The Hickory Tree: 10 Amazing Uses – With Infographic


In this article, we take a look at the many different things the hickory tree can be used for. The hickory tree is one of the most American trees there is, as most of the hickory species are native to the Eastern United States. Worldwide there are more than 17 different species of hickory.

Hickory is a deciduous hardwood tree. This means that the tree sheds its seeds seasonally, and also grows its leaves seasonally. Hickory is also one of the densest commercially available hardwoods in America.

The hickory tree excels in some uses. Hickory is one of the best woods to use as firewood and is also one of the best woods to use for making tool handles for axes and hammers.

There are many uses of the Hickory Tree. Hickory can be used as firewood, for tool handles, as food for humans, as animal food, for woodworking, for smoking meat, to make hickory milk, for making oil, as a dense hardwood, and for sports gear.

Here is a list of the many uses of Hickory wood

Hickory Is The Best Firewood


Hickory is by far one of the best woods you can use for firewood. The heat output hickory has is hard to compete with, it will also burn for a long time before you need to put on more wood on the fire. It is the high density of the hickory wood that makes it such great firewood. It is the densest wood we have in America that is also available in larger quantities.

Hickory wood has a low sap content, produces little smoke when burned and the smell of the smoke is actually quite pleasant.

The downside of using hickory as firewood is that it has to season for a long time before the wood contains the optimal moisture content to burn.

Hickory Striking Tool Handles Is Good Quality

Hickory wood is one of the common woods used for striking tool handles like axes and hammers. Hickory wood is dense, strong, flexible, and shock-resistant. This is why it is perfect to use for striking tools, it can handle hard hits with a hammer and axe over and over again without breaking.

If you go to a home center to browse for wooden axes, or check amazon you will find that most of the wooden axe handles are made from hickory. There aren’t many other kinds of wood that come close to the amazing ability of hickory wood to handle hard hits over time.

In Europe, where hickory is not as common, Ash has traditionally been used for axe handles and handles of other striking tools.

Humans Can Eat Hickory Nuts

Hickory Nut In Hand
Hickory Nut In Hand

Most species of hickory produces nuts that humans can eat. But the nuts from the different hickory species will be very different from one another in taste. Bitternut hickory and pignut hickory is edible but they taste mostly bitter and are not very pleasant for the human taste buds. Shagbark hickory is better in taste and has a buttery and sweet flavor.

The hickory nut is quite big and can be as large as an egg. The different hickory nuts will look quite different. The flavorful shagbark hickory nut is one of the larger nuts produced by a hickory tree. The seed has a thick green skin that encapsulates the nut and is separated into four distinct sections.

Hickory nuts are ripe and ready to eat when they fall to the ground. Now you only have to find the nuts before the squirrels do.

Animals Love Hickory Nuts

Bird eating
Bird eating

There are many animals that love to eat the nuts from the hickory tree. And animals can eat the seeds and nuts from all of the different species of hickory trees. Animals that eat hickory nuts include foxes, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons. Deer is actually not a big fan of hickory nuts and would rather eat something else.

The hickory tree is a great source of food for the animals of the forest. And the nuts of the hickory tree is filled with fats and other important nutrients.

Hickory Is Great For Woodworking

Woodturnig Bowl
Woodturning Bowl

Hickory is the densest and hardest commercially available hardwood in the United States. This makes hickory especially sought after by woodworkers. Hickory is a great wood to use for anything that needs to be able to take a beating, wagon wheels, sports equipment, and tool handles are good examples.

But hickory was not only used for utilitarian purposes. Hickory has a beautiful straight grain that lends itself to making beautiful furniture and items made from wood in general. Depending on the species of hickory and environment the tree grew up in. the wood anything has a light, creamy, and soothing brown color to a strong cinnamon red color.

Since hickory is so dense and hard, it can dull tools quickly. So sharp carbide-tipped tools are of utmost importance when working with hickory wood.

Smoking Delicious Meat With Hickory

Smoking Meat
Smoking Meat

Hickory wood is favored by many who smoke meat because of the strong flavor and dark tint it adds to the meat. Use hickory wood when smoking larger pieces of meat and meat that can handle the strong flavor profile like pork and beef. Hickory might be a little bit too heavy for smoking chicken.

Using too much hickory might add a bitter taste to the meat, so be careful, woods like cherry and hickory is a good combination are woods that complement each other well.

Hickory Milk For A Vegan And Delicious Milk

Glass Of Milk
Glass Of Milk

Hickory milk is made by boiling the hickory nuts in water, the oil in the nuts will then separate itself from the nuts and mix with the water. After boiling for 30 minutes the hickory milk is ready. Now you just have to strain away all the nuts and the delicious vegan hickory milk is ready to drink either hot or cold.

Native Americans actually used an altered version of this process to make hickory butter and cream.

Sports Gear

Hockey Stick
Hockey Stick

Similar to the tool handles, hickory is also good for making any kind of sports equipment where the task of the equipment is to hit something over and over again. Hockey sticks, baseball bats, and lacrosse sticks are all good examples of sports equipment that hickory has been used to make.

It is the qualities and availability of hickory wood that make it such a good candidate for making sports equipment. Hickory wood is dense, flexible, strong, and durable, it is also widely available in Eastern and Mid-Western United States

Hickory Is The Densest Commercially Available Hardwood

Dense Wood Log
Dense Wood Log

Hickory is the densest commercially available hardwood in the united states, this makes hickory wood fairly unique. The fact that you can get such dense, strong, and durable wood in larger quantities without going broke is amazing.

If you go to Europe for example, you will not find hardwoods close to the density of hickory that is obtainable in larger quantities. And if you find one that is just as hard, dense, and durable, you will be sure to pay a lot for it.

Hickory Nut Oil


You can make oil from the hickory nut like you can with any other nut or seed that has a high-fat content. The hickory nut oil is great to use for stir-fries, baking, or dipping your bread in.

Check Out The Uses Of Other Tree Species

Uses Of The Maple Tree: Click To See Article

Uses Of The Pine Tree: Click To See Article

Uses Of Spruce: Click To See Article

Uses Of The Birch Tree: Click To See Article

Uses Of The Beech Tree: Click To See Article

Uses Of The Hickory Tree: Click To See Article

Uses Of The Poplar Tree: Click To See Article

Recent Posts