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How to Take Care of a Pecan Tree

By Hollan Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017

Pecans are a staple nut in the south of the United States. If you live in a climate similar to one of the southern states, growing pecans can be a good endevor. Pecans thrive in USDA zones six to nine, favoring warmer, milder weather. You will also need two or more different varieties of pecan trees in your yard for them to cross pollinate and produce nuts. However, there are many good, disease resistant pecan varities to choose from, Elliott, Gloria Grande and Mohawk amoung them.

Choose an area in your yard for two or more pecan trees. Pecan trees are large, reaching heights of fifty feet and living for about three hundred years. Make sure plenty of room is available between each of the trees, about forty to fifty feet.

Plant your pecan trees. Dig a hole about three to four feet deep, and place the tree inside. Cover it with soil. Pecan trees grow best in sandy, well drained soil, similar to that found around creeks where they thrive naturally. Make sure to keep the roots of the tree moist while planting.

Fertilize your pecan tree a year after it is planted with nitrogen. Apply one cup of 33-0-0 to the base of the tree three times a year after that point. Increase the amount by one cup at three years of age and by another cup at five years of age for a total of three cups.

Water your pecan trees once a week in the summer for about ten minutes each time. Water them less, once every other week, in the spring and fall. In the winter cut back to watering them only once a month. If the soil is too dry around the base of the tree, you may water it.

Prune your pecan tree twice a year in spring and fall. Allow only one leader to grow out of the base of the tree, prune the rest. Cut the leader in half each spring with trees under five years old. Remove any dead or damaged branches as they occur. Space branches about ten inches apart from each other.

Harvest your pecans in the fall. Pecans are ready to be harvested when they fall off the tree when it is hit or shaken. Pecans will start producing nuts after five to seven years of growth.


Things You Will Need

  • Well drained, sandy soil
  • Two or more different varieties of pecan trees


  • Allow pecan tree leaves to stay on the ground around the base of the tree as a natural mulch.


  • Do not allow grass to grow at the base of your pecan trees. It encourages insects.
  • Pecan scab affects pecan trees. Grow varieties that are resistant to scab to prevent this, such as Elliott, Gloria Grande and Mohawk.

About the Author


Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.