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Carya illinoensis

Common Name(s):
Pecan
Categories:
Edible Plants, Native Plants, Trees
Comment:

Hardy pecan is a native shade tree in the Juglandaceae family and is the largest of the hickories.  It is grown mostly for its delicious edible nuts that appear in the summer after an insignificant bloom. Nut production can be reduced in the northern part of its growing range, especially when spring is late and the summer is cool. It can be difficult to transplant due to a deep taproot so choose your planting location wisely with its large mature size in mind.   You can grown it from seed, but it will take the better part of a decade before the tree produces a significant crop.  Pecans tolerate being planted near black walnut trees.  This tree requires a medium amount of maintenance. Due to its size this is a tree most appropriate for a large property.

Seasons of Interest:

    Fruit: Summer-fall, nut

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Aphids, pecan weevils, twig girdlers, and fall webworms can cause some issues.  Scab can infect both nuts and foliage, butscab resistant cultivars are available.  Pecans are known for their brittle branches prone to breakage and late frosts can reduce nut production.  

Height:
70-100 ft.
Flower:
Insignificant, monoecious, appear April-May. Male flowers are 4"-long yellow-green catkins, female flowers are shorter spikes. The tree is grown for nuts produced in the summer.
Zones:
5-9
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
Sun to partial shade; prefers moist, humusy well-drained soil
Texture:
Medium
Form:
Large, rounded spreading crown
Exposure:
Full sun
Fruit:
Nut
Edibility:
Sweet edible nuts that split into four sections when they ripen in the fall.
Width:
40-75 ft.
Growth Rate:
Moderate
Leaf:
Alternate, medium green, pinnately compound leaf with 11-17 leaflets; no significant fall color
Tags:
shade tree, edible, deciduous, nuts

NCCES plant id: 1936

Carya illinoinensis Form
James St. John, CC BY - 2.0
Carya illinoinensis bloom Male catkins
Andrey Zharkikh, CC BY - 2.0
Carya illinoinensis fruit In first part of fruiting stage
Andrey Zharkikh, CC BY - 2.0
Carya illinoinensis ripe fruit Ripe fruit
Janet and Phil, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0