How to Care for Pecan

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Pecan trees are not easy trees to grow. They tend to be prone to certain insects and other pests that can ruin the whole pecan crop. The pecan tree is a monoecious tree. This means that the male and female flowers are found on the same tree but on different locations. The tree is pollinated by the wind. Pecan trees require a lot of water and a 10-10-10 fertilizer to ensure healthy growth. Pecans enjoy a temperate climate that is usually found in the southeast United States.

Caring for Pecans

Step 1

Choose transplant pecans trees from your local nursery that are approximately 4 to 5 feet tall. These trees have a better chance of survival after they are planted than seeds do. You can plant seeds for pecan trees but you are not guaranteed a quality nut. Trees that have already been established are less likely to have problems with pests.

Step 2

Dig a hold that is 24 inches wide on the bottom and is at least 2 to 3 feet deep. A good gauge is to plant the tree to the same depth that it was in at the nursery. The hole should be big enough that all of the roots fit in without having to twist or bend them. If you do bruise the roots this could damage the entire root system which will cause the tree to die.

Step 3

Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch or pine straw at the base of the trees after they have been planted. This will help keep weeds at bay and will keep moisture into the tree. Your tree will need 10 to 15 gallons of water each week, spread out over regular intervals. This can be accomplished by moving the water in through irrigation or by natural rainfall.

Step 4

Spray an insecticide on the pecan trees if you experience an infestation with insects. Squirrels are bad pests to the pecan tree. Install shields that encircle the tree and are approximately 2 feet wide and 5 feet off the ground. Live traps can also catch animals so they can be released into other areas of the woods.

Step 5

Harvest the pecans when the shucks begin to open. Do not allow the pecans to fall and lay on the ground. Pecans that fall on the ground are susceptible to worms and other insects and can rot quickly. Pick the mature pecans and store them in a cool dry place. You can store the pecans in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Things You'll Need

  • Seeds or Seedlings
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Soil
  • Hoe
  • Spade


  • New Mexico State University
  • University of Georgia
  • Clemson University
Keywords: growing pecan trees, planting pecans, harvesting pecans

About this Author

Melody Dawn has been writing since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and USA Today. Her writing focuses on gardening, home improvement, travel, sports, business, parenting and education. Dawn holds a Master of Business and is working on a Master of Journalism.

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