How to Use Lye to Fertilize Pecan Trees


Before commercial garden chemicals, growers used lye to fertilize pecan trees. They created lye by soaking wood ashes in water. Instead of making their own lye, today's gardeners can purchase lye at home and garden centers. The use of this compound is favorable for pecan trees for two primary reasons: The trees do not like acidic soil and lye raises the soil’s pH. Lye also contains potassium, which helps the tree with fruiting and flowering.

Step 1

Locate the tree's drip line, which is its outermost edge or the area where the tree’s longest branches extend.

Step 2

Dig a hole in the ground beneath the drip line 12 to 16 inches deep.

Step 3

Remove the lid from the lye. Lye is packaged in metal canisters, and the lid can be screwed off or popped off.

Step 4

Place the canister either on its side or upside down in the hole.

Step 5

Fill the hole up with soil.

Step 6

Pack down the soil down with your foot.

Step 7

Water the area thoroughly until fully saturated.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use caution when working with lye. Wear gloves and protective eyeglasses.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel


  • North Carolina State University: Growing Pecan Trees
  • Spartanburg Herald Journal: Pecan Trees
  • North Carolina State University: What Soil Amendments Do We Need?
Keywords: lye for pecans, lye fertilization pecans, pecan lye fertilization

About this Author

Leigh Walker has been working as a writer since 1995. She serves as a ghostwriter for many online clients creating website content, e-books and newsletters. She works as a title flagger and writer for Demand Studios, primarily writing home and garden pieces for and Walker pursued an English major/psychology minor at Pellissippi State.