If you have come to our section on planting pecan trees, I assume (a) you intend to plant a pecan tree. (b) and you haven't planted a pecan tree before or (c) you are toying with the notion of planting an entire orchard of pecan trees. If you are on this page because of (a) and (b) let me assure you that planting a tree of any kind is a simple process. If you are here because of (c) I must warn you that I've never planted an entire orchard of pecan trees, however, am willing to offer you what knowledge I have and the moral support you're going to need to undertake such an adventure. Whether you are intending to (a) and (b) or (c), we'll look at the basics of pecan tree planting.
Before you run down to Lowes and buy a pecan tree to plant, you should be aware of what type of pecan varieties do well in your area, assuming you are counting on producing a crop of pecans. Whether you're planting one pecan tree in your back yard, or an entire orchard, the investment in your tree is itself substantial. The time, effort, and money that you will invest in making your tree grow and produce will be even more substantial. It is imperative that you plan ahead before you just stick a tree in the ground. Not only should you consider a variety of pecan tree that thrives in your area, you should take a look at what you are setting out to accomplish. Do you want a shade tree that produces just enough pecans for your family's use, or are you seeking to produce an income from your pecan tree.
Where to plant your pecan tree
Pecan trees grow to an enormous size. While you don't have the usual problems with a wandering root system that many shade trees cause, your pecan tree will eventually reach a height of eighty to a hundred feet, and spread its canopy of leaves thirty to fifty feet in all directions. If you are planting a pecan tree in your yard, keep in mind that power lines that are twenty feet high will someday pose a problem if you plant a pecan tree beneath it. Your power company will be merciless in pruning your stately pecan tree into an ugly, deformed mess of greenery to keep it from interferring with 'their' power line. Be wary of planting too close to your house or fence. It is hard to imagine that three foot pecan sapling having a trunk diameter of three to five feet, but someday, perhaps when you're too old to do anything about it, your pecan tree could literally invade your home. You should also be aware of sewer lines, gas lines, and water lines running beneath your topsoil. If you are looking at (c) planting an entire pecan orchard, follow the link at the top of this page.
When to plant your pecan tree
I personally suggest you plan your planting for mid to latter February. I have read several articles suggesting a fall planting will add approximately one year's growth to your tree, but I feel this method has its flaws. First, in order for your tree to 'take root,' you will need to water it. You might not be so diligent in watering your newly planted tree when the temperature is twenty degrees outside and the outside faucet is froze up for weeks at a time. I prefer to plant my trees at the back end of winter, giving the soil around their roots just enough time to settle before the spring sunshine and warmer temperatures bring your new tree to life. It is probably safe to plant your pecan tree until mid-April. After that, the summer heat will take it's toll and your tree will struggle to survive.