How to Plant, Grow and Care For Pecan Trees

The hardy pecan tree, additionally merely referred to as pecan (Carya illinoinensis), is a member of the walnut household (Juglandaceae). These bushes are native to the japanese and central United States and south, into Mexico.

Pecan bushes develop finest in hotter climates, significantly in USDA hardiness zones 6 by means of 9. In cooler components of the pecan tree’s vary, nut manufacturing could also be restricted as a result of they do finest with lengthy sizzling summers that permit loads of time for the nuts to ripen absolutely. 

Pecan bushes are giant and may simply develop to 100 ft, typically even taller. They make a really enticing shade tree for a big panorama or park-like setting. The leaves are giant and enticing, pinnately compound, and switch yellow within the fall. 

They flower within the springtime, however the flowers are inconspicuous. Bushes are wind pollinated and produce each female and male flowers that you’ll discover on the identical tree.

There are two fundamental causes that you could be need to develop a pecan tree; as a decorative shade tree or since you wish to eat pecans. If both of those choices appeals to you, maintain studying to be taught extra about these great bushes.

Pecan Tree Overview

Native Space

East & Central USA, Mexico

USDA Hardiness Zone

5 to 9

Soil Kind

Wealthy, Moist, Effectively-drained

Plant Spacing

60 to 80 ft

Instructed Makes use of

Edible panorama, Shade tree

Flower Shade



Squirrels, Wildlife


Pecan scab, Squirrels, Weevils, Aphids

Plant Historical past

A grove of pecan trees perfectly aligned in rows, casting dappled shadows on the lush green pasture below. The short stature of the pecan trees adds charm to the landscape, while their abundant foliage promises a bountiful harvest.
These nut bushes are nutritious and enduring meals sources, primarily produced within the southeastern United States.

Pecan bushes are native to the central and japanese United States and south into Mexico. These bushes are widespread in japanese forests rising alongside native hardwood bushes in wealthy woodlands. They usually develop in lowland forests with common soil moisture and are well-adapted to thrive on this atmosphere.

Pecans have lengthy been an essential meals supply for people and wildlife. The nuts final a very long time in storage and are fairly nutritious.

The southeastern United States has change into a main producer of pecans, with Georgia being the lead producer. Pecans are harvested all through the autumn and, whereas obtainable year-round, are mostly bought across the winter holidays. 

Due to their recognition, growers have developed many interesting pecan cultivars for numerous causes. There are a number of types of this nut tree, every having distinctive attributes.

Some advantages of trying into cultivars are that they could be extra illness resistant, higher tailored to particular regional climates, or have excessive manufacturing charges. 


A serene grove of pecan trees stands tall, displaying a splendid blend of green and golden leaves, gently rustling in the breeze. The grass below exhibits both vibrancy and vulnerability, with some patches turning brown and lifeless.
Tree development and harvest rely on correct spacing, cross-pollination, and maturity, yielding a long-lasting tree with optimum nut manufacturing.

Pecan bushes can develop fairly giant, and also you shouldn’t attempt to develop one in case you have restricted area. You’ll need to plant them at the very least 60 to 80 ft aside and never develop them close to homes, constructions, or utility strains the place they’ll trigger issues. Crowding will lead to poor tree growth, decreased illness resistance, and lowered manufacturing charges. 

If you wish to develop a pecan tree to reap pecans, you’ll want to discover ways to maximize your harvest. These nuts are wind pollinated and profit from cross-pollination to generate a very good harvest.

This implies you’ll need to have at the very least two completely different varieties within the space. You don’t even want two bushes in your personal yard, but when your neighbors have one or there’s a wild pecan tree rising close by, these separate bushes will profit one another and assist improve pollination charges. 

Pecan bushes have a medium development fee. You’ll be able to anticipate a wholesome tree to develop between 1 and a pair of ft per 12 months.

For those who begin with a nursery-grown younger tree, you may anticipate your first harvest roughly 5 years after planting, however you received’t see a heavier harvest till 7 or 8 years after planting.

For those who begin a pecan from seed, add 2 or 3 years to these estimates. They’re long-lived and may produce nuts for as much as 100 years or extra!


For the house gardener, one of the best ways to start out a brand new pecan tree is from high-quality nursery inventory. You’ll know precisely what you might be getting and begin with a wholesome tree that’s already a few years outdated.


Young pecan leaves, showcasing their brilliant green color and striking red stems, as they unfurl and reach for the sunlight. The soft background of ground adds depth and highlights their beauty.
It’s best to buy nursery-grown vegetation with recognized qualities.

