1 Gallon Container, 18-24” 2.00

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MOCKERNUT HICKORY (Carya tomentosa)

Carya tomentosa, (Mockernut hickory, mockernut, white hickory, whiteheart hickory, hognut, bullnut) is a tree in the Juglandaceae or Walnut family. The most abundant of the hickories, common in the eastern half of the US, it is long lived, sometimes reaching the age of 500 years. A straight-growing hickory, a high percentage of its wood is used for products where strength, hardness, and flexibility are needed. The wood makes an excellent fuelwood, as well.

The species’ name comes from the Latin word tomentum, meaning “covered with dense short hairs,” referring to the underside of the leaves which help identify the species. Also called the White Hickory due to the light color of the wood, the tree’s common name of “Mockernut” comes from the large, thick-shelled fruit with very small kernels of meat inside.


Native range

Mockernut hickory, a true hickory, grows from Massachusetts and New York west to southern Ontario, southern Michigan, and northern Illinois; then to southeastern Iowa, Missouri, and eastern Kansas, south to eastern Texas and east to northern Florida. This species is not present in New Hampshire and Vermont as previously mapped by Little . Mockernut hickory is most abundant southward through Virginia, North Carolina and Florida where it is the most common of the hickories. It is also abundant in the lower Mississippi Valley and grows largest in the lower Ohio River Basin and in Missouri and Arkansas.


The climate where mockernut hickory grows is usually humid. Within its range the mean annual precipitation measures from 890 millimetres (35 in) in the north to 2,030 millimetres (80 in) in the south. During the growing season (April through September), annual precipitation varies from 510 to 890 mm (20 to 35 in). About 200 centimetres (79 in) of annual snowfall is common in the northern part of the range, but it seldom snows in the southern portion.


Annual temperatures range from 10° to 21 °C (50° to 70 °F). Temperatures range from 21° to 27′ C (70° to 80 °F) in July and from -7° to 16 °C (20° to 60 °F) in January. Temperature extremes are well above 38 °C (100 °F) and below −18 °C (0 °F). The growing season is approximately 160 days in the northern part of the range and up to 320 days in the southern part of the range.

Soils and topography

In the north, mockernut hickory is found on drier soils of ridges and hillsides and less frequently on moist woodlands and alluvial bottoms. The species grows and develops best on deep, fertile soils. In the Cumberland Mountains and hills of southern Indiana, it grows on dry sites such as south and west slopes or dry ridges Mockernut grows in Alabama and Mississippi on sandy soils with shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) and loblolly pine (P taeda). However, most of the merchantable mockernut grows on moderately fertile upland soils.

Mockernut hickory grows primarily on Ultisols occurring on an estimated 65 percent of its range, including much of the southern to northeastern United States. These soils are low in nutrients and usually moist, but during the warm season, they are dry part of the time. Along the mid-Atlantic and in the southern and western range, mockernut hickory grows on a variety of soils on slopes of 25 percent or less, including combinations of fine to coarse loams, clays, and well-drained quartz sands. On slopes steeper than 25 percent, mockernut often grows on coarse loams.

Mockernut grows on Inceptisols in an estimated 15 percent of its range. These clayey soils are moderate to high in nutrients and are primarily in the Appalachians on gentle to moderate slopes where water is available to plants during the growing season. In the northern Appalachians on slopes of 25 percent or less, mockernut hickory grows on poorly drained loams with a fragipan. In the central and southern Appalachians on slopes 25 percent or less, mockernut hickory grows on fine loams. On steeper slopes it grows on coarse loams.

In the northwestern part of the range, mockernut grows on Mollisols. These soils have a deep, fertile surface horizon greater than 25 centimetres (9.8 in) thick. Mollisols characteristically form under grass in climates with moderate to high seasonal precipitation.

Mockernut grows on a variety of soils including wet, fine loams, sandy textured soils that often have been burned, plowed, and pastured. Alfisols are also present in these areas and contain a medium to high supply of nutrients. Water is available to plants more than half the year or more than 3 consecutive months during the growing season. On slopes 25 percent or less, mockernut grows on wet to moist, fine loam soils with a high carbonate content.

Special uses

Mockernuts are preferred mast for wildlife, particularly squirrels, which eat green nuts. Black bears, foxes, rabbits, beavers, and white-footed mice feed on the nuts, and sometimes the bark. The white-tailed deer browse on foliage and twigs and also feed on nuts. Hickory nuts are a minor source of food for ducks, quail, and turkey.

Mockernut Hickory nuts are consumed by many species of birds and other animals, including Wood Duck, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red Fox, squirrels, Beaver, Eastern Cottontail, Eastern Chipmunk, Turkey, White-tailed Deer, White-footed Mice, and others. Many insect pests eat hickory leaves and bark. Mockernut Hickories also provide cavities for animals to live in, such as woodpeckers, Black Rat Snakes, Raccoons, Carolina Chickadees, and more. They are also good nesting trees, providing cover for birds with their thick foliage. Animals help disperse seeds so that new hickories can grow elsewhere. Chipmunks, squirrels, and birds do this best. Some fungi grow on Mockernut Hickory roots, sharing nutrients from the soil.

True hickories provide a very large portion of the high-grade hickory used by industry. Mockernut is used for lumber, pulpwood, charcoal, and other fuelwood products. Hickory species are preferred species for fuelwood consumption. Mockernut has the second highest heating value among the species of hickories. It can be used for veneer, but the low supply of logs of veneer quality is a limiting factor.

Mockernut hickory is used for tool handles requiring high shock resistance. It is used for ladder rungs, athletic goods, agricultural implements, dowels, gymnasium apparatus, poles, shafts, well pumps, and furniture. Lower grade lumber is used for pallets, blocking, and so on. Hickory sawdust, chips, and some solid wood are often used by packing companies to smoke meats, and mockernut is the preferred wood for smoking hams. Though mockernut kernels are edible, because of their size they are rarely eaten by humans.

Mockernut hickory is used for smoking meats such as ham.

(Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)