Hackberry

The tree everyone loves to hate. I once showed my son what the the seedlings looked like and asked him to pull them up whenever he saw one growing. He was so surprised. Can a tree be a weed?

I have wondered if my neighbourhood which goes by the name Cherrywood should really be called Hackberry or maybe Sugarberry. Hackberries grow everywhere here while cherriesĀ  … well … not so much.

Hackberry
Hackberry

They can be rather ugly. If the leaves aren’t infested with galls in the spring then the twigs most likely will be in the fall. Even the trunk can be warty looking.

Hackberry
Hackberry

But there is a reason why they are prolific. Try tasting the skin of the berry sometime. Hackberries are sweet — the flavour is reminiscent of strawberry. (Don’t break your teeth on the pit inside. You’ll need something much stronger than teeth to break those.)

Hackberry is a good tree to have around in case of a zombie apocalypse so maybe I will spare the biggest one in our backyard. I found a couple cool recipes here.

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12 thoughts on “Hackberry

  1. You don’t like hackberry trees? They have always been one of my favorites. My dad has one on his land and is on strict orders not to have it cut down :) So far he is humoring me on this.

    Good that you have a strategy to survive a zombie invasion, though!

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    1. It is so nice to hear someone likes them! Hurrah! Everyone ought to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse. I personally don’t hate them but they are pretty much universally reviled in Austin.

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  2. Yes, if you have hackberries, you probably have a lot of them, but I don’t hate them at all. They are premiere wildlife food. Birds of many kinds love the fruit. I’ve even had turkeys strolling by to eat the hackberries off the ground. Insect-eating birds use them, too, getting at the insects and larva that hide in the rough bark.

    Also, the wood is a hardwood, excellent for burning in fireplaces. The trees grow swiftly so they are a good choice for a sustainable supply.

    They are not valuable commercially, but what do I care about that?! Maybe I love them more because they are a little warty and maligned. :)

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    1. I have one that is getting kind of tall but hasn’t produced fruit yet. They really are a premiere wildlife food. Not just the leaves, twigs and fruit but I just found out that they support some butterflies, too.

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  3. Those seedlings are everywhere, aren’t they? And if you don’t get them out when they’re small, you never will because the roots go to China. I had my son dig some out this past summer–he’s younger and stronger than I am.

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    1. They do get everywhere. They are like privet that way. So far I’ve been kind of lucky. They grow slowly enough that I just pull them out of the ground. Except for the one. Not fruiting yet but pretty darn tall. I am really conflicted about it. Leave it for wildlife value or save myself some potential back breaking work in the future …

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  4. I ‘ve never heard of a hackberry, but it is good to know that they keep you safe from zombies. We don’ t have zombies in Suffolk, which is just as well as we have no hackberries.
    We do have a spectral hound called Black Shuck though. Much more fun than The Undead.

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  5. Count me in – I love to hate hackberries. They are messy messy but it is their persistence even after being cut down that has me especially growly. We had a huge one that had to be taken down and years later there are still suckers coming up off the roots in the most inconvenient places for yards downhill of where it once stood. I hate it with a passion.

    You’ve got me curious though. Why are hackberries good to have around in case of a zombie apocalypse? I should KNOW this, but I don’t…

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    1. I pull them up every year. And when I do I think of Carl Sagan’s stars: there are billions and billions of them. The reason why they might make a good food source in the event of a zombie apocalypse and the total breakdown of society is that they are found everywhere on the continent and the berries are super nutritious: high in protein, fat and carbs. They even contain calcium. The berries persist so they can be found over a long season. With no moisture content they won’t even spoil if you collect them. They were an important food source in prehistoric times when people didn’t care about the ornamental value of trees.

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