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Old 02-17-2009, 07:49 PM   #1
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Question Which hackberry as a butterfly host plant?

Which hackberry would be better as a butterfly host plant? Celtis occidentalis (common hackberry)? Or Celtis laevigata (sugar hackberry, sugarberry)? Will the butterflies who use hackberry as a host plant use both? What is your experience?

Is one better for wildlife than the other? Birds eat the berries - should I get the one that birds like less? (which would be?) I'm don't want to feed my cats to the birds!

Both are native to this location, and either should do well.

Hackberry is a host plant for Hackberry Emperor, Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, Tawny Emperor, and Snout butterflies.
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:58 PM   #2
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There seems to be more than one variation of celtis laevigata ;

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/sea...ly=Acanthaceae

I have both the desert hackberry -

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/res...?id_plant=CEEH

and the Netleaf hackberry - Celtis laevigata var. reticulata


Both do well at attracting birds/buterflies here , others I have talked to in Texas speak well of the sugar hackberry although it has a potential apparently to get very large .
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:09 PM   #3
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I'd choose Celtis laevigata over occidentalis for where you are. The butterflies will use both. They're a host and a nectar source. If you buy from a local nursery your odds of purchasing the variation best suited to your region are greatest. I wouldn't mail order this one if possible. Great plant choice.

I would try not to worry too much about the birds eating your cats. That is unavoidable. You will lose some to predation but not all.
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:27 AM   #4
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I found an interesting article about keeping hackberry trees small. Don't know if I'll try this, but ...

http://butterflygardening.wordpress....rees-dwarfish/
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:05 AM   #5
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I've heard of people trying to do this. Never saw a write up on the practice before. Repeatedly pruning a tree as described leaves it open to pathogens. The really great thing about Celtis is that it's what is referred to as a multi-tasker. It is a preferred tree for birds to nest in.
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Repeatedly pruning a tree as described leaves it open to pathogens.
You can always use Elmer's glue on the cuts. I dries clear and protects the area. It's a non-toxic substance so it wouldn't hurt the tree.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:45 PM   #7
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I disagree with the elmers glue on a tree. An otherwise healthy tree has its own defenses to protect itself. Apply glue like that and you could be sealing in airborn pathogens. No matter how fast you think you are applying a sealant it is almost never fast enough. Best to leave it open to the elements to allow Ma nature to run its course. The tree will produce chemicals to ward off infections while new wood begins to fill in the wound.
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:16 PM   #8
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There's a dwarf hackberry species, Celtis tenuifolia, that is a host to about the same species as other Celtis from what I can find. It grows in northern and western Louisiana, but maybe not in your area, Leslie.

But it might be good for someone who doesn't have room for a large tree. I kind of doubt that they're available anywhere commercially, though.

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CETE
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:29 PM   #9
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Excellent suggestion. I have that tree. I only have one though. I planted it as a wee little seedling a few years ago. It was only beginning to establish itself for the first time last year. I have never found a commercial source for this plant but I'd like to. The one I have was a token gift.
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
I disagree with the elmers glue on a tree. An otherwise healthy tree has its own defenses to protect itself. Apply glue like that and you could be sealing in airborn pathogens. No matter how fast you think you are applying a sealant it is almost never fast enough. Best to leave it open to the elements to allow Ma nature to run its course.
Give me a break, EQ. Which way do you want to jump? Either you prune and protect or you prune and kill the tree.....come on, the trees are tougher than that. Sheesh Airborne pathogens, in numbers large enough to make any difference, get real, will ya???
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