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Old 12-08-2012, 10:46 AM
 
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I remember reading a thread in this forum on the hemlock tree. Today, I saw this on the google news aggregator home page. ABC News has done quite a story about efforts in the Asheville area to revive this mighty American icon.

"Jim Hurst has doted on his trees, arranged in three "families" on a bluff high above the rushing French Broad River."

Blighted Icon: Volunteers Aim to Revive Chestnut - ABC News

I'm impressed. I hope they make it. This is one of the reasons the Asheville area attracts me, the interest in preserving things that are worth preserving.

"Hurst hopes the trees on his hillside farm part of a vast experiment in forest plots where this "linchpin" species thrived before the onslaught of an imported parasite might hold the key to regaining that Eden."
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Asheville, NC
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Default Woohoo!!

Thank you for sharing this kmarc!! Isn't this wonderful? It brings chills to my spine that maybe what was deemed impossible by most experts back in the day, may be more than possible today. Jim Hurst is another hero, right here in our area! :-) It is just another reason to love Asheville! And can't wait to see a beautiful, majestic Chestnut here one day.

I remember reading about the American Chestnut Foundation's summit, which was held here in AVL a few months ago. They said we won't know for certain if they are viable until 2017-2020. But it looks really promising. And we'll be able to head on up to Weaverville to check 'em out!!

You mentioned Hemlocks(my new love), so I hope you don't mind a quick comparison....Hemlock hybrids resistant to the Wholly Adelgid are currently being developed at 5 different universities. And according to the ARS, they have developed a viable hybrid that is in the testing phase now.

Potential Hemlock Hybrids Tolerant to Invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid / November 10, 2010 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

So we've got a jump start on creating Hemlock hybrids too, even as we watch in real time the death of the original all around us. It's still so sad for me to see them go, especially knowing that some can live as long as 800-1000 years, and their lives are being cut dramatically short. But knowing there are some fantastic people out there working to bring them back through a hybrid does make it easier to take.

Thanks again, kmarc, you brought a big smile with this news!!!

Last edited by MovingOver2; 12-09-2012 at 07:35 PM..
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:09 AM
 
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Moving Over, here is your thread, and a very important one it is, too. I wish there was some way to merge these two threads for this forum. I'm so impressed by the work that is being done, both by individuals and groups. I've always had an affection for the mighty trees of the eastern US, and have been saddened by the demise of some. When I wuz a pup, Dutch Elm Disease destroyed the lovely old elm trees that shaded the neighborhoods of my suburban NY childhood village. There were two old beauties on our property and I cried when they had to be cut down, it was like losing friends.

Hemlocks! Anyone in Buncombe Co doing anything to help save them?

Some further quotes from the chestnut story:

"More than 500 years later, Peattie conjured that virgin landscape in full flower: "the great forest below waving with creamy white Chestnut blossoms in the crowns of the ancient trees, so that it looked like a sea with white combers plowing across its surface."


"Along the continent's Appalachian spine, chestnuts covered some 200 million acres comprising fully a quarter and, in some places as much as two-thirds, of the upland forest. It is difficult to overstate the tree's importance.
Settlers built cabins, rail fences and barns out of its light, strong, even-grained wood. They hunted deer, turkeys and squirrels made fat on its mast and themselves feasted on the sweet, starchy nuts.
Thoreau wrote lovingly of going "a-chestnutting" in the New England woods. In an 1857 journal entry contemplating the chestnut's spiny bur, he rhapsodized on the wonderful care with which nature "has secluded and defended these nuts, as if they were her most precious fruits, while diamonds are left to take care of themselves."
Tannins from the tree's bark cured the leather for belts that powered machines that drove the Industrial Revolution. The chestnut's naturally rot-resistant wood supplied most of the railroad ties and telegraph poles that knitted together the rapidly expanding United States."




"At last when the tree can no longer serve us in any other way," forest economist P.L. Buttrick observed, "it forms the basic wood onto which oak and other woods are veneered to make our coffins."

