Instructions for Planting Pecan Trees


Pecan trees have been found to grow natively in river and creek bed soil that is fertile and well-drained. Trees planted in home gardens and for nut production will grow and produce better if they are planted deep into nutrient-rich soil that is well-draining. Plant the dormant pecan tree stock in late winter to early spring in an area that receives full sunlight and 30 feet or more from buildings or power lines.

Step 1

Plant the pecan trees immediately after purchase. Place the trees in a shaded location and water the root balls well to keep them moist if they can't be planted immediately.

Step 2

Dig a hole that is 2 to 3 feet wider than the root structure and several inches deeper. The hole must be wide enough to prevent the roots from being twisted when placed in the hole.

Step 3

Remove the trees from the planting or holding container and soak the roots in a bucket of water for one hour.

Step 4

Place the roots into the hole and spread the lateral roots outward. Make sure the tree is 1 to 2 inches deeper than it was grown in the nursery. The trunk will have a darkened line showing where the soil level was.

Step 5

Fill one-half of the hole with a mixture of ground soil and quality topsoil. Carefully work the soil around the roots making sure that the lateral roots are not pushed up against the root crown. Add peat moss or organic compost to soil that is high in clay content to increase the water draining capability.

Step 6

Fill the top half of the hole with water and allow it to drain into the surrounding soil. Continue to fill the hole with the soil mixture once the water has absorbed into the ground. Do not pack the soil as this may damage the roots.

Step 7

Remove the top half of the tree by cutting the trunk. Cut all lateral growing branches to a length of 6 inches. This will stimulate the trees to grow.

Step 8

Apply a nitrogen formulation fertilizer to each tree at a rate of ¼ pound per tree. Apply 1/8 pound of zinc chelates to each tree once the leaves begin to appear.

Step 9

Water the trees well to keep the root balls and soil moist the first month after planting. Continue to water the trees every 10 days, making sure to soak the entire root ball.

Step 10

Remove all weeds around the trunk in a 3-foot diameter. Whitewash or wrap the tree trunks with a tree wrap the first two years of growth to prevent sunscald during the hot summer months.

Things You'll Need

  • Pecan tree stock
  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Topsoil
  • Peat moss
  • Organic compost
  • Tree pruning clipper
  • Nitrogen formulation fertilizer
  • Zinc chelates
  • Tree whitewash
  • Tree wrap


  • New Mexico State University: Planting Pecan Trees
  • Oklahoma State University Extension: Starting Pecan Trees
  • Texas A&M University: Pecans
Keywords: plant pecan trees, grow pecan trees, plant nut trees

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.