The best time to plant a pecan tree is typically from December through early spring, so this time of year is ideal to purchase a bare root pecan tree or a container pecan tree. We offer many different options for those who wish to plant one or several pecan trees on your property and we also have a few tips for those new to the pecan tree world. 

Pecan trees typically grow quite large; in some cases, they can reach a height between 75-100 feet with a spread of about 50-75 feet. This means that they are not a great option for a person with a small lot but are better suited to someone with a larger property.

In addition, it's important to consider your soil type, soil depth and your drainage. Your soil must have excellent water-holding capacity and, in order for proper pecan root penetration, you need soil that is several feet deep. Poorly drained soil as well as stiff clay and hardpan are not ideal for pecan trees, nor is soil with thin sands and a high water table. You can plant pecan trees along hilltops and slopes, providing that there is not extensive soil erosion, and many people find success planting pecan trees along streams if the location is well drained.

Pecan trees also provide a good deal of shade, but because pecan wood can be a bit brittle, it is best that you plant bare root pecan trees at least 25 feet away from your home or other structures. Once these beautiful trees become loaded with pecans, the excess weight occasionally can cause a branch to snap off, something you wouldn’t want happening near your home. One also should avoid planting these trees near power lines for the same reason. If you are purchasing more than one pecan tree or several bare root pecan trees, be sure to plant the trees between 40 feet and 60 feet apart to provide each tree with adequate growth space.

We have container pecan trees and bare root pecan trees suitable for many USDA plant hardiness zones. In general, pecan trees are best suited to Zones 6 to 9, but we do have several varieties that also grow very well in Zone 5. If you are uncertain in which zone you live, before selecting your pecan trees, take a look at our USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, located under the Green 101 tab on our homepage. 

Pecan trees, both in containers and bare root, are one of our hottest sellers, and we have many wonderful varieties. If ordering bare root pecan trees, you will want to plant these during the dormant season, which typically runs from mid-December to early spring. Container pecan trees can be planted from about October through June. 

To learn more about planting and caring for all types of pecan trees, we have a comprehensive guide to pecans on our website. Click here for the pecan guide. We also have a PDF with helpful information about the many varieties of pecan trees available for planting. 

It does take several years for pecan trees to begin bearing pecans, and different tree varieties tend to produce different amounts of pecans. Many people choose to purchase several different varieties of pecan trees as it is essential for pollination. Simply select varieties that grow well in your zone and soil conditions and trees that cross-pollinate well with each other. 

In order to ensure proper pollination is achieved, choose both type 1 and type 2 pecan trees, and plant them within a half mile of each other.  

Once you begin producing a crop of pecans, you might be wondering about how to harvest the pecans and eventually remove the shells. As a general rule, pecan trees are ready to harvest when the husks turn a shade of dark brown and begin to open. Raking and mowing the area under and around the tree can make it easier to collect the nuts during harvesting. You can knock the nuts from a tree using a long pole and then collect the nuts that have fallen using a pecan picker or by hand and place them into large buckets. 

For those who plant many pecan trees, it might be wise to send your pecans off to a company that specializes in cracking and shelling these nuts. However, if you have just one or two pecan trees, you can use a pecan nut cracker to remove the edible portion. Pecans should be stored in an airtight container and it is best to keep them refrigerated, although non refrigerated, well-stored pecans can keep well for several weeks. If you have a huge crop, consider sealing them up, storing them in airtight bags and freezing them. Well-sealed bags can keep in the freezer for many months and even years. 

Tags: Pecan Trees


Patricia Wilson said:

I appreciate that you explained how pecan trees require deep soil for proper root penetration. My husband is planning on plating a pecan tree in our backyard because he loves the natural shade that it would provide. He thinks that it would be perfect for outdoor barbeques and the like. I’d be sure to let him know that working with a professional in caring for the tree would be best since he doesn’t really have a green thumb nor the technical know-how in growing trees. Thanks for the good read!

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