Pecans are well-known nut trees harvested in North America for their nutritious and appetizing seeds. Like most nuts, pecans can become an expensive treat. Planting and growing your own pecan tree is one way you can invest time and hard work to cut down on costs while enjoying the benefits of gardening.
Pecan seed can be harvested from October to November to be prepared and processed for the following spring. Once gathered, keep them in a warm environment to dry them out. According to Jane Manaster, author of "The Pecan Tree," you can test seeds by bending the kernel. The seed is ready when it snaps. Then, place the seeds in plastic bags and leave them in the refrigerator at 45 degrees F until the following spring.
Remove the seeds from the refrigerator one week before planting to allow them to warm up and reach room temperature. Soak the seeds for 24 hours in water or until they slightly split. Plant them 4 inches deep, sideways, and don't cover the hole. It is important that the seeds remain constantly moist until germination while they are at the greatest threat of drying out
After around 100 days the seed will germinate and grow to 6 or 18 inches by the following year. Train young trees to grow with a single, strong trunk. Do this by removing any extra leaders that develop, all but the one most vertical trunk. As the tree matures, focus on removing dead, exposed or crowded branches.
A strong nitrogen fertilizer is important for young pecan trees. It helps in the production of nearly all plant processes, including photosynthesis and fruit production. Ammonium sulfate, with a NPK of 21-0-0, or ammonium nitrate, 33-0-0, are the choice for many gardeners growing pecan trees, used once a year spread around the base of the tree. Zinc nitrate sprays are also essential for quick growth with pecan trees. Follow all the manufacturer's instructions whenever using any type of fertilizer.
Young pecan trees need enough water to properly soak the soil if they are going to survive and flourish. Water with 1 to 2 inches every week, depending on the growth of the tree and the type of soil. Trees that are growing well only need to be watered every other week.