Jan 23 Tree of the Month – Sweet Chestnut By Mike

Although Sweet Chestnut is not an indigenous species, it was probably brought to the UK by the Romans and is a well-established tree in this country. Sweet Chestnut coppice is a common site in the South East of England. With some care and the use of mixed broadleaves Sweet Chestnut coppice can make an interesting habitat for animals and birds.

The Sweet Chestnut trees themselves are high in tannins and the fallen leaves create an inhospitable environment for insects and other woodland plants – they only support five insect species, whereas Oak is known to support 324! It is for this reason that a coppice including Sweet Chestnut can benefit from having a mix of coppiced species or some standards of a different species.

Sweet Chestnut is easy to grow, as long as the soil is free draining. The roots will drown if they are in persistently wet soil. They like acidic soil, and tolerate a pH value of up to 6.

Good Reading:

Sweet Chestnut: History, Landscape, People by Chris Howkins

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