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Why haven’t my pecan trees produced?

Robert Asked

I have 2 pecan trees in my yard. They are about 8 years old and have never produced fruit (pecans). What could be the problem with my trees?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Robert: Pecan trees (Carya illinoinensis) are native to the Southern United States and Mexico. These deciduous trees thrive in well-drained, fertile soil. Pecans should be grown where they receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day. Here in Kentucky, we are limited to growing northern cultivars since our growing season does not allow enough time for southern cultivars to mature.

As with all nut trees, pecans need to reach a certain age before they bear a crop. The amount of time depends on the cultivar selection and growing conditions but mainly propagation method. Pecans that are grafted will take 4-8 years to produce their first harvest and those that are grown from seed can take 10-15 years. As long as your trees are otherwise healthy, the answer to your question may be as simple as age. Once they start producing, some years will be better than others in terms of quantity and quality but they are very long-lived. Pecans are not self-fruitful.

They require at least one other tree that flowers at the same time for pollination purposes. For detailed information on cultivar selection and bloom time of nut trees in Kentucky visit: http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id77/id77.pdf.

If you have not had your soil tested, this can be done at your local County Extension Service. The results will indicate the current soil pH and nutrient levels as well as recommendations for improvement. The Taylor County offices are located at 1143 South Columbia Avenue. The phone number is 270-465-4511.

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