“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 hopefully there will be many more of Momma’s babies grown at Meadowmont in the future.

Momma can be found at the top of the hill to the left of the fountain in the main meadow that runs along highway 54. The best view of Momma is from the highway, or the jogging path on the edge of the highway, heading west. She is currently surrounded by bright orange construction netting, in  order to protect her from the construction area where the new Huiltquist building is being built.


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