Volunteers Plant the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society's Wigwam Brook Orchard

Saturday May 8th an eighteen member team of volunteer orchard planters descended on the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society's Wigwam Brook property to plant the new American Chestnut Foundation back-cross chestnut research orchard. The group, made up of members of the CT Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation and members of The Litchfield Hills Audubon Society (and quite a few members of both) sat out the first fifteen minutes in parked cars as a fierce storm crossed the area. Once the storm passed, the planting began. The goal was to plant several lines of back-cross nuts pollinated in June of last year as well a number of control trees. One line came from a tree pollinated by CT-TACF Board Member Gayle Kida in Willington, CT. The other lines were local and pollinated by John Baker in Litchfield, and Bill Moorhead in Torrington.

The event was recorded by Waterbury Republican-American Newspaper Journalist John McKenna and published the following day as a lead story. See the original story as it appeared on-line in the Waterbury Republican-American.

Click on the more link to read more about the event and see additional photos capturing the planting event.

Some of the intrepid Volunteers that planted the Wigwam Brook chestnut orchard
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Read more about the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society's Wigwam Brook Site and Chestnut Orchard.

CT Chapter TACF Board Member Dr. Phil Arnold describes the American Chestnut Foundation back-cross breeding program to Waterbury Republican-American Reporter John McKenna. Dr. Arnold has managed the Woodbridge Land Trust Back-cross Orchard since its initial planting in 2006 and has extensive chestnut planting and managing experience with terrific survivability and growth and we like to share this knowledge with new orchards. For reference, this photo shows Dr. Arnold standing alongside a fourteen foot four season chestnut in his orchard. At that size, the trees are ready for selection. That is, as Dr. Arnold described to Reporter McKenna, the trees are inoculated with blight, and then selected for both resistance and form, with the best being bred to carry their genes into the next generation.

A beautiful site with gently sloping hillsides and an eastern exposure – the orchard has been successfully tested as an excellent location for growing chestnut. The ten foot high one and a half acre exclosure (with tremendous appreciation and gratitude to the NRCS for their support in building) provides protection from deer for both the chestnut and diverse forbs Audubon plans to grow to encourage a broad diversity of insect pollinating invertebrates and the birds that love to eat them. Litchfield Hills Audubon Society has placed numerous bluebird houses throughout the site, and the hope is that this protected orchard site can become excellent habitat for returning bluebirds and their families. The nature of a back-cross orchard is such that the majority (90%) of the trees are removed after about five to six years of growth, thus maintaining the open nature of the exclosure.

All photos by John Baker except the team photo.

Dr. Phil Arnold (left) describing the American Chestnut Foundation approach to restoring the American chestnut to Waterbury Republican Reporter John McKenna
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Planting at the Wigwam Brook
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Dr. Phil Arnold, of the CT Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation planting at Wigwam Brook
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Marven Moss from the Norwalk Tree Alliance planting at the Wigwam Brook Orchard
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The Wigwam Brook Orchard year 1 planting complete
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Read more about the Litchfield Hills Audubon's Wigwam Brook Site and Chestnut Orchard.

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Bill Adamsen

Bill Adamsen

Bill Adamsen is a member of the CT Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) Board of Directors. He served as Chapter President for eight years.

Bill Adamsen

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