Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Spacing: 50-60'
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Common Hackberry

Celtis occidentalis

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A tough, native shade Tree with subtle charms. Common Hackberry is usually the supporting actor, not the star, but it always puts on a winning performance. This sturdy stalwart can cope with rocky soil, drought, periodic flooding, pollution, salt spray, strong winds, alkaline soil, high heat, and frigid winters and doesn't miss a beat. It forms a handsome, upright/arching outline and sports a heavily textured gray trunk that you'll want to touch. The serrated green leaves are Elm-like (Hackberry is related to Elm, but it doesn't get Dutch Elm disease). A great Tree for semi-wild spaces, native plant gardens, parking lots, and low-maintenance landscapes.

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Spacing: 50-60'
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

The Story

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. 

The Details

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!

How to Grow

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. Water it well during the first couple of years of establishment, and it should be able to fend for itself after that. 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. 

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 3
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 9
Exposure Full Sun to Part Shade
Avg Mature Height 40-60' Tall
Avg Mature Width 40-60' Wide
Spacing 50-60'
Growth Rate Moderate
Leaf Color Green
Fall Leaf Color Yellow
Fruit Color Purple
Fruit Time Fall
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award No
Attractive Bark No
Attracts Birds Yes
Attracts Butterflies Yes
Attracts Hummingbirds No
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant Yes
Dry, Poor Soils Yes
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant No
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak No
Native Yes
Salt Tolerance/Seashore Yes
Seasonal Cut Branches No
Shade Tolerance Yes
Showy Flowers No
Specimen No
Urban Conditions Yes
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils Yes
Winter Interest No
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

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