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Author Topic: Hickory? If so, what type?  (Read 2245 times)

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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Hickory? If so, what type?
« on: September 03, 2021, 06:04:53 PM »
Took a quick run through the woodlot and found two big trees down from the recent storms. One was across the skid trail and will need cleaning up. Pretty good sized tree. I don't run into these much, pretty sure it's a hickory, but wondering what kind? Pics aren't as good as I'd like.



 
Thats the fruit and leaves.



 

Slightly different shot of the structure. I will have to come around from the other side to start cutting and take a look at the bark. After knowing the specific species, my next question is the wood characteristics. What is it good for? Should I take sawlogs if I can get them? Looks to be a pretty big stick, not sure yet where it broke. I know it's good for handles and such, but don't know much else.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2021, 06:09:23 PM »
Also, forgot to ask, the nuts on this tree, what can be done with the. There is quite a crop. Wondering when they should be harvested, and what to do with them. Is this crop lost because it's too early for harvest?
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2021, 06:30:30 AM »
Re wood: I dont know except for what Ive read about on here, devil wood.

Re fruit: Ive seen squirrels eat most kinds of tree fruit (seeds) in almost any state, except rotten. For other critters, they should have been ripe before harvest whether or not its done by you. Id say leave the nuts (fruit) where they drop & forget them unless not able to because of neighbors.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2021, 07:09:30 AM »
Definitely hickory.  Pick a few nuts and a branch end off and google images tab.  The nuts are pretty unique.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2021, 09:08:44 AM »
Hickory is a second cousin to pecan and walnut from what I gather .The nuts from shag bark or shell bark are edible but the so called bitter nut or smooth bark/pignut  are not .As far as lumber info I gathered from a local sawmill says the bitter nut makes the best lumber .
Identification would be of course the bark plus the number of fronds in a leaf .
The lumber is hard and durable but does not hold up to weather well .For firewood it needs cut, split and stacked plus covered  in a timely manner  because left in the log it will rot .It does make for example very nice flooring and I have around 1000 square feet of it in my house of laminated hickory . 

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2021, 09:26:37 AM »
--more as usual .For reasons unknown I've lost quite a few rather large hickory trees that just die on the vine .These are like 3 feet in diameter and upwards of near 100 feet .I have one I hope to get to this winter that's nearly 3 1/2 feet .Whatever  the problem is it seems to only get the shag barks .
Green cut they aren't bad but standing dead they are hard as a rock .I'll be going to get a lot of practice with the file I'm certain when that time comes .
I might have a scant 2-300 board feet of air dried shag  I saved with the intent of making a table leaf for a pecan dining room table .It's been stacked for over 15 years inside so it's about as dry as it's ever going to get . 

Offline WDH

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2021, 11:23:55 AM »
Hickory is a second cousin to pecan and walnut from what I gather .
Pecan is a hickory.  There are two groups of hickories, the true hickories that have five to seven leaflets and rounded nuts and the pecan hickories, of which pecan  smiley_devil is one, that have seven to many leaflets and flattened nuts.  Pecan wood is considered hickory in the trade.  There are four pecan hickories, pecan, water hickory, bitternut hickory, and nutmeg hickory.  
OGH, I can positively identify your hickory with just a bit more information.  How many leaflets?  Is the leaf stalk smooth or fuzzy?  Is the underside of the leaflets smooth or fuzzy?  Does the nut husk split all the way to the base or only partially?  Is the nut husk thick, like 1/4 thick or is it thin, 1/8 thick or less?  If it was shagbark or shellbark, it would obvious from the very shaggy bark.  From what I see in the pics, your hickory appears to be pignut. 
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2021, 11:50:26 AM »
Thanks all. Big wedding here today and I am tied up with chores. As soon I can I will zip back down to the woods and get a better sample and photos. I could not even see the trunk for the direction I approached it. Should have clipped off a branch but didn't think of that.
 After the wedding I will refocus.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2021, 11:52:59 AM »
On what I found to be humorous squirrels are the best tree planters in the world .I find little hickory and walnut saplings rising up a long ways away from the standing trees .Some are so small they get mistaken for a weed but they certainly don't pull out of the ground like a weed .Tough little rascals . 

