Pecan trees (Carya illinoinensis) are a wonderful addition to any yard, giving large amounts of shade and and nuts. It is the state tree of Texas, and former Governor James Hogg favored the tree so much that he requested that one be planted at his grave site, according to Lone Star Junction.
The pecan grows in about 150 Texas counties. When planting a pecan tree, make sure it is within 300 feet of another variety for good pollination.
You can purchase nursery trees that are bare root, container grown or large transplants. Bare root trees are the most common in Texas, but they need careful handling to prevent transplanting death or slow growth, according to Texas Extension. Container-grown trees, while generally smaller, grow very well in Texas and are your best choice, although they can be hard to find. Large, mechanically dug pecan trees have become available in Texas as commercial orchards thin out trees to correct crowding problems, Texas Extension says. While these trees gave you immediate impact, they are expensive and difficult to get established.
Seedlings and Varieties
Ungrafted seedlings have strong, fast growth and a natural central leader without training, Texas Extension says. While they are easy to get, the nut quality varies (though it is acceptable) and they may take longer to bear nuts.
If you are seeking excellent nut production and quality, purchase grafted varieties. They are bred specifically for their nuts, rather than for their size and attractiveness as shade trees, Texas Extension says.
Early Pollen Shedding
Early pollen varieties shed their pollen before female flowers are receptive.
"Desirable" grows well in the humid areas of east and south Texas and central Texas. The trees grow quickly but will take at least eight years to bear 15 pounds of pecans, Texas Extension warns.
"Western" is a good low-maintenance choice for west Texas, but it must be watched closely for scab disease.
"Pawnee" is an extremely early-ripening variety recommended especially for the Texas Panhandle, Texas Extension says. "Pawnee" seems to naturally resist aphids, a plus for pecan growers.
"Caddo" grows well in all of Texas because of strong limbs, scab resistance, early ripening and attractive foliage, Texas Extension says. While its nuts are quite small, they are high quality.
"Cape Fear" is a good landscape tree for east and south Texas, but its kernels are only fair quality.
Late Pollen Shedding
Late pollen varieties shed their pollen after female flowers are receptive.
For an excellent yard tree, choose "Sioux," which has strong limbs and very high-quality nuts.
"Wichita" is the most productive pecan grown in Texas and is ideally adapted to central and west Texas, the Extension says.
"Tejas" is good for west Texas yards. It grows vigorously and quite large, with good-quality nuts.
"Forkert" is an old Mississippi variety that is little known, Texas Extension says, but is popular in Texas because of its excellent nut quality.
"Maramec" is recommended as a landscape tree in North Texas.
"Shoshoni" ripens early and is a good choice for the Panhandle and north Texas. It will start bearing nuts in only five or six years.