Interesting story on the hackberry. Ever since I was old enough to hold a hachet I was in my mother's backyard digging the roots of these trees out of the ground. They are relentless, and even if you think you have killed it, if there is any root left, it will grow back. It is nice to know that they do have a benefit but I wonder if the cons on this tree out weigh the pros. They grow any where you don't want them to grow. And yes they attract insects alright. Don't let these trees grow by any structures. They attract termites,wood ants, and ticks. I rekon my grudge with the hackberry began with trying to get rid of them. Never tried the berries though.
I'm sorry you have such trouble with the hackberry. Sometimes that happens with plants, depending on your environment and its location, and it can be really aggravating. I am not fond of its stains and relentless berry droppings either. But it was a challenge to me, trying to figure out its purpose in life.
I agree that not all plants are likable, but I always enjoy learning about their history.
Good luck with getting rid of yours, and thank you for writing.
In my part of the world it is known as a "trash tree". Never totally understood why any of God's creations would be trash. However, it is one that is hard to deal with. First, it is very brittle and the entire top can break off in a high wind (that has happened twice to the tree next door to me). The roots stay near the top and nothing, nothing will grow under it.
The fruit maybe be beneficial to wildlife but it is a killer when one is trying to build a garden. The little trees come up EVERYWHERE...worse than any weed. I have seen them trimmed to perfection at the Dallas Arboretum and didn't even recognize it. Not the same in nature as it is truly gangly and unruly.
You can never say too much about something that causes grief. I think this is a controversial tree to say the least. In some areas it is invasive and aggravating, just like a lot of things. But it some it isn't.
I have learned a lot from what you said and that which was stated by others, and knowledge of all kinds is valuable, negativities included.
When we had a windstorm in September and an ice storm in January, I lost the tops out of all my trees, not a one is left. And the decorative pear trees of my neighbors are no more. We just do what we have to do in the areas in which we live.
I wish for you no more "trash trees"!
Thanks for reading the article, and feel free to comment at any time.
The hackberry is more or less a trash tree here too. But now that I know the many values of it I will be more careful about 'looking down my nose' at it and requesting that all of them be removed. Any tree that provides food for man, beast, & birds, has very useable wood, & is a friend of honey bees is not truely a trash tree. It rates up at the top of the list of good trees. We just didn't know its values.
Hello Lee, and thank you.
It is a true challenge to find something good about some of the things that Nature hands us. It took me awhile to find something good about the hackberry tree, too.
I think that's true about a lot of things.
I hope you are having a nice spring day, but the high winds from the west are about to catch up to us. If it isn't one thing it seems to be another. But the winds are blowing the loose branches that were left by the recent ice storm out of the trees. Maybe that's something good.
Must have pulled up over a hundred little "trees" today. From now until about June, that will be a daily chore. Only thing worse in the garden is bermuda grass. I'm sorry, Sharron.
This is to find something good about the hackberry. It does make heavy shade.
Well, when you need shade, there you have it!
Sorry about your time consuming task today, Lou...I do the same thing with all the little maple saplings that take over every year. Sometimes it happens with my Rose of Sharon too, and my oak, sigh...maybe if they all grew out in the unused forest somewhere...
Back is doing wonderful! Yeah, you're right. I also pull up red oak on a continuing basis.
Last year was a good year for pecans and whooooweee did I have a lot of little pecan trees.
Should have figured out a market for the pecan trees by now.
Odd isn't it, how the things we think we would really like to have grow in the garden are hard to germinate.
Yes, it is...
One year, many years ago, someone gave me a pot of creeping charlie. It was a gift, she said. Lovely in a pot, and I kept it in a pot. After about the third year, I noticed little creeping charlies all over my yard, so I took the pot out in the uninhabited country, and turned it upside down in a field of clover.
When I got the pot home, it got a couple of baths in bleach water.
I still find sprigs of creeping charlie in my yard.
I just came inside from collecting the little "helicopter" seeds that fell from the yellow maple, I have quite a box full. And then I checked on the creeping charlie, and it survived the winter very well. Now all this is very light weight, and will hardly make a dent in postage costs. It's dark now, but I am sure during my early morning stroll that I can find some more things that you really need to complete your landscaping.
Oh...I almost forgot the oak seedlings, complete with attached acorns. They're pretty lightweight too...
Actually, d mail some pictures, I'd love to see what you are talking about. Sounds as if you have a really nice garden area. I love Texas, my hubby was from there, and we spent many many summer vacations there, too. I don't know where your city is, but we were in the Galveston, Orange, Houston, Port Arthur area most of the time.
