Hickory & Hican
Hickories have a slow beginning, producing a long tap root first. After it is established, it grows more quickly. It is selected for ease of cracking to remove large kernel pieces. Its buttery flavor is king. Hickories are among the slowest nut trees to begin to bear at from 8-10 years but the wait is worth it. Of the hicans, 'Burton' is the best we have tried in Niagara.
Trees weakened by transplanting are often attacked by pests. Leafhoppers and aphids are a problem in the first 2 years for both hickory and hican. Spray the trees and surrounding area several times with an insecticide in June when the leafhoppers are present and again in July for best survival.
For grafted trees, winter protect the graft area with a mound of soil around the tree above the graft for the first 2 years. All rootstocks for hickory, hican and pecan are ultra-northern pecan seedlings for best performance. Seedlings are suited for zones 5-8, grafts in zones 5b-8. Tree size ranges from 20-22 m in height and 15 m wide (70 x 45 ft) at maturity.
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Shagbark hickory is native to Ontario. Our seedling trees are grown from our best producing, best kernel extracting selections. Due to the slow early growth of the hickory seedlings they are 4-5 years old when they are ready to sell. Hickories are long lived and reach a height of 25 m and spread 20 m (70' tall & 40' wide). Two trees are best for pollinization. The nuts crack easily with our 'Kenkel' cracker. Suited for zones 4b-8.
The shellbark is native in only the southernmost part of Ontario. It is a large nut approaching the size of walnuts. Our seedlings are grown from selections that exhibit good kernel filling in our northern climate. Shellbarks are long lived and reach a height of 25 m and spread 22 m (70' tall & 45' wide). The shells are relative hard but crack readily with the 'Duke' black walnut cracker. Two trees are best for pollinization. Suited for zones 5b-8.
The hicans are fairly rare trees and occur where hickory and pecan groves grow together. Few are worthy of propagation. Ours are seedlings from 'Burton', a shagbark x pecan cross that is annually productive. The seedlings may resemble the hickory or the pecan in their characteristics, depending on what pollinized it. Suited for zones 5b-8. Scroll down for 'Burton' Hican Grafts.
I call the mother tree of these seedlings my Mystery hickory aka 'Etter' hybrid. It came to me many years ago as 'Keystone' shellbark, but after some detective work I discovered that it was a cross of Weschcke shagbark x McAllister hican. The nut is large like a shellbark but thinner shelled like a shagbark. 'Etter' is a very productive tree, setting nuts annually. The seedlings of this complex hybrid should prove interesting, having pecan and other hickories in its genetic makeup. Suitable for zones 5b to 8.
'Ryan' is an outstanding new selection from our orchard in Niagara. 'Ryan' is a seedling of the parent tree 'Neilson'. It is a heavy annual producer of large size hickory nuts, similar to 'Neilson', but the meats crack out better.
'Grainger' is a shagbark selection from Tennessee. It is a large nut almost the size of a shellbark. It often cracks out halves and large pieces. The tree is productive, healthy and a viable pollinizer. It ripens late mid to late October in Ontario. This is a suitable pollinizer for our pollen sterile cultivars or any of the other shagbark trees. Suited for zones 5b-8.
'Porter' was the winner in a cracking contest held by the Pennsylvania Nut Growers Association. It is a medium size shagbark with good cracking characteristics. The tree is a good producer and a suitable pollinizer for our sterile grafted selections or our other shagbark hickory trees. Nuts ripen mid season. They crack readily with the 'Duke' nut cracker. Suited for zones 5b-8.
'Yoder' is a shagbark from Ohio. It is medium size, good cracking nut. The nuts are late ripening and often drop in the husk, making some hand husking necessary. The tree is alternate bearing with good crops in 2 out of 3 years. It is a viable pollinizer for the other cultivars including the pollen sterile ones. Suited for zones 6-8.
'Neilson' is a shagbark hickory originating near Waterford, Ontario. The nut is large and well filled with fairly good cracking quality. The tree is hardy, annually productive and early ripening. It is pollen sterile so must have suitable pollinizers nearby. A seedling shagbark or another grafted selection except 'Wesc' which is also pollen sterile will do the job. The nuts ripen early with 'Wesc'. The nuts crack readily with the ‘Duke’ nut cracker. Suited for zones 5-8.
'Wesc' is a shagbark hickory selected by Carl Weschcke from Wisconsin. He was a nut enthusiast and collector from the early to mid 1900's. To avoid confusion with his black walnut named for him, we shortened the name.The nut is small but early September ripening. It is one of our best for releasing the nut meat in 2 easily extracted pieces. It is a good annual bearing tree but it is pollen sterile and so a pollen partner or two is needed to assure pollinization for all three trees. Suited for zones 5-8.
'Mueller' is a medium size shagbark hickory nut. It is selected for its ease of cracking with a hand cracker. It was selected from the wild by Ron Mueller from Fisherville, Ontario.
'Henry' is a very large shellbark nut, the size of a walnut. It is well filled and annually productive. It has the typical hard shell of the shellbark hickories but it cracks out in halves with the 'Duke' nut cracker fairly easily. The nuts are mid to late October ripening. In a cool year the nuts can take an extra month to drop, but they remain in good eating condition even mid-winter. Suited for zones 6-8.
'Fayette' like 'Henry' is a very large nut, the size of a walnut. It is a well-filled and annually productive shellbark. It has the typical hard shell of the shellbark hickories but it cracks out in halves with the 'Duke' Nut Cracker fairly easily. The nuts are mid to late October ripening. In a cool year the nuts can take an extra month to drop, but they remain in good shape for consumption. Suited for zones 6-8.
'Etter Hybrid', we believe is a complex cross of a (shagbark hickory x McAllister hican) produced in the Etter Grove in Pennsylvania. I received the grafting wood in 1978 from an Ohio source labeled 'Keystone', but it obviously was not 'Keystone'. It has the shell thickness of a shagbark, making it the easiest shellbark size hybrid to crack. The nut is as large as a medium chicken egg and the meat comes out in halves. It cracks easily with the 'Kenkel' or the 'Duke' walnut nut cracker. The tree is annually productive with very good crops most years. Limbs have broken down with the heavy crop some years. Most shellbark hickories including 'Keystone' have compound leaves with 7 leaflets. Ours has 5 leaflets like a shagbark but the leaflets are larger. Our unusually rare tree has the outstanding hybrid qualities of shagbark, pecan, and shellbark hickory in its genes.
The nuts ripen late October. Suited for zones 6-8.
'Burton' is a rare hybrid shagbark x pecan cross that is productive and hardy this far north. Unlike most hybrids, it is an annual producer of good quality medium size nuts. Having the shape of a pecan makes kernel removal easier. It is mid season ripening dropping nuts with the shagbarks. It is receptive at the same time as hickory trees so it can be pollinated with a shagbark hickory, possibly by ultra northern pecan too. Suited for zones 5b-8.