The Texas State tree, the pecan, is well suited for east Texas – and January is the time to plant! A few pointers:
- Plant in deep soil – at least 3′ deep sandy loam. Avoid rocky areas and heavy clay. Pecan trees need full sun.
- Allow adequate room – minimum 30′ to 35′ in all directions. They grow big!
- Purchase either container grown trees or bareroot trees. Buy from a respected local or Texas source.
- Good varieties for Smith County include: Desirable, Kiowa, Choctaw, Cape Fear, Caddo and Cheyenne.
- The best time to plant is when the trees are dormant – so the roots can get established before hot weather. Dig hole only as large as root system and refill with original soil.
- Keep well watered, but be sure there is drainage underneath – 3 to 4″ mulch on top and about 3′ diameter is ideal.
- Fertilize lightly first year. Use 21-0-0 (nitrogen) or similar fertilizer – apply one cup per tree in June the first year; April, May and June in succeeding years. Spread on soil away from trunk
- For best nut production with bearing age trees, add zinc as NZN (zinc nitrate) or zinc sulfate as a spray at intervals during May-July.
- Consult Extension bulletin B-5001, Home Pecan Production, for further details.
Your rewards will be a beautiful, bountiful, stately tree.
J.T. McKennon, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service