Hickory Tree Facts, Diseases, and Care

Hickory Tree Facts, Diseases, and Care

Hickory tree in the fall with yellow foliage

Is the lack of information impacting your ability to care for and fight disease on the otherwise resilient hickory tree?

Hickory trees are among the most durable trees native to the United States. Any of the hickory tree species should be considered for your mid-sized or large landscape for their beauty and ease of care.

toddsmariettatreeservices.com gathered hickory tree facts, diseases, care tips, and answers some frequently asked questions.

Hickory Tree Facts

Hickory trees are a member of the Carya genus. There are about twenty species of hickory that comprise the genus, of which, 12 species are native to the United States.

Trees in the Carya genus are blooming and bearing tree species. Hickory trees are tough and durable, among the most long-lived, and are a frequent favorite in Southern landscaping.

Tree Name


Scientific Name/Species

Carya tomentosa (most abundant of the hickories)


Juglandaceae (walnut family)



Nickname/Other Tree(s)

Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), pignut or black hickory (Carya glabra), sand hickory (Carya palida), red hickory (Carya ovalis), and mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa) are all species within the Carya genus

State Tree

Texas (pecan – Carya illinoinensis)


Can live up to 500 years or more when planted in optimal conditions



Hardiness Zone(s)

from 4 to 8

Soil Requirements

Tolerates most soil types but in all cases, prefers well-drained soil with full sun exposure

Planting Spacing

20ft between trees

Watering Requirements

Regular (to keep the soil moist) when young or planted. Minimal (during dry spells) thereafter


60 to 100ft


1 to 2ft at maturity

Crown Span

40ft or more at maturity (the shape may vary depending on the species)

Root Spread

Hickory trees are known for their deep, expansive, and robust root systems which help them from being uprooted during the strongest of winds and storms

Fruit Production

Hickories require a 10-15 year period of growth before they will bear fruit

Uses in Landscaping

Hickories make a magnificent specimen, screen, or large shade tree, and are well suited for more spacious landscapes

Winter/Fall Colors

Golden yellow before leaf-drop in the fall

Hickory Tree Diseases

Hickory trees are extremely tough and resilient to disease when they are healthy, and the following are some of the diseases to watch for:

Hickory Anthracnose/Leaf Spot – The symptoms include large reddish spots on leaf tops and brown spots underneath. When an infection is severe, early defoliation may occur.

Many of the fungi that cause this disease will survive the winter on fallen infected leaves. When these leaves fall, they should be carefully disposed of.

Hickory tree fallen autumn foliage

For more info on the anthracnose disease, visit toddsmariettatreeservices.com/how-to-identify-treat-prevent-anthracnose/

Verticillium Wilt – Symptoms of this infection include entire branches or a whole section of a tree dying off. The foliage on affected parts of the tree will wilt and turn brown.

Help your tree remain healthy by pruning out infected branches, watering during dry weather, and seasonal fertilization.

Powdery Mildew – This disease causes a white “powdery” growth on the leaves. When this disease occurs early in the growing season, it can be treated using the following:

• In one gallon of water, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a one-half teaspoon of liquid soap (non-detergent).
• Spray liberally on affected foliage.

If this infection occurs late in the season, control will not be required. Make sure that fallen leaves are collected and disposed of.

Witches Broom – This disease will typically follow a leaf spot disease. Symptoms include yellow spots on leaf surfaces with white spots on the underneath side.

Defoliation may occur from severe infections, and when the disease successfully enters the stem, a witches broom will form.

Leaves on the witches broom stems will be small, yellowish, and fall prematurely. When witches brooms form, prune them away, and call a tree service to evaluate the overall health of the tree.

Cankers – Cankers occur when a tree’s bark is wounded, and an opportunistic fungus finds its way into the wound. As the fungus grows and multiplies, it stops the tree from compartmentalizing the wound and can eventually spread throughout the tree.

Cankers that appear on twigs and branches should be pruned out, cutting all the way back to the trunk when the infection is severe. Cankers that form on the trunk of a tree should be inspected by a tree service to determine the best course of action.

To prevent cankers from forming, keep your trees healthy by watering them when the weather is dry, seasonally fertilizing them, and pruning them during their dormancy.

To be best prepared for preventing potential danger, read signs and symptoms of a troubled tree.

Hickory Tree Care

Caring for trees of the hickory species is easy and includes:

• Watering when the weather is dry.
• Pruning during the dormant season.
• Annual fertilizing.
• Treating fungi when affected.
• Scheduling an annual inspection.

Hickory tree watering and care

For more valuable information on tree watering and soil needs, visit toddsmariettatreeservices.com/tree-watering-rich-soil-healthy-trees/

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do all hickory trees produce nuts?
Answer: Yes. Hickory trees comprise the genus Carya (Ancient Greek for “nut”).

Question: Are hickory nuts edible for humans?
Answer: Yes. However, the flavor will vary from species to species.

Question: Are Hickory trees related to pecan trees?
Answer: Yes. In fact, the two are so closely related, they grow within the same hardiness zone and require the same care.

Hickory and pecan trees grow in the same hardiness zone and require equal care

Question: How long do hickory trees live?
Answer: Hickory trees are known to live beyond 500 years.

Question: What is hickory wood good for?
Answer: Being one of the strongest and hardest woods native to the United States, hickory is frequently used where shock-resistance and strength are required, such as wood flooring.

Hickory is also popular for smoking cured meats and cooking barbecue.

The Hickory Tree is a Perfect Landscape Specimen

Hickory trees from the Carya genus are easy to care for, and many of the species are native to the United States. These easy trees are among landscapers favorites for their resilience and ease of care.

In this article, you discovered hickory tree facts, diseases, care tips, and uncovered answers to frequently asked questions.

If the hickory tree isn’t a part of your landscape, you are missing out on a slow growing, beautifully shaped shade or screen tree. They are easy to plant and require minimal care efforts.



Todd’s Marietta Tree Services

200 Cobb Pkwy N Ste 428 Marietta, GA 30062
(678) 505-0266

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