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!


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.



‘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.


I graft the first or second week of April onto seedlings I purchase from Missouri State Nursery 3-4 weeks in advance. I warm them up on heat mats for those 3-4 weeks and then graft. I collect the wood or have purchased scions from Nebraska Nut Growers Assc. in advance.

Of course for either bench or field grafting you should graft at the first sign of bud swell or if you are able to see the roots like in my case with these seedlings I tuck into moist sawdust in rubbermaid bins and cover with poly, then at the first sign of a white root tip is also an indicator the seedlings are ready to be grafted.

There’s no doubt field grafting has its benefits. I’ll let my friend Gary explain these benefits in this youtube video… especially grafting high into wood that is clear from deer browse.
Gary Fernald Field Grafting



Thank you. What kind of success rate do you get and what technique are you using for that type grafting?


Hi Matt, thanks nice to meet you.


This is very encouraging to try and grow Pecan here. I ended up getting seedlings from a good friend, but looking to try grafting some good cultivars unto them. by next spring.
I also like that wrap on that Hark, I guess to stop the squirrels form raiding it.



I use a Fieldcraft Topgrafter and on certain occasions I use a knife. A long story short… I ended up with 82 successful grafts from this spring of pecans/hicans/shagbark on pecan. 125 seedlings I planted the fall, prior. When I dug them up all the roots went from fibrous to a carrot. They were worthless. Another 75 seedlings I promptly ordered from MO Nursery with great roots I grafted on along with those carrot, crap, root-systems. So… next spring I’ll get a better idea of my take percentage. I can honestly say that plucking out the unsuccessful grafts were mostly carroted root-systems. Gary Fernald using a tool similar to a Fieldcraft Topgrafter after the work is completed and the grafts cared for to initiate scion growth and then hardened off and planted directly to the field does get over 90% survivors which is exceptional. The last time his grafts were planted out to the field he had 95% success.


Let me know if I can help with ‘Hark’ scions. I assume you’re in an area that pecan will grow mature the nut well? I don’t know where you’re located - doesn’t say so on your profile. And indeed that sheet meal wrap stops squirrels. W/o it, you will literally lose if not 100% of the pecan on a tree but at least 95%.



Bass is near Allentown, PA.


Yep, Pennsylvania has a welcoming climate for pecan growing.



A major windstorm came thru last night and Hark pecans blanketed the ground. Three of us brought home a good chunk.



Wow !!!


Mighty fun! So delicious these are.