I have a mature (>20yrs) Chineese chestnut in my front yard, that until two years ago seemed perfectly healthy and produced a large crop every year. It is multi-stemmed from its base, with the four major stems measuring between 7″ to 15″ DBH, with limbs extending out 20+ feet. I removed two dead limbs last year that were 3-4″ in diameter. As I examined them, I found that two to four feet away from the main stem they appeared to be twisted and splitting appart long ways, for about a foot or so. I just finished removing five other similar limbs this year, with three more to go that will require a cherrypicker to reach them. Everything else on the tree appears very healthy – no sign of fungus even where the bark is splitting off the limb.
a) Are these limbs simply to long to mechanically support their own weight, and twisting apart from wind stress (lot of wind here, 24072 zip code, 2800ft elevation!)?
b) Do Chineese chestnust have “latent buds” that will sprout if I reduce the lenght of the remaing branches? I would like to take them back by about 1/4 this winter, and again by another 1/4 next winter.