Baumann Horse Chestnut Trees – Care Of Baumann Horse Chestnuts

Baumann Horse Chestnut Trees – Care Of Baumann Horse Chestnuts

By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

For many homeowners, choosing and planting trees suitable tothe landscape can be quite difficult. While some prefer smaller floweringshrubs, others enjoy the cooling shade offered by various types of deciduous trees. One such tree, the Baumann horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum ‘Baumanii’), isan interesting combination of both of these attributes. With its beautifulflower spikes and pleasant shade in the summer, this tree may be a good fit inyour landscape.

Baumann Horse Chestnut Info

Baumann horse chestnut trees are a common landscaping andstreet planted tree throughout much of the United States. Reaching heights of80 feet (24 m.), these trees provide growers with beautiful white flower spikeseach spring. This, in tandem with their dark green foliage, make the tree apopular option for those wishing to add curb appeal to their properties.

Though the name may imply it, Baumann horse chestnut treesare not members of the edible chestnut family. Like other horse chestnuts, all parts of this tree are toxic, containing a poisonoustoxin called esculin, and should not be eaten by humans or livestock.

Growing a Baumann Horse Chestnut

Growing a Baumann horse chestnut tree is relatively simple.For best results, those wishing to do so should first locate a transplant.Depending upon your growing region, these transplants are likely to be found atlocal plant nurseries or garden centers.

Choose a well-draining location in the yard that receives atleast 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. To plant, dig a hole at least twice thedepth and twice the width of the root ball of the tree. Place the tree into thehole and gently fill the dirt around the root zone to the crown of the plant.

Water the planting and ensure that it remains consistentlymoist as the tree becomes established.

Care of Baumann Horse Chestnuts

Beyond planting, horse chestnut trees will require minimalattention from growers. Throughout the growing season, it will be important tofrequently monitor signs of distress in the tree. In regions with hot summers,trees may become stressed by lack of water. This may cause the overall healthof the foliage to decline.

When the plants become stressed, the tree will become moresusceptible to common fungal issues and insect pressure. Monitoring the plantclosely will help growers respond to these threats and treat for themappropriately.

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Aesculus hippocastanum 'Baumannii'

Baumann Horse Chestnut flowers

Baumann Horse Chestnut flowers

Baumann Horse Chestnut in bloom

Baumann Horse Chestnut in bloom

Other Names: European Horsechestnut

A very restrained variety from Europe, valued for its panicles of showy white flowers that rise above the leaves in spring and upright growth habit, compact size is ideal for smaller landscapes relatively seedless, a good thing for this species

Baumann Horse Chestnut features bold spikes of white flowers with brick red centers rising above the foliage in mid spring. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The palmate leaves turn yellow in fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Baumann Horse Chestnut is a dense deciduous tree with a more or less rounded form. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This tree will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration

Baumann Horse Chestnut is recommended for the following landscape applications

  • Accent
  • Shade

Baumann Horse Chestnut will grow to be about 40 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 40 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

MSU Extension Chestnuts

Updated from an original article written by Sean Corp.

Chestnuts are a delicious staple to many meals, but some types are toxic and shouldn’t be eaten.

Colossal chestnuts in the burr. Colossal is a popular French varietal that consumers may find at local markets. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

Chestnut is one of the world’s most popular and unique nut-bearing trees. Fresh chestnuts contain vitamin C and are much lower in fat than other nuts and contain twice as much starch as a potato, earning the chestnut tree the nickname “bread tree” in some regions of the world. Chestnut acreage in the U.S. has increased substantially over the past 30 years and Michigan boasts the largest number of growers and acreage in the United States. Michigan residents can benefit from our region’s agricultural diversity and often find Michigan chestnuts seasonally at local grocery stores, in roadside stands and at farmers markets.

Chestnut trees are found naturally in the landscape, in green spaces as ornamentals and are also planted in orchards for nut production. Edible chestnut species found in Michigan include the American chestnut, Chinese chestnut, Japanese chestnut, European chestnut and chinquapin. Consumers should be aware that the term “horse chestnut” is sometimes used to describe an unrelated tree in the genera Aesculus trees in this genus may also be referred to as buckeyes. Trees in the genus Aesculus produce toxic, inedible nuts and have been planted as ornamentals throughout the U.S. and are sometimes incorrectly represented as an edible variety.

Left, edible chestnut with spiny husk and pointed tassel on tip. Center, fleshy husk of horse chestnut. Right, rounded toxic horse chestnuts without a tassel. Photos by Erin Lizotte (left) and Virginia Rinkel (center and right).

Edible chestnuts are easy to tell apart from unrelated toxic species like horse chestnut or buckeye. Edible chestnuts belong to the genus Castanea and are enclosed in sharp, spine-covered burs. The toxic, inedible horse chestnuts have a fleshy, bumpy husk with a wart-covered appearance. Both horse chestnut and edible chestnuts produce a brown nut, but edible chestnuts always have a tassel or point on the nut. The toxic horse chestnut is rounded and smooth with no point or tassel.

