Hackberry trees are gorgeous shade trees – similar to elm in shape/habits. They produce generous amounts of sweet nut/berries and are attractive to wildlife. They have unique, corky bark that is pleasant to touch and see. Native to the United States and able to survive without much input. Some people even use these for creating beautiful bonsai.
Hackberries are tasty to many wildlife species. They are a preferred food for pheasants and make an excellent addition to a wildlife plot. They are also edible to humans. We eat them by chewing off the “fruit” skin and plant those seeds in our tree nursery. See all the ways we eat them here.
These seeds were freshly picked in October and will still have the “fruit” attached to the seed. Hackberries are very rot resistant and shelf stable. You may scrape the fruit off or leave it on – it will not effect germination.
We store all of our seeds in a cool dark cellar, but when we wish to grow a hackberry tree – we “winter sow” the seeds by placing them in a container of sand/potting soil mix and then leave them out in our Minnesota winters until spring. When they have froze/thawed, cooled/warmed, wetted/dried enough that the seed breaks free of the capsule, the tree sprouts on its own when it is ready.
It is important to cover the pot with some type of permeable lid – I use window screen. This allows moisture/air to enter but keeps out birds and rodents.