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Carya ovata (F)

shagbark hickory

C. ovata is a broadly conical, deciduous tree to 20m tall, with ornamental, peeling grey to brown bark. The large leaves usually have five leaflets and turn golden yellow in autumn. Flowers in spring with the male catkins up to 12cm long. Thick-shelled nuts up to 6cm long are edible when ripe

Other common names
little shell-bark hickory
shellbark hickory
see moreshell-bark hickory
Synonyms
Carya alba Nutt.

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Size
Ultimate height
Higher than 12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
Wider than 8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Brown Grey Silver Green Yellow Green
Summer Brown Grey Silver Green Yellow Green Green
Autumn Brown Grey Silver Yellow Green
Winter Brown Grey Silver
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Juglandaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Carya are vigorous deciduous trees of handsome appearance, the large pinnate leaves colouring well in the autumn; male flowers are in catkins, females are insignificant spikes, followed by nuts, the kernels of some being edible

Name status

Correct

Plant range
E USA

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in deep, fertile, humus rich, moist but well-drained soil in sun or partial shade

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in situ as soon as ripe; seedlings rapidly develop a deep tap root and resent transplanting

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Low Maintenance
Pruning

Pruning group 1

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Prone to crown gall, powdery mildews and leaf spot (see leaf damage on woody plants)

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