How to Plant & Care for Chestnut Trees


The chestnut tree is a large, deciduous hardwood that can grow up to 100 feet tall. The leaves of the chestnut are approximately 10 inches long and 3 inches wide with serrated edges. The tree flowers in last spring and early summer with a small white flower. The fruit of the chestnut is contained in a spiny, burr-like ball. When the fruit is ripe the burr will split open and the nuts will fall to the ground.

Step 1

Choose a location for your chestnut trees that will get full sunlight for at least six hours a day.

Step 2

Test the soil before you plant your trees. The pH should be 5.5 to 6.5. Chestnuts do not tolerate a lot of limestone, so if the pH is not within range you should choose another location rather than trying to add nutrients to raise the pH.

Step 3

Dig a hole approximately 2 feet wide and deep. The hole should be just wide enough to place the root ball into. Place the tree upright into the hole and refill it with native soil. Tamp the soil around the base of the tree to pack the dirt around the roots and to provide stability. Trees should be planted 40 feet apart from one another.

Step 4

Water your chestnut trees with 2 to 3 inches of water after they have been planted and once a week afterwards during the growing season.

Step 5

Add 2 inches of mulch at the base of the tree to help hold in moisture. Do not place the mulch all the way to the trunk. Leave approximately 2 to 3 inches of space between the mulch and the tree to deter rodents from damaging the trees in the winter.

Step 6

Fertilize your chestnut tree in the spring with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Use 1 pound of fertilizer for every year of age. Remove the mulch and apply directly to the soil. Reapply a fresh layer of mulch.

Step 7

Harvest the trees when the nuts begin to fall on the ground. Do not allow the nuts to lay on the ground for more than a day or so or they will be susceptible to pests. The trees will not produce fruit until the second year.

Step 8

Prune your chestnut trees when you see signs of damaged or disease limbs. You can also trim away smaller limbs that cross over the established limbs. These smaller limbs will prevent light from getting to the center of the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Tamp
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning sheers


  • Northern Nut Growers: Growing Chestnut Trees
  • Chestnut Tree: Information
Keywords: chestnut trees, growing chestnut, planting chestnut trees

About this Author

Melody Dawn has been writing since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times" and her writing focuses on topics about gardening, business and education. She is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists. Dawn holds a Master of Business and is working on a Master of Journalism from the University of Tennessee.