×  Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

Family: Walnut (Juglandaceae)

Common Names: Carolina Hickory, Scalybark Hickory, and Shellbark Hickory.

Common throughout Eastern and Central Nebraska, the Shagbark hickory is a medium-sized tree averaging 70 to 80 feet tall, 12 to 24 inches in trunk diameter, and may reach heights of 130 feet in the open. The Shagbark is a pecan hickory. Its fruit is edible and commercially available as hickory nuts. It is closely related to the pecan tree, so closely, in fact that the two have been hybridized successfully.

The shagbark hickory gets its name from the tree's characteristic rough shaggy bark. On old trunks, shaggy, light gray, 3/4- to 1-inch thick bark separates into rough strips that are loose at both ends and give the trunk a shaggy appearance.

Hickory wood well figured. It is very heavy, very hard, very strong, and very stiff. It has exceedingly high resistance to shock. There are some woods that are stronger than hickory and some that are harder, but the combination of strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness found in hickory wood is not found in any other commercial wood.

The dark brown close-grained hardwood is hard and durable and highly shock resistant which makes it excellent for tools, tool handles and ladders — about four-fifths of all hickory wood is used for manufacturing tool handles, for which no other wood is quite as well suited. It is also used in agricultural implements, athletic goods such as bats and skis, bows, ladder rungs, furniture, flooring and increasingly cabinets.

Both pecan hickories, such as Shagbark Hickory, and true hickories are difficult to machine and are very hard to work with hand tools. Sharp cutting tools are absolutely required for smooth work, and they will dull quickly. The hickories do not glue well. They hold nails and screws well with pre-boring and the wood can be sanded to a smooth finish. Medium to dark stains and bleaching are acceptable finishing treatments.