|looking for a tree place
||[Mar. 24th, 2009|11:38 pm]
Anyone ever bought a tree in Austin? We're looking to plant a pecan tree in the backyard this weekend.
It's About Thyme is where we bought ours.
Hee hee. That's a good name!
The Natural Gardener is the other nursery that we go to in Austin.
Both are down near us - so you have to visit us if you go to either ;)
We got an oak. I don't see a lot of pecan around here; I don't know how well they grow here. I guess we should ask Stanton.
My grandparents, who lived like 50 miles southeast of here had a whole pasture full of pecan trees...so I know they'll grow here. They just aren't popular because they are deciduous I believe.
My parents have a pecan tree in their backyard, but it's been there for 25+ years and only in the last year or two actually bothered to start producing pecans.
That being said, my parents have one in Dallas & there are tons around their house & they all produce like crazy and no one ever does anything special or even bothers watering them. I promise that I'll help you shell your pecans :)
Well that jives with my parents' tree only recently beginning to produce pecans. :) I know they've never given it any special fertilizer or anything, though they do make a good effort to keep it (well, just the lawn in general, but the tree benefits) watered during the droughts and the like.
They're also very brittle - strong winds and storms will break limbs all over the place. They grow quickly (which it why they're so brittle) and spread out all over the place. We had a neighbor with one between our houses in Houston and when branches broke off it caused roof damage, so they had it removed.
But growing quickly means that they make excellent shade trees, as long as you don't mind the massive leaves and pecans that drop in the fall. Of course, if you want to shuck pecans, the shells make and excellent mulch and keep cats from using your flower beds as little boxes (if anyone has some shells, we are in dire need of them).
They grow like crazy there.
Houston farmer's markets sell trees. We got our lemon and fig trees there and both have been very productive and grow well.
Just a few thoughts on pecan trees (after growing up with a few hundred of them):
- There are a lot of varieties of pecan trees. Talk with a nursery about what each variety is like, how they will grow, and what they will do when they get older. You want to know about:
- Size when full grown
- Limb structure
- Hardiness to insects
- Weather/freeze resistance
- Nut production, size, and flavor
- How the tree ages
- As trees go, pecans are not too solid. As they get older, they tend to drop limbs in heavy wind storms. Learn how your tree will behave when it gets older.
- How will it tend to structure its limbs? What can you do to make sure it's growing optimally? This is important for making sure it will be a very hardy tree into its later years and not drop a giant limb onto your roof in a wind storm.
- Cultivars have different sizes when full grown. Some of our trees were small and scrawny while others were big and substantial. What will yours be?
- What pests tend to attack it? Are they preventable?
- What kind of nuts does the cultivar produce? Not every pecan tree produces big delicious nuts. Some produce small sweet ones, and some produce big flavorless ones. All variations are possible.
- Also, there are differences between wild and papershell pecans. Wild nuts tend to be very hard while papershells are the more common variety that are easier to crack.
- How old is the tree they're bringing you?
- If it's a young tree, how long until you start seeing it produce substantial amounts of nuts?
- What are the graft varieties? What happens if one of the grafts fail? Will they bring you a new tree?
- The usual questions about soil, sunlight, and water apply. We had a big orchard of them in all kinds of conditions, but they still need some optimization - especially in their early years.
Here's a good page:http://www.tpga.org/faqs.html
And here's another with cultivars recommended by area:http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/homefruit/pecan/pecan.html
Looking at that list, it looks like most of the cultivars we have are out of favor. I can't remember them all, but I think we had Slyberts, Moores, Stewarts (big trees, kind of ok nuts), Mahans (medium trees, tasty nuts), Burketts (weird round nuts), and one or two others that escape my memory.
Let's see, what else...
Crows will eat the nuts if you're not careful. Bugs will too. When they fall, get them fast. Check to make sure they haven't already been compromised by insects (is the shell intact?).
For whatever reason, our trees tended to produce on an every other year cycle. I have no idea if that's normal, but I suspect it's probably common.
Pecans in their shell will last a while. Let freshly shelled pecans dry a little before eating. Don't wait too long or they'll spoil. Freeze the ones you aren't planning to use.
Oh, their leaves are not attractive in autumn. Don't expect any kind of bright colors or anything. They turn an ugly brown.