August 20, 2012

Restoring the American chestnut.

"Scientists are on the brink of engineering a blight-resistant American chestnut tree, renewing hope for a comeback of a long-celebrated species that is valued by business for its sturdy hardwood."

68 comments:

Ben said...

One of my favorite trees. I'd plant one in my yard.

edutcher said...

when I sold my mother's house about 16 years ago, one of its big selling points was that the woodwork was all chestnut.

Tim said...

Uh oh.

Genetically modified organism.

If the enviro-terrorist wings of the Democrat and Green Parties ever find these stands, there will be bonfires, for sure.

Shana said...

Oh no! Teh GMO chestnut of doom!

I can't wait to see the knots they tie themselves up in.

dbp said...

Not just valuable for their wood. The nuts are valuable food for man and wildlife.

If I get the opportunity, I'll put one in my yard.

dbp said...

The left should love these modified trees: They are only 15/16ths American. So they will get honored minority locations in all the most prestigious parks.

Eustace Chilke said...

Hooray for the Frankentrees.

Palladian said...

I hope it comes to pass! These trees once covered our American landscape.

Michael K said...

The GMO thing is getting old. If Craig Venter has his way we may have GMO oil.. Then what will the greenies do ?

Geoff Matthews said...

This is a possibility only an eco-terrorist could hate.

YoungHegelian said...

But what if the terrorists counter our GM chestnuts by releasing GM blight? Just like those goddamn Dutch terrorists did to our beloved elm trees!

Will a leader rise up to save them, a man worthy to pull our national chestnuts out of the fire?

Rabel said...

If the scientists do it right, the GMO chestnuts should be able to pull themselves out of the fire.

Christy said...

Wonder if it's even possible now to repopulate the Great Smoky Mountains? The blight changed the character of the mountains, where once every 4th tree was a Chestnut. Strange to read not too distant histories of the area from when the tree was dominant, but never in my lifetime.

Shana said...

Rabel ftw

Chip Ahoy said...

Don't worry, I read about these trees, they shoot up in one year to their full stately grandeur, impervious to damage by insects. And squirrels. And woodpeckers. In fact, birds abjure them. They're flying around and they go, "oh, there's one of those things. I shall take my nestmaking proclivities elsewhere." And the squirrels are going, "screw these modified nuts, what am I? a modified squirrel?" I totally read that. I wrote it then read it.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Elm next, please.

MadisonMan said...

I planted Castanea dentata at the family plot in Forest Hills, and it died. This was several years ago, and I suspect lack of rain. Or maybe too much rain. Can't remember. There are Chestnuts growing in Madison, so they do grow here. My recollection is there's quite a stand of them somewhere in southwestern Wisconsin.

Ah, yes. Google provides a Link.

Bob Ellison said...

"Restoring the American chestnut" sounds like a critique of American politics.

john said...

First a blog on walnuts.

Now a blog on chestnuts.

Tomorrow a blog on chinnuts.

Then we'll get the joke.

Rusty said...

dbp said...
Not just valuable for their wood. The nuts are valuable food for man and wildlife.


One of the major reasons for the demise of the passenger pigeon.

AllenS said...

I'm losing a lot of red oak trees to oak wilt in my woods. It's happening all over around here. Heartbreaking.

Lem said...

... are being tapped to bring back a devastated native species ..

Romney tapped Ryan to bring back a devastated specie too ;)

Lem said...

Palladian tree huger?

Who knew ;)

MadisonMan said...

One of the major reasons for the demise of the passenger pigeon.

No.

The last passenger pigeon died in 1914. Chestnut Blight was discovered in 1904 in NYC. By 1904 passenger pigeons were exceedingly rare in the wild.

Michael K said...

"I'm losing a lot of red oak trees to oak wilt in my woods."

Southern California mountains lost thousands of pine and fir trees to bark beetles about ten to fifteen years ago. The the enviro Nazis wouldn't let them be cut down. Then came the Station Fire the greenies briefly got sense. Most of the dead trees have now been logged. In Arizona, the state damn near burned down because the greenies won't let the Forest Service thin the trees. These are dry mountains and they can't support the tree populations so, in dry years, they can't make enough sap to kill the beetles.

Idiocy by people who know nothing about the subject they are agitating about. Most of them live in New York City anyway.

