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anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Posted by OldGrove NofStL (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 22, 03 at 12:00

I have a bumper supply of hickory nuts this fall, and I'd like to expand the hardwood grove on my farm. I know hickories have deep taproots and are difficult to transplant. I'm thinking of rigging up some sort of deep pot for seedlings-- I suppose a peat pot would be best--

Has anyone ever tried anything like this? I'll be grateful for any advice.

OldGrove


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I've used special pots at school for growing trees with deep roots like hickory. They are 2 1/2" wide and 9" deep with grooves lining the inside to guide roots downward. The pots fit into a simple frame that allows you to grow many plants in a small space.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

OldGrove, for taprooted plants, I've used one-quart milk cartons. These are also about 9 inches tall, but, of course, have no baffles inside. Hickory taproots don't spiral, though. They shoot straight down, very fast - before there's even a hint above the soil that the thing has germinated. I dig these up by accident every spring - found a seed planted in one of my perennial beds yesterday :-)


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

The Deepot/Treepot type containers like lycopus described are available from Stuewe & Son(www.stuewe.com, I think), but you can also grow them in 'Whitcomb' pots, which are really nothing more than a 1/2 gallon milk carton with the bottom removed and place on an elevated mesh platform so that the taproot is air-pruned.

Have a look here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Containerized oaks & nut trees for outplanting


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Question: do you keep the shell on, or can you germinate hickory trees without the shell?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Growing hickory from seed? Sort of! I finally began to realize that we had all these lovely mature trees and no young ones, so am now transplanting little hickory seedlings that the squirrels have so thoughtfully started for me. Yes, I have to dig deep to get that tap root, but if the soil is agreeable and the shovel blade is long, it's possible. After placing in a more agreeable location than the squirrel chose, I mark it carefully with rocks and branches to prevent it from being mowed down.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Take off the husk but not the shell. Before planting, get yourself a bucket of water and throw the nuts in. The ones that sink you plant; the ones that float have any number of hickorynut-loving insects in there chowing down on the endosperm -- in other words, they won't sprout.

Milk cartons work fine. Do allow for good drainage. Hickories send down a tap root before sending up a sprout -- the mockernuts I gathered in Oct. started to split open right after collection, so I scrambled and planted them. They now have a 9-inch root, but no top until spring. The C. ovalis, ovata and glabra I stuck in cold stratification back then, but I'm sowing them in the next couple of weeks as they're starting to crack open in the fridge.

If you sow outside, watch for chipmunks, who think they've found an all-you-can-eat buffet with flats of unguarded hickory nuts :).

Soeur


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I have 26 hickory seedlings now!!


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

It is surprising how could paper milk cartons are for growing things from seed. Qts. and 1/2 gallons. I've had them hold up from spring planting right through summer. I had Acer capillipes in mine. The trees loved in cartons did a bit better than those in black plastic pots. When it's time to pot up, you just peel back the cardboard. Easy.

Scott


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

My hickories and oaks were all doing fine in 2 liter diet pepsi bottles with cut off tops (I used a standard utility knife) out on the floor in the screened in porch. I planted them in Schultz moisture plus and set them out last November to let Ma Nature take care of the rest. All was well. That was until I moved them out onto the patio this past March to get more sunlight. The squirrels found them and systematically extracted every last hickory and oak acorn from every single last container. Never underestimate a hungry critter. The method I used was similar to that described by Soeur with the only exception being that I allowed the acorns and nuts that sank to continue soaking for a sum total of 4 days with water changes every morning before sowing them. Same deal with Persimmon and Pecans. The only difference is that I didn't have time to move the Persimmon and Pecans outside onto the patio and then I forgot about them on the porch so those all came up healthy and strong and I had at least a 90% germination rate. The squirrels couldn't get to them. All of them are now planted in the ground and all of them now have Miracle Tubes around them to protect them from deer and rabbits. They look so healthy. I couldn't be more pleased.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I've used milk cartons for growing chestnuts. I didn't have to many of those so had to resort to making newspaper pots. Just use one of your milk cartons as a mold. When they are large enough to plant outside you don't need to take them out of their pot as the newspaper will rot quickly.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I have a few questions of my own. I soaked my hickory nuts for 4 days changing the water as described above. I threw out the ones that did not sink. I planted them in very good soil in 9 inch containers and it has been over a month and I havent had so much as one start a root. Can anyone tell me how long it takes? Or if I did something wrong?

