hickory species growth rate/fall color

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)June 24, 2014

I've always enjoyed the rich, golden yellow fall color of hickories, and I also feel they "go well" with oaks.

Most of the hickories around here I *believe* to be C. cordoformis, but I'm not 100% sure as I'm not that adept at identifying species.

Can anyone tell me if any particular species has "better" or more reliable fall color than others, and which have the fastest growth rate?

Edible nuts are a secondary issue, although the one time I tasted a hickory nut, I liked it.

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I think you'll be pretty set with shellbark. I have seedlings from last winter going if you want one.

Dax

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 7:29AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Thanks, Dax.

I'll let you know. I was actually thinking of starting some from seed myself, but I may take you up on that. How big are they? Did you use any root-pruning methods?

Would you be shipping them dormant?

Hickory seedlings seem VERY slow for about 7 years from what I've seen, but then start growing at a better rate - would this be true of Shellbark as well?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:13AM
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alabamatreehugger(8)

For me Carya glabra has grown the fastest, at about 24"-30" per year, with decent fall color. By far though, the most common one in my area is C.tomentosa, and their color varies from year to year.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 9:43AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

In the forest here, Bitternut is the most vigorous, tallest & common hickory (there are also a few nearby shagbarks). Fall color is late & generally good, occasionally quite good if no early frost.

Shellbark is excellent -- one I even re-transplanted while small has reestablished & this yr grown about 2.5'. The foliage is eye-catching even on a 12' sapling.

In the SW Va mountains, the most common hickories were mockernut and pignut.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 11:44AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Same here Beng. I have a shellbark that's grown 2' or more this year. It jumped from 4' to 6'.

Hair: I've grown them in rootmaker flats and that's where they are. I have mineral problems with my water so nearly all grow an inch or two and the tip turns black and they start again beneath the blackened tip. A few that didn't care about the water are 8" I suppose.

Dax

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 1:32PM
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alabamatreehugger(8)

Isn't Bitternut similar to Pecan? I have pecan trees everywhere here but there's not much fall color from them.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 9:26PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Does anyone have experience with the Lecont Hican that OIKOS Tree Crops sells?

It's a hybrid of the Pecan and C. aquatica IIRC. I seem to recall they say it grows quickly - and isn't really grown for nuts, but for timber and wildlife.

Would it have the yellow fall color?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 9:57AM
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lucky_p

hair,
I'd probably opt for a shellbark, too. Pretty fast-growing (for Carya species) here, once they get established, big dark green leaves, with minimal scab, and very dependable yellow fall color. Plus, the edible nuts will be a bonus, somewhere down the road.
Bitternut is fairly consistent, here, for yellow fall color, and is fast-growing, but bad branch angles are common in the ones I've seen - and it's perhaps the 'softest' wood of the Carya species. Nuts are mostly inedible - even squirrels won't touch 'em 'til everything else is gone.
Don't know about the Lecont hican; some pecans have pretty decent yellow fall color here - but most just go olive drab - or stay green and freeze on the tree.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:38AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Good point about the Bitternut branching.

I may look for Shellbark. Or buy some seed from Sheffield's.

Any growing from seed tips?

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 10:47

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:45AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

BTW I have trouble telling ALL hickories apart, but I think I can identify Bitternut. However - for the life of me I can't tell apart Shellbark and Shagbark - they both look "shaggy" to me.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 3:10PM
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lucky_p

Agreed; both are shaggy. Shagbark usually 'shaggier', but some shellbarks exfoliate pretty big plates.
Buds are different - shellbark usually larger. Most shags will have 5 leaflets, shellbark 7 or more - but not every tree 'reads the book'.
Nuts are a dead giveaway. Shellbark usually a lot larger, with brown nutshell; shagbark smaller with white nutshell.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 9:30PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Thanks!

That means the old "shagbark hickory" in my neighbor's yard (that's what he always told us it was) as a kid in Ohio was actually a Shellbark. It had largish, brown nuts.

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 22:50

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:49PM
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lucky_p

hair,
linked below is an old GW gallery thread where I posted some (kinda fuzzy) photos of a couple of my local shag & shellbark hickory nuts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinking Fork shag/ Garnett shellbark

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 8:11AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Hey Lucky (and others) -

I've grown Oaks from seed - mostly using rootpruning containers to deal wioth the taproot (as well as some direct-sow in the past) - as well as Aesculus as far as nut-producing, strongly-taprooted species. (as well as other more fibrous-rooted trees)

Any advice on growing from seed - stratification, germination time, how much growth to expect first year, etc?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:37PM
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lucky_p

Cold, moist stratification is helpful for the hickories. May not be absolutely necessary - I sold a couple of gallons of shagbark nuts to John Brittain at NRNTN this spring - they have some clients who prefer their hickories grafted on hickory understock, rather than pecan. So long as they'd not been in the freezer(these hadn't - just held in an unheated room over winter), he said they'd germinate - and he's been growing 'em longer than me.
Time to germination... I'm not sure; certainly not as quick as pecans. I just don't keep track of that minutia.
Rootpruning containers will do fine - a good way to handle them..
I often start large numbers in a cattle lick tub (probably 15-20 gallon container) grow 'em for a year or two, then dump it, shake 'em free and either rootprune and transplant directly or pot 'em up to grow for an additional year or two(and often attempt grafting while they're growing in the pots.
Shagbarks may not be 6 inches tall by 3 years. Shellbarks may do that the first year, then jump by leaps and bounds in subsequent years. Well, comparatively...have some 2-3 yr old shellbark seedlings in pots that are probably 2 ft tall - and I don't do much in the way of pushing with fertilizers.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 2:13PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Do they not put on multiple growth flushes like oaks do?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 2:19PM
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lucky_p

Not IME.
The hickories usually have put on maximal shoot extension and set terminal buds by July 1 here.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:35PM
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treebird101

Hey Hair, you can go a little less general and go with selected grafted hickory cultivars that have been proven to have excellent nut characteristics and some with great foliage characteristics. I would avoid all but shagbark and shellbark, those are the two species with the best edible nuts. Hicans are another great option. I highly recommend T-92, very fast growing, excellent nuts, and outstanding fall foliage. It even grows quicker than my pecans. Here's a picture of T-92 foliage.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:34AM
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treebird101

Lets also not forget the flower like bud scales opening up in late spring on hickory. They are crowd stoppers as the new foliage opens.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:37AM
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treebird101

There is a whole world of various hickory cultivars with great characteristics. If you do go the hickory seed route, I would make sure to get a good seed source from these cultivars : )

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:41AM
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poaky1

Treebird, in that flower pic, is that a Shagbark hickory? I have a book, with pictures. Yes, I am the nerd-turd-bird with a book. So excuse me. I see a Shagbark Hickory, with the well..... Shaggy bark. The pic with the flower, which tree is associated with this picture?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:19AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

It could be either poaky, but I know that's one of treebird's shellbarks because he showed that pic on another thread. The color of the bud-scales vary as-well, bonus!

Dax

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 7:36AM
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lucky_p

Yep. Some have red-tinted budscales, some green.
I've grown out seedlings of my 'Sinking Fork' shagbark, which has green budscales - some of those seedlings have red budscales; moved one of them to the front yard, for ornamental purposes - if I live long enough to see it produce nuts, and they're as good as those of the parent, so much the better.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 4:33PM
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