A friend of mine was hunting for desert sheep in Arizona about 15 years ago. A groups of greenies promised to disrupt the hunt. After running around about 20 miles of hot mountains, they went back their air conditioned motels and the hunt was uninterrupted.

JAL said...

That would be very cool for the Smokies and southern Appalachians.

It could happen, Christy.

Lem said...

Romney tapped Ryan to pander the chestnut vote.

Sorun said...

I'll have to check out that stand in Wisconsin. I always thought there were no mature trees anywhere - that they were completely wiped out.

B said...

edutcher said...when I sold my mother's house about 16 years ago, one of its big selling points was that the woodwork was all chestnut.

The woodwork is all chestnut in our lake house. The woodwork had been violated with paint only on the kitchen cabinets but we had a pro come in and get the paint off them when we bought it 25 years ago.

The prior owner was a retired gent and his father had built the place and with a lot of windows. The grain and depth in the sunlight still strikes me every year when we open the place.

Penny said...

I don't know how it happened exactly, but it did.

And I feel lucky!

My childhood was FULL of chestnut tree memories. At the time, I imagined the chestnuts as wampum to the Indians. I gathered, I polished, I collected and admired, and even dared to exchange them for? lol Don't recall exactly what, anymore, but I know I tried!

Fast forward ...

Two doors down and decades later ...

A CHESTNUT tree!

It isn't "thriving" exactly, but heck, neither am I.

I smile wide, then nod, as I pass by on my walk.

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
One of the major reasons for the demise of the passenger pigeon.

No.

The last passenger pigeon died in 1914. Chestnut Blight was discovered in 1904 in NYC. By 1904 passenger pigeons were exceedingly rare in the wild.


Passenger pigeons mainstay was mast from nut trees. Specifically chestnut trees. I the spring they flew north to nest in old growth firs in northen Minnesota Wisconsin and Michigan. most mating pairs produced only one viable egg. The extinction of the passenger pigeon follows closely the deforestation of the old growth firs-their preferred nesting site- in the north and their food supply in the south. Hunting alone could not have killed them all.

This is from an article in an old edition of the Wisconsin Outdoor Journal.

Lem said...

I was considering following up on as in rubber tapping..

But then I thought about what Palladian might do with that ;).. recalling the mountain from the other night..

So while I'm still making the comment.. I'm pre-tapping down on a possible snark.

gadfly said...

The food freaks will go berserk when those genetically-modified chestnuts hit the grocery stores. I can see it now, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and wackos, dressed up like Jack Frost, nipping on whatever.

bagoh20 said...

"Scientists are on the brink of engineering a blight-resistant American chestnut tree" that feeds on human flesh.


Eric said...

GMO trees? Hah! I've been suckered in before by that old, erm, chestnut.

Chip Ahoy said...

Chestnuts are those things you roast on an open fire right?

Nobody told me you're supposed to drill a hole in them first. I wondered what was taking so long. On hight, a LONG time, then BLABLAM! pause BLAM! pause BLAM! pause BLAM! pause pause pause BLAM! like a gun.

all over the place.

They were delicious but hardly worth the trouble. my housekeeper learned of this -- ? -- and she said she told her son, and then he wanted to get a bag of chestnuts.

Lem said...

Hah! I've been suckered in before by that old, erm, chestnut.

Big pharma stock prop-up..

Chip Ahoy said...

Just got the etymology on 'old chestnut' involves an actor who used a line that his character was known for at a dinner party when another guest began recounting a story everyone already heard before.

The character corrects, "Chestnut. I heard you tell this story 27 times." It had always been cork up to then.

But that's suspect because the guy died too fast so possibly his son, Junior said "Chestnuts" at the party because everyone knew his father's character said that line.

See ? That would be would be like Carol Channing's son, if she has one, quipping, "It's so nice to have you back where you belong" appropriately to someone at dinner, then some element of that, 'nice,' 'back,' 'belong,' developing into some sort of summation for that situation of someone looking swell and being able to tell.

Penny said...

"Chestnuts are those things you roast on an open fire right?"

That's what you get for listening to a guy named Bing Crosby.

I mean, REALLY?

Bing?

Penny said...

Cripes, Chip?

Badda bing, badda bang!

Settle down, son.

God, An Original A-hole said...

Look, I've talked to many biologists about this, and from what I understand, this fungal blight is really rare. In the case of legitimate chestnut trees, the organism has ways to shut the whole thing down.

