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Monday, April 16, 2012

Think Twice About Planting Pecan in the Desert

Q. We want to plant a pecan tree. Would you please recommend one for Las Vegas? If we plant one, can we cut it way back and keep it small like we did our other fruit trees?

A. Think twice about it. Pecan is a big tree requiring lots of water. If you want to proceed, then pick a Western variety that is self-fruitful and low chill such as Mahan, Mohawk, Tejas or Western Schley.

            Pecans are so big that cutting them back may result in a tree that is about 2/3 of its mature size, maybe 60 to 100 feet tall, but you will not get it much smaller than this. The reason you can keep trees like almonds and pistachios small is because they are not big trees to begin with. The larger fruit trees, like apple and pear, are usually put on dwarfing rootstocks.
            Pecan is a big tree and is not on any dwarfing rootstock so it will be hard to keep its size small. Pecans tend to get anywhere from 70 to 150 feet tall and can have a 6 foot diameter trunk. Normal spacing between pecans is 60 feet apart.

Estimating Water Use for Pecan Trees

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