Come join us at Cataloochee Ranch as we celebrate the restoration of the great American chestnut tree. On September 11, a day of new beginnings, the Garden Clubs of Waynesville, the American Chestnut Foundation and the Cataloochee Ranch will hold the first Chestnut Saturday.
For centuries past the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was the dominant tree of the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Mississippi. It was a fast-growing deciduous hardwood tree that reached 150 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter. But in 1904 a deadly airborne fungus was introduced into the United States and within 45 years nearly four billion trees had been lost.
We at Cataloochee are helping The American Chestnut Foundation return this tree to its rightful place in the woods. By using the backcross method, researchers are working to breed a new tree that is blight resistant but has the dominant characteristics of the original American chestnut.
Cataloochee’s orchard, now in its fourth growing season, will be tested in a couple of years for resistance to the blight and the survivors will be back-crossed again.
On Chestnut Saturday there will be crafts and vendors, live bluegrass, dancing, tours of the chestnut orchard, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, horse shoes, kids’ games, and Rob Gudger and his wolves. Tickets cost $10; children 12 and under come free.
In the evening there will be a gala steak dinner with entertainment and a live auction. Dinner costs $100 per person or $160 for two, which includes a one-year membership to The American Chestnut Foundation www.acf.org. To make reservations please call (828) 926-1401.Read the full article