Chestnut permaculture plantation

Castanea sativa – sweet chestnut.
Sweet chestnuts are permaculture trees. They can be coppiced, providing sustainable timber for fencing and building whilst also being a food source. Their nuts can be eaten roasted, raw or even turned into flour! Zeljko Serdar shares his thoughts for this multipurpose tree.
If you are wondering how to grow chestnut trees, the most important consideration is soil. All chestnut tree types require well-drained soil to thrive. They can grow in partially clay soil if the land is on a slope, but they will grow best in deep, sandy soils. Be sure your soil is acidic before growing chestnut trees. If you aren’t sure, get the pH tested. You need a pH of between 4.5 and 6.5.
If you read up on chestnut tree information, you’ll find that growing chestnut trees is not difficult if they are planted in an appropriate site. When planted on good, deep soil, the trees are very drought tolerant when established. Young seedlings require regular irrigation. If you are growing chestnut trees for the nut production, however, you’ll need to provide more chestnut tree care. The only way you can be sure of getting abundant, large-sized nuts is if you water the trees regularly throughout the growing season. Most chestnut tree types only begin to produce nuts after they are three to 7 years old. Still, keep in mind that some chestnut tree types can live up to 800 years.
Chestnut trees are attractive, with reddish-brown or grey bark, smooth when the trees are young, but furrowed with age. The leaves are a fresh green, darker on the top than the bottom. They are oval or lance-shaped and edged by widely separated teeth. The flowers of the chestnut tree are long, drooping catkins that appear on the trees in spring. Each tree bears both male and female flowers, but they cannot self-pollinate. The potent fragrance of the flowers attracts insect pollinators.
Analysis of chestnut flour:
Moisture – 14.0%
Oil and fat – 2.0%
Proteins – 8.5%
Starch – 29.2%
Dextrin and soluble starch – 22.9%
Sugar – 17.5%
Ash – 2.6%
Cellulose – 3.3%
Any plant that can be planted and then , once established , is productive, especially as food, and requires little or no inputs, qualifies as a Permaculture favorite.
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Zeljko Serdar, CCRES Team