This is one of two plots of the largest planting of transgenic American chestnut, a big step forward toward the reintroduction of this species.
One hundred fifty transgenic American chestnut trees were planted to see if they are resistant to the chestnut blight and how they interact with soil and insects
“Remember that the American chestnut was devastated by the chestnut blight about a hundred years ago. It used to be one of the most common trees in these forests and now you can't find them,” said Dr. William Powell, SUNY-ESF.
We're taking our trees from the lab putting them out here in the field and see how they do.
“The significance of this day is the fact that we have planted a large enough number of transgenic trees to be able to test, even though it'll be two to three years before we know for sure, we're going to have some proof of what we've been doing for eighteen years,” said Herbert Darling, NYS Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation.
The trees that we have out here now will be studied for a number of years. They have one particular gene added to them but we're going to have new trees coming out with a different gene coming out that we'll do the same kind of study. That way we can determine which gene is going to give us the best result.
Every effort is being made to encourage good growth like the black ground cover to limit competing weeds and this white covering.
“In here they don't protect from the deer because we have this area fenced but in the field sites they protect from the deer,” said Dr. Charles Maynard, SUNY-ESF.
So, they're shade, they raise the humidity and hopefully they will protect them (the trees) from the deer.
So, whether it's with this planting or subsequent plantings, it may not be long before the American chestnut once again graces forests through the eastern United States.