Pecan Tree Growth


Pecan trees, species name Carya illinoensis, is a member of the hickory family and is the tree that produces edible pecan nuts. Once established, mature pecans are a low-maintenance trees to grow in your yard.


Pecans are native to the lower Mississippi River Valley all the way west to Texas and Kansas north to Illinois and Kentucky in USDA zones 5 through 9. They prefer well-drained lowlands but can tolerate some flooding.


Trees grow to 180 feet in height. They need to be selectively trimmed when young to remain single trunk trees and avoid weak branches and limbs that may break as the tree gets larger.


Pecans can self pollinate but it is better to have a second tree of a different variety close by to cross pollinate with. This produces higher yields and better quality nuts.


The nuts of the pecan tree are harvested in December. The nuts are a very important agricultural food crop for humans as well as a natural source of food for native animals and birds.


For food production it is best to obtain trees that have been specially bred or grafted to be high quality producers. Many pecan nurseries have developed their own varieties that are suitable for the local climate.


  • Home Fruit Production: Pecans
  • Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch
  • Carya illinoinensis

Who Can Help

  • Pecan Breeding Program
Keywords: carya illinoensis, hickory nut, mississippi river trees

About this Author

Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.