In the spring of 2007, the Northern Connecticut Land Trust (NCLT) established a chestnut orchard at their Swann Farm property on Reeves Road in Ellington, CT. An enthusiastic group of 20 volunteers prepared the soil, erected a 1,100 foot deer fence, and planted 230 chestnuts on two beautiful Saturdays in April.
Swann Farm Orchard Entrance. Photographer Gayle Kida – Oct '07 [click on photo to see larger version]
The one and a half acre orchard was planted with BC4 nuts harvested from a mother tree in Stafford, CT. The orchard had a successful first year. Germination and survival rates were nearly 90% and by early fall, the average seedling was almost two feet tall.
In the spring of 2008, we plan to plant a second line of nuts from another mother tree on space remaining at this site.
One season's growth of a backcross American chestnut. Photographer Gayle Kida – Oct '07 [click on photo to see larger version]
Many thanks to the volunteers who planted, watered weeded, and mowed the orchard, to the Bartlett Tree Experts who pollinated and harvested the nuts with their bucket truck, to the Norcross Wildlife Foundation who provided a grant toward the cost of the deer fence, and to Conrad-Fafard Inc. and W.H. Milikowski Inc. who contributed and delivered a generous supply of peat moss.
More information can be found at the Northern CT Land Trust web site.
James Gage – Northern CT Land Trust (and Director/Treasurer – CT-TACF)