Growing pecans at home

This time of the year many of us enjoy pecans either right out of the shell or a part of some delicious holiday treat, but pecan trees also offer a beautiful shade alternative for your landscape. Andy Sherrod is a pecan farmer.

“There are some that are entirely disease tolerant. One of those, and I recommend it to homeowners is the Choctaw. The Choctaw is a strongly resistant tree to the primary fungal diseases that are prevalent here, so it’s a great tree for the homeowner because they don’t have to worry about scab and any of the other fungal diseases, plus the Choctaw is a very large, robust, deep foliage, deep green, lots and lots of leaves, a beautiful specimen tree for the yard. And not only is it pretty, but it gives you something back in return.”

Sherrod says that pecan trees that are not expected to produce commercially require a minimal amount of care.

“One of the biggest things that a homeowner can do for their pecan tree is water it. And I’m not talking about just the sprinkler system in your yard. Pecans, in the heat of the summer, one tree, a mature pecan tree in July, can consume or use one hundred and fifty gallons of water every single day. That’s a lot of water, so if you want pecans or healthy trees a soaker hose or something like that, that you monitor, you may have it on a timer, that’d be very helpful to give that tree the water that it needs.”

There’s an old proverb that says “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

“For these improved varieties that are not grown from seed, they’ve been grafted or budded in the nursery, a person can expect a reasonable amount of pecans in about seven years. Depending on the soil type, if it’s a heavy clay you’d have to wait longer, but six to seven to eight years is an average time that one could expect to see their first crop.”

So if you like pecans, and think it might be fun to start your own family tradition of not just eating pecans during the holidays, but also gathering them, you might consider planting a tree or two in your yard.