Growing your own pecan tree is an affordable way to bring beauty to your landscape and to enjoy nuts that will enhance the flavor of your food, while providing important nutrients for your diet. These nuts are an excellent natural source of antioxidants, protein, unsaturated fats and more. November through February is the best time to plant pecan trees. Pecan trees grow to be quite large – 60 feet tall with a spread of 40 feet – so make sure your site is large enough. You should not plant a pecan in a location where branches might fall on your house or other structures. Recommended varieties for Louisiana include Elliot, Candy, Sumner, Houma, Caddo, Oconee and Melrose. They are more resistant to diseases and are better suited for home landscapes. Pecans must be cross pollinated to produce well. Pollination by a different pecan variety is key to the success of many pecan trees.
In the spring and early summer, a properly fertilized pecan tree will have an abundance of large, dark green, healthy leaves forming a full canopy. Apply the fertilizer under the tree one foot from the trunk to slightly beyond the tips of the branches. Fertilizer should be applied by broadcasting over the root zone of the pecan tree. Trees should be fertilized during the late dormant season, usually February or early March. If fertilizer is applied during an extended dry period, it is best to water the area thoroughly with a sprinkler, applying 1 to 2 inches of water. Based on trunk diameter - Apply 3 lbs. of a complete fertilizer (8-8-8) or an equivalent amount of another complete fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter measured at about one foot above the soil line. Later during the growing season (May or June), add an additional 1/2 lb. of ammonium nitrate per inch of trunk diameter on trees 25 years old or older.
Example: A tree 10 inches in diameter should receive 30 lbs. of 8-8-8 or 18.5 lbs. of 13-13-13. Annual fertilization is the most practical and effective tool available to the homeowner for improving pecan production.
For more information, contact the St. Helena or Tangipahoa Extension Service, 305 E Oak St., Amite, call (985) 748-5462, (225) 222-4136, or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture