So you've heard you can make a few bucks selling nuts from pecan trees and you want to put some on your property? Let's not plant them and in five years you find out you put them in the wrong spot.
The location where you want to plant your trees takes some consideration. You'll need to bring in heavy equipment, plan a way to get irrigation to them, and make sure you'll have access to harvest them. Mature pecan trees require a lot of room since they can be 60' across. You don't want to just throw your pecan trees into an existing wood lot on your property. You need to have a field to plant them in that's well cleared with plenty of space for your trees to grow.
The next important factor to consider is you'll need well draining soil. If you dig and after a foot and it's extremely moist or there is even water seeping in, that's not the spot you want to plant a tree. Ideally you'll want to be able to dig 5' deep and it's damp, but not wet. When you come back the next day, the hole shouldn't be full of water. The goal is for the spot to be well drained because a pecan tree's root system cannot tolerate standing water. If you don't plant it in well drained soil and the roots stay saturated, the tree will die or have poor performance.
A pecan orchard will do best if it has good air flow. For example, this means you may want to plant next to a neighbor's open crop field or next to a big open power line where it will very easily get a breeze. A low lying area in an old pine forest isn't going to get a lot of air flow and it will create an environment where scabs thrive. Planting an orchard on sloping terrain can often be very beneficial. The natural thermal currents that move throughout the day due to temperature change can be very helpful in keeping an orchard dry. If you have the opportunity to place your orchard on the side of a gently sloping hill, that's a great spot for it.
Knowledge is power. Take time to educate yourself. It's much easier to make a plan in your house in the air conditioning with a pen and paper than it is to be out there with your buddies helping you or a bulldozer rented and you realize this isn't the right spot.
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