One of my favorite trees is the hickory, prized for it’s use in tools and equipment because of it’s hard wood. Hickory wood is great firewood and of course gives us the great flavor to smoked meats. It is also great tree in areas with high winds because of tap roots that go down deep in the earth, making the trees very wind resistant. It is a slow-growing, long-lived tree that is very tolerant of summer drought.
The hickory tree is a hardy tree who is not too susceptible to diseases. The most common one is Pecan Scab which is caused by a fungus. Dew and rain spread spores locally within a tree, and the wind spreads them over long distances. Pecan scab first appears as small, circular, olive-green spots that turn to black on the newly expanding leaves, leaf petioles and nut shuck tissue. Nut infections cause the greatest economic damage. pecan scab can defoliate a Hickory tree and cause severe nut loss. The only line of defence is through the use of protective fungicide sprays, although some resistant varieties exist.
A 140 year old pecan tree in Benton County Tenesee is located on one of the highest ridges in the north end of the park and can be seen for miles, is probably the biggest single attraction to the area. The huge tree, almost ten feet in diameter still bears. Its limbs, some more than one hundred and fifty feet long shade more than an acre of ground. The local legend is that the tree grew from a pecan brought back by one of Andrew Jackson’s soldiers on his return from the Battle of New Orleans. The United Forest Service dates its planting back to about 1816.