This summer, after five trees we hoped to pollinate did not work out, we went forward with creating lines from four new trees and made two re-pollinations. Between June 16 and June 29 flowers were pre-bagged to protect them from stray Chinese or hybrid chestnut pollen. Controlled pollinations were done June 27 to July 11, using pollen from selected third backcross trees at TACF?s Meadowview Research Farms.
Board members Robert Gregg and David Bingham produced the year?s best results. Robert went aloft in Ken Fries? bucket truck and performed the bagging and pollination of a tree on his property. Although only 14 bags could be placed, Robert averaged 1.8 fertile nuts per bur, harvesting 34 nuts. Next year he plans to complete the line. David spent many hours up on ladders as he also did all the pollination work himself on two trees. He brought in the biggest harvest, 88 nuts from the Old Lyme Library tree. David also finished the Salem line with an additional 18 nuts.
At Lockwood Farms in Hamden, Dr. Anagnostakis gave permission for TACF Regional Science Coordinator Leila Pinchot to pollinate a pure American tree that was planted in 1988, kept alive with the help of hypovirulence. This tree is the offspring of a tree found in Norwich. TACF Regional Science Coordinator Kendra Gurney did the harvest, but found squirrels had torn into the bags, reducing the harvest to 35 nuts.
Our Tolland and Litchfield mother trees were very badly blighted, but Bartlett Tree Experts was willing to donate their time to give the trees a chance. Mike McGee had found the Tolland tree and worked with the owner to coordinate the pollination, and I assisted with Tolland and coordinated Litchfield. Unfortunately the Tolland tree?s cankers cut off nourishment to most of the tree before the nuts were formed, so only two fertile nuts were found in the bags. The Litchfield tree did slightly better, but its topmost branches holding many bags died back. Within the twelve remaining bags were 23 nuts.
We are looking forward to completing our twenty lines of Clapper resistance backcross trees in 2009. Our board members will be busy come late May through early June next year, checking twenty reports we have received of potential mother trees in Connecticut!