Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment



First Advisor

Dr. Chris Barton


American chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.) was an dominant hardwood throughout eastern North America until the introduction of an exotic fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica (Murr.) Barr) in the early 20th century devastated American chestnut populations. Chestnuts that have been bred for blight resistance have recently become available for testing. Due to the overlap of American chestnut’s natural range and the Appalachian coalfields region, the potential establishment of founder populations of blight-resistant chestnuts on reclaimed coal surface mines has recently gained attention. This work examined chestnut establishment on a surface mine in eastern Kentucky to assess factors controlling early survival and growth of chestnut seedlings. Planting techniques, chestnut pedigrees, and spoil materials were examined to investigate factors controlling early survival and growth. No significant differences were found by planting technique, indicating that direct-seeding and planting containerized seedlings may be effective techniques for establishing founder populations of chestnuts on mined lands. Significant differences were observed for survival by chestnut pedigree both within and across planting techniques. No differences were observed for survival of chestnuts in different spoil materials, however, differences were observed in growth, indicating that some spoil materials may be better suited for chestnut growth in the long-term.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)