What variety is best?
For one thing, if you ask ten different gardeners, you will get ten different answers.
For another thing, the only way to get a full crop is to have a different variety--or two or three--planted nearby. Also, in some kinds, male flowers open before female flowers; in others the opposite occurs. The best pollination and nut production occurs between opposite types. If space is at a premium, you can plant two or three kinds in the same planting hole. Just keep your pruning shears handy to keep one of the trees from overgrowing and shading out the other(s). Eventually, the roots will graft and the whole ensemble will act like a single tree with multiple trunks.
Drat! I've got to go now, but I'll hit my books, and come up with a few suggestions for you shortly. Look in the library for the old book 'Fruits and Nuts' from HP Books. It has one of the most complete listings I have seen outside of catalogs.
"I shall return!" : ])
OK, I'm back.
I haven't found my copy of the book I recommended to you (LOL) but I can tell you my own experience, and the advice of my neighbors. Here are the most popular kinds in Phoenix, and some of their features:
'Western Schley'~ semi-self-fertile, or pollinate with 'Wichita', 'Mahan', 'Burkett' or 'Mohawk', resistant to zinc deficiency damage, long nuts, soft shells, easy to grow.
'Wichita'~ pollinate with 'Western Schley' or 'Cheyenne', long nuts, soft shells, excellent flavor.
'Mohawk'~ semi-self-fertile, or pollinate with 'Western Schley' or 'Cheyenne', short nuts, semi-soft shells, genetic semi-dwarf (still gets 30 ft. tall and wide, eventually.)
'Cheyenne'~ pollinate with 'Wichita', 'Mahan', 'Burkett' or 'Mohawk', short nuts, semi-soft shells, excellent flavor.
'Mahan'~ pollinate with 'Western Schley' or 'Cheyenne', large, long nuts, softest shells on the market, large tree.
'Burkett'~ pollinate with 'Western Schley' or 'Cheyenne', short nuts, semi-soft shells, best flavor in the low desert.
Hope all that helps! : ])
Thanks for everything! I live in the high desert and hope to grow just for me and family. I have read that they take a lot of water so I thought I'd only plant one but if I have to plant two I can deal with that. I have also read that they are huge trees which concerns me for planting two. Because they are huge I want to plant them aways from my house in case there is wind damage or something, so they dont hurt my house. I wonder how big around their trunks are as that will influence my decision on where to plant as well. As far as the "best" one, lol I know that was a loaded question :) The supermarket pecans are delisious and what I am used to so I guess if they taste as good as the grocery store ones I will be happy. I like the idea of soft shells too. And I like most anything that gives shade, wind protection, looks nice and grows here, and it better do at least double duty if it is going to get a drop of extra water from me.
The GW name comes from years of fighting bermuda both here and on the Central Coast. That stuff will outlive Earth
Around here they are considered moderately drought tolerant, but that's only in comparison with cottonwoods and willows! Here they need to be watered 2-3 feet deep into the soil every 2 weeks in the summer. And, yep, they do grow huge! some of the oldest trees in the Valley of the Sun are around 70 feet tall and 5 feet in trunk diameter!
I agree with you wholeheartedly, stomp, about bermuda grass! I just use "stomp" because I don't want to make an acronym out of it!
My GW name is a Sindarin contraction of an Entish name. Yes, it is descriptive; yes, I am on a diet; yes, it is working (slowly); and no, I hope I'm not as crazy as some of the other Tolkien fans I've met! : ])
Okay you have completely lost me. I am totally uncultured and have no idea about Sindarin, Entish or Tolkien...... I am sorry. I thought maybe your GW name was something to do with a tug boat????? As for the trees, would a spacing of 100 feet for 2 trees be too far for good polination? How many years does it take to get a 5 foot trunk and 70 feet tall (lol, maybe since I am 50 years old I wont have to worry about it and can leave that to my survivors)
Don't worry about "uncultured"! Most of the sane consider us "Middle Earthers" to be barbarians anyway! Tugbrethil is Elvish for "fat tree", if it matters at all. ; ])
For pollination, anything less than 200 feet is fine.
I'm not sure, but I think that the biggest ones I've seen are more than 70 years old. Think great-great-grandchildren!
Is this true? Is it true with all the pecans? This says it takes 75 years before you can get nuts??????? http://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=3082
No, no. About 7-10 years. Longer than most fruit trees, but not nearly as long as that!
I think that that "75 years" figure is a poetic exaggeration of how long it would take to save up enough accidental nuts from a solitary (unpollinated) tree to make a pie. The "15 to 20 years" figure earlier in the answer probably refers to the time it takes to get nuts from a sprouted nut.
It's better than you think! : )
Whew! Thanks! I can deal with 10 years or so, but 75??? That's a lot of years to supply extra water for a crop of nuts. Are these trees weak? We get serious winds a LOT. Will the pecan trees hold up to that?
They're not bad for breakage, as long as you eliminate narrow crotches in training. One tip: when the young tree is just barely sprouting out in spring, leave the terminal buds alone, but gently pop off all of the other green sprouts. Within a week or two, hidden buds a little further down the stems than the first ones will sprout out, making branches at a wider, healthier angle. That method also works well on young ash trees.
High winds during blooming, however, can reduce or eliminate that fall's crop, because at least some of the flowers will blow away! Moderate winds will actually increase the crop, because of better pollination.
Happy gardening, stomp--and hang on tight! : )