Ohio Plants Hybrids in Effort to Bring Back Chestnut Trees

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio is planting hybrid American chestnut trees at state forests and parks in an attempt to bring back the tree that was decimated by a fungal blight.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources last month planted 1,000 American chestnut hybrids in three state forests and parks and plans to plant an additional 2,000 in March.

The department is working with the American Chestnut Foundation to bring back the tree found from Maine to Georgia in the early 1900s. Biologists estimate about 4 billion chestnuts grew along the Appalachian Mountains before the blight. They say only about 11 percent survive.

Geneticists, botanists and conservationists are working to bring back the chestnut.

The hybrids Ohio is planting are a mix of American and Chinese chestnut trees.