How to Start Pecan Trees From Nuts

Growing pecan trees from nuts takes patience and some special care for the first few years. If you are growing them for the nuts and not just for shade trees, you will need more than one, as the nuts are grown from cross-pollination. It will take six to eight years for nuts to begin growing on the trees. You need a lot of room for these types of trees. They need to be spaced between 35 and 50 feet apart and can grow as tall as 150 feet at full maturity.

Start Pecan Trees From Nuts
Pecan Nut--by Michael W.

Gather large, full nuts in the fall and inspect them for any insect damage. Throw away any that appear to have had any insect activity, and soak the rest in a bowl or tub of water for two days. The water will need to be changed often while soaking, or you can use an aquarium air pump in the bottom of the container to keep oxygen in the water.

Step 2

Place the nuts in a plastic sandwich bag or container with airholes and fill with damp vermiculite. This should be damp to the touch but not soaking wet. Place the container in the refrigerator for three months, checking frequently to make sure it does not dry out. If it starts to become dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time to dampen it again.

Step 3

Take the seeds out after the three months and plant each 3 inches deep in a mound of dirt. Pecan trees like rich soil, so dig out some soil and mix with some potting soil and compost before planting the nut in it. Pick a spot that has full sun and keep the soil damp. You may want to put a vegetable cage over them to protect the sprouting seed from birds, mice and squirrels.

Step 4

Water the plants every morning during the growing season and water deeply at least once a week if you do not get a heavy rain. Pecan trees grow deep root systems and the roots grow quickly during the first couple of years.

Step 5

Weed the seedlings to 35 to 50 feet apart as they start to grow. Choose the healthiest and grow at least two trees if you want pecans to grow on the trees. Wrap the bottom of the trunks of the trees with heavy brown paper or aluminum foil for the first 2 years to prevent sun scald. Keep the area around the tree free from weeds, as this will take nutrition away from the tree.