The Outdoorsmans Guide To Forever Free

The Outdoorsmans Guide To Forever Free

Dunstan Chestnut Tree Update August 2019

In early November of 2018, I planted four small Dunstan chestnut trees near a permanent deer hunting stand in middle Georgia. Once mature, they should produce nuts that deer prefer much moreso than acorns.

After surviving the winter, the little trees looked pretty good when I checked on them in late April of this year. When I last saw them, however, they weren’t doing so well. After being absent for several months, I made it to the property in early August 2019. The summer had been pretty dry, and unfortunately it showed.

Tree 1 is dead, having never grown any larger than it was when I saw it last, almost 4 months earlier.

Chestnut tree number one appears to have died just as it was when I saw it in April. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Chestnut tree number one appears to have died just as it was when I saw it in April.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Tree 2 actually looked pretty great, having grown up to fill the protective grow tube. The bits of leaf that poked out the top had been eaten off by some sort of critter. It might be time for me to put a wire cage around it if animals are going to eat every bit of new growth that emerges.

Chestnut tree number two is doing well. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Chestnut tree number two is doing well.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Top view of chestnut tree two. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Top view of chestnut tree two.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

As I approached tree 3, I was shocked to see the grow tube lying on the ground, and the tree mostly devastated. Only two leaves remained on the spindly twiglike trunks, and those leaves were perforated.

Chestnut tree number three's grow tube had been removed... but by whom or what? (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Chestnut tree number three’s grow tube had been removed… but by whom or what?
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Who or what removed the grow tube? And why?

Tree 3 only had two leaves left. This is the worst one. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Tree 3 only had two leaves left. This is the worst one.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I replaced the grow tube in hopes this little guy will make it through and be even stronger next year.

Tree 3's best remaining leaf. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Tree 3’s best remaining leaf.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Back in April, tree 4 was the tallest one… but alas, it is now dead.

Let us observe a moment of silence in honor of the late tree four. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Let us observe a moment of silence in honor of the late tree four.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

My dreams of attracting deer in droves are somewhat dashed, and I might need to build some wire cages around the survivors next spring, to help get them through next summer. And I might need to visit Chestnut Hill Outdoors again, to replace the poor little soldiers who didn’t make it through the long hot summer of 2019.

I watered the two remaining trees on each of the three days I was on the property.

I’ll continue to post updates to my “food plot tree” experiment. Here’s hoping I’ll have better news next time. Thanks for reading.

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