But let's assume that didn't work or something. You know I think there ought to be some genetic intervention, but the genetic alterations ought be made on the fungus, not on the trees.

RAH! RAH! YAY REPUBLICAN SCIENCE!

exhelodrvr1 said...

YOu didn't grow that!

rana said...

I have hiked up a very steep hill to see one the largest remaining stands of American chestnut trees in Benzie County, Michigan.

MadisonMan said...

@Rusty, the deforestation that imperiled the pigeon was not caused by blight, but by good old human ingenuity.

We may be talking past each other.

Lem said...

"Restoring the American Chestnut"

OMG.. its a republican dog whistle ;)

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

The last time I when Trick-or-Treating (I believe I was approaching 9 years) I wore a costume my mother made for me by hand; it was a Dracula suit featuring a full red satin-lined cape with the goofy standup collar and plastic fangs. It was great, at least I thought so -- no stupid vacu-formed mask for me.

We went through the neighborhood collecting the usual candy and the occasional unwelcome fruit (Single elderly women always want to spoil kids fun in the name of propriety and good hygiene, curse them.) Then we stopped at the home of the publisher of our local newspaper. Instead of sweets he gave us all a handful of chestnuts (the Asian variety) and a cock-and-bull story about how the Government would pay us each $1000 for each sapling we could grow from our chestnuts. Since each of us had five or six chestnuts in our sack we decided we were all potential zillionaires. With my reward I was going to buy a pony and a chemistry set big enough to make something really nasty or explosive. When I got home my parents roared with laughter!

Paula said...

I grew up in a house built in 1890. The "garage" was made from chestnut. When people came to visit and wanted to see around, my dad made a point of taking them outside to show off the wide chestnut planks. He was a mountain boy who loved those trees and rooted for them to come back. I hope scientists are able to make it happen.

Carnifex said...

I'm sorry to interupt everyones feel goods but Rep. Kerry Gauthier(D) of Minnesota was arrested for fellating an underage boy at a rest stop in Duluth.

We'll pause now and listen to the silence of all the democrats condemning Rep. Gauthier. Joining in the defeaning silence is NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, yadda yadda yadda.

Your hypocracy knows no bounds MSM, and democrats.

Quaestor said...

Rep. Kerry Gauthier(D) of Minnesota was arrested for fellating an underage boy at a rest stop in Duluth.

The boy was 17 according to the Daily Mail. Is there an "age of consent" regarding homosexual liaisons? Assuming the boy is "legal" and not out to get blown for cash, what else could the Representative be charged with? Breach of the peace? I wasn't able to determine whether charges are pending.

Tim said...

"Rep. Kerry Gauthier(D) of Minnesota was arrested for fellating an underage boy at a rest stop in Duluth."

Minn. Rep. Kerry Gauthier caught with zipper down... literally. Admits to having ‘no strings attached’ sex with 17-year-old boy at rest stop, police say

The Minnesota Democrat posted Craigslist ad trolling for anonymous sex partners. State Democratic leaders are asking him to withdraw from re-election bid in wake of scandal.

By Erik Ortiz / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Democratic leaders in Minnesota are demanding a state lawmaker withdraw from his re-election bid after police claim he admitted to having sex with a 17-year-old boy at a rest stop.

While Rep. Kerry Gauthier, 56, will lose support from fellow Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members if he continues with his campaign, party leaders stopped short Monday of asking him to immediately resign.

The first-term legislator wasn’t charged in the alleged July 22 encounter because the legal age of consent in Minnesota is 16 and no money was exchanged, according to the St. Louis County attorney’s office. Police say the two had oral sex behind a rest stop pavilion in Duluth after the teen responded to Gauthier’s Craigslist ad looking for a “no strings attached” sex.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/minn-rep-kerry-gauthier-caught-zipper-literally-admits-strings-attached-sex-17-year-old-boy-rest-stop-article-1.1140833#ixzz249hWDiVr


So, why the hell "behind a rest stop pavilion in Duluth" instead of the guy's home? He should quit for not having enough sense to have sex in private.

Nichevo said...

Don't be silly Carnifex, young boys have a way of shutting that down, in like 30 seconds, IYKWIM, AITYD... I kid, I kid. Speaking of kids, keep em away from Kerry! Oh not that Kerry? Well why chance it?