I am 14 miles from Downtown Dallas (said with a Texian accent). A whole 13 miles from the hospital in which I was born. At my advanced age I've seen Dallas from the beginning.Dallas is still a "wanta be". Not many actual natives around but a lot of people from other parts of the country that have come here for the climate. CLIMATE?? From June till November it is never under 90 and often more than 100. Guess it must be better than ice and snow. We really need to get together soon.
Thanks for all the fun chats today. I do appreciate all the different responses when I write about controversial plants. See what evolved? It is much more fun to know the thoughts of others than it is to sit complacent in my own environment.
I promise I will not send you any of my creeping charlie, helicopters, sprouting acorns, or squirrels. Not today, anyway.
Like the article. Don't like the tree.
Have a perennial garden that supports masses of bees and also butterfies and lots of birds during migration. Neighbour has a garden of neglected trees with a small hackberry in a cramped shaded corner close to fence. Last summer was unusually wet and his hackberry seeded over much of our garden. I've now removed some of his tree which actually looks better.
Two houses down from us, there's another hackberry in a similar site. Sorry to report that it's a dark and crowded thicket that I believe I've already seen in several horror movies.
Another person's "trash tree" is my "treasure tree". When we bought our 5 acres in the country and moved in a new 32X80 mobile home my husband postioned it so that the back porch coming off the master bedroom was right in line with the huge hackberry tree about 20 foot to the south. It has to be 100 years old. It is huge, beautiful, gives off lots of shade, brings lots of birds and squirrels, etc. I have planted vinca minor underneath it which has covered the area now. There's a birdbath under it and it's great for hanging bird feeders. The berries aren't a problem as they help be feed the birds in the winter also. The trunk is probably at least 6-7 ft around. Being an avid flower gardener I had to thank you for such a great article on my treasure tree!! I've always loved it!!
Interesting flowergirl. You paint an attractive picture, but I wouldn't want that hackberry tree in the middle of one of my perennial beds; for that matter, anywhere near it.
I also believe in green gardens with lots of birds, butterflies and other insects. I do it, however, by using a large diversity of different perennials, including old varieties, and by never using pesticides or herbicides.
Five acres increases the available choices.
I agree. Were I to give up my daily task of pulling the hundreds of hackberry seedlings I would soon have a forest you couldn't even walk through. My neighbor talks of cutting the tree down but doesn't make a move.
I love when a subject of one of my articles becomes a point of discussion. It is interesting to note different reactions and feelings to a product of nature. BTW, I always try to find the reason for things, hackberry included. And if you notice, the only good reason that I found was that it was good for birds, butterflies and insects.
However, a gentleman on one of the other comment threads in this article provided some excellent information on the wood of the hackberry, how when dried it is a lovely hard wood and used for many wood projects. I didn't know that, but am glad to know it has another 'reason' for being.
Now...confession time, I don't have the hackberry growing here, it just grows in my memories. I do however have the most aggravating, gigantic, beautiful, ancient monstrosity of a cottonwood growing on the corner of my neighbor's lot. I swear it's roots live under my deck, its branches shade my deck and it often drives me crazy. Its little cottonish seedlings infiltrate my a/c unit every single spring and I have to get out there with a vacuum to clean them out. It is not fun. And when those seedlings fall, my yard is white.
I just look at it and try to find its reason for being. I found one or two. It shades my house from the sweltering sun as it sets in the west on those sweltering days of 100*+ and 100% humidity in July and August. That's one. It stood strong during our recent ice storm, when others around it fell to the ground, that's two, because without it, my house would not stay cool enough in the summer for me to even survive, and I have no plans for a new A/C system.
On the other hand, during the ice storm, it lost a limb that took with it about half of my 20+ year old redbud tree.
What a conundrum! It is a love/hate relationship I have with that tree. We survive together, the cottonwood and I. My deck is off the ground, and so far the cottonwood is not close to the foundation of my house, maybe it won't ever be. I do love the shade it provides, and I do love my neighbors, plus it is a gorgeous tree in its full glory during summer. I simply cannot live the rest of my life without it. So I live with it, and I vacuum my A/C unit when its seedlings strand themselves in it. (Great image, huh?)
And again, on the other hand...my half a redbud, is blooming, blooming, blooming, and life is good again. And so it goes...
I am so sorry, Lou, that you have to fight those hackberry seedlings, and flowergirl, your story makes me smile. Sunny, great for you to have all that land, and all those options.
Living with nature is filled with ups and downs, but without nature, we wouldn't be, would we? Goodness, what a conundrum.
I think our comment thread is a story in itself, and I am so appreciative to those of you who contribute to it.
I hope your weekend is beautiful. Happy spring!
Edited because I wrote flowergirl's name wrong, and also to tell Lorilei thanks, her opinion actually started this conversation!
