“Momma” is an impressive, Shagbark Hickory tree that towers above all the other trees in Meadowmont. She is featured prominently on the Meadowmont logo because Momma is a much beloved member of the Meadowmont community with a very important job to do.

Momma4The Shagbark Hickory tree is named for its thick bark plate that is attached at the middle, with both ends curving away from the trunk and giving the tree a truly shaggy appearance. Once plentiful in North Carolina, shagbark hickory trees have seen a significant decline in our area since colonial days. European settlers used Shagbark Hickory wood for heating fuel, because it burns slower and hotter than other firewoods. It also produces a fragrant smoke when burned, which was, and still is, used for curing meats. Its tough wood is also ideal for crafting axe handles, wagon wheels, flooring and furniture. These beneficial traits of the tree led to overuse and the subsequent tragic deforestation of Shagbark Hickories in our area. Additionally, compared to most trees, they grow very slowly and are difficult to plant, which makes repopulation challenging.

Fortunately, the Meadowmont community has taken a special interest in bringing back the Shagbark Hickory to Chapel Hill. Whenever a baby tree sapling is found growing beneath Momma, it is carefully dug up and replanted somewhere else within the Meadowmont Community. As of 2013, there have been nine “Shagbark Hickory Babies” successfully transplanted, and over 30 more saplings are currently being protected and growing strong. Hopefully there will be many more of Momma’s babies grown at Meadowmont in the future.

Momma is a tall and magnificent symbol of the importance of tree preservation, located at the gateway into Chapel Hill. She can be easily spotted at the top of the hill to the left of the fountain in the main meadow that runs along Raleigh Road/Highway 54 — in between the Duke Speech Pathology at Meadowmont building and Morgan Creek Capital Management on West Barbee Chapel Road. The best view of Momma is from the highway, or the jogging path on the edge of the highway, heading west. Here are the Google Map coordinates where Momma is located.

Meadowmont’s “Momma” Wins Mayor’s Tree of the Year!

A shagbark hickory tree named Momma in the Meadowmont neighborhood has been named Chapel Hill’s first-ever Mayor’s Tree of the Year. The magnificent tree was one of 14 trees nominated for this inaugural honor.

“The Tree of the Year contest highlights Chapel Hill connections to the trees in Chapel Hill,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. “Our judging panel appreciated the fact that shagbark hickories are important to our Piedmont region and really liked the fact that, to date, nine of the tree’s `babies’ have been transplanted to other locations within Meadowmont.”

On January 8, 2020, during the Town Council Meeting in Chapel Hill, Mayor Pam Hemminger officially awarded Momma with her very worthy “Tree of the Year” title. MCA Manager Bill Ferrell, MCA Board Preseident Bob Stoothoff, and MCA Marketing & IT Associate Nancy Largent were present to accept the award on Momma’s behalf.


Share Button