The pignut hickory is a large, strong tree that turns a delightful yellow color in fall. It is an impressive shade tree and provides some of the most sought-after food for the local wildlife.
More detail: Pignut Hickory’s Tree of the Month.
Broad, flat, compound leaflets arranged in sets of 5 to 7. Pinnately compound with toothed margins
Small flowers hang from catkins along branches
Peach-shaped nut that is thick-walled, unridged and encased in a thin husk that only splits halfway open. The inside of the husk resembles a pig’s snout when split open.
Reddish, brown, slender and usually smooth
Initially smooth, and light gray, soon developing scaly ridges; bark on older trees has obvious close interlacing shaggy-topped ridges
Straight trunk with rounded crown
Usually grows 80 to 135 feet tall
Nearly all of eastern United States is the range of the pignut hickory
Large deciduous shade tree
Bright green color in summer turns to a brilliant yellow color in fall
Grows in low ground with deep, moist, well-drained soils
Classified as intermediately shade-tolerant, but finds growing underneath an established canopy difficult
Red hickory, shellbark hickory, shagbark hickory, mockernut hickory
Pests and Diseases
The most common disease of pignut hickory is a trunk rot caused by Poria spiculosa. Major leaf diseases are anthracnose and mildew. Pests are many, but most do not cause serious harm or death to the tree.
Squirrels are particularly fond of pignut oak nuts, and the nuts typically comprise 10-25 percent of the squirrels’ diet.
Pignut seed, averaging 200 seeds per pound, is lighter than the seed of other hickory species.
The kernel of hickory seeds is exceptionally high in crude fat, up to 70 to 80 percent in some species.