A 2 or 3 inch layer of organic mulch spread on the ground around the trunk out to the drip line offers many benefits to trees. Chopped leaves, wood chips, shredded bark or similar material directly on the soil or over landscape fabric laid down first, will discourage weeds and competition for nutrients by lawn grass. It helps the soil absorb and retain moisture, eliminating run-off. It also protects the trunk from injury by yard care equipment.
Hickories don t usually need watering except when they re first planted, in time of drought, or in late fall before the ground freezes for the winter.
Harvesting And Storing Hickory Nuts - Hickory nuts ripen in the fall and drop from their husks to the ground. After taking them out of their husks, soak them in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes to make them easier to shell. Store fresh nuts in a cool dark place, or shell them and freeze the nutmeats.
Feed young shagbark hickories once a year in the fall. Sprinkle a granular general purpose fertilizer on the soil under the tree out as far as the branches reach (the drip line) for the rain to soak in. Use about 1/2 pound of fertilizer for trees with a trunk diameter of 1/2 inch at the base. For larger trees, use 1 pound for each inch of trunk diameter. Don t feed your trees until after their first season.
Pruning - Hickories should be pruned while dormant in early spring. Prune young trees to a strong central shoot and to a pyramidal shape. Remove all branches up to 3 feet above the ground. Established trees need pruning only to maintain their shape and to remove dead wood.