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How to Plant Pecan Trees From Nuts

Pecan nuts are healthy and nutritious, packed with essential proteins. Growing your own pecan tree is a viable alternative to purchasing nuts from a store, which cost a bundle. You can grow these deciduous trees by planting pecan nuts, nursery-bought seedlings or a grafted pecan tree directly in the soil. The end result is a large tree that can provide you with homegrown pecans you can enjoy yourself or give to others.

How to Plant Pecan Trees From Nuts

Collect pecan nuts in the fall, which is typically their harvest season, before squirrels or mice grab them. Collect as many as you can and place them in a basket. Separate the ones that do not appear to be full, are small in size or are infested with disease or damaged because these will fail to germinate. Dry the nuts for several days by placing them on a countertop.

Fill a zipper bag with sand, moist peat moss, vermiculite or saw dust and place the nuts inside and over it, or surround each nut with the desired material. Keep the bag refrigerated for three months during winter at 45 degrees. This cold stratification treatment will allow the nuts to grow vigorously in spring.

Select a planting site in February that receives six hours of sunlight and has well-drained and loamy soil. Take a sample of the soil in a container to your local nursery or garden supply center for a pH test. A pecan tree requires a pH between 6.0 and 7.5 to thrive, so amend the soil accordingly by adding lime or sulfur.

Remove any weeds, rocks or debris from the planting site and aerate it by breaking up large clods into smaller pieces. Place two inches of compost over the soil, water gently and rake it in so it goes deep.

Dig holes that are three to four inches deep and four inches wide with a shovel. Pecan trees can grow very large, so space the holes at least 40 feet apart if growing several trees.

Remove the refrigerated bag a week before planting to acclimatize the nuts at room temperature. Take three to four nuts and plant them sideways into each hole. Backfill them with soil to ensure good soil to nut contact and gently water them with a watering can. The nuts will germinate in a month to six weeks.


You can plant the pecan nuts directly in the soil as soon as you collect them in fall, but these will be more susceptible to mice and squirrel damage. Check the zipper bag frequently when it is in the refrigerator to make sure it always remains moist. Add one-half tsp. of water if it becomes dry.

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