Anyone here grows Pecan in a northern climate?
Looking to add a couple and the couple sources that sell the northern types are sold out, such as nolin River.
Any suggestions of sources or varieties?


Bass, I have run into the same problem in past years. Two good sources I found were and Isons. I would get potted from plantmegreen if at all possible, their bareroot did not do well (generally nobodies bareroot pecan did well for me).



Bass, are you familiar with ?
Outstanding blog. I can’t recommend it highly enough. There’s also a section on his blog devoted specifically to variety information. You could also contact him for a scion wood order form. They sell pecan scions very reasonably from the research station there.

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Thanks, I’m afraid of ordering from plantmegreen. The 2 trees I ordered from them barely had any roots and never made it. Their prices are deceiving the main page says one thing then you click and tells you a different price.

Thank you, I think i’ve seen it in the past I’ll bookmark it. I’m not going to graft pecans as I don’t have any rootstock and trying to be a few years ahead as these take a long time to start bearing.

I was really suspicious of plantmegreen at first, simply because their prices seemed too good, but I received a couple bare root pecans a couple months ago from them that looked great. They were also great to deal with (ordering, shipping notifications/options, etc.), even offering me some pointers on grafting pecans over the phone. Unfortunately, they only had the one variety that interested me (plus maybe one I already had), but based on my one little order, I’d highly recommend them. If you’re in zone 6, though, Nolin River does seem like your best source. Even if plantmegreen has a good variety for zone 6, I’d be concerned about their rootstock. I think they told me they use Elliot seedlings for rootstock, but I might be remembering that wrong.

Could Hershell on the fig forum help you? I believe he works with grafting pecans.

‘Kanza’ would be one that you should definitely plant; high quality nut, good scab resistance, good production,early ripening.
‘Major’, the female parent of Kanza, is still a top-producer here in my area, over 100 years after it was selected and first propagated. Not sure how it will do for you, but probably worth trying.
Major & Kanza complement one another very well, with regard to pollen-shed/nutlet receptivity patterns.
Mullahy and Peruque also worth considering for your area - Peruque is a short-season nut - earliest ripening variety growing here(early Sept), with very thin shell and excellent kernel quality - but it’s one of the smallest nuts I grow. Mullahy has not produced for me yet, but I consistently see it getting good reviews from folks in IN, IL, OH, etc, and generally ranks well in Nebraska NGA nut evaluations.

I’d certainly be wary of pecans on Southern pecan rootstock, like Elliott…while your grafted northern pecan variety may be adequately cold-hardy, Southern source/variety understock may not be…

I’ll second the recommendation of Bill Reid’s Northern Pecan Blogspot - lots of really good information there!
NRNTN is my ‘go-to’, but they have a hard time keeping up with demand. Forrest Keeling Nursery offers some grafted northern pecans, grown in their RPM system. Not sure if you can get small numbers from them or not…


It would appear that Dax @Barkslip is growing pecans in Zone 5b (very impressive), so I thought I would bump up this thread:

Dax-- What pecan varieties are showing the most promise for you?

By the way-- Bass, we’ve never met, but I am a huge fan of your work with figs in the Lehigh Valley. I went to college in the area. Really amazing what you’ve been able to do with figs there. Cheers!

Matt, thank you for bumping this thread. Pecan growing is something that I’ve been interested in, but need a lot of help and support to get going on. In my case, it’s Southern Pecans, definitely Southern. Much of my lot is wooded, and I’d like to turn that into having trees that I actually want as opposed to a bunch of pines and sweet gums, both of which I find problematic.

I have two very young Elliot trees because that’s what I could find here. I’d like to be able to grow at least three other varieties that both compliment each other and produce nuts that we’d enjoy. Early production is a big plus, mainly because of our age. The possibility of eventually being able to enjoy some for ourselves would be nice.

Does anyone have suggestions on appropriate cultivars and reliable sources for obtaining them? I’d enjoy playing with grafting later, after I get much farther along in planting and properly caring for my other fruit trees, but right now I’d like to get some appropriate pecan trees established and growing.

I know we’ve got at least a few members on here with experience and backgrounds in nut trees. Thanks for any guidance you can offer. I really appreciate it.


