Pecan trees can serve a dual purpose in Georgia landscaping, because they have an attractive appearance and can provide additional income through the sale of nuts. According to the University of Georgia, pecan trees grow well in the coastal plain and piedmont regions of Georgia, but not in the north Georgia Mountains. Pecan seedlings do not produce trees of the same quality as the parent tree. Because of this, most nut farmers in Georgia reproduce pecans through grafting.
Select a location for your tree. Pecan trees develop roots most vigorously in the spring months. Well-drained soil, especially in spring, is a requirement for pecans to grow a healthy root system. Deep, fertile soil is also required. If you are attempting to establish a pecan tree in upland northern Georgia, amend the poor soil for your pecan tree to thrive.
Analyze your soil before amending it with organic fertilizers. The University of Georgia maintains a laboratory that will analyze the structure and chemical makeup of soil. For a fee, it will analyze a soil sample and make recommendations as to what amendments should be applied in what quantities.
Amend your soil based on the results of your soil analysis test. In general, amend with a good organic treatment by loosening your soil with a rototiller or a spade to a depth of 8 inches. Spread 4 inches of compost and peat moss over the soil. Turn the organic amendments into the soil with a shovel and rake or by pushing the rototiller over it again. Georgia soils typically also benefit from a treatment of lime. Lime should be spread over soil to a depth of 1 inch and then plowed into the soil for optimal pecan growth.
Plant trees in your orchard in a square pattern. Each tree in a row and each tree row should be spaced the same distance apart. This will help increase the pollination and nut production. If you are planting on a hillside, follow the contours of the hill. To plant bare-root pecans, dig a hole 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide. Place the root ball into the hole and cover with soil. Do not bury the tree too deeply. The top roots of the tree should be approximately 3 inches below the soil surface. Do not put fertilizer directly in the planting hole.
Water young trees several times a week. Young trees need 10 to 15 gallons of water weekly. Mulch around the base of the tree with straw to a depth of 6 inches. Place a good (5-10-15) fertilizer in a 25-foot ring around the tree’s trunk in June of the tree’s first year. Fertilize the tree in March and June every year after that with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer in a 25-foot ring around the tree trunk. Harvest nuts as soon as they mature and store in a cool, dry place.