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Sandyr.pecans@gmail.com

1460 VZ County Road 4134

Canton, TX 75103

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 Pecan Tree Care

Top 5 best practices for pecan trees

  • Site Selection. Pecan trees love deep well drained soil. Pecan trees will grow in many conditions but to really thrive and produce a good pecan nut crop they need deep soil they can “breath” in. If the roots are standing in water for weeks at a time it chokes out the oxygen. Pecan roots need air in the root zone. A soil that drains helps to bring air to the roots.

  • Pecan Varieties. Different pecan varieties do best in different climates. Western and Witchita do not do well in east Texas but are very popular in west Texas. Northern Oklahoma needs varieties that ripen early such as Kanza and Pawnee because of their shorter growing season. It is good to know what pecan varieties will do well in your area.

  • Irrigation. Pecan trees need water in the summer. There are dry land pecan orchards but it is risky. Pecan trees are hardy after they are established on a site but without proper water in the summer the nuts will not fill properly. It is also inevitable that when water needs peak in the heat of summer we have some of our driest months. To grow high quality pecans year over year proper irrigation is needed.

  • Weeds. When pecan trees are young keeping the weeds off of them is important. Research studies have shown that a pecan tree will grow twice as fast with adequate weed control. Weeds should be kept at a minimum of 3’ away from the trunk.

  • Foliage Health. The leaves of a pecan tree are like the solar cells that make the energy for the pecan tree to grow. Pecan trees should not be crowded by other trees but instead should have full sun. Proper nutrients are also needed for healthy foliage. In June leaf samples can be taken and sent to your state testing lab. These pecan leaf tests will show any nutrient deficiencies you may have. Pecan scab is an issue in areas with higher rainfall but even with scab resistant trees other fungus issues can develop. Except in the driest areas fungicide sprays are needed to maintain strong foliage health, especially in wet years.

As you work with your pecan trees over the years you will learn the best management practices for your area. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Pecan Container-Grown Tree Planting and Care

 

Start by digging a hole a little deeper and several inches wider than the container. If your soil is hard score the sides of your hole to help prevent new pecan roots from circling in the hole.

 

When centered in the hole, the planting height of the pecan tree compared to the surrounding soil should be set at the root flare of the tree. The indicator for this is the first fine root or where the trunk increases in diameter. Have the first root or flare slightly above the soil level. Planting pecan trees too deep will hinder or in extreme cases kill the tree over time.

 

Do not place any fertilizer in the hole or soil conditioners. Studies have shown the pecan tree needs to be surrounded by native soil.

 

You can now remove the pecan tree from the container. If the tree is stuck in the pot you can cut the pot away with a knife or some snips.

 

Pecan trees often have long roots that circle at the bottom of the container. These circling roots need to be cut. Find where the roots begin to circle and cut them there. The cutting of the roots stimulates root growth and prevents issues that arise later from circling roots. If the smaller feeder roots are highly concentrated on the sides of the root ball use a utility knife to make vertical cuts in the root ball. This will cause the new roots to grow outward into the native soil.

 

Place your pecan tree in the hole with the top edge of the root ball slightly above ground level to allow for settling.  Nursery container soil mix can act as a wick and pull moisture away from the roots. Flake off some of the top of the container mix and add an additional inch of soil to prevent roots from drying out.

 

After the pecan tree is set at the appropriate depth, begin filling the hole with soil and water. You can keep the water running as you fill the hole. It is important to not have any air pockets in your soil. Fill your hole with loose soil and water to overflowing to help the soil settle properly. It is not good to backfill with big clods of dirt. With the remaining soil you can build a berm around the tree to hold additional water while the pecan tree is getting established

 

It is helpful to have a trunk protector. A 2 to 3 foot growing tube or sleeve can fit around the tree, such as 4 inch corrugated drain pipe. You'll want to split the pipe down the entire length of one side so it can be easily removed after a few years. Deer and gophers love pecan trees. If you have pressure from these more protective measures may need to be taken.

 

Care of Newly Planted Pecan Trees
 

Watering

Your newly planted pecan tree will need adequate water to thrive. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, supply each tree with 10 to 15 gallons of water per week for the first two years (growing seasons). Avoid over watering. Constantly soggy or wet soil can lead to root rot and other plant diseases. 

 

Fertilizing

Do not place fertilizer in the planting hole at planting time. Doing so can burn the roots of young trees. In early spring you can spread a 13-13-13 type fertilizer around the tree but keep it away from the trunk of the pecan tree.

 

Weeding

Research studies have shown that a young pecan tree will grow twice as fast in a weed free environment compared to one that is competing with grass and weeds. A minimum three foot radius (6’ diameter) of weed free area should be maintained around the tree. Mulch can be added to help in weed control but you don’t want the mulch piled high against the trunk. If you do not have a trunk protector take care to not spray any herbicide on a young pecan tree trunk or tree shoots.

Pecan Bare Root Tree Planting and Care

 

Take care to keep your bare root pecan trees from drying out. The roots should be kept moist from the time they leave the nursey until the pecan trees are planted. If the bare root pecan trees can’t be planted soon after pickup from the nursery they can be heeled in. This is typically done by finding a shady place and digging a sloped hole. The pecan trees are then placed in the hole and the roots covered with dirt. It is important to keep the soil moist. Sawdust or other fine particles can also be used to cover the pecan tree roots to help keep them moist.

 

When you are ready to plant your bare root pecan trees it is recommended to dig an 18” diameter hole. If your soil is hard, score the sides of your hole to help prevent new pecan roots from circling in the hole. The hole should be around 22” deep.

 

You can now prune the roots of the pecan tree. When pecan roots are cut they regrow from the cut ends. It is these new roots that absorb the water and nutrients. The fine roots on a pecan bare root tree have dried up. The new roots that grow uptake the water and nutrients the pecan tree needs. It is important to have the bare root pecan tree in its planting hole before spring bud swell. At this early stage of bud swell the signal is given to the pecan roots to grow for the spring push.

 

The pecan tap root can be pruned to around 18”. It will feel hard to do this but research has shown cutting the pecan root actually stimulates root growth. Also trim the lateral side roots to be 3”-4” from the sides of your hole.

 

When centered in the hole, the planting height of the pecan tree compared to the surrounding soil should be set at the root flare of the tree. The indicator for this is the first fine root or where the trunk increases in diameter. Have the first root or flare slightly above the soil level. Planting pecan trees too deep will hinder or in extreme cases kill the tree over time.

 

Do not place any fertilizer in the hole or soil conditioners. Studies have shown the pecan tree needs to be surrounded by native soil.

 

After the pecan tree is set at the appropriate depth, begin filling the hole with soil and water. You can keep the water running as you fill the hole. It is important to not have any air pockets in your soil. Fill your hole with loose soil and water to overflowing to help the soil settle properly. It is not good to backfill with big clods of dirt.

 

Most pecan tree research programs also recommend cutting one half to one third off of the top of the bare root pecan tree. This is done to keep the ratio of the top growth and root growth to be comparable to each other.

 

A trunk protector is recommended. A 2 to 3 foot growing tube or sleeve can fit around the pecan tree, such as 4 inch corrugated drain pipe. You'll want to split the pipe down the entire length of one side so it can be easily removed after a few years. Deer and gophers love pecan trees. If you have pressure from these more protective measures may need to be taken.