Why plant Audubon® Native Hackberry Treeling?
The reason that Common Hackberry is common is because birds love it so much. Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, mockingbirds, titmice, orioles, and cardinals eat the sweet fruits and then spread the hard, indigestible seeds far and wide. It pops up in forests and wild spaces all over the Midwest and eastern states. Caterpillar-eating birds such as bluebirds and warblers like Common Hackberry, too, for the wide array of moths and butterflies it hosts. And, many birds like it as a tree to nest in. Shouldn’t such a beloved tree be in your backyard bird garden?
Common Hackberry happily inhabits all sorts of wild spaces from Texas to North Carolina and north into Canada. It thrives in forests and on prairies and riverbanks, and it gets along well even on rocky outcroppings. Wildlife flock to it. In early fall, the purple-brown fruits, which are sweet like raisins, attract songbirds for a free snack. Cedar waxwings and robins are especially fond of them. A variety of butterflies also visit this Tree. Mourning clocks, question marks, and tawny emperors are just a few that use Hackberry as a host plant.
How to use Audubon® Native Hackberry Treeling in the landscape?
Common Hackberry should be called the 'Butterfly Tree' for the wealth of butterflies it supports. Perhaps the most charming is the Hackberry butterfly. This endearing little creature loves people (actually, it likes to sip the salts from our skin). You may feel a tickle while you're out working in the garden and find a Hackberry butterfly has landed on you!
Hardiness Zone: 3-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Hackberry Treeling
Common Hackberry will grow fastest in full sun or light shade, in soil that is rich and moist. However, it will put up with poor growing conditions without complaint. A couple of issues that Hackberries sometimes face are witches' brooms (a proliferation of congested, twiggy growth) and Hackberry nipple gall (which appears as small bumps on the leaves). Neither of these is a serious problem. They are merely cosmetic afflictions that aren't real threats to your Tree.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. If planting in the fall, use Elements fertilizer while planting and start your regular annual fertilizing the following fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established as it gives your tree the nutrients it needs to produce lush new growth for the following spring.
How To Prune
A young tree may need a little extra support to ensure that it lives a long and healthy life. Stake your new Treeling with a 6-8 foot tall wood or bamboo stake. Use expandable ties that will stretch as the tree grows, fastening the stake to the main trunk from the base to the top. Check the ties every few months, at least twice a year; ensuring the ties are not digging into the trunk. If there is any sign of this, take the tie off and reattach it, giving the tree more room to grow.
As your tree grows, remove a few of the lower branches each year in mid to late summer. Remove these lower branches before they reach 1/2 inch in diameter. It is better to make small cuts to avoid cutting a large, more mature branch - this is too stressful for the tree. Each year, make any corrective pruning needed, paying particular attention to removing damaged branches, rubbing branches, multiple leaders at the top, or suckers at the base. Limit any pruning to no more than 25% of the branching structure in a given year. Pruning benefits the tree and helps to achieve a balanced tree form.
After two or three years you can feel free to remove the stake from the tree.