Lou, the others paint such a wonderful picture of that tree I will have to find a seedling & move it close to the house so I can enjoy it. What I have been told is Hackberry has never gotten to any size worth talking about but I do remember some berries on it in the fall. Do they grow rapidly or are they slowpokes?
We have a cottonwood that is about 80' tall and losing limbs too. We also have a young one about 5 or 6 years old, maybe 10' tall that I tell the guys they are not to cut down because when the old one is gone I still want one.
We have an ancient catalpa tree that I never seen a seedling from. Do we need 2 to get seedlings? I'm thinking of collecting some seeds this coming fall to see if I can get them to germinate.
We have about 5 mulberry trees in the yarden that are welcome as well as a couple mimosa trees. Those and the black walnut sprouts are what keep us busy pulling, treating the stumps with killer, etc.
Thanks for the interesting comments; they'd do credit to kind and tolerant philosophy of Epicurus, whom I greatly admire.
In my case though, I don't really have all that land (though it sometimes sounds so). Most of it is my customers' land (the perennial gardens I have both installed and continue to maintain - large properties, not that many).
In my case, I just couldn't tolerate that hackberry tree. My customers wouldn't let me!
I do think that gardening is as much about destroying as it is about creating.
A key part of the creating is the promotion of healthy soil structures, healthy and balanced insect populations (not just butterflies) and support (in our area) for migrating birds.
A very inclusive thread, with lots of vigorous and entertaining discussion,
and all built around that hackberry tree. Not a bad tree after all!
You speak from the heart, and I love that.
I just came in, camera in hand. Sometime ago, I trained 3 sprigs of wisteria around old clothesline poles. I now have healthy happy huge wisteria umbrellas every year. Most consider them invasives, but the bumble bees are happy today, the birds love that they are protected within the tangled branches, and very very soon now, the humming birds will be singing beneath its dainty leaves. Yes, I do have to dig and destroy the few runners it produces, but it is a small price to pay for its beauty and for its contribution to the bird/bee/insect population. It is commonly called a Kentucky Wisteria, as opposed to the Chinese wisteria.
So it is all in how we look at things.
I have spurge, euphorbia...also considered invasive, so I keep it enclosed in a rock rimmed garden. There is nothing to compare to its delicate beauty right now, and it is secluded so that its sap harms no one. It has an interesting history, but I like it for its yellow green color among my old purple iris...no other reason.
Yes, I do love this thread, and adore LouC for provoking the conversation. Who would have ever thought the hackberry would have given us such thought provoking entertainment.
BTW, I leave dates on my photos so that there is no doubt when plants bloom. Here is my beloved wisteria, and I happen to know that Lou has one in bloom as well right now.
Ok. Now go to the "vines" forum and look at "Get Your Wisteria Fix". Then go to the Texas Forum and look at "Spring has Sprung". My wisteria with the cross vine intermingled makes life worth living. And this time the wisteria and Lady Banksia Rose bloomed at the same time and the aroma would put you out. Very soft and relaxing not like the pefume JOY. hahahaha. oooops. Hope I didn't offend anyone.
Sharron, is there any chance that wisteria would be hardy in central MO? And if it is would you consider sending a rooted start for postage? Or trade for some hardy passion vine starts? The passion vine won't come up until nearly June tho.
Lou, Kyle & Holly are going to find a hackberry sprout on the farm & bring it up to the yarden for me. They say they are all over the farm. Kyle & I remembered Jack saying they aren't good fire wood, not putting off much heat.
Son just got computer going again.
Only have snowdrops and some of the crocuses and there's going to be 6 inches of snow tomorrow, so sending picture from last summer.
Front of picture: Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) just coming into bloom.
Know a very knowledgeable gardener who won't grow this because it's too invasive. Does seed a fair bit, especially in moist conditions (lawn sprinkler affects this garden). But not very hard to control and far too pretty to be invasive.
Really liked our wisteria but it didn't survive. Passion vine does well here (in greenhouses).
Only a couple of inches of snow so far; the wet, heavy (heart attack) stuff. Still no problem getting to the coffee shop.
Choosing the camera shot, but need to work at keeping all of a perennial garden looking good from May to October. Generally pretty successful, but a bit stressful. Advantage, doing these gardens gives me much larger areas to work with. More relaxing with my own garden and spent more time at that.
Sharran isn't exactly sleeping on the job herself! Health aside, tend to equate sleeping with wasting time.
Would like to tag along too.
We have turned this into a lovely chat thread, and think when we reach somewhere over 100 posts, if we do, then one of us can start a new thread in one of the chat forums if we want. We'll keep calling it the Hackberry thread, and won't that be fun! And we can add a link here before we leave so we don't lose anyone.
