Pecans technically aren’t nuts but you can still learn how to grow these delicious snacks with this step-by-step article!
Pecans have a buttery taste and are rich in antioxidants that are great for your health. They grow on large deciduous trees that fruit around the Autumn time.
A single tree can result in a large yield and with the right growing conditions you can keep harvesting from a single tree for years and years with only small dips in production.
There are no dwarf varieties for the tree, so you need to have ample space to grow pecans at home. The tree needs at least 5 feet to develop its large channel of roots and stand tall as it grows. It needs a blend of half loam and half horticultural sand for it’s initial growth period.
How to Plant Pecan Trees
When planting the trees, make sure they are at least 18 to 25 meters apart to have enough room for flourishing. If you are germinating the seeds, they need at least 7 to 8 weeks for germination after chilling. However, note that it will take a long time for the seeds to turn into trees.
If you are thinking about whether or not you can grow pecans indoors, the answer is not as they develop into huge trees. However, you can maintain a nursery and germinate pecan seeds indoors. Until the germination, make sure they are watered well, and the soil does not dry out.
Before planting a container-grown pecan plant, ensure that they are hydrated and straight. Discard any roots that are broken or do not look healthy. The pecan tree can take up to 10 years to fruit.
How To Care For Pecan Trees
After the pecan tree is planted, water it as soon as you add soil so that the roots can settle into their new home. If there is a depression after watering, add more soil to ensure that the growing tree is supported well.
For the first 2-3 years, you need to water the tree slowly and deeply so that the water seeps through. This will ensure that the roots are getting the nutrition that they need. You can stop watering when you see it running off from the soil. Make sure that the soil is always full of moisture.
Three years after planting, you can add fertilisers in the springtime, depending upon the size of the developing trunk. Pecan trees need zinc to grow; therefore, you can add zinc sulphate each year to promote sustainable growth.
How To Harvest Pecans
Pecans can be harvested via a few methods. When you see a full bloom on the tree, you can give the tree a good shaking with a telescopic pole. This will make the nuts to drop on the ground.
You can collect these nuts one by one or use a sheet to catch the falling nuts. Be sure to pick them immediately to avoid any pests or birds stealing your well earned yield. You can also wait for the nuts to dry on their own and fall off from the trees.
After the harvest, dry the seeds slowly in an area with ample circulation and low lighting. You can use an efficient fan system to speed up the drying process. These dried pecans will be easier to remove from the brittle shells. Store the nuts in an airtight container or freeze them for longer use.
Once you’ve harvested and dried them, you can try out some of these recipes with the freshest pecans possible!
Tips & Common Problems
Prune out dead or diseased limbs, prune the tree up off the ground to allow plenty of air circulation and keep all limbs, hulls and leaves picked up.
The primary pest that bugs these trees is scab, a fungus that produces black lesions on the plant’s leaves, this can be treated promptly with a fungicide.
Don’t be surprised if you get a great crop one year, followed by a small or non-existent crop the next year. If a pecan tree senses drought conditions one autumn, it will ‘turn off’ nut production for the following year. This is how it evolved to deal with stressful situations.