Think you might want to buy a pecan tree? You should be able to find a pecan tree at your local nursery that is suitable for your area. You may even find some suitable varieties online. There are a few things to consider before you go out and buy one though. Read on to find out.
= Variety Selection and Pollination
If you want to buy a pecan tree just for shade or aesthetic value many varieties will do. If you are planning on getting a good crop of pecans you may want to invest in at least two trees, preferably of different varieties. This will ensure good pollination as some varieties pollinate at different times. The best possible scenario is that you have your new tree planted within 300 feet of a pecan tree of a different variety. There is a chance, however, the tree may self-pollinate or be pollinated from a tree several hundred yards away. If production of nuts is your goal though, your best bet would be to plant 2 or more different variety trees in the general area. Early pollinating varieties include: Desirable, Western, Pawne, Caddo, Cape Fear, Cheyenne, Oconee, and Houma. The later pollinating trees include: Sioux, Wichita, Choctaw, Kiowa, Tejas, Forkert, Marame, Shoshoni, Mowhawk, and Burkett. Plant an early pollinator and a late pollinator and you should get ample nut production in a few years. So variety is one thing to consider when you decide to buy a pecan tree.
= Bare root or Container Grown?
When you go to buy a pecan tree, from a nursery or online, you will likely have to decide on a bare root plant or a container grown tree. You may even be able to get a larger, more mature tree to transplant. For most people your best bet and likely choice will be a container grown tree. These are available at many retail stores. You should have decent luck getting one of these trees to survive. Make sure to follow the nursery's instructions on planting, watering, and fertilizing. This info is usually located on the plant label or stake. One drawback to container grown trees is that they often are smaller than bare root trees. Bare root trees are as their name indicates: just a tree, no pots or soil. They usually range in size from 4-8 feet tall, give or take a few feet. If you buy one of these trees you need to take special care with the root system. Don't let the roots get dried out or freeze. Such damage could stunt growth or even kill it. Your final choice may be to get a tree transplanted. This involves digging up a mature tree and moving it to your site. This will likely need to be done by a nursery and could involve a substantial investment. Your final option would be to grow a tree from an actual pecan nut, but this takes time.
= Wild Seedling or Improved Variety?
The first thing to consider is whether to buy a wild seedling or an improved variety. Wild seedling pecan trees are ungrafted. In essence, grafting is used to improve a plant or tree. In the case of pecan trees, grafting is utilized to yield a tree that will provide a better nut crop. Seedling trees will provide an excellent landscape tree. They usually have good shape, grow fast, and are strong. If your focus is on pecan nut production, go with a grafted or improved variety. They will not only provide more nuts, but pecans of better quality and size than seedling types.
= Do You have the Right Soil and Location?
Pecan trees natively grown in creek and river bottomlands. These areas typically have fertile and deep soil. These soils are well-drained but have a high moisture-holding capacity. Don't plant your pecan tree in damp, wet shallow soil. It may live but won't thrive. Plan on planting your new tree in a place where it can get full sun. Additionally, give it at least 30 feet of clearance from other trees, buildings and power lines. Failing to have the right soil and location will greatly hamper the health and growth of a pecan tree.
So now you have considered whether to go for a wild seedling or improved variety of pecan. You have explored your options in light of variety and pollination. Should you get a bare root or container grow tree? Is you soil sufficient and you location suitable? Once you've sorted through these issues, and determined if a pecan tree is right for you, buy a pecan tree and plant it!