Chinese chestnuts (Castanea mollisima) can be grown just about anywhere with well-drained, slightly acidic soil, from zone 4 through zone 9. Chestnuts are a much-in-demand, high value crop, both worldwide and in the US. Wholesale prices to growers in the Midwest average over $2.00 per pound; $6.00 per pound for certified organic. Well managed trees in the Midwest can average 3,500 – 4,000 pounds per acre by 15 years of age on a good site. They can be easily adapted to a system of production without chemicals or expensive machines.
Practical Farmers of Iowa hosted a workshop on growing chestnuts at the Iowa Arboretum February of 2019. They did an excellent job videoing the conference. We have four of those videos available.
If you missed the 2017 Chestnut Conference in Letts, Iowa you can watch videos of the speakers.
For people who don’t like to read much, check out the brief “Chestnuts, planting, establishing” handout.
A longer read with more detail is the Iowa Chestnut Primer.
Not sure if the soils on your site are good for chestnuts? We tried to set up a step by step instruction sheet for “How to identify the soils on your site”.
We have seedlings of the very best cultivars available, including a controlled cross between Qing (seed parent), pollenized by Auburn Super. Although the rest are “open pollinated,” their most likely pollenizers are other good Chinese cultivars. This greatly increases the likelihood that the seedlings will be as good or even better than their parents. We fully expect that many new, superior cultivars will result form these seedlings. Chestnut seedlings we sell.