I have a big tree in my yard that produces wonderful large pecans. I think it’s Desirable but that’s just a guess based on looking at the nut. It’s so much better than the Pawnee I planted that I can’t believe the difference. Mainly larger easier to crack nuts. Desirable is an old standard for the southeast but I think has fallen out of favor based on disease resistance. Whatever you get try at least one with big nuts. I poured the water on mine this yr and it paid off the nuts that are literally a mouthful.


@Matt_in_Maryland the very best pecan here is ‘Hark’. It’s extremely large for a “far-northern” pecan. It flowers mid-May (15th) and shuck splits mid-Oct (15th). An older gentleman named Bill Totten lined out 1000’s of seed-grown, seedlings to sell to the IL DNR as a contract grow he had with them in 1979 and it just so happened he plucked this seedling from those 1000’s and planted it in 1981-82. The nut is larger than ‘Kanza’ and the kernel weight is also more than that of ‘Kanza’. It’s also an annual bearer vs. many pecan varieties that have a weak crop one year and a larger crop the next. It really has it all. He among others in the world of pecans think it is likely a seedling of ‘Major’.

Our second best pecan is ‘Mullahy’. Fortunately ‘Mullahy’ and ‘Hark’ pollinate each other. There is no comparison however to ‘Hark’. While ‘Mullahy’ is a very decent pecan, it simply is not as large as ‘Hark’. Also, one more thing, ‘Hark’ kernels are blonde. It’s a gorgeous kernel.

In addition, any pecans labeled as far-northern or ultra-northern may also be grown here.

A friend Gary Fernald has quite a few Persian walnuts that do excellent here. Some are walnut blight prone so some nuts fall prematurely or are stick tight (nut cannot be removed from the hull) but overall, very good crops are grown here. Add to all this, heartnuts, hicans, persimmons, pawpaws, hickories, there are so many nut trees/fruiting trees that are excellent in this climate.




Photos of ‘Hark’



branching of this tree is exceptional too. It’s really like winning the lottery. And we keep in mind that until the USDA zones were updated, ‘Hark’ spent almost all of its’ life in zone 5a.

Pecan: Carya illinoinenis ‘Hark’ Crop KSU 2013 - Bill Reid at Kansas State has a very large pecan program. His blog is better than excellent: KSU Bill Reid

‘Hark’ and ‘Major’ Comparison



Wow, Dax. Those look rad. Tree is huge. Very impressive. And in z5b. Yowza!

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It’s simply wonderful. That Hark ortet is only a 15-minute drive from my home. I’ve already eaten 1/2 of a gallon size ziplock bag.


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‘Major’ KSU 2013 Crop

‘Kanza’ 2013 Crop in far southern IL

There are a lot of cultivars of OC and NC all of which grow in zones 5a and possibly 4b. Here is OC-9 grown in my area.

Carya illinoiensis ‘Iowa’ grown here. It’s the shortest season pecan I know of and my friends, as-well. It cracks in quarters mainly but a good cracker will get you 1/2’s a fair amount of the time. Kernel falls out of the nut very easily. Pair it up with ‘Warren 346’ for pollen shed and receptability and good pecans that crack well can be grown in zone 4b for certain.

‘Mullahy’ KSU 2013 Crop



I love the looks of Hark. Those blocky nuts are usually the best filled and easiest to crack. If it’s a better nut than Kanza then it’s very good.

My Pawnee are all gone but one and it weighs 7 grams. My “Desirable” nuts weigh 12.7 grams and shell out 57.7% for 7.2 grams of meat per nut. That’s as much meat per nut as the northerns including Pawnee weigh in the shell. You got to admit that’s pretty impressive.

Desirable vs Pawnee

10 Desirable weigh 127 grams

Meat from 10 Desirable 72 grams


Muddy, I’d look here for information on cultivars and sources:




I’m sorry I didn’t get back to this thread but I didn’t receive notifications.

I bought a pretty fair amount of cultivars from Swift River Pecans to sample last winter. I was impressed with all of them.

For kernel color, flavor, & size and hardiness, it may take a very long time to get anything as good as ‘Hark’. If I can help with scionwood, please ask. And I agree indeed that fat nuts vs. long and slender are the clear winners.

With ‘Hark’ at least 9 of 10 times I get two halves. I can’t say enough about it.


I wish my Pawnee were a Hark or even a Kanza. Pawnee is too hard to shell out by hand. When would I need to try grafting it over? I assume next spring.