In for a ‘Tree-t’! Kennett Square Woman Takes Trek to See Rare American Chestnut

American Chestnut tree
Image via Delaware Nature Society.
The American Chestnut tree at at the Coverdale Farm Preserve is 65 feet high.

Diane Kesler, Kennett Square woman, and her botanist friend Anne Nielsen ventured out to Delaware to see the state’s only American chestnut, writes Cris Barrish for WHYY.  

The 60-year-old, 65-foot-high rare tree is unmatched, as most of the billions of American chestnuts that still exist are only less than an inch in diameter. It’s larger than 95 percent of the 500 trees documented by American Chestnut Foundation.  

That’s why Kesler and Nielsen decided to venture out on a 90-minute hike led by the Delaware Nature Society at the Coverdale Farm Preserve. Most of the American Chestnuts the two friends have seen were blighted or hybrid. Kesler, a new Chester County resident hails from a land in Virginia that is populated with these blighted trees.  

While the preserve isn’t public, the nature society that owns it gives special tours, like the one Kesler and Nielsen attended. The Chestnuts aren’t the only trees that live there. Visitors will find sugar maples, Eastern red cedars, green and white ash trees, beech trees, black oaks and sycamores and the champion black gum.  

Read more about the tour on the Delaware preserve on WHYY.  

Tom Saielli of the American Chestnut Foundation talks about the breeding program at Fortune’s Cove Orchard in Virginia to overcome the American Chestnut Tree blight.

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