How to Plant Hickory Seeds


Hickory nuts begin dropping in early fall. And as soon as those characteristic thumps sound, squirrels, humans and other foragers come running to harvest the hickory nut's tasty meat. The best time to harvest hickory seeds for planting, however, is when its shuck has opened but before the nut drops off and dries out. Before you plant your hickory seed, remember it can take up to 40 years to produce nuts.

Step 1

Place the hickory seed in a shallow tray filled with sandy loam potting soil.

Step 2

Store the tray in your refrigerator until the following September.

Step 3

Plant the hickory seed 1 inch into the ground in September. Cover with dirt, but do not add mulch at this time.

Step 4

Place a wire mesh screen over the planting site to keep squirrels from digging up the seed. Secure the ends of the screen with a few well-placed rocks that will also serve as markers.

Step 5

Remove the mesh screen in early spring before the hickory seed germinates.

Step 6

Cover the planting area with 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch.

Things You'll Need

  • Tray
  • Sandy loam soil
  • Refrigerator
  • Spade
  • Mesh screen
  • Rocks
  • Organic mulch


  • Oklahoma State Universiy: Propagation of Fruit and Nuts by Seed
  • Michigan Department of Conservation: Growing Mast Trees on Southern Michigan State Game Areas
  • Hickory Tree: The Hickory Tree
Keywords: plant hickory, hickory seed, hickory nut

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.