Fort New Salem is honored to have been selected as a partner site with the West Virginia chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation for planting Hybrid American Chestnut Trees.
A blight from imported Asian chestnut trees infected and killed 100 per cent of the American chestnut trees in the first half of the 1900s. The American chestnut was a tree that The Pioneers of Appalachia used extensively for their homes, barns, fencing, food and livestock forage. The American Chestnut of the 1800s grew to over six feet in diameter and over 120 feet tall. Fortunately, the American chestnut still grows from roots unaffected by the blight but the trees themselves succumb to the blight and die before reaching maturity. The American Chestnut Foundation parentheses TACF) endeavors to restore the American chestnut back to our native forest by creating and planting back cross hybrid trees. Hybrid American Chinese back cross saplings are approximately 80% American chestnut and have improved resistance to the blight. The plantings are the result of an ongoing 40 plus year intensive breeding program by TACF.
We are pleased to have American chestnuts planted on our campus. If you are interested to join the effort to restore this important tree to our forest you can contact the American Chestnut Foundation by visiting www.acf.org or calling (828) – 281-0047.