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The Center for Agroforestry

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I arrange a tour of HARC?
Contact the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, Missouri to discuss your visit to the farm.

Call 660-848-2268 and speak with either Nancy Bishop ( or Ray Glendening, Farm Manager (

You can learn more about HARC by visiting their website:

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I would like to know if agroforestry is right for my farm. How do I go about finding out?
The Center for Agroforestry has a new agroforestry Training Manual. Section 2 of the manual introduces "Planning for Agroforestry," and Appendix 5 of the manual has a detailed planning workbook. These sections, combined with other sections of the training manual, will help you to determine if agroforestry is right for your farm.

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Can you help me get started practicing agroforestry on a woody area on my farm?
Yes, that's what we're here for. You have come to the right place to get started.

Contact Dusty Walter, UMCA Outreach Specialist/Research Specialist, at or 573-884-7991.

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Can I buy seedlings or cultivars at HARC?
HARC, the University of Missouri Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, is charged with both basic and applied research along with outreach based on the findings that are developed from our research.

However, as a general rule HARC does not sell any products in the commercial marketplace (including seedlings or cultivars) that are otherwise available through private vendors.

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Where can I buy seedlings or cultivars of the species recommended in agroforestry practices?
Native plants (flowers, grasses, shrubs, trees)
Grow Native - excellent information and buyers guide

Seedling Trees:
MDC State Nursery
Forrest Keeling Nursery

Woody Florals:
For rootstock suppliers and growing information, visit the University of Nebraska Extension Forestry Program

Chestnut Trees:
Container-grown stock can be planted in early October or in late March. Starting a chestnut planting with seedlings offers the advantages of low initial costs and the opportunity to establish cultivars not readily available from commercial nurseries. Disadvantages of establishing a chestnut orchard with seedlings include delaying the onset of profits from nut production and adding the expense of grafting your own trees. For additional chestnut production information, see the Growing Chinese Chestnuts in Missouri guide on the Publications and Informational Materials page.

Retail chestnut seedling and cultivar suppliers:
Empire Chestnut Company
3276 Empire Rd SW
Carrollton, OH 44615

England's Orchard & Nursery
316 SR 2004
McKee, KY 40447

Nash Nursery
4975 Grand River Rd
Owosso, MI 48867

Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery
797 Port Wooden Rd.
Upton, KY 42784

Forrest Keeling Nursery
88 Keeling Lane
Elsberry, MO 63343
(800) 356-2401 or (573) 898-5571

(If you are located on the West Coast)
Burnt Ridge Nursery
432 Burnt Ridge Rd
Onalaska, WA 98570

Owl Creek Ranch
14637 Claribel Rd.
Waterford, CA 95386-9745
209-848-4816, fax. 209-847-1083

(If you are located in the southeastern USA)
Chestnut Hill Nursery
15105 NW 94th Ave.
Alachua, FL 32615

An extended list of suppliers world wide can be found at:

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How far apart should the trees be in alley cropping?
There is no short and simple answer to this question (and it is a very good question). This depends on the objective of the alley cropping practice and the short-, medium- and long-term objectives of the landowner and the tree and crop combinations selected.

Please refer to the alley cropping information in the Agroforestry 5-Practices DVD

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How long does it take for Chinese chestnut trees to begin bearing commercial quantities of nuts?
Six to nine years, depending on the variety.

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"I?ve heard pine straw might be a good mulch for me to use in my spring landscaping ... can you tell me more about it?"
You have heard correctly. The naturally shed needles of pine trees are known as pine straw, and it is an excellent mulching material. In fact, pine straw is the number one mulching material used in landscape plantings in the Southeastern U.S.! In contrast to hardwood bulk mulch, pine straw can produce needles every year, making it a sustainable mulch product. Because pine straw is actually a leaf (needle), it benefits the environment in the same way that decomposing leaves benefit the forest floor by recycling nutrients and maintaining soil organic matter. Have you noticed that hardwood and pine bark mulch can wash away in a strong rain? You?ll be delighted to find that pine straw knits together and stays in place during heavy rain, also helping prevent soil erosion!

Pine straw is currently available at Heckemeyer Farms, 206 College Rd., Sikeston, Mo. Phone: (573) 471-8198. Watch for Missouri pine straw at a retailer in your area soon. For more information about UMCA pine straw research, visit

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Will chestnuts grow in your area?
Chinese chestnut is not native to the USA (you can not grow American chestnut for very long - they will die from chestnut blight). Because Chinese chestnut grows over a very wide area of China, it is pure guesswork as to which cultivars, if any, will work in your area. For west coast growers, European cultivars seem to work best. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to purchase cultivars from a reputable nursery located reasonably close to your area.

