The New York State Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) produces a terrific newsletter, The Bur. Here’s the Spring 2022 Edition. It includes information about SUNY-ESF’s latest research breakthrough, the ‘DarWin’ new line of transgenic blight-tolerant American chestnut trees. ‘DarWin’ is the first new line since 2015, when the Darling 58 was announced as the world’s first proven line of blight-tolerant trees.

The Bur Spring 2022 edition also includes an update on the federal approval process for Darling 58, an article about how to stop the spread of Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp, and information on how to obtain pure wild type American chestnut nuts for your own Mother Tree orchard and to learn to hand-pollinate American chestnuts. Funds are needed to continue all of this good work by TACF and SUNY-ESF.

TACF has produced an excellent series of webinars with experts called “Chestnut Chat.” The series is on hold until further funding can be sourced, but the existing episodes are very much worth checking out, such as the one on How to Obtain, Grow, and Manage American Chestnuts.

Check out SUNY-ESF’s chestnut pollination how-to video if you plan to volunteer with the effort in this way. This Chestnut Chat goes into further pollination considerations and Q&A.

New Yorkers interested in the chestnut restoration effort are encouraged to join the NYS Chapter of TACF, whose steadfast President Allen Nichols (fajknichols.75@gmail.com) also recommends this article by Erik Carlson, Can RNAi be used to reduce the virulence of the pathogens of American chestnut?

Carlson notes in the piece, “There are countless examples of forest tree species threatened by introduced pest and pathogen species globally. If the deployment of this technology against multiple pathogens in American chestnut is successful, then the future prospects of genetically engineered resistance in other forest species will be enhanced.”

Allen Nichols says, “Hopefully, our truly blight-tolerant (i.e. resistant) American chestnut trees will be approved for distribution (pending decisions by federal regulators) by August of 2023. At that time, we will be allowed to distribute seedlings, pollen, or scions for grafting.

Many of our members have ‘mother’ trees that are flowering and ready to produce blight-tolerant offspring. All they need is the blight-tolerant material to cross with their mother trees. Anyone who does not have a mother tree and is interested in receiving one can contact me. I will do my best to supply you with nuts for planting.

As soon as blight-tolerant trees are available, we would like them to be crossed with numerous wild type trees. This will increase the genetic diversity of the trees we restore back into the forest. Your mother trees will help us achieve this goal. We are also looking for wild American chestnut trees to incorporate into our New York breeding program. If you know of one, please contact us. Additionally, you can input data for the tree in an app called TreeSnap.” 🌳