Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

We need to get out of the way of something very important before we can get into the meat of this guide to growing pecan trees:


You might have to leave if you say PEE-can.

I simply cannot even. It is our state tree, and I have lived in Texas for close to 30 years. So I get to say how it’s articulated!

I was joking. But truly. It is ph-KAHN.

To assist you in finding relevant products, we provide links to vendors. We may be compensated if you make a purchase through one of our links.

The large deciduous tree known as the pecan (Carya illinoinensis) is best known for its scrumptious nuts, which feature prominently in a variety of sweet and savory dishes.

Despite its abundance, the pecan is seen as a hassle by some because it is a messy plant that sheds a lot of twigs, leaves, and fruit each fall.

My San Antonio-raised spouse has not-really affectionate recollections of being conveyed in the yard as a small kid to tidy up after his family’s huge and messy walnut trees. We have close to 60 trees on our small suburban lot, but none of them are pecans, which could be explained by this.

In addition, this mammoth, which can reach a height of 130 feet and a width of 75 feet, is too big for our space. I would love to cultivate this beauty if I had a few acres. Have you seen how much pecans at the grocery store cost?

The following is what’s to come, followed by our best advice for growing your own.

Starting points and Present status

While Texas, in obvious self-absorbed Texan structure, makes a case for the tree, it is really local to an enormous area of the US, from south of San Antonio east to southern Louisiana and north through Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois.

Additionally, it is currently grown commercially from sea to sea across the southern United States, including in Kansas and Missouri.

An individual from the hickory class (Carya spp.), the walnut is strong to zone 5. However, this does not necessarily mean that anyone living in a Zone 5 or higher can grow it.

Pecans are heat-lovers. William Reid, the Pecan Research and Extension Specialist for Kansas and Missouri, claims that pecans can only ripen in warm summers with warm nighttime temperatures.

According to Reid, even though a region may be in Zone 5 because of its low temperatures, this does not mean that the nights remain warm enough to grow pecans.

If you’re not sure, talk to the county extension agent in your area to see if your climate is right for C. illinoinensis and which variety will do best there.

Which Type Is Best and Where to Purchase It? Because C. illinoinensis does not grow true from seed, you should purchase a small grafted tree from a reputable source.

The majority of professionals advise purchasing a four- to eight-foot tree; The majority of transplants succeed at this size.

We’ll show you a few varieties that are known to do well in different states, but as we said earlier, you should talk to your local extension office to find out exactly what works best in your area. Notwithstanding local sorts, numerous cultivars have been created.

Gardeners in Kansas and Missouri should look for the words “Kanza,” “Hark,” or “Shepherd,” according to Reid.

In addition, Reid advises northern gardeners against cultivating “hardy pecan” trees.

He states, “It is a marketing term.” It’s just a Missouri wild seedling.” He suggests that gardeners should instead look for specific cultivars that are known to thrive in the area.

Assuming that you’re situated up North, ‘Pawnee’ may be for you. This cultivar is suitable for growing in Zones 6 to 9 and has been observed to produce high yields as far north as Rhode Island, Michigan, and Washington.

This variety, which is slightly smaller in stature, will reach a mature height of 20 to 30 feet and a spread of 15 to 25 feet.

Another excellent variety is Candy, which is known for producing ripe nuts earlier in the season and reaching productive maturity earlier than other cultivars.

These also thrive in Zones 6 to 9 with a mature height of 50 to 70 feet and a spread of 40 to 50 feet.

Lastly, the cultivar known as “Desirable” is difficult to resist and has been a popular choice for commercial planting since the 1960s.

Because it self-prunes and grows quickly, this variety produces large clusters of nuts more quickly than other varieties.

Keep in mind that this one frequently reaches 75 to 100-foot spreads and mature heights.

One, or a few?

In order to accommodate the tree’s size, you will need to choose the location carefully.

Depending on the cultivar, plant C. illinoinensis at least 30 feet away from any structures and in a sunny location. Because pecans need soil that drains well and is at least three feet deep, they won’t grow in rocky areas with thin soil.

Critical nutrients are best absorbed by these trees from soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

Walnuts should be cross-pollinated (generally by the breeze) to recreate well. You can probably get away with planting just one of these trees in your neighborhood if there are many of them.

However, if you are the only local gardener cultivating C. illinoinensis, you may need to plant several plants to harvest any nuts.

