As Lucky says, Major has heavy duty scab resistance. What he may not know is that Major is technically a hican. It has numerous DNA markers from C. Cordiformis and some that may come from C. Ovata. Look closely at the nut husk on Major and you will see hickory traits. I will however second Barkslip suggesting Kanza and Hark for your area. This is for two reasons. Kanza does very well in North Alabama and Hark is a good pollination partner and makes excellent nuts.

Here are the best candidates for high scab resistance and good production under low input conditions and that can handle your climate. I am presuming you are somewhere near Manchester TN.

Lakota is well described so look it up.

Huffman (Desirable X Pawnee) is only available currently from a few nurseries around Albany GA all of which propagate on Elliott rootstock. This is not a good combination for your area. Huffman should be fine if on a different rootstock. I have it growing and so far have excellent results.

Avalon (Gloria Grande X Barton) is not yet available from any source. I don’t yet know how it will hold up to colder conditions, but from the parentage, expect it will work at least through middle Tennessee. I am attempting to get trees this fall.

Adams #5 is not to my knowledge commercially available. I have it growing and producing an outstanding crop of pecans in my front yard. Based on observations, I think it will be viable up through Kentucky. The only weakness with this pecan is that it is 81 nuts per pound which is smaller than commercial growers want.

Amling has excellent scab resistance and is an obvious choice for your area. It is a Texas seedling that has done well so far for me. One caution, ambrosia beetles hit it hard this year. I’m not sure if that is an issue or not. Sometimes they just pick a tree and devour it.

Miss L is a Louisiana variety but not commercially available to my knowledge. It is a small nut. I’m getting scionwood in January and hope to have it grafted next spring.

Gafford is another with industrial strength scab resistance. It is probably descended from Stuart based on tree shape and nut form. I recommend getting this one started if you can. It is a type 1 protandrous variety which would complement Hark nicely.

McMillan is not as scab resistant as the others, but it has traits that are useful. It is an excellent producer of medium quality nuts. I have to give a qualified maybe on this tree. I don’t have enough observations on it to be sure how it will perform long term.

Now the bad news. Most of these varieties are limited availability. Bass sells several of them, but they put everything on Elliott rootstock. Some of them are available from Willis, Nut Tree Pecan, Texas Pecan Nursery, or Shiloh. These sources all use southern varieties as rootstock. I have had some trees turn out very well and others that died in a cold winter when on Elliott. My suggestion would be to get some Kanza or Lakota nuts and plant them to produce your own rootstocks then graft with the varieties you want.

If you want to see how this would work out for pollination, pull a copy of the spreadsheet I uploaded and compare varieties. It is linked in the Pecan Pollination chart thread.


That’s the first claim that I’ve ever seen that ‘Major’ is a hican. I don’t see anything about the husks - or anything else about the nut or tree - that make me think ‘hickory’… only ‘pecan’. Would be interested in seeing the DNA analysis.


Lucky, it was straight from Larry Grauke this past Saturday. I commented that Major showed a lot of hickory traits and he chuckled and said there was a reason why. Then he said it has markers that only occur in C. cordiformis and added that there are a couple he has only found in C. Ovata.

How thick are the husks on your Major nuts? Do the nuts fall freely from the husks? or do they hang in the husks until a freeze turns them loose? How do the husks compare to other pecans? Do they have noticeable “wings” at the sutures? Pecans have wings, only hickories have clam shell sutures

Read carefully the description of pecan

Then read the description of C. Cordiformis

And of C. Ovata

The question of Major parentage won’t be settled until the genome mapping project gets a bit further down the road. I’m comfortable with the statement that it has significant introgression of hickory traits. Have you noticed that Major is rarely damaged in ice storms where other pecans take heavy damage?


I bought 12 pounds of Kanza from Bill Reid that arrived yesterday. With a cup of morning coffee, pecans are the perfect pairing.



That’s very interesting, F_p. Genomics is revealing a lot of things that we had no inkling of…

Yes, clamshell shucks on my Major(I have both the original and the Henry Converse sport). Most nuts drop free of shuck, but some don’t. I don’t know that I find any more(and maybe less) still in-shuck than I do with Posey, and it has very pronounced ‘wings’ at the sutures of its husks.


That’s amazing! Cost and availability?



I spoke with Mr. Reid, and he was most helpful. He was nice enough to call me back on his lunch break, so I didn’t want to take up too much of his time. He mentioned that it would be cheaper for us to buy seedlings then graft our chosen varieties to the root stock some years later.

So, where can I find seedlings? Or will I need to grow my own? Most of the nurseries don’t specify, but I would assume they are selling grafted trees rather than seedlings. Besides, I don’t trust nurseries very much.

He also referred to planting each variety by themselves in groups, so that at harvest, you’re gathering each variety by itself. But for pollination purposes, I thought a pollinating variety needed to be within 100 feet or so?


When we get our pecans back home in OK, it cost us about $25 for a half-shelled 5lb bag. You have to do some shelling, but it’s easily done by hand. We would get about 3lb of nut meats out of the bag.

I just checked the site that we get our pecans from, it’s now $25 for in the shell papershell pecans, more work with those. So, looks like the price has gone up. They have gotten outrageously expensive over the last ten years.


