Early in January, what seems like the distant past, several volunteers came to the greenhouse at the Forest Resource Lab in State College, PA to help planting chestnuts. Over 5,000 seeds were planted. As of April 23, we have over 1,800 seedlings to be screened through the SSA process with inoculations occurring in June. Adapting to the current situation we will also be adding 600 seedlings to the SSA’s that would have been planted into the Arboretum orchards. Screening these 600 seedlings should reduce the number to be planted by 25%-50%.
The orchards are beginning to break dormancy. Over the coming weeks there will be mowing, and other maintenance activities. The orchards are about 75% complete with the latest round of rouging with several thousand stems removed.
This year is the start of an effort to graft American chestnut scion material onto American, hybrid, and other various root stocks to be planted in the Arboretum at Penn State as a new GCO. To date we have approximately 50 grafts with goals of at least 100 grafts this year.