Offline KEC

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2021, 12:10:48 PM »
So, is bitternut and pignut one and the same ?  What I encounter here is bitternut. It is great for smoking meat and excellent heating wood. One thing though, you can cut it, cut it up and stack it right away and before long the powder post beetles are in it. Other than handles, I don't know what the lumber can be used for. When I hauled hardwood logs I would see bitternut logs sitting at a landing and in short order the ends of the logs would open up with cracks you could fit your fingers into.

Offline WDH

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2021, 12:28:46 PM »
No.  The two are very different.  Pignut has a leaf stem (rachis) that is smooth but bitternut has a fuzzy one.  Pignut normally has 5 leaflets, sometimes 7.   Bitternut has 7 to 10.   Buds are different.  Pignut has a small black/brown bud with overlapping scales.  Bitternut buds are very unique and diagnostic.  They are sulfur yellow, longer than round, and do not have overlapping scales.  The bark can be very similar. Tight appressed ridges that interlace although one variety of pignut hickory has bark that still forms interlocking ridges but is a little scaly. 
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2021, 05:30:40 PM »
Another thing I found with fresh cut hickory is the ants .Once cut and stacked they attack it in warm weather .They stop when it's bone dry .I used to stack it and spray it down with Sevin and water ,dead ants every where .
I did about 3 cords early this spring that was bone dry and haven't noticed any ants . 

Offline KEC

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2021, 07:53:13 PM »
Thanks, WDH. I'll have to look at some of the hickory trees around here.

Offline JBlain

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2021, 08:08:01 PM »
We have pignut, mockernut, shellbark, shagbark, and bitternut hickory on our place in central PA.  Different soils and elevations favor each one. 

For the nuts, our favorite thing to do is find ones that aren't rotten and crush them with a hammer.  Throw them shells and all into a pot of water and boil them.  It makes an excellent tea and the nut meat separates to the top and the shells to the bottom.  We ladle off the meat and then strain the tea with a coffee filter.  Our kids love it.  

Offline KEC

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2021, 08:07:17 PM »
I seem to recall that the husks from bitternut nuts are toxic and that the Indians would throw husks into water to kill fish.

Offline WDH

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2021, 08:32:38 AM »
Not sure about bitternut but I believe that walnut nut husks were used the same way and also to make a dye.  
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2021, 08:42:02 AM »
That nut is kinda starting to open up like a shagbark. BUT I've never seen any other hickory trees either. I have a shagbark hickory on my land. Right next to the truck road. The logger that was cutting the trees told me about it. He thought I did not know it was there.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2021, 09:31:33 AM »
Down here, the involucre (nut husk) on the shag barks is thick, like 1/4 thick.  Check out the pic of the nut husk on shagbark in this link.  

https://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=20

The one in this thread seems to be a thin husk variety like you see in pignut or bitternut.  
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2021, 09:48:09 AM »
I missed the thin shell. No need for the link for me, I have plenty of shells to look at.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2021, 09:53:32 AM »
Hickory is very dense heavy hardwood. makes very nice lumber. I just stacked some boards that have been air drying for over a year. Felt like fresh cut red oak in weight.

I have been collecting as much as I can cause I wanted to do hickory floors in my house. It can be really nice stuff. but for sure it is hard. I have had better luck cutting the hickory than I have cutting spruce.

