Pronounciation: CELL-tis re-tic-u-LA-ta
Sunset All zones
USDA 1-3 and 10-13
Landscape Use: Mesic/xeric transition shade tree, parks, open green spaces, expansive desert gardens, large residential landscape settings.
Form & Character: A deciduous broadleaf tree, upright, stout, sturdy, homely, clumsy
Growth Habit: Strongly upright to 30 to 60 feet in height with near to equal spread, mature branches spreading, young branches are irregular and twisted and sometimes pendulous.
Foliage/Texture: Scabrous ovate leaves with an inequalateral base tapering to a acuminate tip, 2 to 3 inches long, veins prominent, slightly serrate, abaxial leaf surfaces are scabrous like sandpaper, trunk is generally smooth and greyish with distinctive hackberry "warts"; medium coarse texture.
Flowers & Fruits: Flowers insignificant in spring followed by fruits that are a small orange reddish drupe to 3/8 inches wide on a 3/8 inch peduncle. Fruits are coveted by birds.
Seasonal Color: Some yellow brown fall foliar color.
Light: Full sun
Soil: This tough tree is tolerant of a variety of soil types including those that are alkaline.
Watering: Give infrequent, but regular deep irrigations during the summer.
Pruning: In most urban settings, this tree will need to have it's crown raised to the appropriate canopy base height.
Propagation: Seed (cold stratification treatment is required), softwood to semi-hardwood vegetative cuttings.
Disease and pests: None, noticeably resistant to oak root rot fungus.
Additional comments: Western hackberry is an exceedingly tough tree with a homely and clumsy appearance; ergo, it is rarely planted as an amenity tree in Phoenix landscapes. However, for water conservation and native plantings purposes, western hackberry should be used more often in Phoenix landscapes as a deciduous shade tree. C. occidentalis (eastern hackberry) is very similar but larger and more vigorous with foliage to 5 inches long. C. ehrenbergiana (desert hackberry) is a shrubby relative that is indigenous to the desert southwest and is frankly more servicable than C. reticulata for native desert landscapes. Rather than in the low desert, western hackberry is more suitable as a shade tree for mid-elevation urban landscapes landscapes in Arizona such as are in Sierra Vista, Benson, Prescott, and Payson. Western Hackberry can naturalize in favorable settings.