SO, YOU THINK YOU WANT TO GROW PECANS? It is important to do your homework on the front end as pecan trees can take 5-8 years to come into production. Whether you are starting an orchard for your family, a hobby, or for commercial production, there are some things you should consider prior to planting the first tree:
- Purpose- Why do you want to grow pecans? Hobby growers will want to utilize a completely different set of orchard practices than large scale commercial options. Small orchards should strongly consider planting low input varieties while commercial operations may want more intensely managed varieties due to their production and quality.
- Money and time- How much money are you willing to put into your orchard? Think in terms of buying equipment, the soil preparation, and planting your trees. Once planted, the focus will be on spraying for disease and fungus, fertilizing and irrigation. How much time and money are you willing to put into maintaining your orchard?
- Preparation- How many pecans to the acre do you want? The closer you plant them, the sooner you have to thin. An orchard needs 50 % of sunlight to reach the orchard floor in order to produce an adequate yield. Large scale operations may choose to plant as close as 35x35ft. However, you may want to go 40x40ft. or 50x50ft. Hobby orchards should utilize greater spacing at 40x40ft., 50x50ft., or 60x60ft. The more distance between the trees, the less chance that you will have to thin during your lifetime. The wide spacing also reduces disease and insect pressure.
- Irrigation- Do you have a water source? Once your trees are planted, water is the most important thing you will need to think about. When trees are mature, most orchards require up to 3600 gallons a day per acre.
Thinking about how this orchard will impact you will help you to grow the most suitable varieties for your needs. Give us a call and we will assist you on choosing the right trees for your orchard.