Common Hackberry - Celtis occidentalis - Zone 3
Common Hackberry is a fast-growing member of the elm family that produces small, sweet, dark purple fruit. These medium sized trees are great urban shade trees and are immune to dutch elm disease.
Common Hackberry is a medium sized deciduous tree native to much of central and eastern North America. They generally reach heights of up to 15 metres, more in ideal conditions. Trunks can reach diameters of 50 centimetres and expected lifespan is between 150 to 200 years. Hackberries exhibit an upright form with a generally rounded crown and branches starting relatively high on the trunk. The bark is grey or yellowish brown and develops cork-like ridged protuberances with maturity but is quite delicate and easily damaged. Leaves are rough, soft green, and ovate in form. These tough trees have very extensive root systems and are able to withstand almost any environmental conditions. They do well in full sun or partial shade and will grow in an incredible variety of soil conditions, handling wide pH ranges and both extended flooding and drought. They are also very tolerant of urban conditions. They will do best in moist, rich and well-drained soil. The dark purple fruit are mature around September or October. They are small, less than half an inch in diameter, but are quite sweet and persist through the winter
These trees’ extreme versatility and tolerance to road salt and air pollution makes them a great tree for urban plantations. The fact that the branches generally start high on the trunk avoids clearance problems with sidewalks, etc. They are a good alternative to elms as shade trees, being similar in size and shape but with no susceptibility to Dutch elm disease. They transplant and establish quite easily in most all situations. The fruit are a favourite for birds but should not be overlooked for human consumption as they are pleasantly sweet and are loaded with vitamins. Hackberries have few serious pest problems.
|Height at maturity||15 metres (49 feet)|
|Spacing||6 metres (20 feet)|
|Soil||Adaptable / prefers moist but not wet soil|
|Sun / shade||Adaptale|
|Average fruit weight|
|Years to bear fruit|
|Latin name||Celtis occidentalis|
|Average diameter of fruit||1 cm|
|Also known as||Nettle tree, Beaverwood, American Hackberry, False elm|