Here is a fast-growing, long-lived, wind and drought-resistant shade tree that has the impressive, upright form of an old-fashioned American elm but is vastly more disease-resistant. It is  Magnifica Hackberry, or Celtis 'Magnifica', a cross between Celtis laevigata and Celtis occidentalis, the northern and southern hackberries. Magnifica though is superior in form, health and ease of maintenance than either of its parents. Although Hackberries are a blessing to wildlife, owing to their crops of sweet, red, edible berries, the berries are also a hazard on walks and drives where they can cause a person to slip and fall and they stain concrete. Magnifica Hackberry, on the other hand, produces few, if any, berries so the immediate area remains safe and clean.

It has the handsome, pale gray bark so similar to a Beech tree and the same lovely, emerald green leaves. In autumn the leaves turn a good clear yellow which makes a wonderful contrast to Red maples.

Its handsome form is oval to vase-shaped and it grows to at least 50 fee with a 40 foot spread, and perhaps taller in more favored locations. It works well along a woodland edge, in a park or as a specimen. It thrives even in compacted soils so it is a good choice for parking lots or as a street tree. It is a good selection for open spaces due to its ability to withstand wind, and it is tolerant of alkaline soils. It prefers full sun but is also somewhat shade tolerant.

It grows throughout most of the North America and would be suitable to the UK, Australia and New Zealand.


Magnifica hackberry

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