The ins and outs of growing pecan trees in Southwest Georgia

Published 5:20 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

By Ty Torrance

Fall is here, and this year’s pecan harvest has been underway, but also the time is near to transplant trees. If you are considering planting a tree or two yourself, I have some tips for you.  The most important thing to consider before planting pecans is site selection.  It is important to consider the ultimate size the trees will reach.  Be careful not to plant the trees too close to buildings or power lines.

There are many pecan varieties out there, but very few are well suited for homeowners.  Some varieties best suited for homeowners are Elliot, Excel, McMillan, and Sumner.  These varieties have very good disease resistance and if you have ever grown pecans you know that disease is the number one reason for failed production. 

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Most often than not, nurseries will sell fruit and nut trees as bare root plants.  If trees are purchased in this form they should be planted immediately.  If you can’t plant them right away, do your best to be kept the roots moist.  If the roots are exposed to open air for too long they may dry out and die.  Planting holes for pecans need to be deep, because of the pecans long taproot.  Always plant trees and other plants to the same level that they were previously grown.  You should be able to see a faint line on the trunk were the soil line was.  After you have planted your tree, it is critical to water it in well.  This watering will fill in all of the air pockets that may have formed around the roots when planting.  Water is also critical after planting because of the loss of roots the plant experienced during transplanting.  Once the tree is planted, it is a good practice to form a small soil ring around the tree approximately two feet away from the trunk.  Apply 5 gallons of water 2 times a week in that bowl until the tree is established. 

Never place fertilizer in the planting hole of a pecan tree.  The high amount of concentrated fertilizer will put the tree at risk for root damage.  A soil sample would help determine fertilizer and lime needs.  If you decide to forego a soil sample, you can apply one pound of 10-10-10 in a 25 square foot area around the tree.  This application should be made immediately after planting, and again in June or July.  The following February apply four pounds of 10-10-10 for each inch of trunk diameter.  It is also good to apply one pound of zinc sulfate per tree for the first three years.  The same fertilization practices can be used when the tree start to bear pecans. Please call the office with any questions or comments (229) 248-3033.