Georgia News

So you want to plant some chestnuts?

We’re happy to be hearing from so many folks like you who are interested in planting chestnuts on their property.  We’ve received a lot of requests for chestnut seedlings and that’s good news, since it indicates a high level of interest in restoring the American chestnut.  But we need to make everyone aware of the status of our program as well as our capacity to involve private landowners in it.

First and foremost, we’re not quite “there” yet in our disease resistance program. Our current and future efforts are experimental and will most likely continue to be so for many years. Neither the Georgia chapter nor our parent organization can guarantee disease resistance in trees we release to landowners like you, and we cannot commit to a specific timeline in that regard. That boils down to a good chance that many trees we have today may not carry sufficient disease resistance, so most likely will not live to become the “mighty giants” we all hope and dream about.  While we are making great progress towards our goal, the science of conquering chestnut diseases takes time.

The Georgia chapter has worked with over 220 landowners on projects ranging from small demonstration and/or educational plantings of only a few trees to large experimental orchards with thousands of trees. Chapter volunteers help landowners get started, then turn the project over to the landowner for long-term maintenance and upkeep. As an all-volunteer organization with limited resources and funding, we try to be careful about establishing new orchard projects so we can make sure our current projects are successful. Obviously, we want all partnerships with landowners to be successful.

Here are some things we ask of anyone interested in planting chestnuts on our behalf:

1) We ask that you maintain membership in TACF (when you join the national organization you automatically become a state chapter member). In fact, it’s best to become a member for a few years, volunteer at a few events, and take time to learn more about our program before offering to plant trees on your property. See

2) Basic information about your site should be submitted to the GA-TACF Science Coordinator at, ideally via the submission of a “Potential Orchard Steward” form that will be provided. This survey lists the types of orchard projects that GA-TACF supports, along with expectations about each planting type.

3) A reasonably well designed, long-term orchard stewardship plan should be developed with assistance from the GA-TACF Science Coordinator. If the planting is simply a small demo/educational project, then an informal plan may be developed with our Demo Orchard Manager.

4) If planting hybrid trees emanating from the TACF breeding program, landowners must sign and submit a germplasm agreement to TACF’s Asheville, NC office (also available by e-mailing

Whenever possible, GA-TACF tries to assist landowners with up-front materials, supplies, and seeds or seedlings.  Given that we are funded solely by dues and donations, helping defray these start-up costs is another great way to help our chapter. Beyond that, the primary responsibility for long-term tree care is left to the individual landowner. With no paid staff and small state membership, we do not have the capacity to maintain orchards for landowners.

If you want to plant a few trees on your property please note TACF has a “Seed Level” membership program that provides advanced hybrid seeds to donor members.  Also, TACF members are eligible to purchase pure American chestnut seedlings during TACF’s annual spring ale. For more information on these programs, see

Finally, besides planting trees on our behalf, there are many other ways GA-TACF members can help our program, including helping find wild American chestnut trees, collecting scion wood for grafting, assisting with maintenance at already established orchard sites, helping recruit new members, volunteering for community outreach events, etc.  Please e-mail us at if you want to be kept in the loop about such opportunities..

Thanks so much for your interest and support in the Georgia chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation.


Kathy Patrick

GA-TACF Vice President


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A good number of trees at this EKU site in KY originated in the GA-TACF breeding program! So, they are "our" trees, too! ... See MoreSee Less

A good number of trees at this EKU site in KY originated in the GA-TACF breeding program! So, they are our trees, too!Image attachmentImage attachment

3 CommentsComment on Facebook

That's awesome!

Got to love the reversed picture T-shirt.

Nice looking orchard

The American Chestnut Foundation is seeking scion wood from wild American chestnut trees from the southern population. Population studies have determined that trees found in western TN and KY, GA, AL, and MS represent the southern population and are the most genetically diverse. The objectives of this collection are to:

🌱Conserve genetic diversity of unique and underrepresented populations of American chestnut through grafting

🌱Grow these grafted plants in favorable conditions (including growth chambers) to promote flowering and ease of pollen collection

🌱Future utilization of pollen and flowers to outcross transgenic chestnut

Goals for 2023: Gather around 100 sources from the South

•Coordinate with Jamie Van Clief at for the collection of this scion wood.

•Scion wood collection should be done during winter dormancy only, which is commonly marked by the loss of leaves or brown leaves dangling (flagged) on their branches. Ideally, collected between December 2022–January 2023.

•It may be necessary to visit sites twice: once, before winter dormancy to ensure species can be identified to the American chestnut, particularly in areas where they co-occur with chinquapin. Second, when trees have gone dormant to collect scion wood.

•Scion wood should be at least 3 inches long and contain 1 or more unopened buds. With nut grafting, the diameter of the scion is not a concern, but larger buds with space in between buds are preferred.

•Collect ten pieces of scion wood per tree, when possible. At a minimum, we are looking for about fifteen buds. However, use judgment when collecting from small trees to not jeopardize the tree's survival by over-collecting.

•Take GPS coordinates from each tree using the TreeSnap application for smartphones ( or with a GPS unit or smartphone. Ideally, trees have already been identified and entered into TACF’s dentataBase.

•Place scion wood from a single tree in a one-gallon sealable bag.

•For each tree, place a note card in the bag containing: data collected, county, state, latitude and longitude.
Previously used for breeding or not: Yes, No or Unknown
TreeSnap ID or wild tree code from Regional Science Coordinator (if applicable)
Public or private land (Do Not Trespass!)

•Before sealing, place the card in the bag, then roll the bag from the bottom to the top to remove excess air.

•Do not write on the bag as even permanent markers will fade or be scratched off during handling and storage. Temporary writing on bags is fine, but do not rely on them for storage.

• Do not place a damp paper towel in the bag. Moisture from the towel commonly causes mold during storage.

•If desired place them in damp (NOT WET!) peat moss in the bag. The peat moss should be damp enough that you can squeeze it into a ball but not so damp you can squeeze water out of it.

•While in the field, store scion wood in a cooler with cold packs and place it in the refrigerator's crisper drawer until shipping. Do not place it in the freezer.

•Please ship scion wood no later than 2-3 weeks after collection.


Ship on Sunday through Wednesday via 2-day shipping to the attention of Chance Parker. Do not ship on Thursday or Friday. Coordinate with Chance and Jamie Van Clief so everyone knows what has been shipped. Ship samples on cold packs and in small foam cooler, if possible.


Sealable gallon freezer bags
GPS unit or smartphone with TreeSnap (
Permanent marker for making notes on cards
Notecards or paper
Pruning shears and/or pole, depending on tree size
Cooler and cold packs

About Scion Wood

While trees are grafted just as the rootstock buds start to grow, the buds on the scion wood must be dormant at the time of grafting. Thus, February is an ideal time to collect scion wood for spring grafting.

After cutting scion wood, it can be sealed in polyethylene bags to prevent moisture loss and stored for three months at 32°F until grafting. Storage at lower temperatures in home freezers can damage the buds. Temperatures warmer than 32°F will shorten the storage life of the scion wood. Using scion buds that have begun to grow while in cold storage will result in grafting failure.
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