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Fort McNair Horsechestnut is useful in large planting areas, parking lots, open spaces, and highway medians where its large spread can be accommodated.

Tree of the Month: Fort McNair Horsechestnut

By Leonard Phillips, ASLA Emeritus


Trade Name: Fort McNair Horsechestnut

Botanical Name: Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’

Family: Hippocastanaceae

Parentage: Discovered at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

Year of Introduction: 1991

Hardiness Zone*: 4 – 7

Height: 32 feet

Spread: 30 feet

Growth Rate: Medium, less than 2 feet per year

Form: Rounded

Bloom Period: Early May

Flower: Pink with yellow throat in panicles

Fruit: Brown capsules

Foliage: Palmately compound leaves with many impressed veins

Spring Color: Mid green

Summer Foliage: Dark green

Autumn Foliage: Yellowish

Winter Color: Interest in bark and form

Bark: Dark gray to brown, many shallow fissures create scales

Habitat: Does well in North America

Culture: Well drained soil, avoid dry sites; full sun to part shade; tolerates most pH levels

Pest Resistance: Resistant to leaf blotch disease

Storm Resistance: Good

Salt Resistance: Moderate

Planting: Transplant B&B or container only when tree is young

Pruning: Prune in early spring only

Propagating: Budding, grafting, softwood cuttings

Design Uses: Useful in large planting areas, parking lots, open spaces, highway medians where large spread can be accommodated

Companions: Most groundcovers

Other Comments: Leaf blotch resistance and beautiful spring flowers make this tree very popular

Available From: Select nurseries, may require some searching


* For information about the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, visit www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/index.html


[ital>These are the personal observations of the author, living in New England – Zone 6. Leonard Phillips can be reached via e-mail at<ital] lenphillips@on-line-seminars.com

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