IMAGE: Bruce Levine and son Leo plant experimental chestnut trees in Circle Woods. Photo by Laura Levine.
BY BILL BROWN
A few young blight-resistant chestnut trees were planted in Takoma Park’s Circle Woods, Nov. 21.
“This . . . could be a first step toward reintroducing American chestnut to Takoma Park’s forest canopy.” said Bruce Levine, vice-president of the Maryland State chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation.
Levine and Takoma Park city arborist Todd Bolton, assisted by Levine’s wife Laura and son Leo, planted “restoration 1.0” trees, which, said Levine, “are bred to be physically indistinguishable from pure American chestnut, but which also carry genes for blight resistance from Chinese chestnut.”
Bruce Levine at left, Todd Bolton, Takoma Park city arborist on right. Photo by Laura Levine.
“This will help us see how these blight resistant trees perform over years.” said Levine.
The American chestnut tree was once a common species, especially in the American east. The trees were a popular source of lumber, the nuts a popular food. Chestnut trees lined many streets with pillar-like trunks and high, shady foliage.
Chestnut blight, caused by a fungus brought in on an Asian chestnut species, all but wiped out the American chestnut from 1904 to 1940.
Bruce Levin plants a “restoration 1.0” chestnut tree. Photo by Laura Levine.