Last Updated on September 16, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
If I told you they are a bi-generic hybrid cross of hickory trees and pecan trees, then the name might make sense!
They are also called a hican pecan tree, because they are a pecan cross.
These trees bear delicious nuts, that are a mix of both hickory nuts and pecans.
How Are Hican Nuts Different to Hickory Nuts?
Hican nuts and hican trees are rare, and many chefs claim they are the best nut!
They taste a bit more like the hickory nut, but look very much like pecan nuts.
If you have ever marveled over the buttery flavor of either of these nuts, then it might be time to try the hican!
Why Should I Grow a Hican Tree?
Hican nut trees can be used either for nut production, or as ornamental shade trees in your garden.
Tree size can vary between varieties, but they can reach up to 70 feet tall! They can handle the cold even better than the northern pecan.
The wood from hican trees is valuable, and makes great firewood, which can also be used for smoking food.
How Can I Grow Hican Trees?
You can either buy seedlings, a transplanted tree, or grafted trees from a nursery. They are an unusual tree, so your local nursery may not sell them.
Be careful when purchasing, because not all varieties bear nuts well.
When planting, make sure that your trees are 50 feet apart, because they can grow pretty wide. Your trees will bear nuts best, if you have either pecan nut trees or hickory trees nearby.
If you don’t have many in the local area, then you might want to consider growing another tree on your property.
Some varieties are self-pollinating, so you should check what varieties your nursery sells.
You will have to wait 4-8 years for nuts if you are growing from a seedling.
The nuts mature in late fall, and will have hard shells like hickory.
They require pretty much the same type of soil as pecans, so generally a moist and well draining soil, that can be clay. They survive in either alkaline or acidic soil. Although they can handle the cold, they prefer full sun if this is possible.
Shellbark vs Shagbark
Hican trees come in two categories: shagbark trees and shellbark trees.
Your decision to choose between them depends on your priorities. The shellbark produces larger nuts, and the shagbark produces more nuts in one harvest season.
You can also get shagbark hickory and shellbark hickory trees, but they often can’t handle temperatures as low in a northern climate as the hican.
If you are looking for a good and productive shagbark, we would recommend the Burton and Dooley varieties.
The Burton is a hybrid of a shagbark hickory parent, and a pecan. These can be pollinated by shagbark hickory trees or pecans.
For shellbarks, we would recommend the Bixby or the Burlington.
When looking at your variety, check which USDA hardiness zones they do best in. Generally, Hican trees can handle USDA Zones 6-9, so before you buy, check which zone you live in.
Do They Have Any Pests?
The main pests that you might encounter on your hican tree are leafhoppers and aphids. This is generally when your tree is young, around two years old.
You can spray insecticide to get rid of the leafhoppers.
Do this in June when they are prevalent, and in July to make sure they are gone. Aphids can be removed with a mix of soap and water, or diluted neem oil.
Hopefully this article has inspired you to try and grow your own crop of these rare nuts!