Revised June 2008

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Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees

Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Large trees

Horse chestnut
Horse chestnut

  • Maximum height
    60 feet
  • Relative growth rate
  • Freedom from insect pests
  • Freedom from disease problems
  • Resistance to storm damage
  • Will grow on poorly drained soil
  • Will grow in hot, dry areas
  • Easy to transplant
  • Withstands city conditions

The horse chestnut is a magnificent tree in the spring when its foot-long panicles of showy flowers cover the tree like candles on a Christmas tree. It is definitely not a tree for the small yard. Its course texture and large size make it look out of place except in a very large area. The horse chestnut has earned a bad reputation in many areas. Its branches are relatively weak and subject to storm damage. The large nuts are produced profusely. They have no economic or ornamental value and are a nuisance wherever they fall.

The Baumann horse chestnut, a double-flowered variety, should be planted in preference to the standard varieties because it does not produce seed. There is also a red-flowered form available that is more showy than the standard white-flowered types.

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G6800 Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees | Page 12 | University of Missouri Extension