|Efforts to save chestnuts from the Asian blight, such as in Pennsylvania in 1912, failed. (hagley museum and library/file)|
They hope N.H. chestnut can restore stately trees
FARMINGTON, N.H. -- A healthy American chestnut tree discovered on a New Hampshire farm may serve as the "mother tree" to bring back a species nearly wiped out by Asian blight.
The tree was found on a 125-acre parcel owned by Nancy and Bill Yates. Bill Yates remembers 60 years ago when American chestnuts lined the road near his home before the tree was all but wiped out on the Eastern Seaboard.
American Chestnut Foundation officials hope to use the tree as a way to bring the species back to New Hampshire.
Leila Pinchot, the foundation's New England science coordinator, pollinated the 40-foot tree Monday using pollen from a Tennessee chestnut that has developed resistance to the blight.
The Asian blight, which first started infecting American chestnuts around 1904 in New York City, is a fungus.
Scientists have crossed Chinese chestnut, which is resistant to the fungus, with American chestnut to produce blight- resistant trees.