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How to Grow Pecan Trees in Ohio

Pecan trees and the South go hand in hand, but this need not always be the case. Most pecan trees are hardy to USDA climate zone 6, which much of Ohio is located. In addition, there are some northern varieties of pecan trees (e.g., Northern James) that are hardy also in zone 5, which the rest of Ohio is located. It is best to choose a healthy bare root pecan tree from a reputable nursery. The tree should be from a grafted union and be about 4 to 6 feet high for greater success and an earlier harvest since pecan trees can take up 7 years to produce edible nuts. Plant your pecan tree in the spring after the last frost and choose a location in full sun.

Water the wrapped roots and give it a good soaking. Do this 3 to 4 hours before planting so your tree is well hydrated before planting.

Dig a hole that is about 24 inches wide and just as deep as the root ball. The graft union should be about 2 inches above the soil line.

Take off the wrapping around the root ball and trim off any visible roots to about 20 inches. Cut off any broken roots as well.

Set the tree in the hole and spread out the roots. They should not curl up the sides.

Backfill the soil until the ¾ full. Water the area with a couple inches of water and then continue to fill the hole the rest of the way. Water again. Keep the tree moist throughout the first growing year.

Cut off the top third of growth on your tree. This will balance out the damage and stress that your roots have been put under.


Keep an eye out for insect or animal damage and for disease. Remedy the issues immediately for best results. You can take a sample of the damaged branch or leaf to your local nursery or university extension office for analysis and correction tips. Prune your tree (after the first year of planting). This will take some research and practice, but in general, you should maintain one main trunk with lateral branches every 8 to 16 inches.

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