Native to North America, the pecan tree can be found in states from Illinois to Texas. However, it grows best in climates that have a long and warm growing season such as Louisiana. It is an extremely large, deciduous tree, reaching heights of 100 to 150 feet at maturity. The pecan tree produces nuts by cross-pollination. Therefore, you will need two varieties of pecan trees planted in order to have the pecan tree produce nuts. The optimum time to plant pecan trees is in the months of December, January and February, which will give the roots time to establish themselves before the growing season.
Select your planting site. Pecan trees require full sun. Allow 35 to 50 feet between trees. Pecan trees have an extensive root system so plant it at least 60 to 80 feet away from any structure.
Dig a hole 2 feet wide and 2-3 feet in depth to accommodate the long tap root and root system. Place the dirt close to the hole, for ease of putting it back in the hole when planting the tree. Break up any clumps of dirt with your garden fork, and loosen the soil on the sides of the hole so that the roots can easily grow into the soil.
Remove the tree from the container (if your tree is in a container). If your tree is balled and burlapped, pull the burlap halfway down the root ball – you do not need to remove the burlap completely, as it will disintegrate after planting. However, if it is wrapped in plastic, remove the plastic from the root ball.
Place the tree in the hole, and spread out the roots. Make sure that the tree is planted at the same depth that it was in the container or at the soil level of a balled and burlapped tree.
Fill the hole with soil, pressing it down to remove any air pockets.
Build a 4-inch soil berm around the perimeter of the tree. The berm will help to maintain moisture when watering the tree.
Place bark mulch around the perimeter of the tree (inside the berm). One bag of mulch will be adequate. Mulch keeps the weeds down, and also helps to retain moisture.
Prune the tree back to a 4-5 foot height (do not cut it shorter than that). Water thoroughly.
Maintain the pecan tree as you would any shade tree by pruning away any dead, diseased, or damaged branches, thinning the crown of the tree (when necessary) to allow air circulation, and watering regularly.
Things You Will Need
- Garden fork
- Bark mulch
- There are some newer cultivars that produce nuts with thin shells that can be broken open with your fingers. They are called "papershell" pecans.
- This tree needs a lot of room to grow -- take this into consideration before planting a pecan tree.
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