Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory)


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The seeds for this product can only be shipped to customers in Canada. No USA or overseas delivery.

Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory) Seeds

Zone: 4 to 8.

Native to eastern North America and some areas in Mexico.

The Shagbark hickory gets its name from the large pieces of peeling bark that are characteristic on older trees. Hickories are related to walnuts and have similar growing requirements. They prefer full sun to partial shade and grow best in soil that is deep, fertile, and moist but well-drained. Shagbark hickories produce a long taproot that makes transplanting very difficult. It is best therefore to transplant a seedling in the desired location and protect it until it gets established. Foliage consists of 5 alternate, pinnately compound leaflets on a central stock. The leaves are green and paler underneath. The bark on young trees is smooth, but on older trees peels outward in vertical strips giving the tree its shaggy appearance. Nuts are nearly round 1 1/2 to 2 inches (3 to 4.5 cm) long, with a very thick husk. The nuts which are delicious, ripen in autumn and are popular with people and squirrels. Hickory wood is often used to cure or smoke meats because it leaves a distinctive savoury flavour.  The wood is extremely hard and is used to make a variety of products, especially tool handles, gun stocks and furniture.

Size: Height 70 to 90 ft; Width 50 to 70 ft.

Nuts have a short shelf life so it is best to plant immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to plant.

Germination Instructions

Stratification: Hickory seeds require 90 to 120 days cold, moist stratification at 3° C (37° F) to 5° C (41° F).

  1. Soak seeds in water for a few days; change the water daily.
  2. Mix some soilless mixture for starting seeds or sand and vermiculite, moisten with water and place it in sandwich bag(s). Note: mixture should be moist not soggy. The bag(s) should not be sealed. Poke holes or leave partially open for air.
  3. Place the seeds inside the mix and refrigerate for about 90 to 120 days. Occasionally check to see if the seeds are starting to sprout.
  4. After the required time plant the seeds in soil 1 to 2 inches deep in a sheltered spot in the ground or in deep pots where they can grow.

Protect the pot or site from squirrels or other animals that may discover and eat the seeds.