Whether you’re starting to grow pecan trees to harvest their nuts or simply as an adornment to your garden, at some point you’ll need to find out what the best things to do in pecan tree care when planting new ones. A species of the Hickory family, the Pecan tree (Carya Illinoinensis) is the state tree of Texas and Alabama, which is not too surprising as the tree generally occurs across the south of North America and into Mexico.
Pecan trees thrive in two main types of soil; alluvial and upland. Alluvial soil is that found by streams or rivers that have been prone to flooding, laying down nutrients from up river/stream each time they flood. This means the soil has an excellent water supply that is well drained, along with being highly fertile.
Upland soil is typically a sandy-loam, which makes a generally good soil that will drain well. However, an upland soil may well require regular additions of fertilizers as it will not have the nutrients in the soil replenished naturally by river or stream floods.
Unfortunately Pecan trees do like frosts and trying to grow them in areas where there are regular snow-falls is nigh on impossible, unless you can create micro-climate in your garden to suit the tree. However, neither does it like the temperature too hot and certainly not too dry. In the winter it can happily survive temperatures down to 7 degrees Celsius, with a winter average of about 10oC.
In the summer the trees quite like an average temperature around the 27oC mark. Winter temperatures in its natural habitats aren’t usually a problem. However, during the summer months, especially with global warming to take into account, whilst young and immature trees are growing they would benefit from the protective shade of other plants or trees, especially if the temperature is regularly above 30oC.
Planting Pecan Trees
You will probably have two options in the pecan tress you buy to plant, either bare rooted or container grown. Either way, make sure that they are between 4 to 8 feet tall, an ideal height for re-planting. Bare rooted trees can be replanted between December and March, whereas container grown ones can be handled between December and June.
Dig a hole big enough to take all of the root system with the tap root on the bottom of the hole but, especially for container grown trees, do not make the hole much bigger that the existing root ball. If you give the tree roots too much room, too quickly, the tree will settle or sink and not grow properly.
Using the same soil that you dug out of the hole, pack it tightly around the roots and two or three inches above the level of the surrounding earth. Add a tree wrap to the lower 18 inches or so of the trunk to protect it and add a stake if necessary.
Thoroughly water it in, watering it weekly thereafter until the fall with 5 gallons of water. If not in a flood area, annually apply fertilizer, like 2 pounds of ammonium nitrate, spread in a 5 foot radius of the tree.
A newly planted tree will not compete well with many weeds especially grasses like Johnson’s and Bermuda. Obviously the larger the tree you plant the less of a problem weeds will be, but it’s still a good idea to remove weeds growing in a three to five yard radius of your tree, at least for the first three or four years. If you decide to cultivate them out, be careful not to damage the root stock of the tree. If you choose to use a weed killer, make sure it is a selective one that won’t harm the tree.