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Pecan forest for Western Washington?

 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 505
Location: Longbranch, WA
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I have 5 acres That I am arranging to lease to a nonprofit group to plant a food forest and build tiny houses. During the winter I went to pick up my wife at the hospital in Tacoma Washington and as I walked from the car to the hospital there were Pecans sprouting in the ditch alongside the sidewalk. I brought some home and put them in one of my starter flats. They are now in 3 gallon nursery pots.
We need a plan for setting them out in a permanent location. Anyone with Pecan experience?
We have any kind of soil available from gravel to clay. The land has a SE slope. The West side is shaded from the evening sun by a fir forest. It was loged a few years ago and is now covered in Scotch broom and blackberries.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2295
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I have plenty of experience with them -- as weeds. Since my neighbors have so many, I don't need any on my property, but the squirrels don't share my plan. They put them in my hugelkultur, my onion bed, the kitchen herb garden, etc.

You may want to get them out of the 3 gallon pots and put them in the deepest pot you can find. Around here, young pecan trees are kept in plastic pots that have a height equal to 3 or 4 times their diameter. No, they are not stable and have to be supported to stay upright, but they allow the tap root to develop properly. Once the tap root develops, you can't kill the seedling, it keeps coming back (from my experience).

I would say plant them in a clay soil. They love the Georgia clay and when you get to the western extent of their range, in the arid west, they still flourish in river valleys with lots of clay in the river bed. Pecans (and walnuts, a close relative) are sensitive to late frosts. Usually, they are the last trees to leaf out in the spring, when the danger of frost is well past. As long as you don't have any late freezes, like can happen in higher elevations, they should do well for you.
 
Rob Read
Posts: 86
Location: Poplar Hill, Ontario (near London) - Zone 6a
7
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Because you're fairly far north, seedling pecans might not end up maturing crops consistently - it depends on the length of a given season, and on the genetic heritage of those pecans. Also the weather - since they are originally adapted to the hot humid summers of the south east. There are far north growing pecans that can ripen even in southern Ontario, but they are smaller nuts. That said, I was just talking to a nut grower that said pecans make great root stock (as long as they are hardy) because they put out side roots and produce a small tree faster. They can be grafted with hickories and some hicans (pecan/hickory hybrid), if those produce a better nut in your region.
 
Michael Qulek
Posts: 148
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There are a couple of pecan varieties selected for growth in the northwest. They are sold at www.burntridgenursery.com. I bought all they're varieties for planting in my Sierra orchard.
 
Michael Qulek
Posts: 148
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There are a couple of pecan varieties selected for growth in the northwest. They are sold at http://www.burntridgenursery.com/Northern-Pecan/products/59/. I bought all their varieties for planting in my Sierra orchard.
 
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