Hackberry


Hackberry leaf detail


Introduction

Identifiable by its warty mature bark, the hackberry is a relative to elm trees. Its rate of growth makes it a good street and riverside tree that can help prevent erosion and water runoff.

This tree is eligible for a $50 Tree Rebate. If you’d like help with the planting, check out our RiverSmart Homes program.

More detail: Hackberry’s Tree of the Month.

Common Name
Hackberry

Latin Name
Celtis occidentalis

Leaf
Alternate, simple, ovate, 2 to 5 inches long, serrated margin, may be hairy or scruffy, green above and paler and somewhat pubescent below

Flower
Very small, light green, produced on stalks from new leaf axils

Fruit/nut
Round drupe, turning orange-red to dark purple when ripe, flesh is thin and quite dry but edible and sweet, enclosing a large pit

Twig/branches
Slender, zigzag, light red-brown with numerous lighter lenticels

Bark
Smooth and gray-brown when young, soon developing corky, individual “warts” which later develop into rough corky, irregular ridges

Form
A small- to medium-sized tree reaching up to 60 feet tall with a wide-spreading crown

Size
Typically 40 to 60 feet tall with a width of 25 to 45 feet

Native Range
Present throughout the upper half of the eastern United States, the Great Plains, and southern Canada

Type
Medium-sized deciduous tree

Seasonal Colors
Leaves can turn to a unique lemon-yellow color

Soil
Can adapt to a variety of sites, including soils that are wet or dry, clay or rocky, rich or poor

Light
Prefers full sun and some shade

Similar Species
Sugarberry, American elm, rock elm, winged elm

Pests and Diseases
Has a host of foliar and twig diseases, all of which are cosmetic in nature; otherwise has no serious health hazards.

Rebate Eligibility
$50

Of Note
Native Americans used hackberry fruits to flavor meat in the same manner as black pepper.

The hackberry is highly resilient to drought due to its long taproot.

Photo Credits

Sapphosyne
milesizz
JanetandPhil
jamesconradshea
Sten