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We bought a pecan tree that is basically a 2' tall stick right now. It was planted in an opening with other trees and should get about 75% of available daylight.

How many years would you think it should take for it to start producing? How much taller will it get each year once it has established itself? Also, what can I do to help it along?

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  • Is the tree grafted? What's your growing zone?
    – Organic
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 20:13
  • @Organic Zone 6. Got it from Tractor supply so no, not grafted. Just a 2' long stick in a bag...lol Commented May 26, 2016 at 18:12

1 Answer 1

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In a good 8-12" of decent topsoil with a proper pH (6.5-7.0), a species (non cultivar) pecan whip should begin bearing in 8-10 years where you are. Larger grafted cultivars can bear in as little as 4. After the first year you should be seeing at least a good 18" a year on the leader.

To help it along, here are a few tips:

  • Plant another, for pollination (unless this is a self-pollinating cultivar, or there is another pecan tree within 3,000 feet of yours.

  • Make sure the planting hole is 150% deeper than the root, so that the establishing tree can easily root down in the first year.

  • If the soil is very hard, mix decomposed organic matter into the backfill soil until it becomes soft.

  • Keep it from drying out in the first year, until the ground starts freezing. Don't let it go dormant and freeze while very dry.

  • Keep weeds down (preferably with organic mulch) to the dripline of the tree

  • Fertilize after bud break with a high phosphorous tree and shrub fertilizer at the rate recommended by the manufacturer, or work freshly decomposed compost into the top 3" of soil, to the dripline

  • Train to a single leader, but do not heavily prune the tree. Once it is tall enough you can begin selecting and training strong laterals.

  • Wrap the trunk with a designated vinyl tree guard, to protect the tree fram beig girdled by rodents in the winter.

  • Stay alert for pests and diseases and catch them early.

These are nice trees, a long term investment. The grow to be large trees, and in 20 years or so you could be getting 40-60 pounds (shelled) annually.

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    Regarding "make sure the planting hole is 150% deeper than the root." I thought most guides on tree planting now recommend digging no deeper than where the root ball touches undisturbed soil? To prevent girdling if I recall. Here's an example of the diagram I remember seeing everywhere when I was researching it: www2.bgky.org/tree/planting_installation.php
    – Philip
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 3:53
  • 1
    @philip, I should have clarified, loose soul goes back into the hole, and the tree is planted with the root flare at ground level. This is especially helpful in hard soils, as it prevents the roots from circling the sides of the hole and thus creating structural root problems later on.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 4:07

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