With Good Care, How Long Do Pecan Trees Live?

To plant a pecan tree (Carya illinoinensis) is to make a long-term investment in the future. Not just your future, but those of your distant descendants. With the right growing conditions and care, pecan trees live for up to 300 years and provide annual nut harvests for most of them. For tips on maximizing a pecan tree’s lifespan, read on!


Growing Conditions

In their natural habitats across USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, wild pecan trees thrive in the fertile, deep soils of river bottoms. Cultivated trees need deep, well-draining soil and a growing season with 200 or more frost-free days.

Planting Site:

Besides the right soil, a pecan-planting site has:

  • Six or more hours of daily sun.
  • Room for mature tree from 70 to over 100 feet tall and up to 75 feet wide.
  • Space for multiple trees. Most pecan cultivars need u-when-do-pecan-trees-bloomcross-pollination from a different variety.
  • Enough distance from sewer lines that the roots won’t engulf them.

Continuing Care

With proper care, most pecan trees bear nuts within seven years.


In growing-season weeks without rain, give young trees a slow, deep drink until water pools on the soil.

Starting the fourth year, water to keep the soil moist through the growing season. Preserve moisture with a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch.


Test your soil for phosphorous, potassium and pH. If the first two exceed 35 and 125 parts per million respectively, feed the trees 8 ounces (.27 kg) of ammonium nitrate per year of age until age 5.

For lower levels, dose with 1 1/2 pounds (.68 kg) of 10-10-10 fertilizer the first year. Add an additional 1.5 pounds yearly until age 5; feed 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg) yearly from then on.


Where soil pH is less than 6.0, add 8 ounces of zinc sulfate to the spring fertilizing schedule for each year of the trees’ age up to 10. Where it’s alkaline (pH over 7.0), treat them with a foliage spray containing 2 pounds (.91 kg) of zinc sulfate powder per 100 gallons (378 liters) of water. Apply at bud break and twice before the leaves unfurl completely.

Pest Control

For organic control of sap-sucking aphids, spray with insecticidal soap until the leaves drip. Repeat weekly until the infestation subsides.

To stop pecan weevils:

  • Maintain a weed- and debris-free area around the trees.
  • Wrap the trunks in petroleum jelly-coated paper to trap weevils climbing the trees for egg laying.

Preventing Pecan Scab

Spare your trees from this nut-destroying disease with organic Bordeaux mix of hydrated lime and copper sulfate. Starting at bud break, spray every 10 to 14 days until the nuts set. After that, spray every 10 to 21 days until the nut’s shells have hardened.

Text: Garden.eco