If you have space for a few trees, put Carya ovata on your shortlist.
You’ll need a decent amount of space for this stately tree, with most reaching 60-80 feet, and some up to 120 ft, with a canopy to match. The strong, straight trunk features bark that peels in long, flat strips, lending a shaggy look which provides interest year round, hence Shagbark Hickory.
As with most trees, the hickory is slow growing, and chances are we won’t reap the full benefits in our lifetime. The Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore once said “The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.”
So plant those trees (they produce more hickory nuts when they can cross-pollinate!) and look forward to the grandchildren sitting in their shade, eating the tasty hickory nuts that ripen in the fall.
Use: The shagbark hickory nut is buttery and sweet, although the flavor is improved through toasting or roasting. Use as you would any other tree nut.
Source: grown from seed by Pinelands Nursery, New Jersey
Photo 1 courtesy of Dan Wilder
Carya ovata (Shagbark hickory)
SIZE AND POT INFORMATION: More details coming in May type: tree sun needs:
full sun, part sun/part shade, shade
dry, average, moist
height: 60-80' plant spacing: space 15' apart bloom time:
March, April, May, June
bloom color: green
edible parts: nuts deer resistant (please note that does not mean deer proof) salt tolerant. Some salt exposure should not be fatal to the plant but some leaf burning may still occur.