Scientific: Carya illinoensis
Common: pecan
Family: Juglandaceae
Origin: Found in alluvial soils of the lower Mississippi River basin and its tributaries, as well as other river bottoms throughout its range. The pecan extends southward into Central Mexico, and ranges northward through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. It extends as far north as southern Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, to the Texas panhandle in the west, and western Kentucky and Tennessee to the east.

Pronounciation: CAR-ee-uh El-lin-no-EN-sis

Hardiness zones
2-3, 6-10, 12-14, 18-20
USDA 5-10

Landscape Use: Mesic shade tree grows best in a lush green landscape, large shade tree, nut crop.

Form & Character: Deciduous tree, upright and umbrella top, heavy, large and assuming.

Growth Habit: Winter deciduous tree with a moderately upright growth habit to heights of 50 to 70 feet with near equal spread.

Foliage/texture: Alternate, odd-pinnately compound, leaflets 11 to 17 and 4 to 7 inches long with an inequalateral base, shaggy and shredding bark; medium coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Male and females flowers are borne on the same tree, but often not at the same time thus requiring cross pollination for successful yields. The flowers develop during the early spring and are for the most part ornamentally inconspicuous. Male flower are a borne on clusters of long green catkins. The tasty pecan fruit is a two-segmented nut.

Seasonal color: In Phoenix, pecan trees generally display yellowed foliage during late fall.

Temperature: Pecan trees are very tolerant of the desert summer heat, except when grown in xeric sites.

Light: Full sun

Soil: Well drained, loamy soils are best, avoid caliche. Pecan trees in Arizona typically require annual applications of supplemental zinc fertilizer during late winter, chelated zinc is best, zinc sulfate will suffice.

Watering: In Phoenix, pecan trees desperately NEED regular deep waterings from April to late September. No drip irrigation, flood or basin irrigation is best.

Pruning: Depending on the site, elevate the canopy base by raising the crown, but do not overly raise or thin the crown as removal of too much canopy foliage can lead to trunk and branch sunscald injury from the desert sun.

Propagation: Cutting and grafting; for grafting, scion-rootstock graft incompatibilities are a problem and can result in some bizarre looking lower trunks.

Disease and pests: Presently there are restrictions against interstate transfer of pecan trees because of the many known pecan fruit diseases and pests.

Additional comments: Pecans have many named cultivated varieties. It is a long standing nut crop in the desert Southwest. In fact, many central Arizona residential neighborhood developments have been built within formal pecan orchards. The pecan is the most important commercial nut crop in the eastern United States. Pecan wood is used for cooking and open fires because of its unique fragrance. Some great eating here too!