The Native Horse Chestnut tree, Aesculus hippocastanum, is large and spreading, suitable only for parks and big gardens. It will grow in any reasonably fertile soil and it is quite shade tolerant.
Common Horse Chestnut trees can reach a height of about 30-35 metres and spread up to 25 metres across.
How Standard Trees are Measured:
All the plants in the ornamental trees section are graded as standards, which means that they are measured by their girth in centimetres 1 metre above ground level (basically, their trunk's waist measurement). They aren't measured by their height, which will vary. So, a 6/8 standard has a trunk with a circumference of 6-8 centimetres and an 8/10 standard has a trunk 8-10 centimetres around. This measurement makes no difference to the tree's final height.
Standard trees are 2 - 3.5 metres tall (on average) when they arrive; they are the most mature trees that you can buy from us. We cannot tell you precisely how tall your trees will be before we deliver them.
General description of Horse Chestnut trees:
Everyone who ever collected a conker knows this large, spreading tree, with its lovely big spires of pink-eyed, white flowers that cover the tree in early summer. It has big, lobed leaves that remind me of a splayed gecko's foot. The leaves are deep green, turning a dirty, rustic amber colour in Autumn.
Despite being called Horse Chestnuts, the shiny, smooth seed that pops out of the spiky green husks are poisonous to most large animals. These trees common in parks, but they are only suitable for very big gardens.
History & uses of Aesculus hippocastanum:
Like a number of trees that we consider to be native to Britain, Horse Chestnuts are in fact relatively new introductions. Their native range is across most of Southern Europe and east to Turkey. Despite being common in these warm areas, they are hardy enough to grow happily in most parts of Britain. The Viennese began growing this tree in the 1570's and they probably arrived here in the early 1600's, spreading into the wild very successfully. They are relatively short-lived for such a large tree, lasting for only 150-200 years.