Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Hackberry, Common Hackberry

Hackberry, Common Hackberry

Celtis occidentalis

Full to part sun; moderately wet to moderately dry moisture level; adaptable to a range of soils including clay and sandy soils; pH adaptable.

40-60 feet height by 40-60 feet spread; inconspicuous, greenish white flowers in April; small, reddish to dark purple, ½ inch berries with a single stony seed in September and October.

Growth Rate: Medium to fast

Maintenance: Susceptible to witches’ broom, caused by a small mite, which can significantly disfigure the leaves but is not fatal.

Propagation: Seed germination code C (60-90) at 41 degrees F. in a moist medium. Difficult by rooted cuttings.

Native Region: Scattered statewide

Long-lived tree which matures at about 100 years of age and commonly survives to 200 years of age. Performs admirably under adverse conditions. Native to streambanks, floodplains and rocky hillsides of open woods. Best grown in moist, organically rich soils in full sun but is a tough trees that will grow in a wide variety of soils. Drought-resistant. Cultivars available, including ones which are more disease-resistant.

Hackberry trees are among the best food and shelter plants for wildlife. Fruits are very important food source for both migrating and overwintering birds as well as for mammals. Host to many butterfly species including Hackberry, Question Mark and Mourning Cloak butterflies. Also larval host for some moths.

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