You’ll be able to develop a pecan tree from a mature pecan nut, however you most likely received’t need to. By means of cross-pollination, pecans will every be genetically completely different from the dad or mum tree.

Subsequently, while you plant a pecan seed, you should have no means of figuring out the qualities of the tree you’ll develop from that seed. In order for you a productive and wholesome pecan tree in your yard, purchase one that’s nursery-grown and is a recognized selection with recognized traits.

Nursery Inventory

Black plastic pots, each containing brown, rich soil and a layer of organic mulch on top, providing a nurturing environment for plants to thrive. Pecan stem emerges proudly from the fertile soil within the black plastic pots.
Shopping for one on-line or from a good plant nursery is one of the best ways to amass a wholesome tree.

One of the simplest ways to amass a brand new pecan tree is to buy from a good plant nursery. You’ll be able to typically discover them at a neighborhood nursery or backyard middle. You’ll have many extra choices in case you do some procuring on-line. 

When searching for a brand new tree, there are a number of issues to search for. First, study some generally obtainable cultivars and select one which most closely fits your yard and pursuits. Search for a cultivar with good illness resistance, as this can prevent a number of problem coping with widespread tree ailments. 

If you’re procuring in individual, you should have an opportunity to see the precise tree before you purchase it. Search for younger bushes that seem wholesome.

The trunk ought to be straight, and any current branches ought to seem straight and robust. Search for intact bark and a wholesome root ball. Don’t purchase any bushes with indicators of pests or ailments. 


A sturdy pecan stem firmly anchored in rich black soil. The luscious black soil forms a defined circular patch, starkly contrasting with the surrounding brown, muddy soil.
Planting in late winter or early spring is right, particularly for bare-root bushes from on-line retailers.

While you purchase a tree from a nursery or backyard middle, you’ll both get naked root bushes or bushes grown in a big container. Naked root bushes, sometimes shipped from on-line retailers, ought to be planted as quickly as doable after they arrive.

One of the best season to plant bushes is late winter or early spring earlier than the tree emerges from dormancy. That is additionally the season most on-line growers will ship their bushes. 

Pecan bushes develop an in depth root system with a deep taproot, and also you’ll want to organize a gap giant sufficient to accommodate the prevailing roots.

Dig a gap at the very least three ft deep and a pair of ft broad.

Don’t trim the roots to suit into the opening! As an alternative, dig a gap giant sufficient to accommodate the roots, particularly the taproot. Organize the roots naturally throughout the gap so they aren’t twisted or folded.

Ensure the tree is about to a correct depth within the gap. Search for the place low on the principle stem the place the bark modifications colour, indicating the soil line the place the tree has been rising. Plant the tree solely as much as this pure soil line; don’t plant it deeper than this.

Refill the opening with dust and water it deeply.

Because the soil settles across the tree, proceed so as to add soil to fill in any air pockets, sustaining an excellent soil stage across the tree. Don’t pack up the soil across the base of the tree; maintain it stage all the way in which round.

For those who reside in an space with a heavy wildlife presence, you might need to place a protecting sleeve across the trunk for the primary couple of years. This may assist defend it from wildlife that can nibble, gnaw, scratch, or rub on the trunk.

This additionally helps defend the trunk towards injury attributable to chilly climate whereas the tree remains to be younger. A protecting sleeve will even defend the tree’s base from injury from string trimmers or lawnmowers.

After planting the tree, in case you have an extended straight trunk with no aspect branches, use sturdy and sharp pruners to prune about ⅓ to ½ of the highest of the tree.

Some nursery-grown bushes have been pruned already, and these will present some wholesome department development. Pruning will assist it develop in a extra compact and well-rounded type. 

Additionally, add some natural mulch, resembling pine straw or leaf mulch, across the base of the tree in a sample that roughly matches its cover measurement. This may assist maintain the weeds to a minimal and assist retain soil moisture round your tree.

Keep away from “volcano mulching” or piling mulch up in a mound proper on the tree’s base; as an alternative, go for a pleasant, even layer and go away just a few inches of hole between the trunk and the beginning of the mulch for good airflow on the trunk base. Apply a contemporary layer of mulch yearly as a part of your routine upkeep.


These bushes require constant watering, fertilizing, and upkeep of their early years. Nonetheless, as soon as established, they’re comparatively hands-off.


