Realtree is in nurseries across the country, and no, I’m not talking about baby layettes and bedding ensembles like my little twin granddaughters' bedroom sports.
Realtree Nursery is also supplying Walmart stores with a wide range of 2-year-old trees in three-gallon pots – meant to be taken home and planted in your food plots or somewhere on your land. The trees, including Dunstan Chestnuts™, sawtooth oaks, American persimmons and native crabapples, are all highly attractive to wildlife, particularly whitetails.
Realtree Nursery particularly likes to tout the Duncan chestnut. This tree could be the “Comeback Kid” of trees, given its history. By the mid 1940s, most American chestnuts had succumbed to a bark fungus from the Orient, introduced here in 1904. In the early 1950s, James Carpentar, of Salem, Ohio, found a huge American chestnut in a grove filled with dead and unhealthy trees. Try as much as he could to infect that healthy tree with active blight spores and mycelia, he could not get the tree to show any effects.
So, he sent some budwoods from that tree to plant breeder Dr. Robert T. Dunstan in North Carolina, who grafted it, cross-pollinated it and voila! After more iterations and crossings using American and Chinese parents trees, the Dunstan chestnut was born and patented.
Dunstan chestnuts are great trees for attracting deer and game. They begin to bear in only 2 to 4 years, and can produce 10 to 20 pounds of nuts per year by 10 years. They bear every year and do not skip crops like oak trees. They are proven resistant to the chestnut blight, and have been grown all over the eastern U.S. from Maine and Michigan to north Florida and Texas for 30 years with no tree ever dying from the blight. Dunstan chestnuts are preferred by deer because the nuts are high in carbohydrates, sweet tasting and have no bitter tasting tannin like acorns.
Trees retail for $20 each. Check with your local Walmart’s nursery or hunting department to see if it has received a shipment. Or, check online for store locations at www.realtreenursery.com. Trees can be ordered and shipped via UPS. Call toll-free 1-855-386-7826.