Thanks
Jason Wood
Sgt USMC
jasonlwood@hotmail.com


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Jason Wood,
The post you are referring to handled the hickory seed in November. She is reporting on progress the following July.
Here is what worked well for me with Shagbark Hickory.
I collected sound seed w/o holes in November. I floated off bad seed and kept the ones that sank. I did this one time not four. I sowed the seed directly in bottomless pots in November. I put two seed in each pot in case one didn't come up. I protected them from vermin and left them outside. Following Spring seedlings germinated.
Most tree seed is sown in Fall, leave it outside, it will germinate the following Spring.
Sam


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Best of luck to all trying to grow hickories and chestnuts from seed. Since these trees are generally not sold in any large amount to the public, the more we have, the better.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Why does everyone start their seedlings in containers? I had good results from planting my hickory nuts about 1" beneath the soil in early spring - a few months later I have all kinds of seedlings ready for transplant next spring.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Probably fear of the squirrels getting the nuts, but good point - if you can plant them in the ground early, you don't have to worry about transplanting them later.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Just sticking the nut in the ground works the best for me.I find it necessary to protect the seedlings from the deer with small circular fences for a few years.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Is there a reliable source for shagbark hickory nuts that I can plant?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I've been interested in growing more hickory trees for a couple of years now. I've only transplated the ones that were in my flower garden. I transplanted them to the middle of the yard, but I forgot about them and mowed right over them. oops, My grass is usually just as tall as the seedlings. A wire mesh or metal steak will probably be the best for next year. My mother-in-law uses old lawn mower tires (front tires) around her oak seedlings. There is always water inside of the tire, helps I guess? It is also easy to weed-whip around too!

fthurber, do you need some hickory seeds? I have about two dozen mature trees, so most of my yard is hichory seeds and shells. I'll check to see how many are actually good?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Oldgrove,

I just planted my first batch of hickory nuts 2 springs ago. They sprouted (later than the oaks) and grew hearty all summer. Now it's winter and I am transplanting them to places wher I want them. I started them in rows in the garden. Now that I'm digging them out they have 10" taproot and 3" stems - not easy digging but not too bad easy. A large shovel works. I did not use any pots or anything, just the earth.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

If you have access to it use what used to be called a plummers shovel. It is similar to a trenching shovel but the blade is longer 18-24 inches. Takes getting used to but is handy for many things.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Look into getting some SpinOut lined containers. They contain a copper hydroxide layer which will prune the roots to prevent circling, including the taproot. Here's a link to a supplier.

Here is a link that might be useful: Horticulture Specialties


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Can you or someone else spare a dozen or so hickory nuts?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Hey, everyone. . .

I'm glad to have found this particular thread. I decided to plant a bunch of Shagbark Hickory nuts this past winter for purposes of having a number of these tress scattered throughout our orchard. I ordered three pounds of these nuts (225 counted) from Sheffield's (see below) and simply followed the instructions enclosed with them. I dropped the nuts into water, discarded that couple that didn't float, and let the rest continue to soak for 4 days as instructed. I'd also purchased a few inexpensive clear plastic shoebox-sized storage containers online (Rubbermaid, I believe), filled them with moist vermiculite and then placed a single thick layer of nuts on top before barely covering everything with additional vermiculite. I then snapped the lids shut, stuck the boxes in an extra refrigerator, lowered the temperature to just above freezing, and allowed the nuts to statify for the 120 days required in the instructions. The boxes sat undisturbed in the fridge from mid-December through mid-April when I brought them outdoors onto the deck, propped open the lids and let them do their stuff. Practically all of the nuts have split and are beginning to send out their radicles. It's pretty cool to see. From the looks of things, I've got at least 95% germination.

I'm going to take Lucky's lead and get some Deepots or Treepots from Stuewe & Son's and grow them out in containers for the first year until I've decided where exactly to plant them in the orchard.

Question: How many seasons should these trees continue to grow out before they're ready to be grafted? I'll be getting dormant scionwood in the spring when the time is right for these trees to be grafted. It could be a couple of years from now. I'm curious though whether the trees should be whip-and-tongue grafted or T-budded. Is cleft grafting a possibility? What form of grafting has proven to be the most successful for people with these shagbarks?

Any/All thoughts or suggestions greatly appreciated.

