Several weekends ago St. Mary’s students in conjunction with Historic St. Mary’s planted chestnut trees on Mattpany Road, behind the Artist house.
“The American Chestnut tree was one of the most indigenous trees in the American forest. Sometime in the 20th century a blight was introduced–a fungus that kills the trees,” said junior Kyle Wichtendahl, who became involved in the project when doing a research project for his Post and Beam Class.
There have been many efforts to restore the chestnut tree by scientifically cross breeding the American Chestnut with the Japanese Chestnut to try and create an immunity within these new American Chestnuts that will leave them un effected by the blight.
Historic St. Mary’s was given several seedlings to plant and monitor to see if this new cross breeding method has worked. “ Essentially 50 seedlings from mother trees [were given to Historic St. Mary’s] who are responsible for monitoring them and seeing how they grow,” said Wichtendahl.
Those who are monitoring the trees will not know if they have developed an immunity until several years from now. “ We won’t know if we were successful for some time because the blight doesn’t attack until the tree reaches maturity,” said Wichendahl.