How to Grow Horse Chestnut Trees

Overview

Horse chestnut trees are a dramatic addition to the home landscape. In the springtime, the tree will be covered with clusters of white blossoms that grow from the branch tips. During the summer, the horse chestnut will develop bright green seedpods that will last through autumn. The horse chestnuts will be about 2 inches in diameter by late summer or early fall. The tree can grow up to 60 feet tall, and with a 40-foot span, it's ample to provide plenty of shade on hot days.

Step 1

Choose a spot to plant the horse chestnut. It can grow in nearly any soil, but will do best in well-drained soil and full sunlight. Allow plenty of space, because the little sapling will grow into a mighty tree in a few years. Don't plant it too close to sidewalks, building foundations or streets. Not only are mature horse chestnut trees very large, but the roots are fairly shallow and can break concrete.

Step 2

Purchase a horse chestnut sapling from a tree nursery. It will probably be in a container, or the root may be wrapped in burlap. If possible, plant the sapling as soon as you bring it home. If you need to wait, be sure to keep the roots damp.

Step 3

Dig a hole approximately the depth of the root ball and at least three times the height so the roots have plenty of space to expand. If the tree is planted in a plastic container, it's best to cut the container away carefully, as attempting to pull the tree out can damage the roots. If the tree is wrapped in burlap, remove the string and either cut the top of the burlap away or fold it beneath the root ball. If you live in a very dry climate, remove the burlap entirely because it won't decompose.

Step 4

Let a hose run trickle into the hole while you're working. Put the sapling in the hole and make sure it's straight. Add a few scoops of organic matter such as peat moss or compost to the soil, and then return the soil to the hole, tamping it down as you work to remove any air pockets. Let the hose run until the soil is soaked, and then add a layer of mulch around the tree to control weeds and retain moisture.

Step 5

Water the horse chestnut deeply about once a week. Watering it more often won't encourage the tree to develop a deep root system.

Things You'll Need

  • Horse chestnut sapling
  • Peat moss or compost

References

  • How to Grow a Horse Chestnut Tree
  • Nevada Gardener's Guide
  • Taylor's 50 Best Trees: Easy Plants for More Beautiful Gardens
Keywords: horse chestnut, sapling, root ball

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a longtime writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the "East-Oregonian Newspaper" and "See Jane Run" magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.