John

Here is a link that might be useful: Sheffield's Seeds


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Hello, I brought home some nuts that I've identified as Bitternut Hickory fruit. I'd like to raise these, but it's already mid-August. I haven't removed the husk yet, and I've had them in cold water in the fridge for a few days.

Should I just remove the husk and pot them? Or should I remove the husk and leave them in the water a while longer?

Any advice is appreciated (rookie tree cultivator here)... thanks.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Well, I am overdue with a report of about my hickory adventures last Spring. I purchased a good-sized bag of nuts over the internet (by phone really), about 70 nuts. However they all floated. I planted them anyway, but none came up. The squirrels did not find the ones in the ground, but discovered the ones in the pots and raided them. Every single pot was cleaned out and then the little buggers dug holes in half of my other pots (growing rare rhododendron species mostly).

The three miserable, late season hickories I got from a local nursery also did not make it so I struck out.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Well, I am going to try again this year.

I have a bucket full of fresh, green hickory nuts gathered below some local shagbarks. Now what?

Should I wait until the green outer husks fall off? Then soak and plant? Or should I plant with the outer husk on?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I am not sure if it matters, though if you get the husks off it will probably make the soak and float test easier.

Good luck!


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Good luck everyone. I love these trees. Wish there were more out there. The only time I can most definitively spot them is in the fall...and they just aren't too common nowadays.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I've raised these trees, and they are wonderful!! As earlier posters noted, certain vendors sell deep (24", 30", and 36") pots for starting deep rooted trees like walnuts, hickories, pawpaw, etc. However, the best bet is to put seed where you permanently want the tree, then put a wire cage around the area to keep the squirrels from digging up the seeds.

Last year I planted a 1.5 year old pecan that was about 10" tall, but had a 3'+ tap root. Trust me, your back probably won't appreciate it if you let too many Carya spp. stay in the pot too long!! :)


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

The tap-rooted tree species are amazing. I recall an oak seedling that took root in a flower pot of mine a few years back: the mini-tree only had a few leaves, and they were juvinile leaves, so I didn't know it was an oak until I saw the acorn, and a tap root well over 1-foot in length! Wow!

Good luck with the hickories to all! If more people saw them in their fall color, they might be more inclined to plant them, IMHO.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

It is July and just had a thunderstorm with 50+ mph winds. I have collected about 40-50 "geen" hickory nuts are these mature enough to germinate???


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

nope...they don't mature until the fall....but they may be able to mature on their own anyway. Any luck? They won't germinate either until the following spring.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I would like to plant the shagbark hickory nuts we picked up yesterday directly outside (with some cages). But I'm worried about it getting too cold - we can get temps of -30 degrees or so in the winter. Will I kill the seeds if they get too cold before they germinate?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Zone 3 is just north of the Shagbark's range, but I'm sure places where it does grow (central Michigan/Southern Wisconsin/Southeastern Minnesota) get -30's from time to time in the winter. You could take your chances or just leave them in pots in a garage or sheltered locale until spring? The roots usually grow way before you see foliage so just be careful.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

If the trees grow wild in your area, then it should not be a problem to plant the nuts outside now. Most nuts, and in fact most tree seeds, fall off the trees in autumn, sit around on the ground all winter, then sprout in the spring. The wild trees' nuts don't get special winter protection, so yous shouldn't need it either. However, wild trees lose a large percentage of their nuts to squirrels, birds, etc., and you might not want to tolerate such high loss rate, so you might bury the nut an inch or two below the surface and/or put a wire cage around the place where you plant them.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I can't believe I found this thread. My Grandfather had 2 shagbarks at his cottage. We lost 1 this summer do to wind and the fact that the trees are on the shore of a shrinking island. I have been eating these nuts since I was about 8 so around twenty years now.

I was wondering if the single tree will still bare fruit or do you need at least 2 for pollination of the catkins.

for the record I will be taking all of your advice into consideration to grow new trees for future generations.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Hickory trees are monoecious, meaning that both the staminate and pistillate flowers are present on a tree. The fruiting habits of Hickories are tricky sometimes due to many dynamic variables that affect the process. I find it helpful to research the differences between the species to get a better understanding of what to expect in regards to seed production and how it relates to these variables. An excellent way to do this is to download Vol. 2 of the USDA Silvics Manual. It is a compendium of most of the tree knowledge about the hardwoods of the United States. Shagbark Hickories are well documented in Vol. 2. It has been a big help for me to understand many species of tree.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I love hickories. My saplings should be sprouting in the next week or two. This cold just hasn't loosened its grip long enough this year.

