USDA Organic Shellbark Hickory Tree
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USDA Organic Shellbark Hickory Tree
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Growth Facts

USDA Organic Shellbark Hickory

Carya laciniosa

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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!

Tread lightly, shrink your footprint, and let yourself grow with USDA Certified Organic Trees. Organic farming has sprung up drastically in importance and influence,  spreading worldwide the philosophy of deeply rooting nature in harmony and enriching the soil we stand upon. Benefitting the gardener, enhancing biodiversity, preserving nature's wildlife, and a true direction to protecting our environment. Choosing organic trees on your property, whether they are fruit, nut, ornamental, or shade trees, begins with their soil and cultivates change taking root in your backyard. Take one BIG TREE step for your garden, and one giant leap towards a greener world.

Growth Facts

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The Story

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. Floodplain soil was considered prime farmland, so the trees had to go. They became ax handles, wagon wheel hubs, furniture, and firewood. Few mature trees remain. You can help revive this magnificent species by planting Shellbark Hickory on your own property. Let it rise to glory once more!

The Details

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.

What does it mean to be USDA Organically grown?

  • USDA Organic crops are grown exclusively on land that has gone without having non-USDA Organic approved substances applied for three years.
  • No pesticides for us, please! Organically grown crops are highly regulated on what can and cannot be used for pest control—worried about harsh chemicals that have been sprayed on your plant? There is only a small number of approved synthetic chemicals that are allowed to be used. Otherwise, farmers use strict biological, mechanical, and physical management practices.
  • Not just any type of seeds are used to grow and harvest organic plants: farmers can only use organic seeds or organically raised seedlings in their organic fields.
  • Only the best handling is allowed! Organic and non-organic crops are not allowed to be commingled or near each other. Cross-contamination can occur, botching the organic plant's purity due to non-organic substances that could have been sprayed on non-organic harvests; this would cause the organic plant to be considered compromised.
  • Fields are carefully cultivated through crop rotation and proper tillage practices to ensure that the soil and the soil's nutrients are kept at a happy balance. Animal manure, not sludge, is allowed to help infuse the soil with nitrogen to support the growth of the organic crops.

How to Grow

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.

Size Guide

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USDA Organic Shellbark Hickory Tree