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Growing Hickory

Growing Hickory

Shagbark Hickory


Attractive, slow-growing trees that produce edible nuts. Long-lived and usually reach 50 to 80 feet tall at maturity. Shagbark Hickory has attractive, peeling bark that provides winter interest. Makes a good shade tree. It produces very strong wood used for tool handles and furniture. Also an excellent firewood and often used in curing and smoking meats. Classified as Carya ovata, it is native to North America and hardy in zones 4 to 8. Taprooted, and somewhat difficult to transplant. Plant 4 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost in a hole 12 to 18 inches wide and 18 to 24 inches deep amended with organic matter like compost. Set with the roots as deep as when grown in the nursery, and ensure the roots are not bent.


For full sun. Adaptable and tolerates a range of soil conditions, but prefers moist, well-drained soil.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Use full rates of Gromax Fertilizer Tablets 20-10-5 (51165), Algoflash All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer 6-6-6 (51085), or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 (51221).

Alternative Products

Other hardy nut trees are Chestnut, Pecan, and Walnut. 

Complimentary Products

Moderate feeders that benefit from regular fertilization. Other good shade trees include Birch and Maple.

Hickory Facts

Usually free from major problems. Hickory bark beetle, pecan weevil, twig girdler, anthracnose, and leaf spot are occasional problems. Hickory nuts were widely used as food by Native American tribes and colonists and are eaten by wildlife.

Growing Tips