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Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory)

Shagbark Hickory, Shell-Bark Hickory, Little Shell-Bark Hickory, Shellbark Hickory, Carolina Hickory, Scalybark Hickory, Upland Hickory, Shellbark Hickory

Carya ovata, Shagbark Hickory, Shell-Bark Hickory, Little Shell-Bark Hickory, Shellbark Hickory, Deciduous Tree, Fall Color, Fruit Tree
Carya ovata, Shagbark Hickory, Shell-Bark Hickory, Little Shell-Bark Hickory, Shellbark Hickory, Deciduous Tree, Fall Color, Fruit Tree
Carya ovata, Shagbark Hickory, Shell-Bark Hickory, Little Shell-Bark Hickory, Shellbark Hickory, Deciduous Tree, Fall Color, Fruit Tree

Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory) is a tall deciduous tree of broadly conical habit with an irregular, oval-rounded crown and a stunning straight gray trunk that peels in large, shaggy strips. The ascending and descending branches are clothed in dark olive-green leaves, each leaf having 5 pointed leaflets, 3 to 7 in. long (7-17cm). They turn rich yellow and golden brown in the fall. Inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers appear in spring, the male flowers in pendulous catkins, and the female flowers in short spikes. The female flowers are followed by sweet, edible nuts. Shagbark Hickory nuts are readily eaten by a wide variety of birds and mammals, including mallard, wood duck, northern bobwhite, wild turkey, ring-necked pheasant, common crow, bluejay, white-breasted nuthatch, red-bellied woodpecker, and yellow-bellied sapsucker. A tall ornamental shade tree for large properties.

  • Grows up to 70-80 ft. tall (21-24 m) and 50-70 ft. wide (15-21 m). 
  • A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in humusy, rich, moist, well-drained soils. Tolerates occasional periods of dry soil. Drought tolerant once established.
  • No routine pruning is necessary. Remove diseased, damaged, congested, or crossing shoots.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for crown gall, powdery mildews, and leaf spots. Shagbark Hickory is seldom browsed by deer unless preferred foods are limited or unavailable.
  • Propagate by seed sown in situ as soon as ripe; seedlings rapidly develop a deep tap root and resent transplanting.
  • Native from Quebec to Minnesota south to Georgia and Texas.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Juglandaceae
Genus Carya
Common names Shellbark Hickory, Shagbark Hickory, Hickory
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 70' - 80'
(21.3m - 24.4m)
Spread 50' - 70'
(15.2m - 21.3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Maine, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Southwest, Southeast, Midwest, Northeast, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Clay Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Carya glabra (Pignut Hickory)
Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory)
Juglans nigra (Black Walnut)
Carya illinoinensis (Hardy Pecan)

Recommended Companion Plants

Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine)
Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum)
Hamamelis virginiana (Virginian Witch Hazel)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada Mayflower)
Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)
Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Spectacular Trees for Vibrant Fall Colors: A Gardener’s Guide
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Juglandaceae
Genus Carya
Common names Shellbark Hickory, Shagbark Hickory, Hickory
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 70' - 80'
(21.3m - 24.4m)
Spread 50' - 70'
(15.2m - 21.3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Maine, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Southwest, Southeast, Midwest, Northeast, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Clay Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Guides with
Carya (Hickory)
Not sure which Carya (Hickory) to pick?
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