Pecan Trees: Growth and Harvest

(Last Updated On: January 30, 2012)

This article was written exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family-owned business dedicated to growing Georgia Peaches and Georgia Pecans.

Have you ever wondered where your pecans come from? How much work does it actually take to cultivate a pecan tree? Most likely orchards started small and grew into commercial enterprises so what does it take to maintain this delicious nut? You may be surprised that comparatively, the pecan tree is relatively easy to grow and sustain. It’s surprisingly hardy and provided the grower is ready to do battle with everyday orchard annoyances like diseases and pests, than the success rate can be high. But there is some general information about the pecan tree that any grower should consider to ensure that the pecan harvest is as robust as it could be.

Planting and cultivating a pecan tree or an entire orchard can be both rewarding and taxing. One of the main things to consider is irrigation. Pecan trees are fairly self-sufficient but they do require a steady water source. There has to be adequate water for the tree to sustain. But there is some controversy as to how to achieve this. Some growers advocate periodic flooding while others have had great success with drip and sprinkler systems. Either way, water is the key to the growth of a pecan tree.

Speaking of self-sufficiency, the pecan tree is self-pollinating meaning that both male and female reproductive capabilities are present on one tree. This makes pollination much easier as the tree is not reliant on another source of transfer, such as a bee. For a grower, this is good news as its one less thing to worry about for cultivation.

Late winter into early spring is the best time to plant pecan trees. When the summer months roll around, they will be able to absorb enough sunshine to be ready for harvesting in the fall. The harvesting season for pecans occurs in the fall months and run until November. This is why pecans and pecan pie have become such a staple of holiday meals in the south.

Growing and harvesting pecans is not particularly difficult if you know what you’re doing. Of course it’s much easier just to buy them from a local grower or make a day of picking your own with the family at a local orchard. Pecan trees are extremely resilient and can grow in the northern states as well as the south. But for premium pecans, the natural water sources and abundant sunshine of the southern states makes for perfect growing conditions indeed.