Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Pecan, Hardy Pecan

Pecan, Hardy Pecan

Carya illinoinensis

Full sun; demands regular moisture (medium); prefers deep, fertile soils but will grow in moderately coarse sandy loams to moderately fine sandy or silty clays, clay loam and clay; neutral pH.

70-100 feet height by 40-75 feet spread; yellow-green flowers in spring, with male catkins in sets of three, 3-4 inches long; fruits are a light brown nut enclosed by a thin, four-sectional, winged husk in fall.

Growth Rate: Slow to medium. This species is the most rapidly growing hickory at about 8 inches per year.

Maintenance: Infrequent disease and insect problems

Propagation: Seed germination code C(60-90)

Native Region: Scattered statewide with greatest concentration in West Tennessee

Largest of the hickories and stands tall and straight with a uniform, symmetrical crown. One of the most valuable cultivated plants in North America due to its wood and nut crop. If grown for nut production, needs at least two different varieties for best nut crops. Requires 8-10 years before a tree is old enough to bear a nut crop.

Long-lived, commonly surviving 300 years. Does best in the hot and humid southern portion of the U.S. where there is time to ripen a large crop of nuts. Extremely difficult to transplant due to a long taproot. Although it is a desirable tree for its nut crop, it is not a good tree for landscape purposes due to its insect and disease problems. Many insects and fungi feed on hickories, which makes them a very important member of the forest community and good source of protein for birds.

Attracts mammals, birds and butterflies. Larval host for the Gray Hairstreak butterfly.


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