Asked on Oct 31, 2012

Toxic Hickory Nut Trees? Dividing figs...

Douglas Hunt


I have a spindly hickory nut tree that is growing beside a spindly pine on the property line (No on lives on the other side). I have heard that the roots of this tree are toxic for anything to live beside it. A little garden abuts it and it is about 10 feet from my vegetable garden. I would like to remove one of these, and since the little hickory nut is trying it's best beside the pine, i wanted to remove the pine. Hicka nuts as we called them as children, don't they come wrapped in a hard divided outer shell...or is this walnut? Anything I should be worried about. Also I finally got my hubby to dig up the fig just outside the kitchen door and it divided into 5 or six units. Replanted them in diff places around the yard about Oct. 20th. Will they survive?
1 answer
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Oct 31, 2012

    Melissa, what you are referring to is allelopathy, the beneficial or harmful effects of one plant on another plant by the release of chemicals from plant parts. Your hickory tree produces very small amounts of a non-toxic, colorless, chemical called hydrojuglone. When exposed to air or soil compounds, hydrojuglone is oxidized into the allelochemical juglone, which is highly toxic. It is present in such small amounts, however, that it is unlikely to affect other plants unless the are particularly susceptible. If the fig parts came from sprouts with roots, they should be fine. But remember that fig trees get to be quite large. You would need a very big yard indeed to have room for six of them.

Your comment...