Quality, curing and season

The value of a chestnut is based primarily on its size and most nuts are sold fresh in the shell. Smaller quantities are available peeled and frozen or in value-added forms like chips, flour and slices. Chestnuts require a two- to three-week curing process to achieve maximum quality and sweetness. Chestnuts purchased from the store should have already undergone the curing process and should be ready to eat. Stores should be holding whole chestnuts under refrigeration for maximum quality. If you are purchasing chestnuts from a roadside market, be sure to ask if they have been cured. If you are collecting at a u-pick operation, it will be necessary for you to cure them yourself.

Peeled and frozen chestnuts. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

During the curing process, starches in the nuts convert to sugar, making the chestnut taste sweeter. The best way to cure the chestnuts is to take time and store them just above freezing (32-40 degrees Fahrenheit) in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks. This longer, refrigerated curing process will increase their storability. The quickest way to cure chestnuts is to store them at room temperature for a few days however, room temperature conditions will also dehydrate the chestnuts and so they will need to be consumed in a timely manner.

When selecting cured chestnuts at the store or market, consumers should inspect them carefully for quality just you would inspect a banana or pear. A ripe chestnut should have a slight give when squeezed, indicating they have been properly cured. A rock hard chestnut may require more curing time. A chestnut shell with a great deal of give indicates it is past its prime and has become dehydrated or has internal disorder. Lastly, when purchasing chestnuts, be sure the store or market is storing them in a chilled environment for maximum quality.

Chestnuts properly stored in a produce cooler at the grocery store. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

When you get your chestnuts home, keep them cold but do not let them freeze (Due to their sugar content, chestnuts do not freeze until 28 F or below.). Store them in the produce compartment of your refrigerator where well-cured chestnuts can last for a few weeks. Ideally, place them in a plastic bag with holes made with a fork or knife to help regulate the moisture levels. If nuts are frozen, use them immediately after thawing.


The most recognizable and simple method of chestnut preparation is roasting. Chestnuts may be roasted in the oven, over a fire or even in the microwave. To roast chestnuts, be sure to score through the shell to ensure steam can escape and to prevent a messy and loud explosion. Scoring halfway around the equator works very well. Generally, it takes around 20 minutes in a 300 F oven.

For microwaving, the time can be as little as 2 minutes. Cook times can vary by microwave and oven, so some trial and error may be necessary and wrapping several nuts in a wet paper towel before microwaving works well. You can also try roasting them over an open fire or grill—though technically nestling them in the embers is best to prevent scorching. Depending on the temperature of the embers, this process can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes.

Cooked nuts should be tender, sweet and peel easily. Be sure to allow the chestnuts to cool before handling.

Remember, chestnuts aren’t just for roasting. Chefs around the world recognize their unique characteristics and produce delicious soups, pastas and spreads using this unique nut. Search online or in cookbooks to see how you can use this local food in your recipes!

For more information on Michigan produce, recipe ideas and preservation information, visit the Michigan Fresh page from Michigan State University Extension.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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All three trees are deciduous. The American chestnut has shiny, yellow-green leaves with curving teeth along the edges that turn yellow in the fall. The seven leaflets of the horse chestnut are larger and coarser and emerge a light green, turning dark green as they mature. The finely toothed leaves of the Ohio buckeye are narrow and medium green. They turn gold and orange in the fall.

The American chestnut produces sweet, edible nuts inside spiny burrs containing two or three teardrop-shaped seeds. Ohio buckeye nuts ripen in late summer and early fall inside thick, knobby husks. There is usually only one shiny, brown nut inside each. Horse chestnuts grow inside thick, green, spiny husks that can contain up to four nuts. Neither buckeyes nor horse chestnuts are edible they contain dangerous toxins.

  • All three trees are deciduous.
  • The American chestnut has shiny, yellow-green leaves with curving teeth along the edges that turn yellow in the fall.

Chestnut Firewood - Overall

Unfortunately, it can be tough to tell the many types of chestnut trees apart.

The best way to figure out what kind of chestnut you have is to consider your location.

Certain types of chestnut trees are common only in certain areas as mentioned in the descriptions above.

American chestnut is the rarest chestnut tree but can be identified by its leaves, which have large, sharp, and hooked teeth.

The underside of the leaves will be covered with many small dots and the twigs will be slender, smooth, and hairless.

They will be almost a reddish-brown in color, while the twigs from sweet chestnut are dark brown and those from horse chestnut are a pale brown (though they can also have a red tinge to them, too).

If you’re not sure what kind of chestnut trees you have, you may want to consider bringing a leaf or twig sample to your local forest service office or cooperative extension.

They will be able to give you an idea of the plant you are dealing with.

Keep in mind too, that all chestnuts can cross-pollinate - so you may have more trouble trying to identify a tree because it’s actually a hybrid.

That said, keep these tips for using chestnut firewood in mind.

Stay away from horse chestnut firewood!

Although they are rare, American chestnuts are by far the best chestnut firewood species you can use.

Watch the video: How To Grow Chestnut From Seeds. 1 year results