Common Hackberry

Product Code: hackb

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
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Details

The Common Hackberry tree grows in windy exposed locations and in poorer soils. This tree has a wonderful bright and cherry yellow fall color to it. This tree is excellent for both street and specimen plantings in the landscape. It's relatively pest free. Its purple fruit will attract birds, but can also be slightly messy and stain porous surfaces. Mature growth is around 60-70' tall x 50' wide. Hardiness zone 2.

Planting & Care for Trees - Hackberry Trees

Preparation

  • Hackberry trees also bear ¼-inch sized, dark purple pitted fruit (drupes) that are valuable food sources through the late winter months for a variety of bird. Of course, this attraction has a detriment as well since small mammals and deer may damage the tree when browsing.
  • Grow this medium to tall tree on farms as field windbreaks, riparian planting or along highways in beautification projects – as it does well in dry and windy areas.
  • The tree also enlivens boulevards, parks and other ornamental landscapes.
  • This tree is moderately drought hardy but will do best on moist but well-draining sites.
  • When hackberry growing, the tree thrives in most any type of soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 8.0; it is also able to withstand more alkaline soils.
  • Hackberry trees should be planted in full sun to partial shade.

Opening Plant Material

  • Bare Root - Cut open the bundle (top and roots are tied) and separate all the plants. Soak roots in buckets of water until planted. Each plant type will be labeled separately for identification. Do not expose the roots to sun. They should never dry out. Keep roots covered. All bare-root plants must be trimmed when planted. 
  • Grow Bags - Remove bag by using a utility knife to slit up the side and peel off the fabric exposing the soil and roots. Plant the root ball just like you would a container plant. No trimming of roots is necessary for grow bags.
  • B&B - Soak root ball very well.
  • Each type of plant has an illustration on how to plant if you scroll down and click on the orange rectangular box “Handling & Plant Guidelines”.

Planting Bare Root

  • Plant Bare root in fall. A good indicator if you can still plant is if the ground is still workable you’re good to go. If a hard frost is expected be sure to hold off on planting.
  • Dig a hole at least 6" wider and the same depth as the root mass. The crown or graft of the plant should be slightly higher than ground level where it was grown at the nursery.
  • Trim off the broken roots and branches.
  • Place fertilizer packets in hole (if purchased). Do not place other fertilizers in the planting hole. *Use our recommended fertilizer.
  • Spread the roots and fill halfway with soil, then water until soil settles completely saturating the soil and planting pit.
  • Re-adjust plant and fill the hole with the rest of the soil.
  • Back fill the balance of the soil and water well. 
  • See our link below “Handling & Planting Guidelines” for illustrations on planting.   

Planting Grow Bags

  • Plant grow bags in spring or fall.
  • Notice where the base of the trunk flairs out from the tree. This is called the root flair. This root flair should show when the tree is planted. If necessary, add soil under the ball so the root flair is exposed.
  • Place fertilizer packets into the bottom of the hole (if purchased). *Use Our Recommended Fertilizer.
  • Backfill the hole with soil, making sure the top of the root ball is visible and slightly higher than the soil around it.
  • Firm the soil around the plant. Water well to settle soil around the root ball.

Planting B&B trees

  • Plant B&B trees in spring or fall. A good indicator if you can still plant is if the ground is still workable you’re good to go. If a hard frost is expected be sure to hold off on planting.
  • Dig a hole at least 6" wider and no deeper than the size of the ball on the plant. Rotate the plant to the proper position. Never lift or move trees by the tops.
  • Notice where the base of the trunk flairs out from the tree. This is called the root flair. This root flair should show when the tree is planted. If necessary, add soil under the ball so the root flair is exposed.
  • Place fertilizer packets into the bottom of the hole (if purchased). *Use Our Recommended Fertilizer
  • Backfill ½ of the hole with soil and completely saturate the soil with water.
  • Once the tree is straight and located as desired, cut and remove twine. Then, remove or bend back top ⅓ of metal basket. Lastly, remove exposed burlap from top of ball
  • Fill the hole to the top of the ball with soil, then soak well with water and let settle.
  • The top of the root ball should be visible and slightly higher than the soil around it.
  • Add mulch on top of soil making sure to not put mulch against the trunk or stems.
  • See our link below “Handling & Planting Guidelines” for illustrations on planting.

Pruning - After Planting

  • Bare Root - Prune ALL bare root plants to reduce transplant shock and ensure success. Pruning should occur either before or as soon after planting as possible. All pruning should be done with a sharp pruning shears.
  • B&B & Grow Bags - Although it is not essential for B&B or grow bags to be pruned after planting, a light pruning for shape, to remove any broken branches from shipping, or to thin out a heavily branched plant will help in the transplanting process and in the appearance of your new planting.

Pruning - Through-out the Season

  • Prune during the dormant season to avoid creating accidental wounds. Removal of weak or dying branches or those that grow in a direction counter to the majority of the other branches is essential. For a strong structure, prune to create wide crotches, rather than narrow crotches with branches that grow vertically. In addition to keeping trees tidy with pruning, you need to clean up berry litter, which can be messy and stain porous surfaces.

