Out of stock
Only %1 left

Shagbark Hickory

Will Ship Spring 2024

Plant Type: Dormant, bare-root

Zones:  4-8

Soil Type:  Clay, Loamy & Sandy Soils

Site Selection: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Mature Height & Width:  60-80' Height and 30-40' Spread

Growth Rate:  Moderate - 12-24" per year on average

Moisture Requirements: Dry to average soils

Plant Characteristics

Shagbark Hickory

Carya ovata

The Shagbark Hickory is an excellent shade tree that gives a stunning display of gold leaves in autumn. This Hickory is best known for its distinctive gray-brown shaggy bark which adds an element of winter interest. An upright tree, the Shagbark becomes more round topped as it matures. This tree produces large, edible nuts that are touted for their sweet flavor and hickory scent. A must have to round out natural food sources on a piece of hunting land. The wood is valuable and makes a good choice to add to your investment timber plot as well.

The Shagbark Hickory is also known as the Scalybark Hickory and the Upland Hickory.

The Shagbark Hickory is a slower growing but eventually large tree. This tree has an interesting shaggy bark as it matures which adds winter interest. Hickory is one of the strongest lumbers around and it is used for making furniture, flooring, handles on tools and some athletic equipment. 

The Shagbark Hickory is virtually disease and pest free. This tree can be messy at times with a steady drop of leaflets, dead twigs, outer husks of the nuts and debris from squirrels feeding. The tap root grows deep which makes this tree difficult to transplant after 2 to 3 years. Most of the tree's energy is devoted to developing the tap root in early years so top growth will be slow at first. After the tree is established, top growth speed will pick up noticeably.

Common uses for the Shagbark Hickory include:

  • Good addition to long term plan for your hunting or wildlife viewing plot
  • Nice display of color in autumn
  • Large, strong shade tree
  • Ornamental "shaggy" bark gives good winter interest
  • Valuable wood for investment timber
  • Classic for firewood and used for adding flavor when grilling

The Shagbark Hickory produces edible nuts that are enjoyed by deer, bear, turkeys, fox, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and other animals. Hickories serve as food for many wildlife species. The nuts are a preferred food of squirrels and are eaten from the time fruits approach maturity in early August until the supply is gone. Shagbark Hickory nuts also are 5 to 10 percent of the diet of eastern chipmunks.

In addition to the birds and mammals above, mallards, wood ducks, and bobwhites utilize small amounts of hickory nuts. Hickory is not a preferred forage species and seldom is browsed by deer when the rest of their food options are in good condition.  Mature Shagbark Hickories are also a natural roost site for bats.

Product Questions

How long to bear fruit
Question by: Ron Ederer on Oct 1, 2020, 11:20 AM
Typically, Shagbark Hickory begins producing nuts in about 10 years. Peak production occurs when the tree reaches 40 years of age. Henceforth a really fine crop should occur every 3 to 5 years.
Answer by: Chief River Nursery on Oct 1, 2020, 12:46 PM
Is a Shagbark hickory tree tolerant of alkaline soil?
Question by: Brett Worsham on Jan 13, 2022, 8:18 PM
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Answer by: Chief River Nursery on Jan 14, 2022, 8:24 AM
How far apart should you space trees for planting for cross pollination?
Question by: Brian Gambero on Dec 6, 2022, 12:29 PM
The Shagbark Hickory is self-fertile, however the yield will increase if you have planted more than one Hickory tree.
Answer by: Chief River Nursery on Dec 6, 2022, 12:51 PM