Fruit & Nut Trees for Memphis

Located in western Tennessee, Memphis is in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone 7, where temperatures may reach 0 degrees F in the winter. Overall, the climate tends to be temperate, though the area is susceptible to warm, moist air pushing up from the Gulf of Mexico and cold air pushing down from the Arctic. Temperatures and rainfall are inconsistent. The more hardy nut trees grow well in this area, particularly after they are established. Most of these trees have deep root systems, which help to protect them from the temperature fluctuations.

Shagbark Hickory

The Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) is known for its shaggy brown-black bark and large nuts. This tree, which is hardy in Zones 4 to 8, is a good choice for the Memphis area. The Shagbark Hickory can grow to 90 feet tall with a 40-foot spread, and its hard but flexible wood may be used for tool handles. It is also popular for smoking meat. The tree has medium-green leaves that age to yellow before dropping. The Shagbark Hickory produces the largest of all hickory nuts, which are sweet and produced in a hard, smooth, acorn-shaped shell. This tree should be planted in full to partial sun and requires regular water.


Prevalent throughout the South, Pecan trees (Carya illinoinensis) are majestic and grow well in the Memphis area. Though it may take up to 15 years before pecan trees bear nuts, the harvest is large when they do. These trees have groups of slender, medium-green leaflets that do not drop until late fall. The trees produce a dry, tasty nut in an oblong, brown shell that is often used in desserts such as pecan pie and pralines. Pecan trees may grow to 100 feet tall with a spread of up to 75 feet and should be planted in full to part sun. These trees require moderate water and are nearly immune to insects.

White Walnut

The White Walnut (Juglans cinerea), also known as the Butternut Walnut, is hardy in Zones 4 to 7, and Memphis is on the edge of this range. The White Walnut is a fairly small nut tree---it grows 60 feet tall---and is a good selection for a home landscape. This tree has a rounded but open crown and can live for about 75 years. This tree is often planted for its ornamental value rather than its nut production, though the nuts are flavorful. The White Walnut is native from Georgia westward to Arkansas and North Dakota, and it should be planted in full sun. This tree needs regular water.

Keywords: Memphis trees, Tennessee trees, nut trees Tennessee, Memphis landscape, pecan, hickory

About this Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.