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Pecan Trees


Carya illinoensis

Throughout the South, you can tell where all the old homesteads were even long after the houses were gone by the presence of pecan trees. Everyone wanted the large stately trees providing cooling shade in the summer, tasty nuts in the fall, and allowing the warming sun to shine through in the winter. Contrary to popular belief they are not slow growing, but can reach 25' within 5-7 years after planting!

The pecan tree is native to the Mississippi floodplain, which has deep, fertile, well-drained soils. Pecan trees sometimes exist nearly as a pure stand. Pecans also exist in the river bottomlands of Texas and northern Mexico. The climate of the native range of pecan is characterized by long, hot summers and moderately cool winters. Currently, the southeastern United States produces most of the pecan crop. Georgia produces at least 50% of the total production within the United States. Florida produces from 5 to 10 million pounds of pecans annually.

Pecans are grafted to produce the best nuts. They often bear on alternate years, and require two varieties for best pollination. Pecans will begin to bear nuts after 10 years of age.
Trees should be planted during the dormant season (from late November to February) to allow root growth before the spring.

They can be susceptible to leaf spot and scab.

“Pecans are native to river and creek bottoms, the soils of which are deep, fertile and well-drained and have substantial water-holding capacity. Pecans require at least 3 feet of well-drained soil above the minimum depth of the water table to develop a strong root system. Pecans planted on shallow soils having poor internal drainage never develop into large, productive trees.”

Tree Planting

Trees should be planted during the dormant season (from late November to February) to allow root growth before the spring. Transplant bare-root trees as soon as possible after they are dug in the nursery. Bare-root trees from the nursery are recommended. The root system should be at least 2 ½ in length. Tree height should be at least 6 feet. Many pecan trees die as a result of drying out in the hours or days before they are planted. Heel in trees from the nursery with moist soil if they are not to be transplanted within a couple of days after delivery. It is best to plant trees on cloudy days or during days with a high humidity. During planting the best procedure is to soak trees in water to avoid having the roots dry out because of wind or sun.

Pecan trees require a large hole for proper transplanting. Holes 2 feet in diameter and 2 ½ feet deep are satisfactory. The best way to dig holes of this size is by using a PTO-driven auger. Plant trees at the depth to which they were planted in the nursery. The taproot should extend vertically down to the center of the hole. If container-grown trees are purchased from the nursery (not recommended), it is likely that the taproot will circle the inside bottom of the container. Use your own judgment when deciding whether to cut or to retain and straighten the taproot at planting. Remove broken roots and all potentially decaying organic matter from the planting hole. Tamp the soil around the tree thoroughly. Add 10 gallons of water to the planting hole. Creating a shallow basin around the tree aids in the retention of water. Water at least once every week unless rainfall is sufficient until the irrigation system is established. Remove 1/3 to ½ of the plant top after planting (however do not cut the tree shorter than 4 to 5 feet tall) to maintain a proper shoot to root ratio. A tall tree facilitates herbicide application. Whitewash (diluted white latex paint) can prevent sun scalding and bark splitting of young trees.

If trees are planted in a region where livestock is grazing or in areas with heavy deer pressure, it will be necessary to protect trees with fences. The biggest problem arises from animals rubbing against and damaging the trees. The fences should be 6 to 9 feet high and sturdy enough to prevent the animals from getting through the fence and damaging the trees.

Pollination: Papershell pecan trees are divided into two basic groups: protandrous and protogynous. Protandrous refers to the fact that male catkins release their pollen prior to the female flowers on that same tree maturing. Protogynous mean just the opposite; that is, the female flowers mature before the male catkins release pollen. Why this lesson in pecan tree sexuality? Because when planning your pecan tree orchard, it is essential that both protandrous and protogynous types be planted to ensure adequate pollination. The bottom line is that you want trees of both types. Sometimes these are called type I and type II pecan trees

Plant spacing: Mature pecan trees need a spacing between 60-80 feet! This is because trees can sometimes reach heights of 120'. There is no known "dwarfing" rootstock for pecans, so they are all big! Considering that the 60 foot spacing is for 30 year old trees, a lot of folks start out with a smaller spacing, such as 30', and thin as the trees mature. Obviously, if you are planting just a couple of trees, you may be able to plant them at the 30' spacing.

Uses: The nut is the most famous use of the pecan tree! The oil in the nut has a number of health benefits, and provides nourishment for wildlife and people alike. There is nothing like eating fresh papershell pecans, whether just by themselves, or in a pecan pie!

Type 1 pollinators = protandrous This means that the pollen sheds prior to stigma receptivity. Due to this the type 1 trees should be pollinated with type 2 trees.

Type 2 pollinators = protogynous This means that the stigma is receptive prior to pollen shedding. Due to this type 2 trees should be pollinated with type 1 trees.


Tree Form: Central leader
Height: 60-80'
Spread: 30-40'
Pollination: Plant type 1 and type 2 varieties for best pollination.

Bears: Sep-Oct

Pruning: Pruning consists of the removal of dead, diseased, or damaged branches, maintaining size (width) within your landscape

Light requirements: Full sun
Soil type: Well-drained pH 5.5-7.0
Fertilzation: Fertilize after the establishment year. Pecan trees in Florida require a balanced formulation such as a "triple 10" fertilizer or "pecan tree special” fertilizer.
Watering: Water at least once every week unless rainfall is sufficient, keep moist
Maintenance: Needs Zinc in fertilizer or purchase "pecan tree special" fertilizer contains zinc.
Hardiness Zone: 6-9

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Stuart Pecan
Availability: Out of Stock
Price: $34.95

Item #: Stuart Pecan - Stuart is the most widely planted of all pecan varieties. Nuts of the Stuart are medium sized, with a thicker shell than some of the other papershell pecan varieties It has large size (45-50/lb),...
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