Native to North America, the Shagbark Hickory tree is a symmetrical, deciduous tree that grows to heights of 60 feet or more, sometimes reaching 120 feet. Its oval-shaped crown is approximately 25-35 feet wide. It is a slow growing tree, however, picking up about 12 inches per year.
As its name suggests, the bark of this tree is notable for its light gray color and long, peeling strips which curve outward.
The tree’s leaves are broad, flat and alternate on the branches. They measure about 8-14 inches long. They are comprised of five to seven finely-toothed leaflets on a stem. The upper surface of the leaves is shiny green while the underside is a pale green. In autumn, the leaves change from a pale green to a yellowish brown.
Flowers emerge in spring. The male flowers are green and hang in clusters, while the female flowers are greenish spikes. The tree fruit is a nut with a hard brown outer husk. The nuts inside are a yellowish white with a sweet taste. The tree is related to the pecan family and yields tasty nuts that, although not used commercially, are enjoyed by people and wildlife alike.
Shagbark Hickory trees should be planted in full sunlight. Preferred soils include rich and moist, clay, loamy, or sandy soils. Hardiness Zone: 5-8.