hackberries and birds

pankhi(z7Md)February 1, 2005

Due to size restrictions I am interested in Celtis pumila,

Celtis tenuifolia, or Celtis tournefortii (not native)for the birds. Does anyone have any of these plants and how is their fruit production? Any disease issues? I am in Maryland NW of Wash. D.C.

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lycopus(z5 NY)

I have only seen Celtis tenuifolia. The fruits are somewhat ornamental since they start out yellowish and turn red-brown. The specimen I saw was growing in northeast IL and didn't appear to have any major disease problems.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 11:56PM
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Hackberry is slow-growing, so it won't be providing food for quite a while.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 8:25AM
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From observation, I have seen cedar waxwings feeding on hackberry fruit, along Lake Monona, here in Madison. This was in early spring, April, I think, so the fruit would have been from the previous fall. The birds looked happy.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 3:17PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I don't know my scientific names of trees, but I have wild hackberries on my property........but none of them make berries! I wonder why?? I have one right outside my bedroom window, and what I like about it is that every year at the same time (can't remember if spring or fall!?), I find lots of kinglets, picking things off the leaves. It also seems to attract unusual warblers. That, in itself, is enough for me to love Hackberry trees!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 3:10PM
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I wonder if the C. tenuifolia (dwarf or georgia) hackberry would attract birds as well as the common hackberry.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 6:18PM
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dirtboy58(Zone 7 MD)

I have a ten year old eastern hackberry growing in my backyard. Wanted the native to Colorado, but could not find anywhere. Some nurseries still give you a blank look when you've done your homework and ask for native species.

I've seen one or two fruits on my tree over the years perhaps because of a late freeze that may kill off the unseen flowers?

Oh my hackberry does feed the birds...as long as I keep seed in the feeder hanging on its branches.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 10:59AM
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Thank you all for the information. I guess while I wait for the tree to mature and get fruit, it can provide for the butterflies and bugs for the warblers and kinglets.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 4:26PM
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garden4wildlife(z8 GA)

I don't know the species, but there are lots of wild hackberries growing in my area of GA, including one in my yard. I've personally never seen the fruit on any of them (probably because I wasn't really looking) but they do attract birds. I see birds in the hackberries very often hiding in the cover if the hackberry is a shrubby form (you can make them shrubby by hard pruning) or making nests in them if they're a tree form.

Probably what CatherineT observed was warblers and kinglets picking caterpillars off the leaves when those birds were migrating through in the spring or fall. Hackberries are the larval food source for snout butterflies, hackberry butterflies, question marks, tawny emperors, and mourning cloaks. I love having the snouts around. I'll take snouts in my yard over monarchs any day! Snouts love salt, so they'll often land on people when people are standing still, and some snouts will even ride around on you while you're walking. If you garden for butterflies, hackberries make a good addition.

Some people don't like hackberries because they can send out long roots close to the surface, and those can interfere in vegetable gardens and flower beds. As long as you don't plant them near those kinds of beds, you shouldn't have a problem with the roots. I don't think the roots are strong enough or big enough to break up concrete, like pine roots do, but you might want to plant them away from concrete areas just to be on the safe side.

As far as I know, hackberries are pretty much disease free. Since nobody actually plants hackberries around here - the birds plant them - they don't really get much attention to keep them healthy. They all seem to do fine without any help from people. They appear to be very drought tolerant, too, from what I've seen. They're worth growing if you have a good spot for them.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 2:33PM
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The birds often like to eat the swollen nodules [galls] so common on hackberry leaves. Hackberries are also food for the beautiful Io moth larvae.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 10:43PM
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Thank you garden4wildlife and Tomato Worm59 for the information. I am really excited about planting my hackberry.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 1:50PM
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Thanks everyone for sharing your Hackberry info here.The city had to tear down my old Black Locust tree and they are replacing it with a native Hackberry for me .
Oh Joy!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 9:10PM
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