NEW! (2016) – Ohio Chapter TACF Small Grants Program
Grants are available to assist members with active restoration projects within, outreach activities, and scholarly research conducted within the State of Ohio. Click here for Rules, Responsibilities, and Proposal Guidelines.
The Ohio Chapter of American Chestnut Foundation (OH-TACF) was founded largely through the efforts of Ohio scientists and as such has a strong interest in breeding, restoration ecology, and reclamation biology.
Because of the large amount of the land-base disturbed through surface mining in unglaciated Ohio, the chapter has a special devotion towards combining mineland reclamation and chestnut restoration.
Through research funded by the USDI Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, we have explored various ways to regenerate chestnut on previously disturbed minelands. Many post SMCRA lands in Ohio exist has monocultures of non-native species (orchard grass, autumn olive, Lespedeza, etc.) on heavily compacted soils. Natural succession to a hardwood forest community type is virtually arrested and unlikely to occur in normal time frames.
Through much trial and error, we have developed a fairly successful method of planting that results in high survival of bare root seedling plantings. A 48-inch mesh cage protects from deer browsing, a weed mat reduces competition with herbs, gravel reduces mole and vole bark stripping, fertilizer and TerraSorb enhance establishment and promote survival. This method is moderately expensive ($10/seedling) and requires 20 minutes to establish; however, survival is usually greater than 90%. We advocate this method for high quality hybrid seedlings where high survival is desired.
We have successfully used heavy equipment to loosen compacted soils and increase aeration, infiltration, and permeability. We have used a 36-inch ripping bar on a D-6 sized dozer and followed this with a 16-inch surface plow and disk on a large tractor. The above planting method is used after this type of site prep yielding excellent results.
In addition to the studies described above, the Ohio Chapter is currently beginning a program to find surviving chestnuts in Ohio forests, establish demonstration plantings, creating breeding orchards, and advancing various forms of restoration efforts utilizing American chestnut. We welcome all interested parties! Our mission is to keep the American chestnut alive in Ohio for future generations.
If you have any questions regarding current or planned research on American chestnut in Ohio, please contact Brian C. McCarthy at Ohio University.