The Importance of Fertilizing Pecan Trees

fertilizing pecan trees


Pecan trees are just like any living thing out there. If you want them to thrive, you need to be sure they’re getting the nutrients they require. Let’s talk about fertilizing pecan trees!




Why Fertilize?

Unfortunately for those trying to grow trees, the soil in the pecan tree’s home range often doesn’t contain adequate levels of the nutrients they require to thrive. That’s where fertilizing comes in. It is man’s attempt to get these nutrients to their required levels by adding synthetic or natural substances to the soil.


What Nutrients do my Pecan Trees Need?

Scientists have identified 13 nutrients or “elements” a pecan tree needs to thrive. They are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, boron, H2O, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and nickel.


The Importance of P.H. Levels

Science has also taught us a P.H. level of 6-6.5 is optimal for pecan trees to utilize the nutrients hiding in their soil. If the P.H. level in the soil around a tree isn’t at the optimal level, that tree’s roots won’t be able to efficiently absorb those nutrients, even if they’re sitting right there at optimal levels. You can waste a lot of time and money on fertilizing if you don’t first adjust the P.H. level.


How to Find out What Your Pecan Trees Need

To find out exactly what’s going on with your pecan tree’s nutrition, you’ll need to get a lab involved to do some testing. Many might be tempted to just skip this part and wing it, which is understandable if you only have a few trees around your property. However, if you really want your trees to grow well, you need to invest a little time and money in testing so you can take the guesswork out of fertilizing.
Silas shares,

“The last test I had done only cost me $6 and a little bit of my time. That’s hardly anything when you think about the amount of time and energy you’ve already invested in your trees.”


You can easily find a lab online or contact your county’s agricultural extension office which will help get your tests done through their state’s university. They will instruct you on how to gather your leaves or soil to be tested and how to get it to them. Once they perform their test, they’ll give you a detailed report showing exactly what your trees are lacking and what nutrients or elements you need to apply to help them thrive. You can take that information and use it to calculate and shop for lime and fertilizer.


Leaf Analysis Vs Soil Test

There are a few ways to go about testing. You can get a leaf analysis done, or get your soil tested. A leaf analysis is the more accurate way to know what’s going on with your tree’s nutrition, but it’s a process that must be timed properly during the growing season. On the other hand, a soil test can be done any time of the year. Unlike the leaf analysis that looks at the nutrients in the tree, the soil test only looks at nutrients in the soil. It will also give you a good idea of the P.H. level.


Silas shares a good comparison that helps put the difference between these tests into perspective.

“The leaf analysis is like doing bloodwork on a person. The soil test is more like looking at a person’s diet and just assuming they’re getting the nutrients they need.”


To Sum It All Up

Fertilizing your pecan trees has a lot of science behind it, but don’t let it intimidate you. Make friends with a lab or your county’s extension agent, get a test done, and get out there and feed your trees!

Click here to see more details of how I fertilize my orchard.


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