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Pecan

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pecan2
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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Carya illinoinensis
FAMILY: Juglandaceae

Hardiness Zones 5 to 7.

Growth habit Tree has an irregular rounded crown as a mature tree. Native to the eastern and southern states it is found growing as a native tree in Eastern Kansas and throughout central Texas. There are no native pecan stands in Colorado.

Foliage Bright green pinnately compound leaf is 12 to 18 inches long. The narrow lance-shaped leaflets are 3 to 6 inches long on a pale green petiole.

Flowers Male and female flowers are borne on the same tree in catkins. Flowers are not showy in appearance.

Fruit A nut contained in a four-winged husk. As fruit matures the husk turns dark brown in color. The nut has a dark brown thin shell and can have a sweet seed inside. Seed production begins once the tree is 20 years old.

Bark The bark is brownish gray and slightly furrowed on mature trees.

Twigs On young branches light gray to brown in color eventually turning gray with maturity.

Insects and diseases Have not observed significant pests other than aphids on Colorado specimens.

Landscape value The current state champion is located north of Delta about a block east of the Ute Council Cottonwood. There are numerous specimens located in Delta and Grand Junction. The literature states that the tree needs well-drained loamy soils but the soil where the Colorado specimens are growing is clay-like and alkaline. This tree species has a substantial taproot, which make transplanting a difficult proposition. Any attempts to establish this tree should be done when the trees are seedlings. Preferably less than two years old.

Information sources
Michael Kuhns, Trees of Utah and the Intermountain West (Utah State University Press, 1998)
Fire Effects Information System, USDA Forest Service