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2021, 10:09:09 AM »
Down here, if I had hickory air drying for a year, it would be pretty much riddled with PPBs unless sprayed green off the sawmill with DOT (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate).  They love my hickory and desperately love my pecan. 
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2021, 11:58:23 AM »
I missed the thin shell. No need for the link for me, I have plenty of shells to look at.
Thin husk, not thin shell. 
Shell is that which surrounds the nut meat, and the husk surrounds the shell. 
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2021, 02:05:52 PM »
Speaking of which ,hickory I'm to round up a bunch of small stuff and burn them into coals .I've got plenty near my splitter .The T-bone steaks  I've got laid out for supper  deserve a better fire than a gas grill . It takes about an hour and a half to burn it down to just the right coal bed .--plus of course about 2 or 3 barley pops while feeding the fire . ;)
  

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2021, 04:18:24 PM »
OK, went down this afternoon and clipped off a branch. It's dark down their in the full sunshine. First, here is the bark:


 

Here are the nuts:


 

This is the leaf tops (smooth):


 
The leaf bottoms (also smooth as is the stalk):


 

As I said, no fuzz on the leaves or stalks. The leaves are in groups of 5 or seven, I could not find more. Looks like I have some millable logs in there. The nuts are still green and hard but I shaved off some of the husk and it is thin, 1/8" or less and very fragrant.

 So I think what we have here is pignut based on the WDH description. My prime concerns/uses come in the following order:
1) Mill lumber for furniture type stuff (not structural).
2) firewood from what I can't mill
3) maybe try using the fruit for 'something'.
 I plan to let it sit for a few weeks to let the nuts mature and maybe pick a bunch. This tree broke off at the stump so it still has a lot of water and nutrients in it to feed those nuts. It is blocking the skid road along with a small maple it took down along it's earthward journey.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2021, 04:56:08 PM »
Yes Sir.  You hit all of the marks exactly for pignut. 
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2021, 07:22:09 PM »
OK, sorry, but I have to put in a page to @WDH again. The other tree down in this storm that I walked past and assumed it was 'yet another red maple' (juvenile bark) turned out to be another hickory, but this one is different from the first.


 
The leaves are a totally different shape from the previous one, there are 5 leaves in a group, they are smooth both sides and the stem.
The fruit is more than twice the size of the previous specimen.


 

This one is split stem to stern and the husk is a LOT thicker than the other specimen too. I am confused now. HELP! My guess is this is a young shagbark before the bark has developed. I forgot to get a bark photo but it is smooth.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
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I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2021, 07:41:37 PM »
Followup. I did shell one of these nuts and it don't taste bad at all. I'll be collecting these I think. ;D Kind of like a mellow walnut. A lot of work to get them out, but nice clean meat. The pignut was not quite ripe I think and pretty mushy. The taste was not, um, attractive. :D
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2021, 08:14:19 PM »
I betcha that one a shagbark nut. 
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2021, 08:20:03 PM »
OK, sorry, but I have to put in a page to @WDH again. The other tree down in this storm that I walked past and assumed it was 'yet another red maple' (juvenile bark) turned out to be another hickory, but this one is different from the first.

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 
The leaves are a totally different shape from the previous one, there are 5 leaves in a group, they are smooth both sides and the stem.
The fruit is more than twice the size of the previous specimen.

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

This one is split stem to stern and the husk is a LOT thicker than the other specimen too. I am confused now. HELP! My guess is this is a young shagbark before the bark has developed. I forgot to get a bark photo but it is smooth.
Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata). Young bark smooth, without the shag.
Shagbark hickories change as they grow - Lifestyle* - seacoastonline.com - Portsmouth, NH
Nut meats easily removed after cracking by using dike side cutters to break the shell and release the meat of the nut.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2021, 08:26:28 PM »
Yeah, I think you guys are right. I have seen some shag bark trees that are small, 4-5" diameter and had the shag, never saw on with smooth bark. Sorry to see this one go, but it will get used for mushroom logs, so it gets to 'live' for a few more years.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2021, 09:02:12 AM »
You, Sir, are picking up the subtleties of tree ID by looking at diagnostic characteristics.  If I see a 5 leaflet hickory leaf with a smooth rachis (what the leaf petiole is called on a compound leaf) and a big fat nut with a thick husk that splits freely to the base, my very first thought would be shagbark.   Mockernut, one of the most common hickories also has a nut just like that, but leaflets are in 7s and the rachis is tomentose (wooly/hairy). 

