En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 10, 2009

From: Johnson City, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Pecan tree for Johnson City TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in E. Tennessee and was wondering if there are any pecan trees that can be grown here? If so, which type? I am a native Texan and love pecans. I would appreciate any information you can give me.

ANSWER:

Carya illinoinensis (pecan) can certainly be grown in Tennessee. This USDA Plant Profile does not show them growing in the extreme northeastern tip where Washington County is, but we believe that they probably would flourish there if the soils are moist. However, don't buy the ingredients for pecan pie quite yet; the tree is slow-growing, tends to bear nuts in alternate years and will not ordinarily begin bearing until it is 15 to 20 years old. The best nut production is on trees 75 to 225 years old. Here are the Growing Conditions from our Native Plant Database:

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: The sweet, edible nut, makes pecan the best hickory for fruit production. The tree does not bear liberal quantities of fruit in the northern part of its range, but makes an interesting ornamental there. Susceptible to galls, twig girdlers, aphids, borers, weevils, pecan scab, tent caterpillars, and webworms. Slow-growing. Difficult to transplant because of a large taproot.

For more information, see this Floridata website Carya illinoinensi. As mentioned above, the young tree has a long taproot which, if damaged, could result in the death of the tree. So, you are going to have to begin with a very small tree, and let it grow quite a while before you can expect a crop. When it does begin to bear, you can expect small seedlings popping up everywhere, mostly planted by squirrels. They and other small mammals, even some birds, are going to be waiting for those nuts, too. The tree gets quite large and is not a good selection for a small yard. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery


Carya illinoinensis

Carya illinoinensis

Carya illinoinensis

Carya illinoinensis

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Small flowering tree for Huntingdon Beach, CA
November 07, 2008 - I am looking for a short approx. 10 foot tall tree to plant in the 2 corners of my backyard near a wall. I would like them to be thin approx. 5 feet wide where light can get through so my other plant...
view the full question and answer

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
view the full question and answer

Trees for Parker, Colorado that will not harm horses
March 21, 2009 - we are searching for trees that will grow well in Parker Colorado and not be poisonous to our horses
view the full question and answer

Watering a Chinquapin Oak in Austin, TX
June 22, 2014 - I have a question about watering. I planted a Chinquapin Oak about 7 months ago and it's about 8 feet tall and doing well. I water it weekly on a slow drip for about an hour. I expect that my job is ...
view the full question and answer

Holding an Acer rubrum in a container for two years
October 10, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am thinking about ordering a Red Maple tree that is cultivated from Mount Vernon. I appreciate the historic nature of such a tree. The tree will be shipped to me and is ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center