Are pecan trees native to Texas? How many recognized types of pecan tree are there?
Pecans are a fairly common sight in North Texas, and are often overlooked (except by squirrels!). However, the pecan is a hardy and versatile tree that is not only native to much of Texas, but is our state tree!
The pecan tree (Carya illinoinensis), a species of hickory, originated in the central United States, and originally ranged from the Mississippi River in the east to Central Texas in the West and Illinois in the north to Mexico in the south. Georgia, the United States’ number one producer of pecans, is not their native home, and didn’t even have pecan trees until a few hundred years ago! Areas outside the US have become home to pecan production as well.
While there are over 1,000 different types and breeds of pecan tree, both natural and cultivated, there are only 18 varieties that are recommended for planting in Texas. Varieties well-suited for North Texas include the Choctaw, Forkert, Cape Fear, and Kiowa. Pecans are valued both for fruit production and as shade trees, and are drought-resistant. Different cultivars do better in different areas of Texas, but all of the state can grow pecans. While you can start a pecan tree from a nut, it may be better to find a grafted variety if you are looking for a particular quality.
Whatever the type of pecan, there are several environmental and pest issues that are commonly seen. Poorly-drained or shallow soil can hinder a pecan’s growth. Pecans are also susceptible to a particular form of root rot as well as the pecan phylloxera insect. If you want to maximize nut production, taking a little extra care with fertilization and some preventative treatment can help greatly. Your local Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office has great resources for pecan growers. Of course, consulting a certified arborist is always a good place to start to learn more about how to care for your trees!
At Texas Tree Surgeons, we love trees and we love our customers! Whether you have established pecan trees or are looking for information on how to start growing some, we can help. We offer comprehensive plant health care programs as well as maintenance and restorative trimming to keep your trees safe and healthy. Contact us today to talk with a certified arborist about your needs!