Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
The horse chestnut decorates a vast number of Southern German beer gardens The horse chestnut decorates many Southern German beer gardens
The tree of the year in Germany is annually chosen by the Kuratorium "Baum des Jahres" (site available in German only). Horse chestnut fruits Horse chestnut fruits Beer gardens in Southern Germany would be almost
inconceivable without the horse chestnut tree, the tree of the year 2005. In autumn, you could play and tinker a lot less without it while the eponymous brilliant brown fruits are the most popular collectible for kids. The fruits in the green sting ball are also suitable for supplementary feeding of animals - also of deer - when they are frost-damaged first of all and the contained bitter constituents vanish gradually. But also in order to test ones first self-grown saplings the horse chestnut is suitable as its fruits germinate relatively easily. Blossoms of the horse chestnut Blossoms of the horse chestnut Undoubtedly the horse chestnut tree is one of the most popular and most distinctive tree species in spring with the grand, shiny blossoms. In German, the
blossoms are called 'Blütenkerzen', which is to say 'blossom candles'. But why was it picked to be the tree of the year 2005? Very simple, because we worry about the health of this tree species. For a long time, there is a fungal disease at our place, the Guignardia leaf blotch, which begins at the leaf edges and often tinges the whole leaf blade of the fingered leaves until the leaves can't conduct photosynthesis any more. Here, a margin of the new infestation in the next year is possible by completely removing the foliage after the leaf fall in autumn so that no more fungal spores can attain onto the new leaves from it. To the top Leaf blotch at horse chestnut foliage Leaf blotch at horse chestnut foliage Much more sorrow however brings an insect which has spread over Macedonia to Central Europe since the mid-nineties: The horse-chestnut leaf miner. It is a tiny little insect which makes two or three generations per year and devours grub paths between the nervures in the middle of the leaf blade under the screen of the upper and lower Cuticula (plant cuticle). In those path mines, the insect can devour relatively undisturbed and can eventually pupate. Only the Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is spared, whose pure form is rare: Usually they are grafted on a descendant of the white thriving tree of the year and are botanically called Aesculus x carnea. Red Buckeyes contain an ingredient that isn't exactly identified yet, which doesn't please the insect. Indeed, occasionally leaves of harewoods are also afflicted, but here only an incomplete development occurs, so that here no adult horse chestnut leaf-miners can hatch in the first place. Devour damage by the leaf-miner at the leaves of the horse chestnut
tree Devour damage by the leaf-miner
at the leaves of the horse chestnut tree There are no specialized natural enemies yet whereas the insect has located at our place not long ago. A moderate parasitising by unspecific ichneumon flies as well as picking open of the path mines by particular tits can unfortunately not regulate the population of the insect effectively. There is anyway one blink: When a chestnut tree is heavily weakened by regular insect infestation (and was not damaged lethally by subsidiary damages), the infestation ceases temporarily because the horse chestnut leaf-miner is a real strength parasite which cannot develop in barely formed thin leaves. To the top Red blossoming horse chestnut, or Red Buckeye in spring Red blossoming horse chestnut, or Red Buckeye, in spring The wood of the tree of the year 2005 is hardly used as timber or for miscellaneous wood-typical purposes. That is for one thing because the stem of the horse
chestnut is genetically determined always dextrorotary, meaning the woodfibres dont proceed straight bottom up as for most other tree species but proceed spirally around the tree so that the wood always morphs at drying. It should be added that there is practically no impeccable wood of strong dimensions out of the tree of the year 2005: The horse chestnut belongs to the not rot off-sealing tree species, meaning an already invaded rot practically spreads unimpeded in the whole tree. That is among others a reason why you pretty much never find chestnuts which are 100 years old or even older. That's why it is, especially for the horse chestnut, tremendously important that it is only cut back and taken care of by real experts, so that the decay of the tree isn't accelerated by inappropriate cuts.