[NAFEX] black walnut & pecan soils

Mark Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Wed Oct 1 14:43:24 EDT 2008


I've seen lot's of publications that say that pecans prefer well drained soils, but I wonder if those publications overplay it a bit?  Quite frankly, I've never read a publication that didn't recommend well drained soils for ANY fruiting tree.  Some experts may disagree, but personally, I think well drained soil for pecans may not be all that important, based upon the following:  

My wife's uncle has a pecan grove in SE Kansas.  The grove lies along the Verdigris river.  The river floods his pecan orchard every year and the pecans seem to do fine.  Also because they are right next to the river, the water table is naturally high.  Last year, the Verdigris had a 100 year flood.  The water got so high, it covered the tops of the pecan trees.  It remained high for days, and (although I don't know for sure) it's probably fair to say the roots stayed saturated for a very prolonged period of time.  The pecans lost their crop and their leaves, but the trees survived.  The uncle claims a pecan can grow anywhere a willow grows.

This spring I planted two pecans in the wettest part of my tiny orchard.  For many weeks the ground was so saturated, you could squish water out with your foot.  I made the mistake of mulching the pecans with a heavy layer of grass clippings (I didn't know we were going to get so much rain) and it choked off too much oxygen.  They both started going backwards.  I removed the grass mulch, and the ground started to dry out a little and they put on new growth.  The ground was so wet for so long, I think it would have killed just about any other fruiting tree.  

Perhaps the ideal is well drained soil, but pecans seem to be very forgiving in that regard.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Eddie Earles 
  To: North American Fruit Explorers 
  Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 12:35 PM
  Subject: Re: [NAFEX] black walnut & pecan soils

  You can find the official series description for the Collins series here:


  This soil seems to be a little on the wet side for either species (both of which prefer well-drained soils), but you might give both a try.  There may be native pecans on Collins soils nearby---if you can find some patches of mature hardwoods on the same soil, take a walk through and see what grows there best.

  Black walnut makes its best growth on upland soils over limestone.  Liming would probably be necessary for black walnuts, as this soil is strongly acid in its native state.

  Eddie Earles, Soil Scientist, USDA-NRCS, Prince Frederick, MD

    -----Original Message----- 
    From: Scott Gothard 
    Sent: Oct 1, 2008 1:02 PM 
    To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org 
    Subject: [NAFEX] black walnut & pecan soils 

          I am wanting to plant black walnut & pecans in a open field I have with Collins Silt Loam soil. Is this a suitable soil for the two? I would like to plant seedlings from the state forestry commission then graft improved scions later. Thanks! 


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