Anyway the kid enjoyed it, no doubt, because it was gay sex, or isn't that sex, and with the underage thing, and the roadside thing, it's just loaded with frisson, and what could be bad in our Brave New World with all that frisson? Just ask Roman Polanski, though even he was old fashioned enough to do a girl.

So much better, anyway, or at least less bad, than speaking inelegantly about rape. So much better to be doing rape, that is. If you're a...

Is that stuff about "a government of laws, not of men" actually in any of those dead white euro male docs that are over a hundred years old, or Sid somebody just make that up? That's so silly. Of course it's men. If it was laws, Democrats would have to represent virtues, and guys like this one would be hunted for pelts.

Carnifex said...

Didn't know the age of consent was 16 in Minnesota. How progressive of them. Since it's not a crime, I will just have to be happy with a good scorning.

Regardless, the old saw about a dead girl or a live boy doesn't apply anymore apparently.

Issob Morocco said...

God Bless Genetically Modified Organisms.

Lem said...

So, why the hell "behind a rest stop pavilion in Duluth" instead of the guy's home?...

Well.. its not like the congressman is making comments questioning rape.. rape is always bad btw..

TMink said...

I have a friend with property in the Blue Ridge, and he has a huge chestnut in the middle of a field. It is a lovely and productive tree, it is wonderful to think they will return!

Trey

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

What would a 17 year old be attracted to in an anonymous 56 year old. When I was 17, I was pretty horny too, but I can't imagine answering such an ad. Besides that, it seems to me that getting laid as a 17 year old gay guy is a lot easier than a straight one.

And what is it with politicians? I know they are high profile, but even among people I know, there just seems to be a lot less of this crazy sex risk taking. Politicians seem to a pervasive problem with weighing the risks versus benefits. That may explain a lot about our fiscal problems and is another argument for smaller government.

So yes, restore the American Chestnut, and hurry up.

Michael Haz said...

Elm next, please.

And ash. The emerald ash borer has invaded and most of our ash trees (about one-fifth of forest hardwood growth) will be dead in five years.

Chip Ahoy said...

Craigslist

younger seeks older congressmen to front of line

congressman seeks younger nsa

I don't know. I tried picturing it. That's as far as I got.


I wonder about that tree, though. In Atlanta it rained for days then we went outside and examined the yard that featured an acorn tree. Acorns all over germinating and trying already to grow little acorns. I don't know what would come of them if they're not all mowed down, but why doesn't the chestnut tree do that same thing? Is it a delicate American species that could not handle the onslaught of foreign invasive organisms? Doesn't it germinate any of its own nuts? Does that lonely tree out there need a lady tree? What's its problem? I'm starting to lose sympathy for a tree that gets so much help and still has trouble, and take the pigeons with it because they relied on a feckless species.

Unknown said...

Chip Ahoy said... "In Atlanta it rained for days then we went outside and examined the yard that featured an acorn tree."
Are you referring to oak trees, or is this some sort of ACORN reference?

virgil xenophon said...

Would that an equal effort be made in restoring the stately American Elm. Until Dutch Elm disease ravaged them in the 50s they once were the mainstay of tree-lined streets all over America east of the Miss. R The Univ of Illinois campus @Champaign-Urbana was once a beautiful campus covered with Elms. Now it is a but-ugly campus practically denuded (compared to its former beauty) save for shorter, minor trees..

paul a'barge said...

Waiting for the ecology fascists to throw sh*t into the fan over the bio-engineering of this in 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

ken in sc said...

Hey Chip, chestnut trees will sprout from chestnuts and they will send up shoots from old stumps, but when they are a few feet high, I have read, the blight kills them. BTW, acorn trees are called oaks. You can eat white oak acorns because they contain less tannin than other acorns. They are prepared just like chestnuts. You boil them first to get the tannin out and then roast them.

DADvocate said...

My brother planted a cuople of American Chestnuts in his backyard a few years ago. So far so good. He got them from someone trying to help save chstnut trees.

Sharc said...

Go Buckeyes!

Ann Althouse said...

"Elm next, please."

That's already happened. Check out the New Horizon elm. It's what Meade planted in our yard.

Kathy said...

Our Craftsman Madison home has a chestnut floor on the screen porch which we just restored. Amazingly beautiful. And yeah for a movement to re-grow Elms.

Why has it taken us so long?