How to Grow a Pecan Tree From Seed


Although the pecan tree is native to North America, it is successfully grown in many parts of the world. People favor this large sized tree because its delicious, healthy nuts, packed with essential proteins and known to lower cholesterol and protect the heart. Pecan nugs can be eaten raw or used in savory pies and rolls. These majestic trees can grow quite large, and are also planted for landscaping purposes, as they provide plenty of shade.

Step 1

Collect pecan seeds in October or November so you can prepare them for spring planting. Encourage seeds to dry by keeping them in a dry environment. Bend a kernel after a few days to check if it has dried. If it snaps, your pecans are ready. If you notice some of your pecans dried earlier than the others, work with only the prepared ones and return to the others later.

Step 2

Place the dried seeds in a zipper bag and keep it in the refrigerator for eight to 20 weeks, all through the winter, at 45 degrees. You can fill the bag with sand, peat moss or moist saw dust. This cold, moist treatment is known as stratification, which serves the same function as planting the seed in the ground in the winter and prepares the seed for spring planting. Remove the bag a week before planting to acclimatize the seeds to room temperature.

Step 3

Prepare the planting site by loosening the soil with a shovel to aerate it. Keep in mind that a mature pecan tree has an extensive root system and a massive trunk, so select the site appropriately. Make sure the soil is well drained and loamy, and that the site receives at least six hours of sunlight.

Step 4

Fill a container or bowl with water at room temperature a day before planting and soak seeds in it. The seeds that split are ready and need to be planted immediately.

Step 5

Plant four to six seeds sideways, two to four inches deep in the soil. Gently water the soil and check to remove any weeds that may grow there. Germination will occur in four to six weeks.

Step 6

Fertilize the seedlings using a slow-release fertilizer at one-forth the recommended strength in mid-March and then once again in July. By the following spring your seedlings will be six to eight inches tall. Select the healthiest seedling and remove the others by cutting them below their root collar.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid using heating techniques such as placing the seeds in front of a heater to encourage them to dry. You can plant the seeds directly in the ground in the fall, but they are more susceptible to damage by squirrels and mice. Stratify them before planting for best results.

Things You'll Need

  • Pecan seeds
  • Zipper bag
  • Peat moss
  • Shovel
  • Small container or bowl
  • Slow release fertilizer


  • Growing Pecan Trees
  • Propagating Pecans
  • Pecan Seed Germination
Keywords: pecan tree, growing pecan trees, planting pecan seeds

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.