To get more chestnuts, we need more chestnut trees. The species once thrived in Tennessee, but that was more than half a century ago. Today there is a UT research effort to restore the chestnut.
Dr. Scott Schlarbaum: 'Well here is an example of a chestnut tree with blight; these are the blight cankers.'
Schlarbaum leads UT's Tree Improvement program -- which includes a project to test new chestnuts that might be resistant to disease and certain pests. Some of these trees are about 50 years old, growing on UT AgResearch land in Knoxville. Schlarbaum and other scientists have trees that are hybrid of American and Asian chestnuts, with plantings in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.