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How Far Apart Should I Plant My Pecan Trees? Pecan Tree Spacing Simplified and Explained (Nut Dynasty Episode 2)

Once you have a good area to grow pecan trees, you need to decide how many you're going to plant.  Let's talk about spacing.

If you're just putting pecan trees around your property to enhance the aesthetics, you can use your best judgment.  Just remember, mature trees can get up to 60' in diameter.  You'll want to avoid planting them under power lines or right next to a barn.  Also, keep in mind a pecan tree will need a pollinator in order to bear nuts well.  This means you'll need at least two different types on your property.  If you're planting a small orchard, there are two different ways you can go about it.  

First, try for maximum yield early on.  To achieve this, you'll need a lot of young trees.  A young tree doesn't have many branches, so you'll need a lot of trees to cover an acre of land.  Let's say you go with a tight 20 X 20' spacing, meaning your rows are 20' apart and within those rows the trees are also 20' apart.  This will allow 109 trees per acre.  That's a lot of trees, so you'll need to consider that every one of them will need irrigation, fertilizer, and general maintenance.  15 years down the road, they'll start to grow into each other.  You'll have to remove many of them so the remaining trees will perform at their best.

The second school of thought on how to space your trees is to place them at distances where they'll be comfortable with each other and perform well when mature.  Let's say you place them in a 60 X 60' spacing.  That will only require 12 trees per acre, which is 97 less trees than the 20 X 20' spacing.  The downside to all the cost and labor savings is it will take several years of waiting for a good nut production to acre ratio.  

When it comes to actually laying out your orchard, it might be helpful to use online mapping, a GPS, or phone apps.  Silas Dudley, Bag-A-Nut's President, has a lot of experience with this process.  He went with a 60 X 60' spacing and used string, stakes, a range finder, and a measuring tape.  With the help of friends and family it went smoothly.

You may find it helpful to look up the Pythagorean Theorem, a mathematical formula to keep squares and rectangles perfectly shaped.  If you take the time to apply that to your layout, you can be sure everything will come out nice and neat.  The reason Silas chose the 60 X 60 layout is because it saves a lot of time and labor.  "I just chose to be patient, enjoy the beauty of them, and let it ride." 

At the end of the day, there really isn't a right or wrong answer about which spacing to use in your orchard.  It boils down to what you want from your orchard and what you're willing to put into it.

For more tips, please check out our Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT_u7RSTsakxwnbpOEJVqgg

SPACING DETAILS: Here is the link to the UGA document that describes in detail the different spacing thoughts. In this document, find a deeper understanding of this topic. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1387/5255/files/tree_PlacementDocument.pdf?27

PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM EXPLAINED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA6RfgP-AHU

Where to Plant Pecan Trees? (Nut Dynasty Episode 1)

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.   
Please check out our other videos and blogs if you need more tips.  Here is a link to our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT_u7RSTsakxwnbpOEJVqgg

Choosing your variety of Pecan Trees...

Choosing your variety of Pecan Trees...

Below are some charts and links to charts to help you choose your pecan tree variety. 

Southeast Pecan Tree Varieties Scab Resistant

Pollination Chart: We found this chart from UGA was very helpful in assuring we have trees that compliment each other in the pollination process.

https://pecans.uga.edu/content/dam/caes-subsite/pecans/docs/pollination-chart.pdf

Back Yard Orchard Articles from UGA: Very helpful if you are looking at a small-scale Pecan Tree Orchard:

https://secure.caes.uga.edu/extension/publications/files/pdf/B 1348_4.PDF
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