I have recently lifted and potted a couple of Hackberries, Celtis laevigata. Hackberry is a great species for bonsai, featuring relatively small leaves that get even smaller in bonsai culture, and taking to life in a bonsai container without any complaints. This specimen I particularly like. It’s got a great tree structure, which arose on its own during its time in the field. All I had to do was remove the tall leader, cutting to a smaller leader that is in perfect scale, pot the tree and then do a little wiring. Easy peasy.

Now, one thing you’ll want to know about Hackberry, if you decide to grow them as bonsai, is that they are one of the last species to come out in spring. Not quite as bad as the pecan trees, Hackberries nonetheless seem to be stubborn about leafing out. My personal theory about this is that they wait until all danger of cold weather has passed because the leaves are quite tender and can’t stand freezing. But that’s just a theory.

Anyway, I’ve written before about how trees react to being lifted from the ground. Given the right conditions, they want to re-establish themselves as quickly as possible. But the question is, does this also apply to Hackberry?

Imagine my surprise this evening when I saw this. Right at the tip of the new apex, a bundle of leaves is opening up. For a Hackberry, this is happening weeks ahead of schedule. But who am I to argue?

Is there a chance we’ll get another freeze before the real spring arrives? Sure, it’s possible but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen at all. This has been an odd winter, and any number of trees are coming out much sooner than they should. This Hackberry just decided to join them.

If you’re interested in trying a Hackberry bonsai, this tree is available at our Hackberry Bonsai page. Given the growth that’s already starting up, I have no doubt this one came through collection just fine.