To add to the conversation the following is copied off the National Arbor Day Foundation website for your reading pleasure.
HACKBERRY (/CELTIS OCCIDENTALIS/)
The hackberry, while often forgotten by casual consumers, is commonly heralded by tree experts as one tough tree. Found on a wide range of soils east of the Rockies from southern Canada to Florida, these trees thrive in a broad span of temperatures and on sites that vary from 14 to 60" of annual rainfall. They can even stand up to strong winds and tolerate air pollution.
All of this hardiness adds up to a good landscape choice, particularly if youre looking for an energy-conserving shade tree that doesnt require watering.
The hackberry can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 39.
This tree is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental tree. It features a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping.
The hackberry grows to a height of 4060' and a spread of 4060' at maturity.
This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to more than 24" per year.
Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.
The hackberry grows well in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. It has some tolerance for both flooding and drought.
Features leaves shaped like spearheads, approximately 24" and 1½2" wide, arranged alternately along the twigs. Small teeth edge at least the upper half of the leaf.
Produces small, dark red drupes about 1/3" in diameter that turn dark purple as they mature in mid-autumn. These berry-like fruit persist into the winter.
Develops a broad crown with arching branches.
Forms characteristic corky ridges and warts on trunk and branches.
Tolerates strong winds, pollution, heat, drought and salt.
Grows in a rounded, vase-like shape.
Has a growth pattern that resembles the elm--without the susceptibility to disease.
The fruit of the hackberry is popular with winter birds, especially the cedar waxwing, mockingbird and robin. The tree also attracts many butterfly species including American snout, comma, hackberry, mourning cloak, tawny emperor and question mark.
In earlier years, its tough, flexible wood was used for barrel hoops, and many a pioneer cabin was equipped with durable hackberry wood flooring. The tree was first cultivated in 1636.
Other common names given to the hackberry include common hackberry, sugarberry, nettletree, beaverwood, northern hackberry and American hackberry.
Quoting "Gross, Douglas" <dogross...>:
> Hi Marcy,
> I do not propagate Northern Hackberry or know much about its growth.
> Hackberry grows best in rich bottomland forests but also will grow on
> hillsides. Each tree has flowers of both sexes. But, I would bet
> that it is better for multiple trees to be planted at a location to
> mix with the usual silver maples & sycamores of these woods.
> I?ve seen many hackberry trees in woods along the Susquehanna river
> including places like Bloomsburg town park, the Berwick brewery
> (which overlooks the river), Susquehanna Riverlands, and along the
> Susquehanna Warrior Trail in Luzerne County. I am sure that they
> grow at many locations along the main branch of the Susquehanna and
> along other streams in the state as well as parks and game lands.
> They must be common on islands, too. Birds distribute the seeds
> through their digestive tract so seedlings grown in a lot of places
> that might not be optimum for growth.
> Yes, I have seen hackberry emperors in Susquehanna Riverlands.
> When I have led bird walks, I?ve often been the only person on the
> walk who knew what this species was and that it was a good wildlife
> plant. That?s why I?ve chimed in. It is good for birders to be
> better botanists.
> I also like the cucumber magnolia tree or cucumber-tree (Magnolia
> acuminata) that can grow pretty large and produces odd sausage-shaped
> green fruits that wood ducks and other birds consume.
> Doug Gross
> Columbia County