Monday, January 4, 2010

Chestnut Workshops Cover Entire Growing Season

The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry is offering a series of workshops on chestnut production in 2010. The four daylong workshops will span the chestnut growing season, from site selection and planting to harvesting and sales.

Each workshop will cost only $10 thanks to support from the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

“Growing chestnuts is an excellent way to diversify your farm income,” said Mike Gold, associate director of UMCA. “A well-managed one-acre orchard of 50 grafted Chinese chestnut trees can gross between $5,000 and $7,000 wholesale and about $10,000 retail within 10-12 years.”

The workshops, which will take place at the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, are aimed at current and prospective growers, extension agents and students. Fees will be waived for FFA instructors and students.

Gold recommends participants sign up for all four sessions, which will take attendees through the entire growing season.

Course dates and topics (all sessions are on a Tuesday):

-March 23: Site selection, planting, graft planning and pruning.

-May 4: Grafting.

-Aug. 17: Orchard maintenance, weed control, insect scouting, pest management and disease control.

-Sept. 14: Harvest, marketing and sales.

Instructors include Gold; Ken Hunt, research scientist; Mark Coggeshall, tree improvement specialist; and Michele Warmund, professor of plant sciences. Outside experts and veteran growers will also contribute.

Fees include course materials and lunch. Space is limited. To sign up, contact Julie Rhoads at 573-882-3234 or

For workshop details, contact Gold at 573-884-1448 or

For more information about UMCA and Chinese chestnuts, see

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