How To Make A Pecan Tree Produce?

To help your pecan tree produce, you need to ensure that it has a suitable pollinating partner, is well located in an open, sunny position, and has a plentiful water supply. Other considerations include a rich soil that provides its roots with a full range of nutrients. Clay soils are too heavy and become easily waterlogged. Pecans prefer loamy, free-draining soil. Let’s take a look at other factors that may affect pecan tree nut production. 

When Does A Pecan Tree Bloom?

When Does A Pecan Tree Bloom

Pecan trees bloom from the middle to late spring after the blossom has been fertilized. 

For successful pollination, the pollen from male pecan tree flowers must fertilize the female flowers of another pecan tree.

Usually, two types of pecans are required, as the male and female flowers mature at different times. 

The trees don’t rely on insects as pollinators but use the wind. Male pollen is blown from catkins to the female nutlets. 

Pecan trees are either Type I protandrous or Type II protogynous. What this means is that on a Type I tree, the male catkins mature first, while on a Type II tree, it is the female nutlets that develop first. 

Therefore, having a Type I and a Type II tree within a hundred meters of each other gives the best possible cross-pollination results and produces the largest quantity of nuts. 

In an orchard situation, around 15% of the trees should be pollinators for the main variety. They require equal distribution through the plantation. 

In this video, you can learn all about pecan tree pollination:

When Does A Pecan Tree Produce Nuts?

The nuts ripen over late summer and are ready for harvest in fall from September to November, depending on location and variety. 

Harvesting the nuts as soon as their outer casing splits open is best, as if they remain on the tree they will be taken by squirrels and birds. Nuts that fall to the ground are quickly contaminated by insects.

How Long Does It Take A Pecan Tree To Produce?

If you’ve only just planted your pecan tree, then you may be in for quite a long wait before picking any tasty nuts from it.

Once your tree is mature enough, it will produce female flowers that, if fertilized, can turn into nuts. From fertilization to harvest, nuts take around seven months to mature.

How Old Does A Pecan Tree Need To Be To Produce?

The exact age a pecan tree needs to be to produce nuts varies and is dependent on several factors, including:

  • Cultivar
  • How it was grown – seed, cutting, grafted tree
  • Climate
  • Soil
  • Water supply
  • Tree health
  • Presence of pollinators

Before a tree begins fruiting, it needs to put on vegetative growth and develop a robust root system. During this time, the trunk will grow taller, and it will produce additional branches.

Some cultivars of pecan are “precocious,” which means they start producing small crops from a young age, typically around six years. Other cultivars mature more slowly and won’t begin to grow nuts until they are 10 years old or more.

Why Does My Pecan Tree Not Produce?

There are various reasons why your pecan tree isn’t producing, including:

  • The tree is too immature
  • Lack of pollination
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Alternate bearing
  • Disease
  • Insects
  • Drought


It may seem like that young pecan tree you put in years ago is never going to give you any nuts. As mentioned above, it is perfectly normal for even the earliest fruiting varieties to be six years old before they bare any pecans, while the slower maturing types take more than ten years. Patience is the key here.


Another possible reason why your tree isn’t producing nuts is the lack of a suitable pollinating partner tree. This is harder to remedy; as you’ll have read above, you require a Type I and a Type II tree for the most success. 

Examples of Type I trees include “Owens” or “Cape Fear.” Type II trees include “Stuart,” “Forkert,” or “Elliot.” 


If your tree is not healthy, it may not fruit well. Check your soil pH and look for any nutrient problems. Zinc deficiency is a common issue with pecan trees. The addition of correctly proportioned fertilizers can help address both your pH and nutritional issues. 

Alternate Bearing

Pecans are mostly alternate-bearing trees meaning they only bare nuts every other year. With appropriate care and fertilization, this can be overcome in some varieties. 

Other issues

More things that cause nut production problems include disease, insect attack, and lack of water. 

How To Stop A Pecan Tree From Producing Nuts?

How To Stop A Pecan Tree From Producing Nuts

The only way of stopping a productive Pecan tree from producing nuts is by depriving it of something it requires to produce them. The problem is that this will almost certainly be bad for the tree’s health. For this reason, trying to prevent your pecan tree from producing nuts is not a good idea, as you may end up damaging or even killing the tree.

Pecan trees which are grown in cold climates, or those planted in poor soil or that have no suitable pollinator will all be deficient when it comes to nut production.

How Can You Tell If A Pecan Tree Is Male Or Female?

Pecan trees are neither male nor female. They all produce two types of flowers, one male, called catkins that are around 4 to 5 inches in length, and another female type called nutlets, which are a small star shape. This sort of tree is known as monoecious.

The male and female flowers mature at different times, giving very little possibility for self-pollination. 


To make your pecan tree produce effectively, you’ll want to ensure it was planted with another cultivar of a different type to pollinate it.

If you live in zones 6 through 9, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem, but for anyone living in zone 5 or below, although a tree may survive, it is unlikely to produce any nuts, as the conditions are not warm enough.

If your tree isn’t producing, check it for disease or pest problems, soil pH, and nutrient deficiencies. 

Pecan trees require a large amount of water to set fruit, and this can be a problem in drought conditions. 

For more pecan tree articles, look at our other blog posts.

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