This illustrates well an important feature of tree ID. Many times it takes several characteristics paired together to make a determination.  If you go on only a single characteristic in many cases, you can go down the wrong path.   

For example, the shaggy bark of shagbark hickory is unique.  However, as my friend Mr. Beenthere points out, young shagbarks may not have developed the scaly bark at that point in their development.  However, in your case, the nut prevented us from falling into the pignut trap because, this aint right.

Hopefully what I am about to add is not too confusing..
When I was learning trees there was a species called red hickory.  It typically has 7 leaflets, sometimes 5 and the leaf rachis is smooth.  The nut is exactly like pignut hickory, smaller with thin husk that does not split all the way to the base.  The bark has the interlacing ridges, but is a bit scaly. The scientific name was Carya ovalis.  

Today, most Taxonomists do not consider it a separate species, but a variety of pignut hickory.  Pignut hickory is Carya glabra (glabraeous means smooth in taxonomic speak) so in many texts red hickory became false pignut hickory with the name Carya glabra variety ovalis. Others just consider it within the range of variation seen in pignut hickory.  

So, your first posted hickory is the false pignut hickory variety of pignut hickory with the 7 leaflets with smooth rachis and tardily dehiscent nut husk (does not split to base of nut) with slightly scaly interlacing ridges in the bark.  So, it is just a confused pignut hickory tying to be different but I did not want to confuse you about this confused pignut  :).  
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2021, 10:06:24 AM »
Well you did not confuse me (this time ;D), but I won't say I understood all the words you used. :D
 I just came back up with a small load of mushroom logs off the second specimen and collected a bunch of nuts. Once I cut back the brush and got a better look I see that the tree, about 55 feet long (formerly tall) does in fact have the classic shagbark in the lower more mature trunk. My original impression came from the upper, newer, and less mature branches which were obscuring the skid road. The mosquitoes came out to greet me in droves and between the sweat and them and my out-of-breathedness, I came up to unload and take a break. I pulled 14 logs off the top wood on that one. The pignut is much bigger. Trying to squeeze out 40 logs for an emergency order. Not bad for a bonus tree.
 I'll get back to it in a little bit. Thanks for all your help with this. :)
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2021, 10:22:57 AM »
I think in this big  long discussion it just boils down to what term is given to them locally .Pig nut,bitter nut and smooth bark seem to be given to one in the same or similar species .To me the bark on same is similar  to a black walnut .Depends on how you look at it I guess .I'll take a picture of a big one that got the top wind blown a year or two ago .Blew out about 60 feet and left a 40 foot snag .It was a trick removing the top ,too dangerous to climb, no room for a bucket truck .Had to use some creativity on that one .The top alone had about 2.5-3 cords of fire wood .I've never taken the time to estimate how much lumber or firewood the standing snag has but it's quite a bit .BRB ,camera and off to the woods .

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #33 on: September 08, 2021, 10:41:52 AM »
Here you go call it what you want .

 

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #34 on: September 08, 2021, 11:49:04 AM »
Pignut and bitternut are two completely different species of hickory.  Calling one the other does not make it right.  Or, maybe you will be right 50% of the time. 
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #35 on: September 08, 2021, 12:41:07 PM »
I wasn't saying they were however what they might be called in a region might differ .For an example a white oak in northern Ohio might be called a northern white oak but in Mississippi it certainly is in the south .Weather it differs or not who could really say ? The big question is would they both have  the same characteristics therefore the same usage no matter what it's called .Kind of like is a pigs butt really pork ? ;)  

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2021, 08:39:27 PM »
I would say that people should try to use correct common names for species so that we are all on the same page. The "correct" common names of birds are given to them by the American Ornithologists Union. Using these names makes it so that we all know what someone is talking about when they say that they saw such and such a bird. WDH, who assigns common names to trees ?

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2021, 08:01:09 AM »
Most were documented by the early Botanists, Dendrologists, and Taxonomists that first described the species and gave them their Latin names.  I am sure many came from what people had been referring to them by, thus, many species have several common names.  

