has anyone started pecan trees from seed?

teacherlisa(z8AZ)December 18, 2005

I have been reading on the internet and this seems very complicated for a newbie,lol. I wondered if anyone here has had any luck w/ this, or has any easier ideas.

Thanks in advance,


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PenBuilder(z9 AZ)

I grew up on a farm with several pecan trees that my grandparents planted. Most of trees were graphed when young with cuttings from large nut producing trees. We had a row along the road that we planted from seeds. Most of these trees either did not produce nuts, or produced small and light nuts. My grandpa taught me how to graph with these trees. We would take branches from the large nut producing rees and try to get them stared on these non producing trees. Ahh memories. It is pretty easy to grow them from seed, but you need the right nut. When collecting pecans that had fallen on the ground, occasionally we would find a few that had started to sprout. They would appear to be splitting down the middle with a green bulge sticking out. If you plant one of these already sprouted nuts, it was easy to get them going. You have to plant them in the spot you want them because once they get started, it is almost impossible to move them because of this impressively deep taproot.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 4:23PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Hi Lisa-

I've posted about these trees so many times that I'm kind of embarassed to repeat myself... but...

If you're growing the tree in hopes of it becoming a large, producing tree somewhere down the road, there's a few drawbacks - I only know because I have two, approximately 40'and lord-only-knows how old. They provide lots of shade in the summer time, so as of yet I have not had them removed. However....

- they drop not only leaves, twigs and (of course) pecans that also have thick peels, but large and occasionally huge limbs, especially during monsoons, but that certainly is not the only time. I had a limb go through the top of a dog kennel last spring.

- these trees often get an infestation that leaves a sticky substance on the leaves (making them difficult to get off of clothing, driveways, etc.) The sticky stuff also gets all over anything near the trees - cars, outdoor furniture, etc. I believe there is a spray for it, but when they reach the height mine have, it would take a fire truck to get at them. I've also been told a good cold snap would solve the problem, but I haven't seen one of those in some years.

- Penbuilder is right about the tap root and in order to give the tree its root here in AZ, you almost have to have flood irrigation. Anything else and your pecan production and the tree growth will be compromised.

Other than that, they're great!

HTH, good luck!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 12:04AM
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Thanks guys. I have a large lot ( 3 acres) so I was going to put them in the " back 40" so to speak. The mess and stuff really doesn't bug me back there, just trying to see if I can even get them started.
Thanks for all your help!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 8:08PM
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I planted a Pecan from a seed almost 5 years ago and right now it is about 7 ft tall. Can any one tell me how long it will take for me to get a nut from it or will I ever get one, thanks, Joe from Peoria, AZ

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 2:14PM
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aikanae(z9b AZ)

I have a volunteer pecan tree and it quickly became the largest tree in my yard. That was about 7 yrs ago and based on the height of my house, it must be a good 25' tall now and growing on the sunny south, the brutal side.

I just didn't know I ever wanted a tree there. The tree won in 3 years. I discovered pecan trees first growth is undergound and set a root system that was 3x's deeper and bigger than the height and canopy above ground. It must have borrowed water from a dripper during the summer about 5' away.

A friend of mine told me she had even hired bulldozers to break through her caliche to get a tree established with a similar tap root growing, without any luck. She was less than 2 miles away and (I think) very dedicated.

If you want pecans you might want to get a tree for that. I was told seeds usually aren't true to the parent and mine probably won't produce nuts. But who knows? This tree is just now mature enough to surprise me again. I would love to have my own pecans.

It's a very pretty tree. It has definatley cooled off the yard and the house. The leaves come in just when the summer heat starts, yet I don't loose the winter sun. The fallen leaves are good mulch at a good time. The bare branches at Christmas have provided nice seasonal variety. It also survived a micro burst last summer. My patio cover couldn't even do that.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 9:56PM
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I have a volunteer pecan tree started in a flower pot full of potting soil, of all things. I just discovered it. It must have fell in there when I was picking pecans at my farm and bringing them to my house in the city every weekend (flower pot is by the steps and I brought each bag up the steps to the porch). How do you care for this tree during it's first winter? It's so tiny. How do they survive?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 7:31PM
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i would like to know if you crack the shell or not?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 8:27AM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

I have not started pecan from seed but many other sorts of trees and bushes. Rules of thumb:
+Seed started in the ground will have a much better root system than on started from graft or that was potted first.
+you do not crack the nut to start them. You can soak them in warm, 75 to 80 degree water for 24 to 48 hours if you want to, but that is not necessary. Just give then moist soil and some good warm days so the soil warms up.
+just because it's a big seed, it doesn't need to to be planted deep. just enough for the root to start off in the soil.
+un-grafted trees will rarely produce nuts as nice as the cultivated varieties. Grafted trees will also start producing nuts much sooner along with superior quality.
+Mahan is a great pecan for warm interior climates, has the largest meat and is very tasty.
+Either way, they are grand and lovely trees.
+Grafting one year old trees is not hard, you just need a source for bud stock.
+grafting trees older than one year is not impossible but harder.
give it a try. nothing like fruit and nuts from your own tree.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 10:26PM
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Most trees here are around 10 yrs of age when they start producing nuts. Grafted ones may start around 5-7 yrs.
Oak trees are often started by pushing nut about 1/2 way into ground and then covering with mulch until nut is hidden. Wet at least once a week in winter to every other day by May. This should work for pecans also.
If you have one sprouting in a pot transfer to largest pot you can as these trees will sink a taproot way down.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 12:32PM
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Yeah if you get raw pecans and plant them pretty much every pecan will grow into a tree. The only problem is the animals steal them. They will dig them out of pots and the ground and even when it's a baby tree- still eat it!

So put them in pots and water them. In about 6 months basically all the seeds will come up. it needs to be really warm for them to sprout as well. Also you can soak the seeds in water for a couple days first to get them sprouting faster.

That's about the only problem with starting them is if they are out doors eventually a squirrel, racoon, bird etc. will find it and eat it. Especially when it first starts to split open and sprout.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 4:30PM
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I tried growing 4 Western Schely pecans I found while walking last year. Two grew in premium potting soil and initially looked very nice but about two months into growth they started developing leaf problems that looked like zinc deficiency...though this is not supposed to be a problem for their first year. Tried zinc foliar feeding. Didn't help. Eventually both died.

Planted four pecan trees (Padre, Mahan, Mohawk and Western Schely) this year in the back to form a primary canopy for tree planting later. Saw this setup in an incredible backyard and was impressed at the fruit trees underneath the canopy. Sticking a Curtis pecan tree out on the front easement hoping the chill hours are too high to fruit.

Irrigated Phoenix property.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 8:04PM
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I have a pecan tree someone gave me I want to put the tree in a planter first before I plant the tree out in the yard. would that be ok

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:49PM
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"I have a pecan tree someone gave me I want to put the tree in a planter first before I plant the tree out in the yard. would that be ok"?

Isn't the tap root about 3' long?!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:08PM
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