Scottsmith - plantmegreen pecans

@scottfsmith , I recall you saying that your pecan trees from plantmegreen didn’t do well. Why do you think they didn’t do well? And what size did you order? I’ve got four trees coming from plantmegreen tomorrow. I ordered the smallest size in hopes that the tap root wouldn’t be damaged during digging, and instead could develop in my own soil. I’m hoping the smaller size will help them establish better. Of course, my thinking could be completely backward.

I had bad luck with all bare root pecans. Some I got from Cliff also did not make it. The pmg ones were pretty big and I would agree getting smallest is best. Not sure how to improve the odds besides getting potted pecans.

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My experience with bareroot pecans/hickories is mixed… many don’t make it - or at least not the graft.
Look at my friend David Hughes’ Rock Bridge Trees… he’s got container-grown grafted pecans - and mostly varieties suitable for home/low-input growing… folks who aren’t set up to spray for scab, etc.

Same here. Years ago had to plant 25 pecans over several years, northern and southern, from a reputable bare root KY source, to get 13 to live. About like bare root pawpaws.

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Scott, did you bury them 2" below grade (root flare)? There is actually field evidence this improves take…apparently the root flare area is especially sensitive to drying out. That said, my success is 50:50 based on 4 trees and 3 years.

The problem with potted can be the nursery habitually cuts off most of the taproot to fit the container. A good one will use a container made for a long 2-3’ taprroot.

Yah, lucky, one of my successes died of graft failure. First year I got a beautiful looking formed tree about four feet high (Mohawk on seedling).

Second year leafed out but zero growth.

Third year it leafs out and I’m asking it “are you gonna grow this year?” A few weeks later I am out and notice the leaves all died; I thought “cotton root rot” (CRR) but weirdly the leaves are falling off. Atypical for CRR, plus weird time of year for CRR to kill though not impossible.

Two months later I notice a branch growing off the trunk under the graft union. So I figure graft failure responsible for the runting and eventual failure. Dig it up and replace this year.

I did but I still probably did not put them deep enough, they were above the original soil line by a few inches. The root flare was way down.

The main thing I noticed compared to other transplants is there were no fine roots at all. I think they were all chopped off.

If they had dug out 3’ down worth of roots I bet there would have been fine roots. They did dig way down compared to any other tree I bought, just not far enough.

@Lucky_P, your friend seems to have really thought about this - I looked at his page at - he is doing root pruning. I wish I had known about that source, he also has excellent varieties.

My two potted pecan successes came from Starks and Bass Pecan, and I also have one of Cliff’s bare roots work.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences trying to grow pecan trees. I knew it could be difficult, but I’m a bit surprised that everyone seems to have only a 50% success rate. I’ll just baby these things and hope for the best.

@Lucky_P, I’ve spoken with David in the past. Super nice guy, very knowledgeable. And, he’s near me, which is nice. I also like his great selection of scab resistant varieties. But his prices are super high. $50 - $65 per tree. I could order 8 or 9 trees from pmg, and even at 50% success rate I’d end up with twice as many trees than I could get from Rock Bridge for the same price. And that’s assuming that both RB trees survive. Let’s just say that I’m a very frugal shopper!

I planted about 12 pecans of different cultivars of the 2nd smallest size last year from PMG and did not lose a single tree. I have a couple more coming this year . A couple had some die back leaved out faded and re-leaved but that was due to I planted them along my pasture fence line where I could do nothing but plant and ignore except a small wire cylinder to keep the goats off. I did not even keep the weeds away very well. I was surprised as many have very little root when shipped and the roots on some fruit trees I ordered were amazingly few so if that bothers you I would not order from them. I will say The Sajio persimmon I ordered from them was a non-astringent and they promptly sent me another when I reported and it was potted and had a fruit again a fuyu type so I question their knowledge on some things and I sure hope my small pecans are true to type. It would be really bad to wait the time a pecan takes to nut and find false, although I doubt I could tell them all apart regardless. The customer service has been fine and prompt with me and I am supposed to receive a 2nd replacement Sajio, but again I question some knowledge level as some photos are showing incorrect and that type issues. Again the amount of roots on the trees I received was alarmingly few, but I continue to be surprised what a bare root tree can pull out of.

Incidentally, 50% seems right. I got two Pecans, a Stuart and a Cape Fear, and put them into 20 gallon smart pots, half buried and mulched. They both looked offended at being in containers the first year and barely sent up a stick, the first winter the Cape Fear died. The Stuart is creeping along slowly. The roots on both trees when they arrived reminded me of a couple rat’s tails, with almost no fine roots.

