So, You Want To Plant A Pecan Tree

Trees add beauty and shade for a backyard, but when you plant a pecan tree, you get an extra benefit: delicious nuts. Planting a pecan tree, however, is not quite as simple as you might imagine. You must first make sure your backyard has the right characteristics for this tree species, and then take great care of your tree once it's in the ground.

Is your yard right for a pecan tree?

Pecan trees grow pretty large, so the first thing you should worry about is space. A mature tree can reach up to 140 feet in height, so avoid planting one under power wires or where it might become crowded out as it grows.

To grow well, pecan trees also require full sunlight and soil that is moist, but well-drained. If too much water pools around the tree's roots, it will develop a condition called root rot and will soon die.

To determine if your soil pH is appropriate for a pecan tree, conduct a soil test. They are available at most garden and home supply stores. Pecan trees tolerate a wide range of soil pH between 4.5 and 7.5, but won't grow well in alkaline soil with a pH over 7.5. If your soil pH is about 7.5, it's probably best not to plant the pecan tree. Tree roots reach deep underground, and it's nearly impossible to add enough amendments to the soil to adequately adjust the pH that far down.

How do you plant and care for a pecan tree?

Start by visiting your local nursery, and purchasing a pecan tree that is already a year or two old. This is much easier than growing a tree from seed. In your selected site, dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the root ball, but just deep enough that the top of the roots are exposed above ground. Place the tree in the hole, and fill it in with soil.

You should water your newly planted tree with 2 gallons of water for every inch of trunk diameter. Do this on the day you plant the tree, and every day after for two weeks. Then, water your tree once a week for the first year. Also, mulch around the tree with a natural wood mulch, which adds nutrients back to the soil. Have it pruned by a professional every spring to ensure it grows evenly.

Take good care of your young pecan tree, and it should begin to produce pecans when it's between 4 and 10 years old, depending on the variety of tree you chose. If you ever get tired of watering and pruning your young tree, just remember those delicious nuts that you'll soon have. For assistance, talk to a professional like MML Tree Service.