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I belong to the arborday society, and keep all the tree information, but there was one story a couple of years that I can not find. So I'll tell the story as an "elm" and someone correct me if it was not the elm, but another.

Back in the 40's, 50's, and 60's, most towns were graced with the elm tree lining most streets. They were the ideal tree. Then dutch elm desease hit, and completely wiped out all the trees. For several years, tree experts thought the American elm was lost forever. Then one day, an elm tree sitting in the middle of a highway medium, I beleive in Ohio, was found. Having survived, a race was on to find others. Two additional trees were found, and from these lone three surviving tree, through seeds and cultivation, they have now allowed the American elm to grace the streets once again. If these trees had not the ability to be "desease free", we would of lost the trees forever.

Its funny how mother nature make species a little different every now and then, and when something like this happens, some usually have the ability to handle the new desease, and the species moves forward, better, and is able to be "desease free".

I wonder how this story, can be related to bees, and what lessons can be taken from it. I have told this story before, but it seems appropriate for some of the discussions here also. To me, this is the story and future for beekeeping.
 

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I believe I've heard the story before and when I heard it, it was the Elm. But I have not seen an American Elm since the 60's. I also have NEVER seen an American Chestnut tree, but I hear that some survived. My dad says they were one of the main trees in America. I hope they both make a comeback. So far niehter one has.


[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited January 19, 2004).]
 

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Yep, it's the elm, however, the last I heard they were still looking for a resistant strain by finding survivors and cloning them through cuttings, then infecting them with Dutch Elm, all they'd found so far was a few trees that hadn't been exposed yet. There is a Chinese Elm on the market, it's supposed to be a poor substitute for the American Elm. There is a silver lining to this all though, the Basswood is now considered a premier urban landscaping tree, and the bees love it!
 

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The American Elms I remember were five feet in diameter and 60 to 80 feet tall with a huge spread of branches. They were awesome. The typical Chinese elms I see are maybe two feet in diameter and 30 to 50 feet tall. A nice tree, but half the tree the American Elm was.
 

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Yeah, the American elm was known for it's inverted vase shape, tolerance of compacted soils and air pollution, perfect for cities and very popular with orioles.
 

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A very romantic story of survival, but I'm not sure how accurate the story is. Many of the American Elms that line the malls of the Penn State campus were planted in 1929-30 and are still standing today. Check out the link for more info and some nice pictures. They are truly beautiful trees.
http://www.psu.edu/ur/about/trees.html

Your point, though, is well taken and I agree.

Kurt



[This message has been edited by kamerrill (edited January 20, 2004).]
 

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I almost wonder if it was the Chestnut. I think there were only a couple found, and they are in the process of breeding them. There is a new "hybrid" American chestnut, they had to cross with the Chinese variety to pollinate, so they are breeding it back to get it as true genetically as they can.
The biggest problem with the elm though was lack of diversity. If that is all you plant in an area, then of course disease will wipe out huge populations of them. Sort of like putting all your eggs in one basket.
 

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The story of the chestnut is very similar to the Elm, they were killed by a blight that was introduced in about 1904, Dutch Elm came over around the 30's.
 

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I was in college going for a horticulture degree in 90-92. I was on the ag farm for the first quarter and was around it all through schooling. We had a few pure american chestnuts. One of the things I did there was to take cuttings off these. I have one planted on my fathers farm. I also have a hybrid planted. It is supose to be 2/3 american. The hybred is much larger than the pure even though it was planted several years later. Another nursery man we know said he found one in the wild up on the mountain this fall but the deer had found the nuts before he found the tree. He has plans on getting some of the nuts and planting them. The problem with the pure americans is alot of their offspring are not surviving the blight. Of several hundred seedlings we had at the ag center only about 30 survived the years I was there. All survivors were cloned(by cuttings).
The problem with survivors is lack of gene pool for the survival of the species. They estamate that there were less than 1,000 trees left. With bees if we can keep enough hives alive while selecting survivors will be better off. Like keep bees in several yards, and using one yard for breeding of survivor while the rest of the hives are still in production. It is something we all should do. If we do it with the breed of our choice and succeed and then trade queens with other that have the same breed to introduce new blood yet keep survivor traits. I am to new to beekeeping to get started on this but plan to when I get enough hives going.
 

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Not sure if Ive ever seen the american elm. There are still elms around here but few last any length of time. They usually die off fairly quickly and Im not even sure what kinda elm they are. I have seen a number of american chestnut though.
 

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The story works for either species, except the dates and the references to the trees lining the streets tends to favor the Elm over the Chestnut, which was decimated earlier and was primarily a forest tree. I've added "Plant a hybrid chestnut out by the bees" to my spring list.
 

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I guess the fungal blight that wiped out so many American Elms must not have been as prevalent down here. I have two large ones outside the front of my house and several others within sight from the porch. What we have had problems with losing to blight in this area for the past few years are the Live Oaks. The one we have near our front gate has been declining for at least 15 years, and I would estimate the tree is at least 75-100 years old. It's a really sad sight to behold.
 

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On Chestnuts, while there was no recorded genetic chestnut resistance to the blight in American Chestnuts, the blight often left the roots alive, as it incidentally girdled the trees n growing through the bark, and, since chestnuts typically have vigorous roots and great shade tolerance, often the roots survived, fed by a never-ending series of short-lived suckers sprouting from the just below the trunk base, especially when light from roadcuts or powerline clearings got through. I've seen hundreds at least, in Western Massachusetts.
There has reportedly been great recent success bringing blight resistance from Chinese Chestnut into trees that are about 7/8ths American, by The American Chestnut Foundation. They have a sophisticated and interesting forum.
Another approach is not to try to make things as they were, but just to try to use chestnuts like we use apples here in the Northeast, as an orchard crop, for fruit/nut production, not for timber. This eases things considerably, as many Japanese, Korean and Chinese successful cultivated chestnut varieties can yield well here.
Burnt Ridge Nurseries has probably the most extensive variety selection availible in Norht America, to my knowledge, although not all they have is listed.

Brian Cady
 

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dragonfly,
What's your location? The live oak you speak of, is this Quarcus Virginiania ?

Where I live, there are a few different oaks that seems to share a few common names. Which is incorrect, but tha'ts what happens when everyone does it.
Live Oak, Pin Oak, Virginia Oak, and a few others, though the oak we have the most of here is Quarcus Virginiania.

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Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
 

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Scot- it is Quarcus Virginia. There are many of them in this area, but about 20 or so years ago, many of them were killed off by a fungal blight that sounds similar to the type that killed American Elms. We have lost most of our smaller Live Oaks (7 or less inches in diameter), but the one that is so old at our entrance gate is huge, and it has taken years to die. The treatment is very expensive, and often does not work, so we haven't spent the thousands it would cost to try and save it. If there were sawmills in the area, it would make great large lumber pieces, but sawmills are rare in this part of Texas.
 

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BrianCady has got it the way I understand it. I was just reading an article on current Chestnut tree research while working at the visitor center at our Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

According to it, as Brian stated, there is still a need to locate 100% American chestnuts that can tolerate the blight. There are some that have reached maturity having grown from those resiliant roots, but they have been found to be infested and won't live long.

I am afraid hybridization will be our only hope. Sad, sad, sad. What will we do to our planet next???
 
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