I’m sure most of you know to look out for this, but as a reminder/info for those who don’t, just because you buy a potted pecan (or any tree I suppose) doesn’t mean you are getting the benefit of a long-potted/pot established tree. I bought 2 potted pecans last year from a local nursery (not a big box store). When I started to plant them and began to take them out of the pot, they turned out to be nothing but a bare root tree that had been stuck down in a pot with a bunch of what looked to be little more than sawdust poured around them. No matter how careful I was, there was no way to keep the medium with the tree when transplanting it from pot to ground, so I just treated it as bare root. They both died. I’m convinced that this place just bought bare root trees and put them in a pot with a poor medium and sold them as potted trees. BTW, I also bought 2 from a big box store (risky, I know) and they were in the tall pecan pots, well rooted, and did really well. @Lucky_P, my go-to pecan expert familiar with my area, says I choose poor trees for my location so I’m going to get some better ones soon.


Be careful of the big box stores potted pecans a couple years ago I was looking at some and could not find a trace of graft union on any even though they were tagged by cultivar name. I got a blank stare when I asked, and was tempted to ask the Dept of Agriculture about it Think maybe somebody did as this year I noticed they had a 2nd tag along with the cultivar tag stating “seedling not grafted” I really didn’t believe you could label a seedling as such.

Great point, and there have been lots of debates here about whether to every buy anything from a big box. I know that where I live, all the pecans at Lowes are clearly labeled “seedling, not grafted” just as you indicate. The Walmart Trees were clearly grafted and said so. So whether some government agency forced the big box stores to label this way or they did it themselves, it would appear that-at least in my area- there isn’t much danger in accidently getting an ungrafted pecan. You mentioned the employees not knowing what “grafted” means, I’m also sure that most people who are going to buy a pecan tree a Lowes also don’t have a clue what “not grafted” means and may even think its a positive thing or it wouldn’t be “advertised” with that special label.

When I got home, my box from PMG was waiting for me. The packaging was excellent. The trees themselves looked undamaged and healthy. I didn’t have time to plant them, so I haven’t unwrapped the plastic to examine the roots. But everything else looks great. The very best part is that they included a free pecan tree. It was a “Creek”, which I was very seriously considering when I placed the order as I wanted another type 1 tree, but decided not to purchase one. So, I was quite surprised and happy that they included it for free.

I’ll check the roots tomorrow, and report back on them. Hoping I have good survival rates - the free tree helps.

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PMG prices are incredibly low. No way I’d be selling a grafted pecan for that little.

I’d have some concern about rootstock hardiness here and points north on a FL-origin graftling, unless they’re putting them on Major, Giles, or other proven hardy northern pecan strain.

Back in the 70’s, there was a fellow ~80 miles west of me who planted about 1000 grafted northern pecans…from a TX nursery… test winter of 1978-79 killed the Southern pecan understocks back to the ground; scion varieties probably would have come through unscathed, but the ‘tender’ understock was dead in the water.

@Lucky_P that was my first concern as well - cold hardiness. They are grafted onto Caddo rootstock, which should be more than sufficient for middle TN.

Well, I got my pecan trees unwrapped. I’ve got to say that I’m very happy with the trees. The trees were larger than expected. I ordered their smallest size (12"-18") for a few reasons, but mainly in hopes that the tap root would be smaller, and therefore less likely to be damaged during digging. Even though all the trees were larger, all the trees that I paid for had intact tap roots. Only the free tree, Creek, had the bottom of the tap root chopped off. One of the trees has a tap root that is probably over two feet long, but doesn’t appear to be missing any roots at all. All trees had good feeder roots.

I don’t know how many trees will survive, but if any die, it certainly won’t be the fault of the nursery. I got larger trees, intact roots, and a free tree. Not too bad.

I got two trees from Plant Me Green last year. I was suspicious of their low prices, but I was 100% happy with the trees they sent, and their customer service was perfect. They even took time on the phone to offer me some advice on grafting pecans myself. I don’t know how they do it. There are some things about them that seemed fishy, but my one little experience with them was great.

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My PMG pecans were on Elliot rootstock, according the customer service when I asked. I’m kinda tempted to see if I can get a water sprout off the rootstock, for variety. NCSU recommends Elliot as a stable variety for NC, but Elliot and Stuart are both Type 2 pecans, so I’m assuming I still need another variety (if there aren’t enough wild pecans around here for pollination).

An Elliott seedling is not the same as Elliott.
If you want Elliott, you need to purchase a grafted Elliott or get your hands on some Elliott scionwood and graft your oown.