Not sure where you’re located… source of seedlings for use as understocks will vary depending upon where you are. For instance… here in KY, seedlings of ‘Major’ are the preferred understock. In AL/GA/MS/TX, etc., seedlings of one or more Southern pecan varieties may be preferred. I think Womack’s, in DeLeon TX grafts ‘northern/midwestern’ varieties onto Giles seedlings, but uses something else for the Southern pecan varieties.

Pecans are wind-pollenated. If located within 1/4 to 1 mile of one another, with no huge blocks of trees in between to block air currents, two isolated trees can get the job done(but more is better!). The 100 ft deal is probably more appropriate for chestnuts.

Couple of on-line-articles on rootstock selection:

China has become a major buyer of US pecans over the past few years… buying up a large portion of our domestic crop… and driving prices up… at least until they get their own pecan industry going.


So I need to get my hands on some nuts to grow my own seedlings? Or does someone sell 1-2 year old seedlings?


Either one will work.
I’ve grown my own, for years, from nuts of Major & Posey; both are well-adapted to my locality.

A number of the state forestry nurseries (I know KY & MO do) offer native pecan seedlings as 1 or 2 yr old seedlings, as do some commercial nurseries ( Musser Forests, Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery, perhaps some of the pecan nurseries down South, like Womack’s, Bass Pecan, etc.)


But using a native seedlings would have significant risk involved, considering I’d be dealing with a random variety of root stock. It appears Nolin Nursery sells major seedlings, so I may purchase some from them for root stock.


The folks at NRNTN are personal friends. Their Major seedlings will be bare-root; may be fairly sizeable… I’ve not bought ungrafted seedlings from them, but grafted trees survived and have grown well over the last 20 years or so.
Rock Bridge Trees is another potential source… David grows seedlings using a series of rootmaker pots… transplant survival and establishment will be much better - but price will likely be higher. Don’t know if he sells seedlings or not.

Again, depending upon where you are located, Major seedlings may or may not be the best choice… the Grauke article I linked above lists seedling strains that have historically been preferred for various areas of the country.


I’m in southern middle Tennessee. I’m presuming that since it’s a good variety to grow here, that it would also be a good variety to use as wood stock here?


Great you learned a lot.

If I were you I would use pecans of any of these cultivars for seedlings: Major, Kanza, Greenriver. Now is the time to plant them to a raised bed and cover it with hardware cloth with 1/4" squares. As the seedlings grow thru the cloth you can use dykes to makes the squares larger. If you don’t cover them the squirrels will steal all your nuts most-likely. I really like growing in an 18" or slightly taller raised bed. Build a small one and fill it with 1$ bags of potting mix and plant your seeds 6" apart in rows 6" apart. It’s by far the best way to get the largest seedling in 1-year. Fertilize in spring when dormant with 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 or whatever you can get locally for cheap. And fertilize every ~3 weeks until the middle of July (or whatever the bag recommends for fertilizing lawns.) That’s the type of fert. you’ll be buying. I don’t follow a schedule, I just throw fertilizer on when I feel like it. I’ll step outside tomorrow and show you seedlings that are two years old to the day.

Just get some cheap 1 x 10’s and build a rectangle. Dig them out and move them to the field the second year.

I also put a layer of straw for mulch over the potting media before finishing the job, fyi.

Unfortunately I don’t have any seeds of those cultivars or I’d give them to you. You want seeds of those cultivars from a region like yours/Kentucky/Missouri. Where those cultivars are grown without the pollen influence of southern cultivars.

I put in at a friends a pecan orchard this year with others helping. It was a big group effort deal. A guy with a tractor and auger; we marked it all out and put in (3) rows with spacing between trees of 35’ and spacing between rows of 50’.

On Reid’s blog you can read about spacing. This is just what we did.



I spent 5 years in Giles Co., TN - still think it’s the prettiest place on earth.
Major, Kanza, GreenRiver, Oswego(a GreenRiver seedling selection) should work OK for you there, but you also can probably do well with some of the scab-resistant Southern pecan selections.

I store my pecan seednuts cool and dry over winter, then soak for 3-4 days and plant… get close to 100% germination - and I don’t have to worry about critters making off with them over winter.
I used to plant 'em in nursery rows… but more recently, I’ve been doing mass plantings in 3-5 gallon pots, growing them for a year, then root-pruning and moving them to individual pots, then grafting/budding them the next year.


I’m sorry Zack. I missed your reply.

4 dollars a pound and shipping. I paid 66 dollars.

He sold out. I contacted him in October and he said the end of Nov. he’d send them and he did.

I actually asked for uncracked which are 2$ per pound but he misunderstood me. I like these cracked though. It’s very nice having them perfectly cracked.



Oh no problem at all Dax. Thanks for sharing. :+1:



Lucky’s way is good too. After I posted I thought how easy it would be to unscrew a wall or two on a raised bed and dig the seedlings out with your hands/shake them free. Of course you could just turn over a large pot and separate the seedlings with your hands the same way. I will give you one thought I’ve learned about growing pecans in containers, however… and that is leaf health becomes poor no matter how many things you do right. You’ll get a lot of browned leaves to varying degrees and that will stunt the seedlings. When I’ve grow in a raised bed I don’t have any leaf health issues. And the more sun the better. So here is the photo I promised last night. These are a cultivar from MO that I seeded Fall of 2015.

I spaced mine about every 3". Too close really.




Very good, thanks for the photo! If I was looking for some seed nuts for Kanza or Major, do you know of anyone who’d have a large quantity?