Sunny, as I understand it, you care for the gardens of others, which in itself gives you ownership. What a wonderful thing to do! I am looking forward to more photos of gardens you tend. You are leaving your touch wherever you go.
We are also expecting a frost tonight, though our past 3 or so weeks were filled with 70* temps. I ran out over the weekend and this morning to take a few pix of things that might be blackened by tomorrow. Here is another picture of my wisteria 'tree', the blooms might be scattered over the walk way beneath its feet by morning.
We had a major ice storm in late Jan./early Feb...took me nearly 2 months to get it all cleaned up. I lost half of the redbud you see on the left, and some branches of the JM on the right. The green in the distant middle is in my neighbor's yard. It needs to be trimmed, because it has many broken branches, but it is his, not mine. The ice storm doesn't seem to have retarded the growth of either of my trees...I was so happy to see their colors.
I also have euphorbia and hellebores blooming, they will not mind the frost. I have the euphorbia contained, so that it doesn't become invasive. I love the yellow/green blooms, and hate the sap. Lots of things come with a love/hate relationship.
As for sleep...yes, I can usually find something better to do.
Sunny and Sharron, those are such lovely pics. Hopefully I can borrow my neighbor's camera so I can take a picture of my Iris blooms. I attended the round up yesterday and I met alot of great people who gave me so many plants. I will have to wait till the freeze to put them in the garden but, I can't wait to see how they flourish. It will be fun if we can get our hackberry thread up and going. Lou, maybe it was all the exitement of the RU yesterday? Had a great time.
Do we want to start up a new "Hackberry" thread in one of the regular forums, like Garden Talk or Parking Lot, wherever you prefer? I can do it anytime, or one of you can, and put the link here, and also put this link there.
Might be better than just on an article comment thread, though it is fun here.
Oh my, what a day. MIL in the rehab/nursing home and driving me crazy! Our son lives in Tulsa and he was in the Metroplex for business and met us where she is. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy. Some people don't know when they are lucky. She is 91 and I am 67. Telling you for sure, she will outlive me. I know this not on topic of a tree, but she is going to put Mike and I in our graves!!!!!
Amazing the number of people in their 60s who have problems with elderly parents. My mother-in-law gave my ultraconscientious wife a pretty hard time over numbers of years. We always assumed she would outlive us. Her place has been taken by a sister-in-law (who has zero finer points), but my wife doesn't feel responsible for her. So now it's out of sight, out of mind.
If you're an only child, as our son, that can be tough. But kids should only do what's reasonable. They shouldn't try to do the impossible.
Have put in perennial gardens on around 15 properties. Have been maintaining and expanding four, plus our own, for about 10 years. Have had almost complete control over the gardens on the four properties, which has made doing a good job a lot easier. Tend to think of them all as my gardens (as my customers/friends are kind enough to verbalize). Always been a minor form of income, but having retired a year or so ago, I'm enjoying the gardening even more. I actually now have time to observe and think.
You sound at an age when you still have other responsibilites.
No Sunny...my two children are grown and have jobs/lives of their own, and I am retired. My parents are no longer living. I have no other responsibilities now, but I am at an age that I also don't want to become a burden to either of my children. And my husband passed away just a couple of years ago. I do write, and I garden, and various other time consuming things, so I stay reasonably busy.
I guess time will tell.
Your gardening endeavors sound very satisfying. I hope you will continue to share pictures with us.
We all have choices, you know, choices about how to deal with things. I live alone, so I would hate if even my cats avoided me. Don't want to ever become one of those grouchy little old ladies. The little and the old parts might fit me, but never grouchy.
LouC gave me an idea for another article this week, and if it is midnight in your area you can read it now. It won't be as controversial as the hackberry, but I love Lou's idea.
You are such a love..no way will you ever, ever be a problem to anyone. My wise mother told me that when one gets old, older, whatever the overriding characteristics are become more pronounced, more condensed. As in those who are a pain are more so and those easy to love..more so. You are already set as one the best of all.
Sunny, I have not written an article with the list included, only the article about honey. I didn't feel that my list was long enough, because it only includes those plants that I am familiar with here in zone 6b, almost 7a. Sorry that I didn't clarify that. I prefer leaving those kinds of articles to those who know more than I, and I only know what worked for me.
Everything I have read, though, tells me to go with the wildflowers that are native to your area when looking for bee food. That is my guideline for my own gardening. If I had enough space, I would have a field of clover. Of course I don't have the California lilacs here, but included it on my list anyway. Doubt that you would have it there either. My favorite is the monarda and aster, they seem to really pull the bees in. Also all the mints.