Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Celtis occidentalis, or the Hackberry tree, is a species common in mixed deciduous forests across the United States. It is native to North America and can be found in states like North Dakota, Michigan, the East Coast and South to Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

It's an Adaptable Tree

This sturdy tree with hard wood can grow up to 40-50 feet tall. It’s a fast-growing species, although the speed at which it reaches maturity depends a lot on the growing conditions.

The hackberry tree prefers direct sunlight, plenty of it (at least six hours a day). While it is tolerant to drought, pollution, and mild flooding, it does thrive in well-drained, wet soil that can contain clay, sand or rich compost. In other words, this is an adaptable, tough tree.

The hackberry tree produces edible berries that taste like dates and serve as a food source for wildlife. Its canopy is round and shaped like a vase. It has a deeply ridged bark and plenty of excrescences on its branches and trunk.

Beautiful in the summer, autumn or winter, this large tree can adorn your property or be used successfully in urban landscaping.

Planting a Hackberry Tree

Whether you have planted the hackberry yourself or you have it on your property, you will learn that it’s resistant to a lot of aggressions, like pollution, drought, flooding or imperfect soil conditions.

When planting a hackberry sapling, dig a hole that is just as high, but three times as wide as the root ball. As mentioned above, these species require a lot of sun. They also need plenty of space to accommodate its full size when they mature.

Pruning will only be required occasionally. However, you should consider the mess made by the fruit. You might want to plant them away from sidewalks or patios.


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