Some local common names are wrong.  One notable example is in the deep mid-South, namely Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas, what is called pin oak is one of three species, water oak, willow oak, and laurel oak.  There is actually a very common species of red oak called pin oak, Quercus palustris, that is a common in a large area of the drainages of the Ohio river, so a pin oak from a common name standpoint depends on where you are from, although the genuine pin oak is the one in the Ohio valley. 
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2021, 08:17:44 AM »
There are SO many examples of this it boggles my (little) mind. Just go look at the listing on wikipedia of all the species called 'Ironwood'. That term is even used to refer to hornbeam and hop hornbeam. I don't see anyway to get a handle on this locally assigned nomenclature. The cow has been out of the barn for centuries. For the average person I don't think it matters hardly at all, a red oak is a red oak, right? But there is a big difference between red oak and scarlet oak when the log buyer comes around. ;D
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2021, 09:11:23 AM »
Exactly. 
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2021, 09:43:15 AM »
Log buyers are another subject very controversial .In these parts they deal with the land owner about once in a life time .Draw your own conclusions on that one .--just saying --- ;)

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2021, 10:09:15 PM »
So, is it that there is no one organization that attempts to assigned common names to trees and plants. I guess this explains why tree books and wildflower books list so many names for any given tree or plant or flower. Did you know that the term "in the catbird seat" was actually referring to Northern Mockingbird ? Mockingbirds sing loudly from high open perches while Gray Catbirds skulk in thick brush and trees. Who needs more confusion in their life?

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2021, 09:01:34 AM »
Not I said the sparrow with my little bow and arrow.
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2021, 04:45:47 PM »
These are the Hickory species I have:



 

From left to right I believe they are: Shagbark, Shellbark & Bitternut.

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2021, 05:27:33 PM »
I am thinking that middle one is a Pecan. The shellbark nut I believe is much rounder than your example.
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2021, 05:50:28 PM »
I am thinking that middle one is a Pecan. The shellbark nut I believe is much rounder than your example.
Ok, another picture from about 2 weeks ago, when the husks were fresh:


 
Pecan are not native here.

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2021, 05:54:59 PM »
Same nuts? Same order? or are you playing a shell game here? :D :D :D :D
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #47 on: September 15, 2021, 05:58:17 PM »
No, not the same nuts or order.

I have too many nuts to keep track:



 

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #48 on: September 15, 2021, 06:00:21 PM »
OH.
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #49 on: September 15, 2021, 08:23:30 PM »
we are all just nuts here anyhow :)

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #50 on: September 16, 2021, 08:06:38 AM »
Reply 43 that first one is a shagbark and reply 45 that second one is a shagbark.
They will start to open up as they dry. Maybe a month.
I only get about 20 nuts from mine. Maybe the squirrels are quicker than me. I did not see any this year.
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #51 on: September 16, 2021, 08:23:09 AM »
I went down yesterday and collected all I could find then came back and sat in the shop doorway and peeled the husks. Wish I could have gotten more. Have not decided what to do with them yet. Maybe hickory butter? I think I got around 50 or so and not sure it's worth it for that small amount. Perhaps I should hunt up some other trees, but the skeeters can be a killer down there right now and in a few weeks, the squirrels will beat me to the rest of them for sure. I still have to pull out those logs.
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #52 on: September 16, 2021, 10:39:07 AM »
So far for me, about 75% of the nuts I forage do not pass the float test. So in reality you probably don't have 50 usable (for eating or planting) nuts.

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #53 on: September 16, 2021, 12:44:51 PM »
tell us about your float test
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #54 on: September 16, 2021, 12:55:25 PM »
tell us about your float test
Whether it's acorns or hickory nuts, just throw them in a bucket of water, any of them that float will not be edible nor will they germinate, primarily due to insects making their way to the nut meat, but sometimes it's just the seal of the nut shell has been broken and the nut meat starts to rot.