 A serene grove of mature pecan trees stands majestically in a vast, open pasture. The dappled sunlight of a lazy afternoon bathes the pecan trees in a warm, golden hue, casting enchanting shadows on the soft grass below.
Optimum solar publicity is crucial for rising wholesome and productive nut bushes.

Develop pecan bushes in full solar. Plant your pecan tree the place it may possibly get probably the most daylight obtainable. Don’t attempt to develop it within the shade or different bushes, buildings, or constructions.

They are going to tolerate mild shade, however you should have the healthiest and most efficient tree in full solar.


Rows of stately pecan trees stand tall and uniform. Nature unfolds as these pecan trees bask in the warm embrace of the sun, casting long shadows on the fertile earth below.
Common and deep watering is essential for tree development and nut high quality.

These bushes thrive with common watering. Common watering is essential to success for the primary 3 years after transplanting a brand new tree. Guarantee your younger tree will get between 10 and 15 gallons of water per week.

Water deeply moderately than calmly. Drought-stressed bushes will battle to develop a wholesome root system and received’t produce high-quality nuts. Irregular watering can even trigger nuts to separate. Mature bushes have higher drought tolerance than younger bushes.


A pair of gentle hands cradle a mound of rich, brown soil, ready for planting. The blurred background reveals the promise of a fertile soil awaiting its green inhabitants.
Optimum soil circumstances embrace wealthy, fertile, well-drained soil with a pH vary of 6.0 to 7.0.

The soil ought to be wealthy, fertile, and well-drained. Pecans develop deep taproots and wish a deep soil construction to accommodate their type. Excellent soil pH ought to be within the vary of 6.0 to 7.0.


A diligent gardener carefully gathers a bed of nutrient-rich mulch, preparing it for plant nourishment. The blurred background showcases a lush green lawn basking in the warm embrace of sunlight.
Mulching with natural supplies helps management weeds and keep soil moisture and fertility.

Unfold just a few inches of mulch round your bushes to assist maintain the weeds down and in addition assist keep even soil moisture. Use an natural, biodegradable mulch, resembling pine straw, wheat straw, or leaf mulch, any of which is able to assist enrich the soil as they break down.

It’s important to keep away from volcano-mulching, as addressed earlier. An excessive amount of mulch piled towards the tree’s base can encourage the event of fungal trunk rots, and that will result in critical issues down the highway.

Local weather and Temperature 

Three unripe, vibrant green pecans suspended delicately by a slender, earthy brown stem, promising the upcoming harvest of nature's bounty. In the foreground, a tapestry of luxuriant leaves unfolds, showcasing the tree's vitality and its nurturing environment.
These bushes thrive in USDA zones 5 to 9, preferring heat climates with lengthy, sizzling summers for correct ripening.

Pecans are usually hardy in USDA zones 5 by means of 9, though completely different cultivars might differ barely. These bushes love heat climates and can carry out finest within the hotter components of their vary.

Pecans want lengthy, sizzling summers to ripen correctly. Bushes uncovered to extended chilly throughout their flowering instances can have poor harvests.


A skilled gardener kneels on the soil. In one hand, the gardener holds a sturdy, white trowel, while the other hand holds a fertilizer. They pour it slowly to the soil, ensuring the young pecan plant receives the nourishment.
Fertilize appropriately, taking the tree’s age and measurement into consideration.

Don’t fertilize your tree at planting, as this will injury the roots. Younger bushes want about one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer utilized within the spring every year.

Older bushes which have had just a few years to develop ought to be fertilized every spring. For older bushes, calculate roughly 4 kilos of 10-10-10 fertilizer for every inch of trunk diameter (measured DBH at 4.5 ft above the soil floor). Don’t apply greater than eight kilos of fertilizer per tree per 12 months. 

Pecans additionally want zinc to provide wholesome crops. Contact your native agricultural extension workplace for a zinc testing package that can assist you decide how a lot zinc you might want to complement your soil and find out how to apply it finest. 


Straight row of majestic pecan trees standing tall, their branches stretching towards the sky. The golden rays of the sun gently kiss the emerald leaves of each tree, illuminating the scene with a warm, inviting glow.
To make sure correct tree care, clear weeds surrounding younger bushes and take away particles from older bushes.

For the healthiest bushes, maintain weeds away from the trunks when they’re nonetheless small and younger. Vigorous weedy development can outcompete and shade out younger bushes.

Older bushes will drop a number of leafy particles and nuts on the bottom, so that you’ll need to be ready to take away this particles to maintain the realm round your tree clear and freed from areas the place insect pests can overwinter, particularly in case you have had insect pests up to now. 


