Pecan Tree Problems: Common Mistakes When Growing Pecans

diseased pecans on a tree
(Image credit: """Thomas Lee, Jr. / Design Pics""" / Getty Images)

Pecan trees are tall and beautiful additions to the backyard, plus mature trees produce all those delicious nuts. No tree this spectacular grows well without a little effort though. Before you invite a pecan tree into your garden, you'll want to know about pecan growing problems that others have experienced. Avoid these same mistakes when growing pecans by understanding potential pecan tree problems in advance. Read on for info and tips to help you get started.

Pecan Tree Problems

Pecan trees (Carya illinoinensis) are native to North America and have been cultivated for many years for their delicious nuts. Some 200,000 tons of pecans are harvested for the market annually, but many pecan trees also make their way into residential yards. That is, homeowners choose the pecan tree as an imposing shade tree for their yards. Pecan trees thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. 

If you want to avoid mistakes when growing pecans, keep in mind the biggest pecan issue:the tree's mature size. Some types of pecan trees soar to heights over 100 feet (30 m.) tall. Since these trees can live (and bear nuts) for over 300 years, getting them planted right is kind of an investment. 

Many a homeowner has created their own pecan tree problems by not thinking through the size the tree will grow. Planting a young pecan in a small yard or too close to the house makes for serious pecan growing problems over time.

Pecan Growing Problems 

Even if you have a yard that can handle a pecan tree, you'll need to site the tree properly. Each pecan tree should have a growing spot at least 30 feet (9 m.) from any other tree. It needs to be some 20 feet (6 m.) from your home or other structures.

In addition, don't make the mistake of planting your pecan in the shade or in wet soil. They need deep, well-draining soil to drop roots far enough to keep the tree upright and full sun to produce a heavy load of nuts. 

Pecan Tree Care

Other common mistakes when growing pecans include planting problems. Do not think that planting the tree's root ball deeper will help it establish deeper roots. The planting hole should be no deeper than necessary to cover the roots. Otherwise, the pecan tree might settle or suffer root injuries that stifle growth. Don't hesitate to stake the young tree if necessary, to keep it straight.

Finally, avoid problems when growing pecans by watering the trees appropriately. Give them a deep drink at planting time. Then count on ten gallons of water per week for the first year in your backyard. Even after that, keep watering regularly for several more years to ensure healthy roots.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.