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #55 on: September 16, 2021, 01:13:11 PM »
I'll let you know. ;D :D
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2021, 10:41:23 AM »
A hickory nut story for entertainment but it did happen .GMC Enjoy 2002 under a canopy under a shark bark hickory .Danged heater blower getting filled with hickory nut shells .I thought squirrels some how found a way to sneak them in .It's a chore removing the fan being 6 feet tall under the dash. Did it three times .Blocked any entrances off with 1/8" hardware cloth but it turned out to be chipmunks driving me nuts--with nuts .I think I might need some outside cats, fast ones or ferrets, hungry fast ones . 

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2021, 09:25:13 PM »
My critters like to fill the hoods of all my vehicles. so everytime I open the hood all you hear its nuts rolling around.

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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #58 on: September 17, 2021, 10:23:38 PM »
They filled the oil bath air filter on my tractor, must have been a strange tasting nut  :D
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #59 on: September 18, 2021, 08:44:36 AM »
tell us about your float test
Whether it's acorns or hickory nuts, just throw them in a bucket of water, any of them that float will not be edible nor will they germinate, primarily due to insects making their way to the nut meat, but sometimes it's just the seal of the nut shell has been broken and the nut meat starts to rot.
I've done that for many years with walnuts and hickory nuts. I use a wheelbarrow and then dry on shop floor to cure. before cracking. 
The picture above from NY saying it's a pecan? Even here in KY only a hybrid pecan will bear nuts with anything in there. We used to park in a vacant lot in Lexington, KY then walk to the football stadium nearby and the two huge pecans there bear nuts but are worthless to me and the squirrels.
I've cracked many hickory nuts to cook with. You have to be a bit of a willing victim to crack them and pick the nuts. My rack geared walnut cracker easily cracks them but getting those nutmeats out is seriously intensive! If you get even a quarter your doing well, a hlf is nigh on impossible. The larger hickory nuts are way easier but hard to find in my area. 
Out in the woods the competition is fierce indeed as the squirrels begin cutting nuts when way too green for humans and they can sort them on the forest floor. I used to collect them on Morehead St Univ campus then the U cut down my tree cause people complained about the mess on the sidewalk-honestly it *pithed me off as it was a huge, beautiful tree and bothering only a few bitch & moan types. 
On our land we have many hickories as named above but not one truly large nut hickory such as Shellbark/ king nut types. I know where some are but no longer live in/rent the house on that land. They don't taste any better just easier to pick the meats out. 
In a "refrigerator cookie", the type you roll and chill then cut to bake- hickory nuts far exceed pecans in a taste test! They are supremo IMO to eat but a tough nut to crack or pick!!!
I once knew a KY chairmaker who only used what he called "Cherry hickory" wood for all parts of his chairs. I watched him work but never saw one of trees he got it from. The man was actually 96 when I met him and a son  who operated a custom kitchen cabinet shop near Jackson, KY provided his wood as he aged. The other chairmaker I was with trained him to make chairs but was about 10-12 years younger, The 96 yr old was his horseback mail carrier when he trained him long ago. That wood had a heart that was very much the color of cherry and also was milder to work, not nearly as hard as most any other hickory I've seen. I've tried researching hickory to see what that Cherry hickory really is but no luck. 
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #60 on: September 20, 2021, 10:06:04 AM »
Just another common name for one of our native hickories with a lot of heartwood.  Probably false pignut, a variety of pignut that was at one time listed as a separate species called red hickory, Carya ovalis. 

https://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=826
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Re: Hickory? If so, what type?
« Reply #61 on: September 22, 2021, 04:20:07 PM »
No doubt true but I gotta say that when I was there standing beside the guy with a turned chair post on his lathe it was by far the most reddish hickory I'd ever laid eyes on, as in distinctively different such that I bothered to ask what it was and far from the first hickory wood I'd seen.
 He also commented on how nice it was to turn and all he used- which for hickory is not normal in my experience. I've turned a few pieces on multiple centers to yield tool handles but they were sapwood only. 
Hillbillies who work in the woods the age of the two men I was with sure know a pignut when they see one and call them that way. 
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