Pecan trees are a favorite among growers because of their majestic size and delicious nuts. The tree is used in both commercial orchards and as a landscaping tree all over the southern and southeastern United States. The pecan tree is hardy and can easily be grown from nuts. It will reach full nut-bearing potential if you use proper planting and growing methods.
Collect nuts from pecan trees in your growing area during the months of October and November. Soak the nuts in water for 24 hours. Discard any nuts that float. These nuts are unhealthy and will not germinate well in the spring.
Remove the nuts from the water, spread them out in a single layer and allow them to dry out. You will know the seeds are ready for the next stage if they snap when you bend them.
Fill a small bucket or container with sand and lightly dampen the sand with water. Bury the dried nuts in the sand a few inches deep. Place the sand container in the refrigerator for four months. This process allows the nuts to go through a simulated winter season and will prepare them for planting in the spring. If you notice the sand drying out, add a bit of water to moisten it.
Select your planting site in the early spring. Pecan trees grow best in well draining soil. Planting spots should be at least 25 to 35 feet apart.
Dig holes that are 3 inches deep and 10 inches wide. Place three to six nuts on their sides in each hole and refill the holes with dirt.
Water each area thoroughly. Place compost or an organic mulch on top of the area where you have planted your nuts. Place a wire cage around each area if you have a squirrel problem. Tree sprouts will appear in four to six weeks.
Water heavily at least once a week when you notice sprouts popping through the ground. If there is heavy spring rainfall, you may not need to water.
Add a slow release tree fertilizer to the area around your seedlings in mid-summer, around July.
Remove the weakest seedlings in each area during late summer or early fall. You can transplant the weaker seedlings to a new growing area or discard them.
Keep your growing areas hydrated with water and you will be on your way to harvesting pecans within eight to ten years.