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How do I tell the difference between a chestnut and a buckeye?


The easiest way to tell the difference between buckeye (also known as a horse chestnut) and chestnut is to look for chestnut burs. Botanically, there is no relation between these trees whatsoever. (Buckeye is in the Genus Aesculus while chestnut is in the Genus Castanea - related to oaks and beeches.) Chestnuts are found inside burs. The burs will be the size of a tennis ball and spiny like a porcupine. If you pick up a bur it will hurt, no question about it. You will often find three chestnuts per bur.


Buckeye (horse chestnut) are spiny but not like a porcupine, more like a golf ball with individual spines. Only one seed per pod. In addition, the leaves are different. Horse chestnut leaves are palmate - a few leaflets are attached to each petal. Chestnut leaves are borne singly along the stem. That said, if you are walking in the woods and find what you think is a chestnut, it is most likely a horse chestnut (buckeye). The American chestnut tree was nearly wiped out by a blight in the early 20th century and any chestnuts grown at present are planted in orchards. You should NOT roast and eat horse chestnuts.

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How do I create an irrigation system for my chestnut orchard?
For one acre, the following supplies will be needed to create a drip irrigation system for your chestnut orchard: 1,250 ft. of dripperline; one shut-off valve; one filter; one pressure regulator; one air vent; and pvc manifold, risers and fittings. The total cost for these supplies should be about $450. Please click here for a document detailing water demand, and pipe and equipment layout.

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What are chestnut weevils and how do I keep them out of my chestnuts?

Chestnut Weevil

"My chestnuts are wormy!" is a common complaint from producers and consumers. The "worm" causing the problem is the larva of either the small chestnut weevil (Curculio sayi Gyllenhal) or the large chestnut weevil (Curculio caryatrypes Boheman). Both species are native to North America where they commonly infested American chestnuts before the chestnut blight epidemic. When the blight wiped out the American chestnut trees it also wiped out the chestnut weevils - almost. Now that chestnuts, mostly Chinese, have been widely planted the chestnut weevils have made a comeback. Many chestnut plantings in eastern North America are now plagued with these pests. The good news is that acceptable control is possible. The bad news is that without control, they can render the entire crop unmarketable. Please click here to find out more about chestnut weevils and how to keep them out of your chestnuts. For the chestnut weevil Pest Alert from MU Extension, go to

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How do I construct a fence to keep deer out of my chestnut orchard?
At the University of Missouri?s Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, the chestnut fence is 8 ft. tall overall. The bottom half is 12 1/2-gauge woven wire that keeps deer from going under, or inadvertently walking/falling through. The upper half consists of six strands of 12-gauge tensile wire evenly spaced 8 in. apart to make the 8 ft. overall height. The posts are set on 9 ft. centers, and are a mix of steel and wood posts, while all corner and brace posts are wood. Three corner posts are set at each corner with brace posts between.

Putting this type of fence around one acre runs about $1,992 (about $2.40/ft). (Of course costs go down per acre when more than one acre is considered.) Materials and costs are as follows:

24 - 7ft. steel fence posts @ $6/ post = $144
40 - 10ft. steel fence posts @ $12/ post = $480
24 - 5in. x 8ft. treated wood line and brace posts @ $12/ post = $288
12 - 8in. x 8ft. treated wood corner posts @ $24.75/ post = $300
2 1/2 - rolls of 12 1/2 gauge woven fence wire @ $180/roll = $450
1 - 16ft. steel tube gate = $150
5,000 ft. - 12 gauge tensile wire = $120
fastening hardware = $60
Total = $1,992, or about $2.40/ft.

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Where can I buy Missouri-grown chestnuts?
While chestnuts are not yet a staple item in most Missouri grocery stores and specialty food shops, the Center is working to expand their availability and generate consumer interest in purchasing these sweet, versatile nuts. Fresh locally grown chestnuts will be available for sale in 2011 at several events in Columbia where the UMCA staff will have an exhibit booth. Two of these events will include the Columbia Farmers Market on November 5 and 12 and the Living Windows Festival in downtown Columbia on December 2. Free admission and parking at both events. Chestnuts will also be sold from October through December 2011 at Clover?s Natural Market in Columbia. Chestnut recipes and a guidesheet on chestnut roasting are available on the Publications page.

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