Pecan trees are beautiful and produce delicious nuts you can snack on and use in a variety of different recipes (including our FAVORITE PECAN PIE!). If you own pecan trees and want to increase pecan production, it's important to be aware of their key needs. The most important needs of pecan trees are habitat, pruning, pollination, pest control, fertilizer, and water. Given enough time and attention to these needs, your trees should have no problem producing an abundance of nuts.
The Georgia Pecan Nursery website has a lot of great information about how to ensure your pecan trees have everything they need to thrive. One of the most important things to be aware of is you have to have patience. "On average, it takes 7-10 years before a pecan tree begins to produce a full supply of nuts." Pecan trees need time to grow in order to produce the highest amount of pecans. Of course, during that time you can focus on making sure the trees are getting all their needs met.
Just like animals, trees require the proper habitat. Pecan trees do best in "properly drained soils that consist of sandy or silty loams". They need plenty of space to grow away from other plants because they can get up to 100 feet tall and the roots can spread up to 70 feet wide. As your tree matures, it may require corrective pruning.
Pecan trees cannot self-pollinate and rely on cross-pollination. Male and female flowers don't blossom on one tree at the same time. The aforementioned Georgia Pecan Nursery website explains, "It’s essential to have pre-existing pecan trees of different species to ensure that your pecan trees are properly pollinated."
It's always a bummer to discover your pecan trees are infested with pests. If this does happen, it's important to seek out organic, chemical-free sprays to control this problem. There are many different products available now for this purpose. Stark Bro's Nursery and Orchards has great information on their website that will help you identify what type of pest you're dealing with. They also have sprays you can purchase once you decide which kind you need.
Proper irrigation and fertilizer can help defend against pests and the damage they may cause. The Stark Bro's Nursery and Orchards website recommends applying small amounts of nitrogen-rich fertilizer in early spring and avoid fertilizing in July as rapid growth can cause frost damage later in the year. They also explain that "as your pecan trees begin to come into bearing age, it is essential to provide Zinc Sulphate as a feed during the spring. Zinc is necessary for normal tree growth and the development of the nuts." As with every living thing, pecan trees need water. You only need to water your trees once a week and make sure the water penetrates at least 3 feet.
Hopefully, these guidelines are helpful for anyone trying to increase pecan production. For more information, check out the resources linked below.