The Carya illinoinensis or Pecan tree in my garden is setting fruit now. In the past 10 years we’ve only managed to harvest the nuts from this tree once. We’ve been fighting the squirrels for them every year. The nuts from this tree have wonderful paper shells that crack so easily that you almost don’t need a nutcracker to enjoy their wonderful fruit. This tree needs a long hot summer for the wood to mature and for it to produce the clusters of elongated nuts. My tree is about 15-20 years old and has a nice open feel to the canopy. It must be about 25-30 feet tall now. During Hurricane Isabel four years ago we had substantial damage to the Pecan because it was laden with nuts which made it weak. I wasn’t sure if the tree would survive losing two large branches but it has re-sprouted smaller branches in the damaged area and looks better.
Here are some general facts:
- Produces one of the world’s most edible & popular nuts
- Native to the central United States
- Occurs along river valleys
- Grows to 100 feet tall with a gray scale like bark
- Grows quickly in cultivation to about 30 feet in 10-15 years
- Frost hardy but needs a long hot summer
- Is propagated by grafting
- Deciduous and wind pollinated
- Can bear fruit for 300 years
- The wood is used in furniture and hardwood flooring
- Hardy in USDA zones 5-9
Another wonderful benefit of this tasty fruit is all the delicious food that is made with it. We wouldn’t have wonderful desserts such as Pecan Pie or Pralines without this buttery flavored nut. What kinds of fruits or nuts do you grow in your garden?