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How to Grow Pecan Trees From Seeds

By Elizabeth Knoll ; Updated September 21, 2017

The pecan tree is a deciduous tree that grows to between 66 and 130 feet tall. The pecan tree produces an edible nut that has a rich, butter flavor. Pecan trees grow predominantly in the United States and generally can be grown from zones 5 to 9. They may live for more than 300 years in their natural habitat. In order to grow pecan trees from seeds, you must cold stratify the seed, which means keep it cool for a period of time. After that stratification process, they are fairly easy to germinate in the home setting.

Collect the pecan seeds in the autumn months of October or November and allow them to dry out for about 20 to 35 days. To test their dryness, take a seed and try to snap it in half. If it snaps, your seeds are properly dried.

Store the seeds in a refrigerator set to 45 degrees Farenheit. Store them in plastic bags with or without packing material such as damp peat moss or a slightly damp paper towel.

Remove the seeds from the refrigerator one week before planting. Allow them to warm to room temperature.

Soak the pecan seeds in water for 24 hours before planting. They should swell and show a split in the suture. If they are not swelled or splitting, allow them to soak longer until they show these signs.

Plant the pecan seeds in the nursery row or raised bed. The seeds should be planted 3 to 4 inches deep and sideways.

Keep the seed bed constantly moist until germination occurs. Germination can take 100 to 115 days from the planting date.

Fertilize your pecan tree annually. Apply a complete fertilizer such as 17-17-17. Use 4 cups of fertilizer for each inch of trunk diameter. The trees should be fertilized in February, therefore you won't fertilize the pecan tree during its first year.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Refrigerator
  • Plastic bags
  • Peat moss or paper towel
  • Container
  • 17-17-17 fertilizer
  • Measuring cup
  • Tape measure

Tip

  • You may want to pre-soak the seeds in aerated water for two days before cold stratifying them in the refrigerator. Pre-soaking ensures more uniform growth and germination in the spring. The aeration is essential because otherwise, the seeds will use up all the oxygen in the water quickly and die. To produce aerated water, place the seeds in a container filled with water. Connect an air stone to a small aquarium pump and place the air stone at the bottom of the container.