AUGUSTA, Maine – The Viles Arboretum has a limited quantity of American chestnut seedlings for sale. This native tree species was nearly eliminated throughout its range when in 1902 a fungus was imported to the United States. It spread rapidly throughout the tree’s entire range including Maine and killed virtually every adult tree. Some trees survived and it is seed from these survivors that the American Chestnut Foundation has utilized to grow the seedlings we now have available. Over time, it is their goal to cross and re-cross trees that demonstrate resistance to the chestnut blight in hopes of re-establishing this beautiful native tree in Maine’s forests.
The American chestnut is a fast growing tree and the most productive tree species here in Maine when it comes to seed set. The seeds are edible right off the tree, if you can beat the squirrels and many other mammals and birds to these prize food items. These seeds are the traditional food item that colonists used, roasted, for Thanksgiving dinner. The wood is rot resistant, a beautiful honey brown, and was prized for dozens of uses. If you visit the Viles Arboretum, you can see one of the largest collections of Maine sourced chestnut trees and get a good sense of what the seedlings we have for sale will look like in several years. Don’t forget that on June 23rd. from 10:00 – 12:00 PM we have a field trip in celebration of this incredible native tree and you can learn all about chestnut trees by attending. Hope to see you there.
The Viles Arboretum, centrally located in Augusta on 224 acres of fields, forests, wetlands and botanical collections offers an ever-changing selection of programs for the general public and for schools. We focus on interactive, creative and hands-on teaching with a focus on natural history and unlocking everyone’s natural ability to understand the nature of our world through your own eyes and by using your own intellect.
You can learn more about the Arboretum and its programs, or how to become more involved by checking our website at www.vilesarboretum.org, checking our Facebook page or simply by stopping in or calling us at 626-7989.