A hand carefully plucks a pecan nut from the lush foliage, showcasing the bounty of nature's harvest. Surrounding the freshly picked nut are several more mature pecans nestled among the verdant leaves. The blurred background showcases soft green grasses.
Decide pecans within the fall when mature. Collect fallen nuts to forestall spoilage and retailer them in a cool, dry place.

Harvest pecans within the fall as quickly as they’re mature. You’ll know they’re prepared to reap when the nuts begin to fall, and the husks begin to cut up open.

Collect all fallen nuts from the bottom to guard them from squirrels, bugs, and moisture. Don’t permit nuts to put on the bottom as a result of these will rapidly rot and change into inedible or be eaten by the native wildlife. Retailer your harvest in a cool, clear, dry location. 

Backyard Design

Pecan trees stand tall in perfect rows, their lush green foliage reaching toward the sky. The grass has been carefully trimmed, creating a neat and inviting pathway between the tree rows.
Contemplate planting a pecan for a big, enticing shade tree away from constructions and driveways to keep away from potential hazards.

A pecan tree could also be price contemplating if you’re in search of a big, enticing shade tree. As a result of they develop so giant, you’ll basically plant an remoted shade tree in a big sunny space. Because the tree grows bigger, you should utilize it to offer shade for a quiet shade backyard or pure outside retreat.

Don’t plant your tree too near a home, construction, or underneath energy strains, as their root techniques can progressively trigger cracks in pavements and foundations, and their branches will develop across the energy strains. You most likely don’t need to plant it close to a driveway to forestall pecans from falling in your automotive.


There are quite a few pecan cultivars, every having fascinating attributes. Completely different cultivars might carry out finest in numerous areas, so select a cultivar finest suited to your location.


Fresh green pecans with slight cracks, ready for harvesting. The green pecans rest gracefully on slender stems adorned with leaves, creating a picturesque scene of nature's bounty.
This selection produces ample, flavorful nuts and is immune to pecan scab.

‘Elliot’ has glorious nut manufacturing and can begin producing a crop when 7 to 9 years outdated. The nuts are smaller in measurement however quite a few and with a powerful taste. This selection has good resistance to pecan scab.

It might not produce a powerful crop yearly however sometimes performs finest in alternating years. ‘Elliot’ is finest grown in zones 6 by means of 9. 


Unripe, vibrant green pecans hangs gracefully from a slender branch. The tender green stems and leaves surrounding the nuts exude a sense of youthful energy and growth.
This early, high-yielding selection has good resistance to pecan scab and is suited to zones 6 by means of 9.

‘Excel’ produces a big nut with a thick shell. This selection is an early producer and generates a very good harvest. It has good resistance to pecan scab and is hardy in zones 6 by means of 9.


Three unripe green pecans dangle gracefully from a brown stem, adorned by green leaves. Among the trio, one pecan shows promising signs of maturity, as tiny cracks begin to form, revealing the hidden treasure of a soon-to-be pecan nut.
These bushes yield giant, meaty nuts with good manufacturing beginning in 12 months 6 or 7.

Oconee pecans ripen in mid-fall and produce giant, meaty nuts. It usually has good nut manufacturing, beginning in years 6 or 7, and has average resistance to pecan scab. Oconee is hardy in USDA zones 6 by means of 9.


The pecans' shells show cracks, hinting at the pecan nuts within. A serene autumnal backdrop of blurred leaves complements the pecans' rustic beauty.
This in style cultivar has ample, easy-to-crack nuts.

‘Sumner’ pecans begin producing a crop in years 7 to 9. It develops giant nuts, which ripen a bit later within the fall season. The nuts are ample and simple to crack.

This cultivar may be very in style and reasonably immune to pecan scab. It grows finest in USDA zones 6 by means of 9.


Green pecans lies nestled amidst lush, vibrant leaves, promising a bountiful harvest. The blurred background gently hints at more leaves intermingling harmoniously, showcasing nature's abundance.
These early-bearing pecans have average scab resistance and like pH 6.0-6.5 soil.

‘Caddo’ pecans begin bearing fruit in years 5 to six. The nuts ripen in early fall and have an ample harvest of smaller nuts. They’ve average resistance to pecan scab however are vulnerable to black aphids and should require spraying to manage outbreaks.

This tree prefers a extra acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. It’s hardy in zones 6 by means of 10.

