Why doesn't my seven-year-old pecan tree bear nuts?

Gardens & Landscapes April 09, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF
There may be a couple of reasons why your pecan is not bearing nuts. If your tree was grown from a seed, it may not be mature enough to bear nuts. Pecans may require 15 or so years of growth before nuts are produced. Grafted plants will usually come into bearing more quickly than those grown from seeds. Pecans also have both male and female flowers, located on different parts of the same branch. Male flowers are the catkins, which are on one-year-old branches. Female or nutlet flowers resembling miniature pecans are situated at the ends of young shoot tips. Pollination takes place when pollen falls on the stigma of the female flower. Most pecan cultivars are largely self-sterile because the pollen is not ripe and does not shed from the catkins when the female flowers are receptive. Therefore, it is important to have a mixture of pecan cultivars that shed pollen early and late for good cross-pollination and nut set.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.