Create a hole that is twice or three times as wide and the same depth as the root ball. Replace the removed soil into the hole by breaking it up. Water completely and add a thick layer of mulch.

When planting a pecan, it is essential to immediately remove some of the fruit. Pruning the tree’s top third should be done in general, but that number can be different.

Lenny Wells, a University of Georgia Extension Horticulture Specialist specializing in pecans, advises that larger trees will necessitate greater pruning, making the above-ground portions of the plant easier to manage with limited, immature root systems.

Keep in mind that many nurseries perform this type of pruning prior to sale, so it should only be done on trees that are in dormancy.

The pecan prefers a lot of water and is typically found along riverbanks in its native habitat. Whether from rain or irrigation, young trees require 10 to 15 gallons of water per week.

From April to October, they require approximately two inches of water applied at the drip line each week as they mature and begin producing.

C. illinoinensis also needs to be fertilized. Apply four pounds of balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, for every inch of trunk diameter in the middle to late of March.

You should prune your plant year after year so that it has only four to six lateral scaffold branches and a central leader. Pruning is minimal once the tree reaches fruiting maturity.

A child with a stick and a spray: Managing Pests and Diseases Scab, a fungus that causes black lesions on the shuck and leaves of these trees, is the most common pest.

Use a fungicide like this one from Southern Ag, which can be purchased on Amazon, to treat scab.

In one gallon of water, combine one teaspoon of Garden Friendly Fungicide.

Pecan leaves can also be attacked by aphids and mites. Use an insecticidal soap like this one from Safer Brand, which can be found on Amazon as well, for these.

You can use this 32-ounce bottle right away.

In the event that fall webworms weave their swelling homes in your trees, send a youngster with a stick out to detach and pull down the webbing, worms, and all into a can of foamy water.

Try not to Purchase That Corn Syrup Right now

The product of a walnut is in fact not a genuine nut, but rather is rather a drupe — an extraordinary sort of natural product wherein we once in a while eat the organic product (like peaches), though different times the seed inside the pit is the thing we’re pursuing.

Almonds are the same way. In any case, hello, call it what you like, as long as you welcome me to share the sweets you make from it!

Unfortunately, don’t promise a delicious pie made from the fruit of your newly planted C. illinois. Before you can harvest a good crop of nuts, you’ll need to wait between six and ten years after planting.

And afterward, don’t be shocked in the event that you get an extraordinary yield one year, trailed by a little or nonexistent harvest the following year. A pecan will “turn off” nut production for the following year if it detects drought conditions in one autumn. It evolved this way to handle stressful situations.

When the husks crack open, pecans are ready to eat. The majority of people simply pick up the nuts when they have fallen to the ground, but if you want to get to them before they rot or local wildlife get to them, you should do so as soon as possible.

The nuts are by and large prepared for gather in October or November, and a developed tree will create 40 to 50 pounds of nuts each year.

The Kitchen Calls You’ve cared for your pecan for a long time, and now it’s time to enjoy the result! In the interim, let’s imagine all the wonderful things you’ll be able to do…) Start with a Cheese Ball from Vintage Kitty. Toasted pecans, rosemary, and butter-roasted apple chips make up this delicious appetizer.

This granola recipe from our sister site Foodal calls for a delicious combination of pecans, oats, seeds, and dried fruit. Snackers might want to make some.

Pecans add a satisfying crunch to this spinach salad from Our Perfect Palette, along with strawberries and a poppyseed dressing.

A bourbon pecan pie with a chocolate crust from Hunger Thirst Play might be a good option for dessert. This dessert has a rich and complex flavor thanks to a couple tablespoons of Kentucky’s favorite liquor. Or, keep things simple with this Feast in Thyme recipe for easy candied pecans.

Isn’t that the reason we reproduce?

Walnut trees can be somewhat of an errand, what with the underlying pruning and the sit tight for development. However, if you have children, you can simply send them outside to rake the leaves and pick up the nuts, so at least that’s something.

The pecan nut is the star of numerous traditional dishes and a delicious addition to numerous others. especially those that are typically consumed in the fall, when the tall, majestic tree offers us its bounty.

Do you have any nut trees in your landscape, such as pecans or other nuts? Leave a comment about your experience down below. Check out our guide to growing avocados if you want to learn more about a different fruitful tree.