Watering - After Planting

  • Plants typically take approximately 6 weeks to establish new roots in your soil. During this period, water plants as often as every 2-4 days at the start and at least a minimum of once per week.
  • Beyond the 6 week establishment period, water once per week, unless rains occur.
  • Stick your finger into the soil around 3” to check soil moisture.

Watering - Through-out the Season

  • After the first season, plants should only be watered during extended periods without rain.
  • How do you know if your plants need water? The easiest way to tell is to touch the soil around the roots. If it is moist, there is no need to water. If it is dry, give it a good soaking with the hose end (no nozzle) watering the soil only, not the leaves.
  • Stick your finger into the soil around 3” to check soil moisture.

 

Go to our "Plant Features & Video Tab" for more information & tips on caring and maintaining this plant.

Handling & Planting Guidelines

Special Features & Videos for Hackberry Trees

Special Plant Features & Tips

  • The Common Hackberry tree grows in windy exposed locations and in poorer soils.
  • This tree has a wonderful bright and cherry yellow fall color to it.
  • Mature growth is around 60-70' tall x 50' wide.
  • Hardiness zone 2.
  • A hackberry is a medium sized tree indigenous to North Dakota but able to survive throughout most of the United States.
  • Hackberry is an easy to identify member of the Elm family but in a different genus (Celtis occidentalis).
  • Hackberry trees also bear ¼-inch sized, dark purple pitted fruit (drupes) that are valuable food sources through the late winter months for a variety of bird species including flickers, cardinals, cedar waxwings, robins and brown thrashers. Of course, this attraction has a detriment as well since small mammals and deer may damage the tree when browsing.
  • Grow this medium to tall tree on farms as field windbreaks, riparian planting or along highways in beautification projects – as it does well in dry and windy areas.
  • The tree also enlivens boulevards, parks and other ornamental landscapes.
  • This tree is moderately drought hardy but will do best on moist but well-draining sites.
  • When hackberry growing, the tree thrives in most any type of soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 8.0; it is also able to withstand more alkaline soils.
  • Hackberry trees should be planted in full sun to partial shade.
  • Prune during the dormant season to avoid creating accidental wounds. Removal of weak or dying branches or those that grow in a direction counter to the majority of the other branches is essential. For a strong structure, prune to create wide crotches, rather than narrow crotches with branches that grow vertically. In addition to keeping trees tidy with pruning, you need to clean up berry litter, which can be messy and stain porous surfaces.

How to plant containers

 

Watch our Video on how to plant & care for a bare root plant

 

How do we dig our bare root plants?

 

What does a bare root plant look like?

 

How & When to Prune Trees

ItemApprox Weight (lbs.)Approx Base Dimensions (diameter)Approx Height
#7 Grow Bag** 35-50 14-16" 5-8'
#10 Grow Bag** 55-70 18" 6-8'
#15 Grow Bag** 65-80 22" 6-10'
#20 Grow Bag** 75-100 24" 8-12'
1 1/4" B&B** 250-500 22" for single stems, 28" for multiple stems  8-11'
1 1/2" B&B** 325-600 24" for single stems, 30" for multiple stems  10-12'
2" B&B** 500-700 28" for single stems, 32" for multiple stems 10-14'
2 1/2" B&B** 600-1000 30" for single stems, 36" for multiple stems 10-15'
3" B&B** 850-1000 34"-36"  12-16'
3 1/2" B&B** 1000 36"  12-18'
10' B&B** 250 22"  10'
12' B&B** 325 24"  12'
14' B&B** 500 28" 14'
16' B&B** 600 30"  16'
2' B&B** 50 12-16"  2'
3' B&B** 60-250 16-22"  3'
4' B&B** 250 22-24" 4'
5' B&B** 325 22-24"  5'
6' B&B** 150-325 16-24" 6'
7' B&B** 500-700 28-32"  7'
8' B&B** 600-700 14-30"  8'
9' B&B** 700 32"  9'
#3 container* Less than 35  10" 10" 
#5 container** 40 11" 10.5" 
#7 container** 60 14" 12" 
#10 container** 80 14" 14 
#20 container** 160 19.5" 17" 
Bare Root* varies, but always lighter no soil on roots varies depending on item

*#1 - #3 containers and bare root are the only items that can be shipped FedEx and/or by our delivery trucks (see below for more information regarding pick-up and local delivery. 

**Any items over 100 Ibs., #5 - #20 containers or B&B can only be delivered by our trucks due to FedEx shipping weight and size restrictions. Our trusted trucks only deliver around a 100 miles radius from our corporate office in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Any item you order can be picked-up at our corporate office in Waterloo, Wisconsin or our new retail garden center Winterland Nursery for free (bare root orders cannot be picked up at Winterland due to lack of bare root coolers). See our estimated delivery schedule here

Growing Zones: 2-7

Color: Blue, Green, Purple, Yellow
Plant Size: 60-70' tall x 50' wide
Fall Color: Yellow
Fruit: Blue-purple
Sunlight: Full Sun
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Wet, Dry
Low Maintenance: Yes
Deer Resistant: No
Attracts Butterflies: No
Attracts Bees: Yes
Attracts Birds: Yes
Edible: No
Native: Yes

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