I tried a few from seed as well, but I think the squirrels got to all of them :(


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I have a hickory seedling growing in my vegetable garden. I have no idea how the nut got in there. I have no trees of any kind in a 1 mile radius. I am debating if I should let it grow. I have a small subdivision house.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Question. Here I am in South East Michigan and a very large Shagbark Hickory is dropping nuts/seeds and it is only June 24th. The above information gives me the impression that mature nuts/seeds are needed to germinate and that they are only available in the fall. Is it pointless for me to collect, stratify and try to get some germination from theses nuts/seeds dropping in June?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Does anyone have any photos of hickory seedlings/saplings? I want to make sure I transplant the right things. Thank you.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

If this thread is still alive? What are the best nut trees (hickory)to plant for human cunsumption? I'm here in the middle of the mitten.
On planting the nuts and seedlings. Squirrels and rodents are a big problem for me. I have had great success with laying a mothball just pressed into the soil or laid ontop of the soil directly above by bulbs and seeds. It seems to mask the sent of the nuts. I have had an old timer tell me he drops a couple in every bucket of nuts for over winter storrage in his barn.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Pecan and Shagbark Hickory are the best ones I have tried. Shellbark is said to be good too but the nuts are hard to crack.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Threads never seem to die on GW - they are resurrected again and again and again... *grin*

Shagbarks are very nice looking trees as well as having tasty nuts. I've never tried pecan but that would be a very nice hickory to have.

Non-hickory....Hazelnuts are another possibility. They are small trees or shrubs. Walnuts are supremely tasty and vigorous but to use a term from aquarium lingo, not a good "community" tree. Walnuts especially black walnuts are notorious since they excrete chemicals into the soil to retard other plant growth.

FataMorgana


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Dear Hickory Fans

Here is some follow up:

Of the three shags I got from the nursery in spring 07 one survived and it doing great. For 4 years it played possum and barely grew (although the leaves were fat and healthy from all the fertilizer I gave them). Then last fall it had a big fat growth bud but was still only 10 inches high. Little did I know that it was dropping a huge tap root. Then this spring it shot up to about 3 feet! I think that these trees play possum for a number of years to avoid the deer and then race up. The race is on.

I planted about 40 nuts in ground in fall of 07 and about 20 have survived. Low but with fat leaves from all the fertilizer (osomoform and chicken manure). I am hoping that next year they get their growth spurt. The ones I did not fertilize are still shrimps; just tiny.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

The issue I have now is that I have a huge load of green nuts; do I plant now or wait until they dry then peel the outer husk and plant?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Old forest service trick for long tap root seedlings is to use roofing tar paper (the heavy kind is better than the thin) and form a tube with a 4-6" diameter PVC pipe or with a piece of 4x4 lumber to form a square tube. Cut the tar paper to overlap about 2 inches and use contact cement to bond the edges to form the tube. You can cut another strip (or two) of the tar paper and glue it to one end to form a bottom. Fill with soil of choice and plant seed. Plant the entire tube when ready. Roots grow right through since the tar paper will disintegrate quickly in the damp soil, or you can slice sides of tube when planting. Tube can be any length you desire but anything over 3 feet long can be difficult to handle and plant. Un-planted tar paper tubes will only last about a year when exposed to the elements.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I planted four hickory nuts that I found on the ground at the park in my small garden in October 2011. There were hundreds. I just picked up four. It's now May 2012 and they are sprouted. I'm reading about their long taproots. They cannot stay where they are. I need to move them. Wondering when the best time to do this is? My guess is fall? Also, how would they fare in clay soil b/c that's pretty much all I have. I have some pin oaks that are doing well so I would think they would be okay. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I love trying to grow trees from seeds. It's so gratifying! I have a pin oak that is about 6-7 years old and it's now 10 feet tall despite being chewed by a deer it's first year. And I have a lovely river birch that is about 15 feet tall about the same age. My neighbors think I'm crazy to start trees from seed, but I get a lot of enjoyment from it.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

