduction, Sara will walk participants through the pollination process. She will bring orchard ladders for anyone who would like to climb into the tree for a close-up view of pollination.
Stephen Hoy, Orchard Manager at Penn State sends his thanks to the volunteers who helped him and our 2021 Penn State Intern, Tyler Gryskevicz complete 600 protective pollination bags for a controlled pollination study to be completed in June 2021.
Volunteers: Bob Fishburn, David Deaville, Larry Martone, Tracey Coulter, and Dylan Longale a PSU student working for Joe Harding.
Steve is preparing for some more volunteer activities in June and July. If you are interested in helping please email the office — email@example.com
PA/NJ Chapter Board member, Dan O’Keefe is happy to report that the Orchard at the Tyler Arboretum has welcomed back a full complement of volunteers this season. Last year back at this time the Arboretum was completely closed down until mid-June. This season they have a plan in place with the arborists from the Mt Cuba Center in Delaware, to collect pollen from a large surviving tree on the campus of Swarthmore College.
On May 22nd, five intrepid volunteers met at the New Jersey Dept of Forestry’s tree nursery in Jackson, New Jersey, to water American Chestnut trees, pull a few weeds, and generally nerd out about chestnuts. Jesse Otto took the record for furthest-distance traveled (112 miles from Reading, PA) — that’s some love right there, driving almost two hours each way to water some baby trees.
We walked back and forth across and down the rows, toting buckets of water. Each tree got watered about 4-5 times — the NJ Dept of Forestry filled three huge drums with water for us and left them in the orchard, so we filled our buckets until the water was gone.
We were all so busy staring at the base of the trees where we were watering and weeding that we almost didn’t notice that many of the big trees in the orchard (maybe 5 or 6) had baby catkins already showing! Such a hopeful sign, even though many of the larger trees were already suffering from blight. Kieu and Mike Manes, and Tony Rosati introduced me, a new member to the difference between pure American leaves and those from hybrid trees, and I got to experience firsthand the sharp needles on an empty burr.
We finished up just as the sun got hot. It was really encouraging to see the young catkins developing — hopefully, the orchard will produce nuts this fall.