Chestnut (Castenea spp.) Large spreading majestic trees are beautiful in the landscape and productive of sweet meaty nuts. Hardy, long lived, and drought tolerant, Chestnuts have been grown and harvested for centuries by many peoples and cultures. The nuts are roasted as a gourmet treat, added to stuffing, ground and baked into breads, and used as animal feed. A mature tree can produce up to 200 pounds of nuts! Trees bloom late and are reliable producers of nuts that are held in a spiny husk protecting them from squirrels. When ripe they drop to ground, often falling free of the husks. They grow well in most soil types as long as well drained. Some varieties are pollen sterile and need a pollinator. Zones 5-9.