Prominent white flowers are the chief ornamental feature of the horse chestnut tree, a species that enjoys life in the suburbs and whose root system makes it ideal for planting along streets, A moderate grower, this specimen can survive in a variety of conditions, although it drops fruit that may be a bit of an annoyance.
The growth rate of the horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) is considered to be of medium speed which, according to the Arbor Day Foundation, denotes a tree that grows between 13 and 24 inches annually. The leaves of this tree are light green, eventually turning darker with maturity. The horse chestnut grows to an upright and oval, rounded form with hanging, lower branches. As they grow to a mature age, specimens will exfoliate and display an orange bark.
The horse chestnut tree achieves its best rate of growth when planted in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 4 through 7, an area that encompasses the cooler sections of the U.S. It does not thrive in especially warm or temperate locales, although the tree should receive a mixture of full sunshine and partial shade. It is festooned with a display of white flowers that gather together in clumps and are especially showy in the spring.
Size and Soil
The horse chestnut eventually achieves a height ranging between 50 and 75 feet in landscape settings, although it may stretch to 100 feet in the wild, with a canopy spread of 40 to 70 feet. The tree is weak-wooded and often breaks under heavy snow, ice or extremely windy conditions. However, it tolerates a wide variety of soils --- including alkaline --- and grows well in a city setting, provided the earth is moist and well-drained.
Pests and Disease
Pests and disease may hinder the overall growth rate of the horse chestnut or the aesthetic value of its foliage. Leaf spot, leaf blotch and powdery mildew diseases commonly affect the tree, as does anthracnose and leaf scorch. Pests include the white-marked tussock moth, a fuzzy caterpillar with black marks and four tufts of hair on its back, as well as the Japanese beetle. However, diseases and insect infestations are rarely fatal to the horse chestnut tree.
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