Why not restore, preserve and increase these trees that have provided so much for us?
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Hayesville NC
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Fellow tree lovers, in 1962 (I was 5 years old) my grandfather bought a small farm in the panhandle of Florida, near Mossy Head community and DeFuniak Springs. In a row in the center of a large field on the farm were three chestnut trees. Huge trees! They were true American Chestnut trees, they bloomed, bore nuts, they were majestic! The house on the farm dated back to 1870 or so. There were also the largest crepe myrtle trees I have ever seen close to the house. Every year at Christmas he would let us grandchildren bag and sell the chestnuts for spending money. Sadly, my grandfather was struck down with cancer and died in 1966 at a young age of 56. The trees were already showing signs of decline and within a few years were dead. For years afterward, people would contact us at Christmas asking for chestnuts. It would have broken my Grandfather's heart to see the old trees die, it did mine, and I was still just a child.

A good read about the tree is "American Chestnut, The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree" by Susan Freinkel. I read it last year and enjoyed it very much.

As for the Hemlocks...we can only hope. I visited the Joyce Kilmer forest a few months ago and openly wept. I couldn't help it. After all, I am an unashamed tree hugger.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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"After all, I am an unashamed tree hugger."

Good for you! Never be ashamed for having an affection for trees. They are our friends. When I read about "global warming" and such, I could just scream! When I wuz a pup, I was taught in grade school science all about trees and plants and photosynthesis and such, and how trees and plants keep the CO2 in the atmosphere under control. So it just stands to reason that if you de-forest the planet while increasing the population and pollution, there's going to be trouble. DUH! What on earth is the matter with these globalist meat-heads who constantly moan about climate treaties? The solution is right before us.

One of my favorite stories from Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles is the story of bringing trees and plants to an otherwise barren planet. Trees bring us shade, cool and fresh air, in addition to the many other gifts they give us. Not to mention they hold the hills and mountains together.

This is why I am so excited about what's being done in WNC for the chestnuts and hemlocks.

RE-forestation NOW!
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:40 PM
 
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Not to rain on any excitement but this chestnut thing is a nationwide effort and seedlings have been planted in 19 locations that previously supported massive chestnuts. It is my understanding this is a hybrid chestnut using some grafts from Japan (I think) to try to withstand the fungus.

The impression I get from your notes is that the understanding is that it is a reforestation effort required or is a new effort. Or that it is an Asheville area effort. If it were that simple.

People, agencies, and univesities have been trying to return the Chestnut Trees for years and what normally happens is the trees grow to saplings and then die off from the same fungus that killed the original trees. i hope that we get good news and these continue to grow and remain strong.

NC State has a wonderful forestry program and has long been trying to repopulate the original wonderful trees. And the cradle of forestry is in DuPont forest, where much effort is made to restore our forests.

I hope this new effort works. I remember walking through the woods and eating chestnuts fallen as a child. Good memories.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:24 PM
 
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"The impression I get from your notes is that the understanding is that it is a reforestation effort required or is a new effort. Or that it is an Asheville area effort."

Actually I was excited that ABC News gave considerable coverage to the effort and that the focus was on the Asheville area. I do understand that preservation and increase of endangered tree and plant categories is an ongoing national effort. But it's nice to showcase what's happening in different areas and nice that Asheville/WNC was featured.

As climate conditions change, so does the flora and fauna, sometimes weakening certain species and leaving them vulnerable to fungi and other parasites, and various damaging organisms. Also the introduction of new or more pollutants. Humans as well are at risk. I read somewhere about lowered oxygen content in the air we breathe, not a good thing. Trees and plants are vital to the survival of our planet. It may be that new species will replace the old, but I hate to see the loss of species such as hemlocks, chestnuts, elms, etc.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Asheville, NC
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Yep, no trees, no life. We should all be tree-huggers.

This is a collaborative effort across many states. Thank goodness...but the national headquarters for the American Chestnut Foundation is right in downtown Asheville. And that's kinda cool. Like I said previously, we should know if the trees planted in Weaverville will be viable by 2017-2020. And it really does look promising this time.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Asheville, NC
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Notahalfback, Thanks for sharing a little bit of your childhood with us, what a touching, bittersweet story. I'm going to check out the book recommendation. Thanks for that as well!!
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:11 PM
 
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"the national headquarters for the American Chestnut Foundation is right in downtown Asheville. And that's kinda cool."

Absolutely!

And what better time of year to celebrate the chestnut than the Christmas season?

"we should know if the trees planted in Weaverville will be viable by 2017-2020. And it really does look promising this time."

Come back, old friends, come back!
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