The common hackberry is particularly resilient, making it ideal for use in situations where other trees will not thrive. A tree of simple beauty, it is being used more and more widely as a landscape specimen.
Description of common hackberry: As a young tree, the hackberry is roughly pyramidal. As it matures, it takes on a vase-shaped profile, with arching branches much like the American elm. In fact, it is commonly used as a replacement for that tree where Dutch elm disease is a problem. It can reach 100 feet in height but usually does not exceed 60 feet in culture. The bark is gray-brown with characteristic corky ridges. The deciduous leaves are elmlike and bright green with toothed edges. They become yellow in the fall. The berries ripen in midfall and vary in color from red to dark purple.
How to grow common hackberry: This is a good city tree, able to take hot, dry winds and drought. On the other hand, it does equally well in moist, cool situations. Grow in full sun. The tree is generally pest free, although it can be affected by witches'-broom. Infected sections can be pruned out. The leaves often bear harmless nipple galls that form green lumps.
Uses for common hackberry: The common hackberry makes a good street tree and is adaptable to a wide variety of landscape situations. It is also a good tree for attracting birdlife.
Common hackberry related varieties: The variety 'Prairie Pride' is a good selection, offering denser growth and excellent resistance to witches'-broom.
Scientific name for common hackberry: Celtis occidentalisWant more gardening information? Try: