Why plant Audubon® Native Shellbark Hickory Treeling?
The large, sturdy, long-lived and ruggedly handsome Shellbark Hickory will be a key component of your backyard bird habitat. This noble native shade tree attracts a wealth of caterpillars and other insects that songbirds love. Birds will come to feed, and they’ll also bring some nourishment back to their young—insect protein is vitally important to developing chicks. In time, your Shellbark Hickory will start to produce crops of big, sweet nuts, which jays and woodpeckers relish. Smaller birds, finding the nuts tough to crack, will find plenty to eat among the scraps dropped by squirrels. Oh, and you’ll find the nuts delicious, too!
Shellbark Hickory was once a familiar sight along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. It grew tall and proud on the floodplains there, nourishing people and wildlife, creating shade, stabilizing the soil, and preventing erosion. Then, the pioneers came and cut those old giants to the ground. As the floodplain soil was considered prime farmland, the trees had to go. They soon became ax handles, wagon wheel hubs, furniture, and firewood. Few mature trees remain but you can help revive this magnificent species by planting Shellbark Hickory on your own property. Let it rise to glory once more!
How to use Audubon® Native Shellbark Hickory Treeling in the landscape?
Have you even found one of those bizarre walking stick insects? They use Shellbark Hickory as a host plant! The royal walnut moth is another interesting insect that lays its eggs on Hickories. Its wingspan can be six inches wide.
Hardiness Zone: 5-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native Shellbark Hickory Treeling
Just as Shellbark Hickory appreciates low, fertile plains in the wild, it favors deep, rich, moist soil in the home landscape, too. It will even tolerate seasonal flooding. A site with all-day sun is best—this tree will survive in part shade, but growth will be slower there, and even under the best of circumstances, Hickories do not grow fast. Eventually, it will get quite large, so be sure to give your tree plenty of room. Keep it away from patios and pools, where falling nuts may be a hassle.
How To Water
The Shellbark Hickory will appreciate regular water during its first few years in the ground and irrigation during long dry spells after it’s established.
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. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Shellbark Hickories don't typically require pruning. However, it may be necessary to remove damaged, weak branches - so it would be best to do so in winter, when the tree is dormant.