Horse Chestnut, False Chestnut - Aesculus Californica


Aesculus Californica, or horse chestnut, is a fast-growing, vigorous, deciduous tree native to central Europe. The foliage is oval, elongated and the trees tend to take on a candle shape; the adult specimens can reach dimensions even higher than 25-30 meters of height, with a crown of about 10-15 meters of width. The bark is dark brown, smooth in young specimens, it tends to lose large scales with age; the leaves are very large, palmate, composed of 5-7 oval leaflets, elongated and pointed, with serrated edge, the petiole is very long and the whole leaf has an umbrella shape, is light green in color, becomes yellow-brown in autumn before falling. In spring it produces long erect panicles of white flowers, mottled with rose; the carnea variety produces red flowers. In autumn the false chestnut produces large roundish fruits, they are curious capsules covered with thorns, inside which they ripen large inedible chestnuts, brown and shiny.


The horse chestnut, or false chestnut, likes sunny positions, in areas where it can receive the direct rays of the sun for at least a few hours a day, but grows without problems in any position; it also tolerates the harshest winter temperatures, the smog, the winds, in fact it is widely used to constitute street trees. It can be planted as a single specimen or successfully used for long rows of trees.
The climate that it prefers is the mild one, but, given its rusticity, it does not present problems during the most rigid winters or the hottest days.


The Aesculus Californica or horse-chestnut trees do not have any particular soil requirements, they grow without problems in any substrate, preferring however well-drained and loose soils. In fact, water stagnation could cause damage, especially to the younger specimens that appear to be weaker than adult trees.
These trees are rustic and resistant so they can adapt to situations that are not ideal for them. They are in fact also used in difficult contexts because they adapt well without particular problems in their growth.


The multiplication of false chestnut trees occurs by seed, using chestnuts harvested in autumn, which are buried in a container filled with peat and sand in equal parts. The new plants should be grown in pots for a few years before being planted so as to allow them to acquire the necessary strength to be permanently planted without damage and to guarantee them the best development.

Horse Chestnut, False Chestnut - Aesculus Californica: Pests and diseases

The genus Aesculus Californica is often attacked by aphids, mites and threatening larvae that conspicuously ruin the leaves. Scale insects are a widespread problem for horse chestnut plants and, for this reason, it is advisable to intervene before flowering with the use of one of the many broad-spectrum antiparasitic products available on the market, so as to protect the plant from any attack of pests and diseases that would compromise their health.