The Ozark Chinquapin Foundation - Saving an American Treasure

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Is it possible to get seed or saplings to plant?

Because of the fragile long tap root of the Ozark chinquapin we do not ship saplings. If the tap root is damaged in any way, the tree will never fully recover and survival will be limited.

Seed from the Ozark Chinquapin are still very rare and seed with resistance even rarer. However, every year we are able to ship seed with better resistance than the year before. The yearly membership is $30.00 and with it you get 3-5 rare seed depending on availability, detailed growing instructions, the first opportunity at the best resistance seed as they become available from research test plots, and updates on restoration efforts.

Is it best to start seed in pots and then transplant?

No. Seed planted in a pot will very quickly get root bound; although it will continue to grow, it will never fully recover. Any germinated Ozark chinquapin nut planted directly in the ground will outgrow any container grown tree. Extensive field trials have shown that planting the germinated nut directly in the ground (not in pots) the following spring as soon as the threat of frost has passed will yield the highest success.

The week before you plan to plant your germinated nuts, remove them from the crisper and leave the bag with germinated nuts at room temperature for approximately one week. This will allow the seedling to emerge to a length of at least 2 inches. It is critical to the survival of your tree when planting your seedlings to make sure the taproot is not in any way damaged. If it is damaged the tree will produce a shallow root system and will die when dry late summer conditions occur.

Why the fuss about protecting newly planted trees?

Historically, in the wild the trees produce millions of seed and a variety of wildlife sought them out over other forest foods. However, there were plenty left over to germinate and form new trees. The nuts of the Ozark chinquapin are significantly higher in protein and carbohydrates than any of nut in the forest.

Today seed production is very limited. Squirrels, mice, chipmunks, and a host of other animals will attempt to pull the still attached nut from the plant if they can get to it. This will eventually cause the plant to die. For this reason a 4' tall grow tube (one source is oikostreecrops.com , 269-624-6233-Tubex tree shelter 4') is highly recommended. The grow tube will accelerate tree growth, serve as a scent barrier to rodents, and protect it from browsing deer as well. Without protection loss of newly planted seed is high.

Some insects like chinquapin leaves, as well, and it is a good idea to spray the leaves of your young tree with a fruit tree insecticide, especially the first year.

What is the best time to plant the seed?

Planting your germinated seed in the spring after the threat of frost has passed is the best time to plant.

The Ozark Chinquapin has unique requirements for optimum growth. Unlike many trees, the Ozark Chinquapin nut puts down a taproot in the fall of the year similar to what a white oak acorn does in the fall. We are currently doing field tests on fall plantings. However, because the nuts are in the ground for the fall and winter, this longer period of time compared to spring plantings, there is higher a higher loss rate from environmental conditions and wildlife.
For this reason we recommend you simulate conditions in the outdoors by placing your rare seed in a sealable plastic bag and add moistened peat moss (damp not wet) and place it in your refrigerator's crisper. DO NOT plant your seed in peat moss, only over winter them in it!!

The nut will eventually sprout a root in 2-4 months depending upon temperature (ideal temperature is between 34-42 degrees F). This method assures good seedling development. We add an anti-fungal agent to the peat moss your seed are shipped in to reduce mold in the bag. However, it is still important to blow air into the bag 1-2 times a week to prevent mold.

Do the young trees need to be fertilized?

No.

What kind of soil do they need to be planted in?

Select a planting location that is full sun and has good drainage. Rocky dry poor soil that has a slope is an ideal location. However, the trees can grow in a variety of locations as long as there is good drainage for the root system and plenty of sunlight. The roots cannot tolerate any standing water. A good test is to pour a quart container onto the intended location to see how quickly the water will disappear. If the water disappears into the ground in less than a minute the site is suitable. Avoid locations near standing water or where water stands after a heavy rain.

How often should I water?

At the time of planting your germinated seedling pour a half cup into the hole. Do not water your tree after planting unless there has been no rain fall for 2-3 weeks. Watering will prevent the tree from establishing a long tap root and attaining maximum growth.

How long does it take before the trees will begin to produce their first nuts?

Under good conditions your tree will first start to produce nuts in 3-5 years.

How far apart should the trees be spaced?

For good pollination and nut production, space your trees 18-30 feet apart.

Do they need another tree for pollination?

Yes. They are not self-pollinating.

How can I become a member and what is seed availability?

We would be honored to have your support as a member. Seed from the Ozark Chinquapin are still very rare and seed with resistance even rarer. However, every year we are able to ship seed with better resistance than the year before.

The yearly membership is a minimum of $30.00 and with it you get 3-5 rare seed depending on availability detailed growing instructions, the first opportunity at the best resistance seed as they come available from research test plots, and updates on restoration efforts. Seed are shipped in order the memberships are received. A check will work fine and the mailing address is:

Ozark Chinquapin Foundation
PO Box 1133
Salem, MO 65560

When are seed shipped?

Membership seed are shipped in order in order of received membership. They will usually go out in late fall or winter until seed run out. If the temperature drops much below freezing, shipping will cease until temperatures are again above freezing. If seed freeze during shipment, the roots will turn black and die. Any membership not filled because we run out of seed will be filled the following season.

I want to help with this restoration project. What can I do?

We would be honored to have your help and support! Becoming a member helps by your membership contribution and you are able to plant seed from trees that have survived the blight and exhibit levels of resistance.

Everyone has unique talents that can help the tree recovery effort. Finding trees and passing that important information on to the foundation, as well as assisting with research, making other people aware of efforts, and making a tree planting project to raise awareness are some other examples of making a difference.

I think I found an Ozark Chinquapin tree. How do I know for sure?

You can look at ID information on this website and if you are still unsure of your find, you can e-mail us a picture with the trunk, leaves, nuts or burs and we can help you identify your find. Finding trees that are over 10 inches DBH are important finds and we appreciate you help and interest.

Have you Found a tree?

Contact Steve Bost at stvbost@yahoo.com please include a photo if possible, dbh of tree, height, blight condition , county and state of origin.