Shellbark Hickory

The shellbark hickory or big shagbark hickory, as it is sometimes called is another hickory species that is native to the mildest regions of Ontario. Its range spreads southward from there covering much of the Eastern United States. It has a nut that ranges from shagbark size to a large egg size. Its kernel can match the Persian walnut in size. The shell is generally thicker than a shagbark, requiring a hammer or vise to break through it to get at the nut meat inside. Shellbark hickory nuts have internal shell ridges like the shagbark that make kernel removal difficult.
Improved grafted varieties have smaller ridges and the shell shatters in a way that make it easier to remove the kernel in halves. In other respects, the shellbark is similar to the shagbark.

Generally, the shellbark hickory needs the long hot summers found further south to ripen the nuts. A few cultivars ripen soon enough for the shorter Ontario season and do well in zone 6b. 'Henry', 'Fayette' and 'Keystone' are among the best, 'Keystone' has the thinnest shell of all shellbark selections.

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