Sugarberry, Sugar Hackberry

Celtis laevigata

Family: Ulmaceae (ulm-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Celtis (SEL-tis) (Info)
Species: laevigata (lee-vih-GAY-tuh) (Info)


Edible Fruits and Nuts


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Hanceville, Alabama

Jacksonville, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Bartow, Florida

Citra, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Largo, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida (2 reports)

Winter Haven, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Lisle, Illinois

New Orleans, Louisiana

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Cincinnati, Ohio

Lititz, Pennsylvania

Bolivar, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Brownsville, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Hondo, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 30, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

As a northerner, I finally saw one of these trees planted on the eat side of Morton Arboretum in northeast Illinois, west of Chicago. It is a southern species covering most of the South and up into southern IL & IN. It is also called Southern or Smooth or Mississippi Hackberry. Its leaves are smooth and usually without teeth on the margin. It grows in the wild in bottomlands, but still is drought resistant like its northern sister, the Common Hackberry. It does not get the non-serious Witches-broom Disease like its northern sister. The bark can be gray and warty, or gray and smooth like a beech. It looks like a good shade tree to me. Some people have complained some about it in the deep South as a wild tree.


On Feb 2, 2014, Fortier from Cypress Gardens, FL wrote:

Should u trim back a sugar berry tree ours is 15 ft ?


On May 21, 2013, h9kr4jg8ir5 from Spring, TX wrote:

I can't figure out why I'm getting dozens or hundreds of Sugar Hackberry seedlings sprouting up in my suburban Houston yard every year - 10 times as many as all other tree types combined. They comprise less than 1% of the trees in the natural forests around me. My first one sprung up about 6 years ago and it's now over 20 feet tall. Another one sprung up 4 years ago and it's nearly 15 feet tall. I'm on my way to having a Hackberry forest in my property. I like them so far. They're shady and they look like trees to me. I haven't seen any of the downsides yet. I guess I'd rather have Hackberry trees than turf grass.


On Jun 18, 2012, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

In our part of the world these are known as trash trees. They pop up along fence lines forming dense thickets . They pop up in flowerbeds and are impossible to control without doing damage to desirable plants. Older specimens here look gangly and unkempt . The mature trees break and snap in strong winds, and they seem to like to look diseased and nasty everywhere they grow here . Maybe in another area they grow beautifully without these bad characteristics, but here in Central Texas they are truly ugly, messy ,Weedy, diseased looking trees They are everywhere here . I even see them coming up in the Extraco banks flowerbeds. Hopefully the bank will get rid of them because they are starting to get quite big. Every summer I spend about a week out of the month chopping down baby trees without ... read more


On Nov 7, 2010, Skeptic from Austin, TX wrote:

It grows like weeds and it looks dirty in the summer/fall when it gets sticky. I have a million of them that I would love to give away. Birds love their seeds.


On Nov 16, 2006, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

It grows wild here also. It would not be a bad tree for yards except except that it is a magnet for the Asian Wooly Hackberry aphid. It is a very competitive tree with an intense network of long feeder roots. It is very detrimental close to a cultivated field. It also propogates like mad.


On Nov 16, 2006, buyabutterfly from Brooker, FL wrote:

Hackberry and Sugarberry are host plants for Tawny Emperor, Hackberry Emperor, American Snout, and Question Mark butterflies as well as several moths.


On Mar 4, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Sugar Hackberry, is Native to Central and East Texas, and provides food for many species of wildlife.


On Dec 25, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Attention Florida Gardeners!
The sugarberry is a must have tree for every yard. If you don't have one, you're missing out on a great tree that is native and growing in the wild, even way down in Miami-Dade County.

Not only is it a great shade tree, you'll love the fall (winter) color, yes even in Florida, the leaves turn a bright yellow, even in conditions that aren't ideal.

Wondering what the difference is between the northern Hackberry (c. occidentalis) and the southern hackberry/sugarberry (c. laevigata)? Well, the c. occidentalis occurs in dry upland sites most of the time, whereas the c. laevigata is typically found in wet sites. As far as appearance goes, I have a northern hackberry in my yard and I believe the leaves are somewhat wider and more... read more


On Sep 30, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

Hackberry grows amazingly fast when young. I planted a sapling in 1990, and it was a 30' tree when we moved in 2001, with a substantial bole. These trees make wonderful light to medium shade when they get enough water.

The wood is a bit weak, similar to red maple (Acer rubrum) and should not be planted where they will overhang a house or a parking area. I never ate a hackberry fruit, the birds were always there first. This tree also has drooping branches when it has enough water, which made mowing under it before pruning up a bit of an adventure.

I will plant another one on our new property when I figure out where. I know of no higher praise for a large tree.