Pecan trees have a very long lifespan, with some living over 1,000 years. Trees grow up to 180 feet tall and have trunks up to 7 feet in diameter; however, most reach approximately 100 feet in height and have a 3-foot trunk. In addition to the nuts these trees provide, they also supply wood used in handles for hammers and baseball bats.
Pecan trees have compound leaves. These leaves consist of a central stem that grows up to 20 inches in length. One central stem supports 11 to 17 leaflets, each growing up to 7 inches in length.
Since pecan seedlings do not produce true to the parent tree, most are grown by grafting shoots or buds onto rootstock. This type of propagation ensures the new tree produces similar crops to those produced by the parent. It is also essential to ensure the tree maintains resistance to disease. Because of the size of the mature tree, it is necessary to provide a minimum of 70 feet between new plantings.
Pecan trees are native to the Mississippi valley. They grow well in deep, rich soil found along river flood plains. Their root system is deep and extensive to provide the moisture they require for growth. New plantings require irrigation for the first two years until they establish their root system.