Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Mockernut Hickory, White Hickory, Big Bud Hickory

Mockernut Hickory, White Hickory, Big Bud Hickory

Carya tomentosa

Full to part sun; medium to dry moisture; soils include sandy, rocky, sandy loams to fine silty clays, and clay; slightly acid pH.

60-80 feet height by 40-60 feet spread; yellow-green flowers in late April and May, with male catkins dropping in clusters of three; brown, round nuts in four-sectional husks from August to October.

Growth Rate: Slow

Maintenance: Infrequent disease and insect problems. Sensitive to root disturbance.

Propagation: Seed germination code C (30-150) at 33-44 degrees F. Best to collect seeds in fall, store in damp peat in refrigerator for winter, and then sow in place in spring.

Native Region: Statewide

Long-lived, tall shade tree for large properties. Golden-colored leaves in fall. Grows best in sunny, fertile sites with rich, loamy, well-drained soil. Needs a large space in which to grow. Matures at 150 years, and 250 year-old trees are common. Does not produce nuts until about 25 years of age. Drought-tolerant and prefers upland areas as it is native to dry, upland forests and ridges.   Common name of Mockernut comes from fact that nuts are very difficult to extract from their thick husk.

Nuts attract humans as well as other mammals and also birds. Also attracts butterflies and is larval host for some large moths including the Luna moth.


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