Chestnut trees are screened for blight
resistance at TTU's orchard,
Cookeville, TN on November 20, 2010
From the left, TN Chapter president, Sean Fisher (president of the TN-TACF Chapter),
Dr. Hill Craddock (UTC biology professor), and William White
(TACF Southeastern Regional Coordinator) with his dog.
Dr. Paul Sisco (left) examines a hybrid chestnut tree having mostly American chestnut genes
and a few Chinese chestnut genes for blight resistance. Many such hybrids were inoculated with
two strains of the chestnut blight fungus (Cryphonectria) in June, 2010; the more virulent strain
was applied on the lower trunk of the tree while the weaker strain was applied a few inches
above it. The blight canker sizes of many other American-Chinese chestnut hybrids as well as
some pure Chinese chestnut trees (controls) were also rated.
William examines blight cankers at the base of a chestnut tree and will carefully evaluate
the data later, but his preliminary review indicates several chestnut trees appear to
be moderately resistant to the blight and are suitable to use as parent trees to produce
advanced backcross hybrid trees which will be strongly resistant to the blight. These
hybrid trees with mostly American chestnut genes and a few Chinese chestnut genes for
blight-resistance will be used to develop one or two lines of blight-resistant trees.
Eventually, those trees will be available to the public for planting in Tennessee and
Ana Metaxas (UT Chattanooga student) records the ratings.
William and Paul examine one of the approximately 200 chestnut trees in the
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