print Print

PecanCarya illinoinensis

  • Pecan - Carya illinoinensis
  • Pecan - Carya illinoinensis
  • Pecan - Carya illinoinensis
  • Pecan - Carya illinoinensis
This species is known as a tree for all uses. It serves as the nation’s most important commercial nut producer, provides great shade, and sports an amazing grain that makes it highly prized as wood for furniture and flooring. Texans have such an affinity for this tree that they declared it their state tree.

Whether you like to bake with it, buy chairs made of it or simply bask beneath its canopy, the pecan tree is one that serves us well.

Hardiness Zones

The pecan can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 6–9. View Map

Tree Type

Mature Size

The pecan grows to a height of 70–100' and a spread of 40–75' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The pecan grows in in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well-drained, wet and clay soils.


This tree:
  • Yields thin, 4-angled husks in clusters of 3–6 that turn from yellow-green to brown as they ripen. They enclose a 1 1/2"-2" long, hard, oblong, light brown to reddish brown shell with a pointed tip and rounded base. The kernel is sweet.
  • Begins to bear nuts in 6–10 years, producing an average of 70–150 pounds of nuts per year.
  • Is prized in the woodworking world for its handsome grain.
  • Features compound leaves that are up to 20" in length and consist of 9–17 spearhead-shaped leaflets that are 4–8" long. The leaflets are slightly toothed.
  • Should be planted in multiples to ensure pollination.
  • Has a lifespan of 300 years or more.
  • Grows in an oval shape.
  • Develops a deep taproot, making it difficult to transplant.

Wildlife Value

The nuts are favored by squirrels, deer, raccoons, foxes, wild turkeys, wood ducks, crows, blue jays and several other bird species.


Early settlers loved these tasty nuts. They were not only great eating but also easy to ship and market in the cities for cash. But those pioneers went about gathering their bounty in a very unfortunate fashion. To get to the entire crop, they would chop the tree down, harvesting that season’s crop and leaving the tree to rot in the woods. This short-sighted approach led to the trees eventually becoming scarce.