Wildlife Worth

A buffalo strolls confidently through a peaceful landscape adorned with pecan trees. The buffalo's steady stride carries it across a vast and verdant pasture, illustrating the harmonious connection between the animal and its environment.
These attractive bushes assist various wildlife by means of leaf and nut consumption by mammals and birds.

Pecans present great worth to wildlife, significantly mammals. Deer might browse on any low-growing leaves, significantly on youthful bushes

. Squirrels relish the nuts and can feast on them all through the autumn. Any fallen nuts left on the bottom will appeal to different wildlife that feeds on nuts, together with small mammals and birds.

Pests and Illnesses

Pecans can develop very giant and are topic to a number of pests and ailments that may be troublesome to manage. Some pests, like squirrels, are ubiquitous and difficult for any gardener.

If in case you have bigger mammals like deer or cows feeding in your bushes, you may set up a fence across the tree to guard it. A few of the commonest pecan issues are listed under.

Pecan Scab 

A close-up of a green pecan, exhibiting distinct black scabs on its surface. The blurred background showcases the surrounding pecan leaves, adding a touch of natural beauty to the composition.
Scab is a standard fungal an infection within the southeastern United States, finest prevented by planting disease-resistant cultivars.

Pecan scab is a fungal an infection commonest within the southeastern United States. This scab fungus infects all uncovered components of the tree and creates small black or brown spots with a particular tough or fuzzy look.

Since bushes develop so giant, spraying is usually ineffective for the house landscaper. It’s finest to buy and plant disease-resistant pecan cultivars to reduce the chance of contracting scab. 


A squirrel perched on a tree branch, joyfully nibbling on a delicious pecan nut. The blurred background shows a sturdy tree trunk adorned with leaves.
Pest-proofing pecan bushes with steel shields can forestall squirrel entry.

Squirrels will take away and eat many pecans every season. In case your tree grows near different bushes, there could also be no efficient option to forestall squirrel entry to the pecan tree.

In case your pecan tree is remoted from different bushes, you could possibly set up a {smooth} steel squirrel-proof protect across the trunk of a bigger tree to forestall them from climbing up. 

Lack of Pollination 

Pecan trees standing in a pasture, their leaves sparsely scattered. The leaves have taken on a yellowish hue. The clear sky provides a beautiful backdrop to the tranquil setting.
Enhance crop yield with correct pollination by planting a number of bushes, together with completely different cultivars.

Often, you will have a poor pecan crop due to an absence of pollination. Pecan bushes flower in mid to late spring. They produce separate female and male flowers and depend on wind pollination.

To make sure the most effective pollination charges, develop two or extra pecan bushes in the identical normal neighborhood. Ideally, develop at the very least two completely different cultivars for the most effective pollination success.


A detailed close-up of a brown weevil resting on a pecan leaf. The intricate patterns on the weevil's exoskeleton resemble the texture and coloration of wood.
These pests devastate the tender nut meat, leading to a smooth-edged spherical gap within the husk.

Weevils might sometimes assault pecan nuts; after they do, they’re a serious pest. The adults are small grayish-brown bugs with very lengthy curved snouts. Adults lay eggs on younger pecans. The eggs hatch, and the larvae burrow inside.

After burrowing into the nut, the grub-like larvae eat the tender nut meat, destroying the within, earlier than burrowing again out once more, leaving a smooth-edged spherical gap within the husk. Contact your native cooperative extension for steerage in case you suspect a weevil infestation.


A close-up of black pecan aphids clustered on a pecan leaf, feeding on its sap. The pecan leaf exhibiting signs of powdery mildew, a fungal disease.
Black pecan aphids result in critical leaf injury and untimely leaf drop.

Aphids are tiny bugs that may trigger a stunning quantity of harm to pecan bushes. Black pecan aphids, specifically, trigger critical leaf injury, inflicting the leaves to show yellow, then brown, and drop off.

Dried, lifeless leaves showing mid-season is a possible signal of those aphids. Whereas aphids are a quite common backyard pest, the dimensions of pecan bushes makes it a real problem to fight them in an identical methodology to what’s carried out in typical residence gardens.

For those who suspect aphid injury, name your native cooperative extension agent for ideas on find out how to management these pests.

Ultimate Ideas

Pecan bushes are giant and enticing panorama bushes, glorious for a bigger sunny location. If in case you have a big sunny yard needing a gorgeous shade tree, contemplate a pecan.

It would take time, after all, to develop to maturity, however it’s undoubtedly well worth the look ahead to a beautiful mature tree that gives an ample edible crop!

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