How to Grow Pecan

Pecans on a tree. image by Corey Leopold:


Pecan is the Texas state tree and grows well throughout the state, but it is considered native to other south central areas of the country plus parts of Mexico. Patience is the key to successfully growing one of these massive trees, since it can take up to 10 years or longer for the tasty nuts to arrive. Finding the right location and providing at least one or more varieties for pollination are important factors in growing pecan trees.

Step 1

Select a location that can handle the fully-grown pecan tree, which can reach heights of more than 70 feet and a spread of over 80 feet. Space trees at least 35 feet apart, and if possible, more like 70 feet apart.

Step 2

Choose a location that is at least 30 feet away from power lines, septic lines, trees, buildings, driveways or other obstructions. Plant at least two or three different varieties of pecan trees for pollination.

Step 3

Choose a planting site with full sun and deep, well-drained, sandy-loam soil. The soil's pH level should be around 6 to 7 for best growing conditions.

Step 4

Use a shovel to dig a hole that's wide and deep enough to place the root system without bending it for bare-root trees, and twice the width (same depth) for container trees.

Step 5

Use a rake on the sides and bottom of the hole to loosen the soil. Do not add any type of fertilizer at this time. The pecan tree should be at the same depth it was planted in the nursery.

Step 6

Check the root system for damaged or tangled roots. Use a sharp knife to cut bad roots and untangle others, if needed. Carefully place the pecan tree in the hole you dug, spreading roots out naturally.

Step 7

Use a shovel to add fill dirt a few inches at a time, then press firmly to remove any air pockets. Continue this procedure until the hole is filled.

Step 8

Use a shovel to create a watering basin out of dirt 3 to 5 feet in diameter around the tree. Add at least 5 gallons of water around the newly-planted pecan tree to get rid of any remaining air pockets in the soil.

Step 9

Water weekly when the soil is dry and thoroughly soak the root system. Pecan trees require 1 inch of water during the spring, 2 inches in mid-summer and 1 inch every 6 to 7 weeks during the fall and winter months.

Step 10

Add a 3-to-4 inch layer of mulch in a 5-to-6 foot diameter around the tree. Keep the mulch several inches away from the trunk of tree. This helps prevent weeds from growing in the area. Otherwise, use a hoe to cultivate the soil and eliminate any weeds in this region.

Step 11

Cut back half of the top portion of bare-root pecan trees with pruning shears. Prune container-grown trees a bit less at the time of planting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Monitor your pecan tree for diseases or pests and contact your local extension for information and preventive measures for your specific problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Gloves
  • Rake
  • Sharp knife
  • Pruning shears
  • Bucket
  • Mulch
  • Hoe


  • Texas A&M Extension: Home Fruit Production - Pecans
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Pecans in North Carolina
  • Growing Pecans in Illinois

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Pecans in Missouri
  • North Carolina Pecan Growers Association: From Tree to Table
  • Washington State University Benton County Extension - Growing Pecans in the Home Garden
Keywords: Grow pecan tree, Plant pecan tree, Growing pecan tree

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.

Photo by: Corey Leopold: