Hackberry grows naturally in moist bottomland soil but will grow rapidly in a variety of soil types from moist, fertile soils to hot, dry, rocky locations in the full sun. Hackberry is tolerant of highly alkaline soil whereas Sugarberry is not. It is wind, drought, salt and pollution tolerant once established and is considered a moderately tough, urban-tolerant tree. Skilled pruning is required several times during the first 15 years of life to prevent formation of weak branch crotches and weak multiple trunks.
It was extensively used in street plantings in parts of Texas and in other cities as it tolerates most soils except extremely alkaline, and grows in sun or partial shade but branches may break out from the trunk if proper pruning and training is not conducted early in the life of the tree. Even slight injury to the trunk and branches can initiate extensive decay inside the tree. If you use this tree, locate it where it will be protected from mechanical injury. Best for low-use areas such as along the edge of woods or in an open lawn, not for along streets. The tree is very susceptible to damage in an ice storm.
One especially nice cultivar is Prairie Pride, a quick-growing tree with a uniform, upright, compact crown. Prune and thin the canopy to prevent formation of weak, multi-trunk trees.
Fact Sheet on Hackberry