The Growth Rate of Pecan Trees

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More than 500 pecan cultivars exist, according to the University of Florida Extension.
More than 500 pecan cultivars exist, according to the University of Florida Extension. (Image: Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A deciduous tree, the pecan (Carya illinoensis) grows to a height of up to 130 feet but usually averages 70 to 100 feet. A native of the U.S., the tree grows from eastern Kansas to western Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio and extends into parts of Texas. It thrives in the Lower Mississippi Valley and is widely cultivated across the southern U.S. for its nut production.

Growth and Seed Production

The pecan tree grows approximately 35 inches per year on sandy loam soil. The tree begins to produce viable seeds when it reaches 20 years of age. Maximum seed production begins at 75 to 225 years of age. A mature tree will produce and average of 100 lbs. of seeds per year.

Seedling Growth Time Frame

The pecan tree drops its seeds in the fall but they require a period of cold stratification before germination can occur. The seeds begin to germinate and seedlings grow in April. Seedlings average a growth rate of 3 feet per year.

Warning

Seedlings die quickly if they do not receive ample sunlight. The pecan tree is shade intolerant. The seedlings also require a well-draining location to grow and will often die in heavy clay soils. The tree does have the ability to regenerate and produce sprouts from its trunk if it is burned in a fire. Fires will kill seedlings quickly.

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