Growing CharacteristicsShellbark hickory trees prefer moist, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. They are hardy and adaptable, and can tolerate a range of soil types and growing conditions. Shellbark hickories are also long-lived, with some trees living for 300 years or more.
- Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8
- Height: 60 to 80 feet
- Spread: 40 feet
- Sun: Full sun to partial shade
- Maintenance: Low
- Suggested Use: shade tree, street tree, nuts
- Tolerates: drought
How to Water a Shellbark Hickory Tree
- Water with a garden hose or a watering can.
- Water the tree deeply when you see the soil has dried out.
- Additionally, water the tree slowly and evenly all around the root zone.
- In fact, avoid splashing the leaves with water, as this can cause fungal diseases.
- Let the soil dry out between waterings.
- Mulch around the base of the tree in order to help retain moisture and reduce weed growth.
- Lastly, provide supplemental water during periods of drought or dry weather.
Planting Shellbark Hickory Tree
- Choose a suitable location: Shellbark hickory trees prefer full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Avoid planting near structures or power lines, as the tree can grow quite large.
- Dig a hole: Dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the root ball of the tree and the same depth as the container or root ball.
- Amend soil: If the soil in the planting area is heavy clay or sandy, consider amending it with compost or other organic matter to improve its structure and fertility.
- Position the tree: Remove the tree from its container and gently loosen any tangled roots. Place the tree in the center of the hole, making sure it is straight and level. The top of the root ball should be even with or slightly above the surrounding soil level.
- Backfill the hole: Replace the soil around the tree, firming it gently as you go to avoid air pockets. Water the tree deeply to settle the soil around the roots.
- Mulch the base of the tree: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of the tree. The mulch should be 2-3 inches deep and extend out to the edge of the planting hole.
- Stake the tree (optional): If the tree is young or in an area with high winds, consider staking it to help keep it upright. Use soft ties to secure the tree to the stakes, and remove the stakes after one or two growing seasons.
Pruning Shellbark Hickory Tree
- Pruning: Pruning should be done in late fall or winter, when the tree is dormant. Remove any dead or damaged branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. However, avoid pruning during the growing season, as this can weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to disease and pests.
Caring for Shellbark Hickory Tree
- Fertilizing: Shellbark hickory trees typically do not require fertilization. However, if you notice slow growth or yellowing leaves, you may want to fertilize the tree with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring.
- Mulching: Applying a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree can help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth. However, avoid piling mulch against the base of the tree, since this can lead to stem rot.
- Pests and diseases: Keep an eye out for any signs of pest or disease problems, such as hickory bark beetle, twig girdler, or shagbark hickory aphid. If you notice any issues, consult with a professional arborist or horticulturist for advice on the best course of action.
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