Fall, time to keep an eye out for unusual fruits and nuts

I took a walk earlier today and may have found a hickory tree that is worth propagating. The tree is 40 to 50 years old, about a foot diameter and produced a very heavy crop last year with no crop (or very small) this year. What is so unusual about it? The residual nuts from last year are about 1.3 inches long by 5/8 inch diameter. The kernel is completely free inside the shell with slight convolutions but nothing to prevent shelling out halves. The shell is about as thick as a pecan shell. I would almost credit it as a pecan hybrid, but the tree characteristics are pure shagbark. The bad part is that I will have to wait until next year to collect nut samples. If you guess the squirrels rack up on this tree, you guess right. This tree is less than 200 yards from my front door.

I compared with a few Sinking Fork nuts Lucky sent me. This tree produces a bit larger nut and looks like it will be much easier to shell.

I will take a pole with me next time and pull down a limb so I can verify shagbark traits.


Would you be able to post a picture of a nut in the shell cut crosswise?

Ate some sweet Autumn Olive berries today–better than a Carmine Jewell or Romeo cherry.

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I visited the tree today to collect a sample of leaves and buds. I can confirm it is shagbark. There are a few mockernut and some bitternut growing nearby. It is not where I normally expect shagbark to grow, meaning it is up on a hill with a cornfield on the east and a stand of mixed hardwood to the west. The tree is older and larger than I guessed. I would say it is 16 inches diameter and would be consistent with 50 to 60 years old. It produced a handful of nuts this year as shown by green hulls on the ground, but squirrels got every last one. The hulls are very thick, about 1/2 inch which makes the enclosed nut nearly 2 inches diameter. I found 3 nuts from last year that were still sealed. They showed the expected interior structure which is very similar to a pecan but without the “packing material” of a soft inner shell. From the look of them, they will shell out either quarters or halves.

I’m going to talk to the guy who owns the land and see if he will let me clear the brush around it. If cleared, it should produce an abundant crop next year. The two nuts at the bottom are from the tree. The others were from neighbors, also shagbark.

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I have one towering near my house thats probably 4 feet across. One of them fell on our house in the 80s… and another one was about to fall last year and i cut it down.

So mine must be hundreds of years old?

Tree has barbed wire in it.

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Shagbark hickory averages 3 to 4 years per inch diameter growth. Since this tree is @16 inches at my chest height, that corresponds to 48 to 64 years old. I wouldn’t even want to guess how old a hickory 4 feet diameter might be.

I went conservative on my original guess and did 10 feet around…the calculation is 287 years old. My eyeball math isnt good… i will put a tape around it just to be sure…interesting to say the least.