Growing Pecans in Missouri

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Pecan is a large, beautiful tree that produces crops of delicious nuts. The largest member of the hickory family, pecan trees often grow to a height of over 70 feet with a spread of greater than 80 feet. Pecans have large, pinnately compound leaves with each leaf bearing 7 to 13 leaflets. Nuts are borne on branch terminals in clusters of two to five. A fleshy green husk surrounds the nut during the growing season but splits open in October to reveal a light brown nut that is streaked with black mottles. As husks dry and wither, nuts fall freely from the tree. Pecan nuts vary widely in size, shape, and shell thickness. Seedling pecan trees often produce small, thick-shelled nuts while trees grafted to improved cultivars produce large, thin-shelled nuts.

William Reid
University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry