Monday, May 03, 2010

American Chestnut Talk this Thursday, 7pm

A reminder about the talk this coming Thursday, hosted by Friends of Princeton Open Space at Mountain Lakes House, about efforts to bring back the great American Chestnut tree. The talk is free, and refreshments will be served beginning at 6:30.

Below is some detailed background information, provided by Bill Sachs, who lives in Princeton and edits the Northern Nutgrowers Association newsletter.

Abstract. Native chestnut trees have suffered from two
disastrous imported diseases and are now threatened by an
imported insect pest. The Agricultural Experiment Station in
Connecticut has been working on these problems since they were
first discovered, using biological control measures and breeding
trees for resistance. Breeding and selection of resistant timber
trees is a long process, but significant progress has been made.
Hybrid trees are being planted in the forests of Connecticut, with
biocontrol used to keep native trees alive. The next generation of
trees will have all the local adaptability of the native population
with resistance genes from our timber hybrids.

Sandra Anaganostakis is an Agricultural Scientist in the
Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology at The Connecticut
Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, Connecticut.
She received her Bachelor’s degree in 1961 from the University
of California at Riverside, and her Master’s degree in botany
from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the staff of The Connecticut Agricultural
Experiment Station in the Department of Genetics in 1966, and later completed her Doctor of
Agronomy degree at Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, West Germany in 1985.
Sandra has worked on the genetics of various fungi, including those that cause corn smut
disease and Dutch elm disease. She has been working on chestnut blight disease (caused by
Cryphonectria parasitica) since 1968. After completing basic studies with the fungus she
imported Hypovirulent (virus containing) strains from France (1972) and demonstrated that they could be used in the United States for biological control of the disease. She has worked on the ecology of the blight fungus and its control by hypovirulence, and studies of virulence in the
fungus and resistance in the trees. She continues the Experiment Station project on chestnut tree breeding to produce better timber and orchard trees, and is the International Registrar for cultivars of Castanea for the International Society of Horticultural Science. Her current research has expanded to include canker diseases of butternut trees in Connecticut.

Directions. The Mountain Lakes House is located in the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve at the
end of a half-mile driveway at 57 Mountain Avenue in Princeton Township. For detailed travel
directions, please consult

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