A truly rare, undiscovered gem, in Alberta, The Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) is a resilient and under appreciated tree that offers a wealth of benefits for landscape design. Often overshadowed by its flashier flowering cousins, the Hackberry boasts a combination of toughness, adaptability, and subtle beauty that makes it a valuable addition to many gardens. You may get tired of hearing “I’ve never seen anything like that” from your yard guests.

What You Need To Know:

  • Lifespan: With proper care, these trees can live for 150-200 years, offering generations the opportunity to enjoy their shade and ecological benefits.
  • Canopy Size and Spread: Reaches a mature spread of 25-50 feet, creating a significant shade canopy.
  • Growth Rate: Moderate grower, adding 1-2 feet per year after establishment.
  • Canopy Height: Maturity brings a height of 30-50 feet, offering shade without overpowering smaller gardens.
  • Soil Preference: Adapts well to various soils, but thrives in moist, well-drained conditions. Tolerates clay, loam, and even slightly alkaline soils.
  • Water Needs: Moderately water-dependent, especially during the first few years after planting and during dry spells. Once established, they are drought tolerant.
  • Flowers and Fruits: Small, greenish flowers appear in spring, followed by small, fleshy fruits that ripen to a purplish-black color in late summer and persist into winter.

Interesting Facts

  • A Native Champion: The Hackberry is a native tree to North America, offering a natural element to your landscape and supporting local ecosystems.
  • Superficial Root System: Unlike some trees with invasive roots, the Hackberry has a shallow, non-aggressive root system, making it a good choice for planting near sidewalks or driveways.
  • Honeycomb Hack: The unique, corky bark of mature Hackberry trees develops a ridged pattern that resembles a honeycomb. This adds visual interest, especially during the winter months.
  • Resilient and Adaptable: The Hackberry thrives in various conditions, tolerating heat, drought, strong winds, pollution, and even poor soil quality. This makes it a perfect choice for urban landscapes or areas with challenging growing conditions.
  • Low-Maintenance Beauty: This tree requires minimal maintenance. Occasional pruning may be needed to remove dead branches or shape the canopy, but otherwise, it’s a low-fuss addition to your landscape.
  • Four-Season Interest: While not adorned with showy flowers, the Hackberry offers beauty throughout the year. In spring, it produces inconspicuous greenish flowers. Summer brings attractive green foliage, followed by a transformation into vibrant yellow hues in fall. In winter, the distinctive bark adds a touch of texture to the bare landscape.
  • Wildlife Haven: The Hackberry provides valuable food and shelter for wildlife. Birds flock to feast on its sweet, purple-black berries, while butterflies and other pollinators find nectar in its small flowers.


Interested In Adding This Unique Tree To Your Property?

Contact Edmonton Arborist and our expert tree planting team will bring and install your very own Hackberry!

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Consumer choice award for Northern Alberta tree services 2022 and 2023!