TO: gunsiloveguns ..... be patient .... some nuts (acorns) germinate in 10 to 30 days .... most true nuts take much longer. A rule of thumb ... the harder and thicker the shell is ... the longer it will take to suck up moisture and for the "sprout" to emerge. It could take 30, 60, or 90 days, depending on the conditions ... and every nut is different (unique) I have had red oak acorns lie in the ground for up to 4 years before they finally began to grow. (Don't know why the squirrels didn't find them) A word of advice that my DAD taught me .... "If you want to play Mother Nature, you have to be patient and do things in a big way! She puts billions of nuts and seeds out there, in hopes of growing just a few trees or plants. The more you plant, the more success stories you will have ... and the disappointments you will have, too. We all have a lot of time on our hands, and once you do your job, let Mother Nature take the reins!!" My Dad spent thousands of hours in the woods and planted tens of thousands of nuts ...EVERYWHERE ... he always had a pocket-ful of nuts with him .. whenever he went afield .... and his pockets were empty ... when he came home!!! I meet senior residents of our Town, every once in a while, that tell me about the tree, in their yard, that came about, because MY DAD planted a nut there 20, 30, or 40 years ago!!! ...And ... I am doing the same thing!!!!


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I just ordered about 5 shagbark hickory nuts online. Some of the planting instructions say to tap and crack shells with a hammer for faster germination. I did this to 4 of 5 nuts and currently have them in a baggy of peatmoss in the fridge until I'm ready to plant.

I also ordered 3 shagbark cuttings that I dipped in rootone and planted in a pot. I did the same with cuttings from a local native hickory. Has anyone ever tried any of these methods and had success?


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

Hi All,

My first post here. This thread has been around for quite a while!

Now in late August I recently collected a few dozen mostly green nuts that had fallen to the ground from a big mature five-leaf hickory tree native to the area that I live in. I have never tried to sprout hickory nuts, but after reading through this thread I am tempted to give it a try.

I have attempted to sprout other tree nuts, with some limited success, but between rodents and deer most of my efforts got wiped out. However, this thread has given me some new ideas and so I will try again.

I like the idea of simply planting the nuts an inch or two into the ground and then sheltering them with a metal "hardware cloth" wire mesh, having the wires spaced about 1/4" apart. That should keep the rodents out, but how tall does a hickory tree need to be before the deer will not nibble them down? And to judge by the mature tree that I got the nuts from it appears that a spacing of about 40' between hickory trees could be about the right spacing.

Altogether I could plant ten or twelve hickory trees.

Thanks, and good to meet you!


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I would protect the seedlings until the 2nd spring, I've had rabbits, and squirrels take oak seedlings right out of the ground that were 6-12" high.

Last year, I tried to stratify Shellbark hickory nuts, but Squirrels took them all when I planted them in early April.

This year I've got Mockernut, Shagbark, Shellbark, and Wild Pecan seeds, and I'll be direct sowing them in late October protecting them by making cones with wire mesh. I'm also thinking about ordering a second batch to stratify just in case, and compare the two.


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

I collected a bunch of nuts this fall from some truly mamouth shagbarks in the Hudson River Valley. Based on the dbh growth rates I've seen on the intraweb, these trees must be very old. Only about one in twenty husks on the ground had nuts - I guess the squirrels got the rest. And of the nuts I collected, two thirds floated. So a very small fraction of those that fell were available / viable. I was still able to save twenty or so nuts.

Soaked the viable nuts for four days. Changed water daily. They are now sitting in a loosely closed plastic bag with a damp paper towel in my refrigerator. Towel changed out periodically. Interestingly, when I recently checked on them (after about a month of having them in the fridge) I found four (very chilly and confused) white grubs in the bag - so clearly not all of the sinkers were viable.

Looking forward to planting these in various spots in the spring. Plan on planting seeds directly, protected by a small ring of woven wire fencing. Maybe I'll try to plant some in deep pots. Will post an update.

Shagbarks are such a beautiful tree, and they take so long to grow. Feels like unless we go out of our way to propogate them, we'll loose much of the population to development and logging...


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RE: anyone raised hickory trees from seed?

  • Posted by Tpyo New Jersey (My Page) on
    Tue, May 6, 14 at 10:45

FYI - I just had a hickory nut sprout this spring after nearly a year and a half sitting in a container on our kitchen window sill covered by wet paper towel!

I have now transplanted it to a pot with normal soil. When its a bit more robust I will plant it in the yard and try to keep the critters away.

I will be trying some more this fall... got to beat the squirrels to them!

Thanks to everybody on this thread for their contributions, especially about the floating nuts part as I didn't know that.


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