Hackberry is known for its attractive bark that is corky and rough in texture. The bright green elm-like foliage turns to a soft yellow in the fall, and the fruits are relished by wildlife. Its fleshy, purple-brown berries ripen in late summer and persist through winter. The persistent fruits attract many birds that also find the tree to be a suitable nesting site. With a round open form, it grows at a moderate to rapid rate. Extremely hardy, and adaptable to a range of urban environments including alkaline soils, drought, and windy conditions.
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 you’re looking for an energy-conserving shade tree that doesn’t require watering.
Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade. Also tolerates wind, many urban pollutants and a wide range of soil conditions, including both wet, dry and poor soils.