How, When and Why of Forest Farming Website


Common NameShagbark
Latin NameCarya ovata
Visual Traits
Floweryellow, monoecious, early June, with or after leaf emergence (5)
Foliage/Fall leaf coloryellow-brown
Fruit / Nutfruit ripens Sep-Oct; smooth, thick husks, cream colored; deep brown before dehiscing; sweet
Other valued traitstool handles, sports gear, furniture, fuel wood
Cultivation and Mulchingmulch seeds for rodent protection
Pollinationmany varieties may be self-incompatible, plant several to assure pollination
Propagation methodGrafts, seedlings used as rootstock
Pruningonly prune to establish height of lower limbs and prevent weak crotches; persistant sprouts following disturbance
Retail Sourcesite, retail
Seed harvestSep-Dec
Seed treatment and storageCold-moist stratification 90-120days at 37F, seeds from northern climates require longer stratification
Seedling treatmentrapid taproot development
Sowing seed50-75% germination, fall (no treatment) or spring (following stratification)
Transplantdifficult; transplant to permanent location first summer
Insect and invertebrate pestsmany pests, few threatening; hickory bark beetle (Scolytus quadrispinosus)
Pathogenshosts many fungi and diseases; few serious; Canker rot (Poria spiculosa), leaf rot, heart rot fungi, anthracnose (Gnomonia caryae), mildew (Micorstroma juglandis), bunch disease, crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens)
Wildlife PestsDeer, squirrel
Compaction (tolerance)intermediate
Fertility / qualitytolerates wide range; sensitive to changes in fertility
Moisture and drainagewell-drained, moderately drought tolerant
pH4-6.7(slightly acid 6-6.5)
Salt toleranceintolerant
Soils and topographysloped uplands, mesic-dry (site varies across range), max 2000-3000 ft
Textureloams; tolerates wide range
Growth Pattern
Good seed crop interval (fruit load)1-3y
Growth rateslow growing
Root habitlong taproot
Seed-bearing age /max production40y / 60-200y (fruit-set possible 10-15y with appropriate management; grafts on older trees as little as 3-4y)
Habitat and Climate
Fire toleranceintolerant; stump sprouts readily; short fire interval favors oak
Frost-free days (FFD)140
Growing degree days (GDD)2250
Hardiness Zone4-8, hardiest of hickories
Native Range
Rainfall / humidityprefers humid climates, adapted to wide range (30-80in annual/20-40in growing season)
Wind / ice / frost susceptibilitywind resistant on most sites
Light recommendationpartial shade, responds well to release
Shade tolerancemoderately tolerant, very tolerant at pole stage
Vegetation Associations
Competitive abilityoaks and fast-growing upland species, disadvantaged in even-age stands with short rotations (slow-growth)
Indicator species and associated forestmixed hardwood, oaks
Special Notes
Note 1Climate and soils vary widely througout range, info here is representative of northern part of range only, see reference