Country Lore: Grow Pecans In Your Region

This reader discovered he could grow pecans even in the cold weather of Michigan.
By Tom Fox
April/May 2004
Add to My MSN

Pecans are delicious, and trees can be grown from nuts.
PHOTO: TOM FOX


Content Tools

Related Content

How Would You Change Food in 2010?

There are a lot of changes we'd like to see made to our food system this year. Add your own.

Pesticides and Home Canning

The author of STAND UP AND GARDEN discusses why it is safe to can and otherwise preserve produce tha...

Check It Out: You Could Start A Seed-Lending Library

Just as libraries transformed society by giving everyone access to books, the Richmond Grows Seed Le...

Albuquerque Company Turns Landfills into Fields of Beauty

Growstone makes breakthrough, high-performance hydroponic growth mediums and soil aerators from disc...

The pecan is the best-tasting nut you can buy anywhere! Well, that's my sentiment anyway. About 30 years ago, I purchased 72 acres in Michigan. I then thought, "Why not try growing pecans?" Being a semi-intellectual at heart, I read up about pecans. There are three basic strains of pecans: the northern, southern and western. The northern strain is cold hardy to Zone 5. Good! However, I then learned more. The nut, said the "experts," would not "fill" in Michigan. This meant there would be a shell but no meat. Bad!

Then, in a Northern Nut Growers Association newsletter, I read about a planned expedition to southwestern Wisconsin to search out productive, cold-hardy pecans. The expedition was successful, and I bought about 25 nuts from the group that I planted in late fall. Happily, most sprouted the next spring.

I have more than 20 medium to large trees from this planting. It took about 15 years for the trees to begin bearing. The nuts from the trees that are bearing are not only completely filled but also deliciously sweet, although smaller than the southern variety. The nuts on the tallest tree (almost 40 feet tall) start to ripen in early October. To be successful at growing pecan trees, you need the right strain for your environment. The Wisconsin strains came from trees growing in Zone 4. If you live in Georgia, you don't want to plant a northern strain. All pecan trees need some cold, but those from the Far North need lots more cold than those from the South!

Growing trees from nuts is the easiest and cheapest way of starting your pecan plantation. All you do is plant the nut about 3 inches deep where you want the tree to grow. Plant in late fall — right after the nuts are harvested — or keep the nuts refrigerated and plant them in April. (Pecans purchased from the grocery store usually will have dried out too much to be viable.) Taking care of pecan saplings is simple — give them plenty of water. Also, make sure that your children don't cut them down, that you don't back into them with your pickup or that your livestock doesn't eat them! Usually pecans are harvested in autumn or early winter when the shuck loosens from the shell or even splits open. Often, people wait until the nuts fall to the ground on their own. However, if you try this, you may find squirrels get them first.

Tom Fox
Newago, Michigan








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.