The chestnut tree - Orto botanico 'Pellegrini - Ansaldi'

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The chestnut tree and the Apuan cultivar
The chestnut tree (Castanea sativa Miller)
It is a tree that it is tall up to 30 m, it is a long-lived tree, with a wide crown.
The leaves are big, elongated, with serrated margin.
The male flowers are positioned in elongated catkins, more or less erects; the female ones are gathered within a shell (dome) that will grow with the fruit ripening becoming the “burr”.
The fruit is represented by an achenio (the chestnut).
It lives preferably on acid soil, mostly on siliceous rocks.
The grafting – 1
The clones are preserved through forms of vegetative propagation like the grafting.
It is prepared the sprig (the “scion”) collected from the clone (from the tree) that you want to reproduce in order to do the grafting.
It is selected a young plant of chestnut tree born from the seed (and so “wild”) and it is cut; this is the “rootstock”.
The coppice chestnut groves
The chestnut forests have been widespread, also in the plain areas, with the cultivation of this valuable tree, from which is possible to obtain nutritious food and stem wood or firewood.
The coppice chestnut grove is characterised by stumps composed of many suckers (branches that develop directly at the base of chopped tree), that are took away and used in rotation.
The cultivation of the chestnut tree
The cultivation of the chestnut tree is based on the selection of the clones that produce fruits that are very appreciated for their taste, the dimensions and the characteristics of the episperm, that is preferred thin and easily detachable (the episperm is the thin velvety membrane, known as “pecchia”, that wraps the edible part of the chestnut).
The characteristics of the clones are lost through the sexual reproduction; sowing a chestnut will grow a “wild” plant.
The grafting – 2
The cut is to be done in order to facilitate the contact with the part for the grafting, the “scion”.
It is inserted the scion making sure to put in contact the parts of the trunk in which the cells are divided actively (the seal-rings).
The grafting is protected by an appropriate mastic.
The grafting is tied with biodegradable laces.
In the plant that will develop, the upper part to the grafting is genetically identical to the tree of origin of the scion.
The chestnut groves
The chestnut groves are composed of grafted tree, that are not coppiced, but allowed to grow freely in order to produce important quantities of fruits; in the chestnut groves there are sometimes majestic secular entities.
Among the most appreciated cultivar of fruit of the Apuan region, it is recalled the Carpinese, the Rossola and the Brescianina.
Among the cultivar of wood, the most considered one for the rapidity of growth, resistance to pathogens, the production of vigorous trunk without branches is definitely the Politora.
L'ORTO BOTANICO PIETRO PELLEGRINI, Un giardino alpino nel Parco Regionale delle Alpi Apuane
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