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Carya illinoinensis 'Chickasaw'

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
KAIR-yuh il-ih-no-in-EN-sis
Description

Hardy pecan 'Chickasaw' is a cultivar tree in the Juglandaceae (walnut) family. Bred by L. D. Romberg in 1944 it is a cross between 'Brooks' and 'Evers'.  It is grown mostly for its delicious edible nuts that appear in the summer after an insignificant bloom.   This particular cultivar is known for its dramatic fluctuation in bearing nuts; production can be inconsistent with a harvest of poor-quality nuts followed the next year by low yield.

'Chickasaw' grows best in full sun. It tolerates clay, sand, and loam soils—neutral to acidic—as long as they are well drained. It has high drought tolerance once established. Learn more about selection, planting, and care of pecan trees.

'Chickasaw' will usually grow 30 to 40 feet tall with a spread of 30 to 40 feet. This deciduous tree has a fine texture and spreading form. It was bred to have moderate disease resistance to pecan scab.

Pollination is the second most important factor in purchasing pecan trees. Pecan trees are monoecious: they have separate male and female flowers on the same tree. Pollen is not released when flowers are receptive, so pollination within and between the same cultivars is limited. Cultivars are separated into type I and type II for pollination purposes. 'Chickasaw' is a type II pollinator.  For optimum pollination, NC State Extension recommends planting at least three cultivars with at least one of each pollination type for best cross-pollination. All cultivars have positive and negative attributes, so do your research before purchasing.

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. 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. It makes a good shade tree in a naturalized, woodland, or recreational area and as part of a children’s, edible, or pollinator garden.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound
  • Leaflets are falcate, crenate

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aphids, pecan weevils, stink bugs, twig girdlers, and fall webworms can cause some issues. Powdery mildew, peach leaf curl, fire blight, brown rot, bacterial spot, and cedar apple rust. Scab can infect both nuts and foliage, but scab-resistant cultivars are available. Pecans are known for their brittle branches prone to breakage, especially in wind, and late frosts can reduce nut production.  Dropped nuts can be messy on hardscaped surfaces.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

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Tags:
#shade tree#edible nuts#showy fruits#small mammals#disease resistant#food source wildlife#messy#nighttime garden#wind pollinated#edible tree#naturalized area#deciduous tree#bird friendly#moth larvae#recreational areas#wind damage prone#woodland garden#hickory horndevil moth
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#shade tree#edible nuts#showy fruits#small mammals#disease resistant#food source wildlife#messy#nighttime garden#wind pollinated#edible tree#naturalized area#deciduous tree#bird friendly#moth larvae#recreational areas#wind damage prone#woodland garden#hickory horndevil moth
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carya
    Species:
    illinoinensis
    Family:
    Juglandaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits feed small mammals and some birds. Larval host plant to the Luna moth. This plant supports Hickory Horndevil (Citheronia regalis) larvae which have one brood and appear from May to mid-September. Adult Hickory Horndevil moths do not feed.
    Edibility:
    Nuts are edible fresh or cooked. Harvest when husk opens and releases nut. Before storing, dry pecans in paper or burlap bags hung in an area with good air movement. Freeze for long-term storage.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Elliptic nut, alternates bearing years. Fruits mature mid-season a little earlier than 'Stuart'. Kernals may be dark.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are sterile
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Compound alternate leaves with 9-17 lanceolate leaflets that have serrate margins. Yellow fall color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Problems:
    Messy