How, When and Why of Forest Farming Website


Common NameShellbark
Latin NameCarya laciniosa
VarietyFayette, Henry, CES 24 
Visual Traits
Floweryellow, monoecious, April-June, wind pollinated
Foliage/Fall leaf colorGreen
Fruit / Nutfruit ripens Sep-Nov; largest of hickories, flat, cream colored, sweet, thick shell, difficult to extract
Other valued traitstool handles, furniture, cabinets, vaneer, fuelwood
Spreadoblong, slender
Graftingmore difficult to graft and bud than many fruit sp.
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; coppicing, persistant sprouts following disturbance
Retail SourceGrimo's Nut Nursery, John Gordon's Nut Nursery
Seed harvestSep-Nov (Dec)
Seed treatment and storageCold stratification 90-120days
Seedling treatmentrapid taproot development relative to slow shoot development
Sowing seedrequires moist soil for germination and establishment; germinate late April to early June; best sown in cold frame for natural stratification; 1-2seeds deep, thin to best seedling
Transplantdifficult; transplant to permanent location first summer
Insect and invertebrate pestsmany pests, none threatening
Pathogensfree of serious disease, host to many fungi
Wildlife PestsDeer, squirrel
Fertility / qualitydeep, fertile
Moisture and drainagecommon to floodplains and bottomlands/tolerates seasonal flooding
pH6.4-7.4, neutral or slightly alkaline soils
Soils and topographymoist bottom lands; occasionally dry and sandy soils in northern part of range
Textureheavy loams to silt loams, no heavy clay, tolerates dry sands in northern range
Growth Pattern
Good seed crop interval (fruit load)every 2 years
Growth ratevery slow
Root habitlong taproot, horizontal secondary roots perpendicular to taproot
Seed-bearing age /max production40y/75-200y; grafted trees may set nuts within 10y
Habitat and Climate
Fire tolerancemoderately tolerant; susceptible to bole injury; stump sprouts readily
Frost-free days (FFD)150-210
Growing degree days (GDD)2250
Hardiness Zone4-8 (6) (to zone 4:
Native Range
Rainfall / humidity30-58in
Wind / ice / frost susceptibilityresistant to snow and ice; suscpetible to frost damage
Light recommendationpartial shade; responds well to release, but heavy release may cause epicormic branching
Shade tolerancevery tolerant
Vegetation Associations
Competitive abilitystrong competitor, although growth is slow in very deep shade
Indicator species and associated forestmixed hardwood; Bur Oak Forest, Swamp Chestnut Oak­Cherrybark Oak forests (South)
Special Notes
Note 1Species key:
Note 2hybridizes with Pecan (C. illinoensis) and Shagbark (C. ovata)