Sorting pecans today


Thanks. Even though you grow the rootstocks in pots, do you sell the grafted trees potted or bare root, and what is the usual caliper of them?

Is Hark a type 1 variety? I know Kanza is type 2.


Yes, type 1 and 2 and couldn’t be better bloom overlap, Bob.

These will be potted with media and would be ready for Fall planting of 2020. Caliper will be near pencil thickness when I graft but growth could be anywhere from 1 ft. to possibly 3 ft. Could be a really nice 3-4’ tree or otherwise, 2 ft. - 2.5 ft. something like that.



Thanks. Any particular reason why you use Kanza as opposed to say, Major, as your rootstock? I understand some places like to use Major. Maybe because it’s hard to find anyone growing and selling Major pecans? I know Kanza is pretty prevalent.


That’s right. I wouldn’t even know where to find Major.

Having a Northern pecan belt gene pool and using Kanza from it doesn’t get any better unless Hark was used.

Major makes a very good seedling from what I’ve read but Kanza and Hark produce incredible seedling-growth. The leaves on Hark are very large which is an indicator for vigor… as are the lenticels on the bark. I’ve grown a lot of Hark offspring and they are phenomenal. Of course Hark is my neighborhood so to speak being that the ortet was 15 miles the crow flies from my home & a prodigy of Major.

You get large northern range pecans means you get large seedlings. Both Kanza and Hark are larger than Major.

You couldn’t ask for better of a rootstock for both the northern pecan range (you) and for me (far-northern pecan range.)



Ok thanks. If they are type 1 and 2 varieties, and are vigorous, then wouldn’t be a good idea to just grow them from seed? I assume they grow true from seed? Or does grafting them give you a few years head start? Also, what is an ortet? And, I didn’t know bark had lenticels.

Sorry for the inquisition…


No they’re not like tomatoes from seed. It’s totally different. If I were to grow 100 Hark seedlings (F2 Hark) I may not get one that a) cracks a good or b) has the size or c) has that golden kernel we all want that both the true Hark and Kanza have.

From seed a pecan will begin to bear in appx. 15 years give or take. From grafted trees that have cropped you will get your first crops in year 6 or possibly 5.

An ortet is the original. Some call it the mother tree. The original Hark had an unseen bark inclusion about 10 feet up where it began its’ branching and a wind storm with 60-80 mile an hour winds ripped near a 75’ long branch right to the ground. It was planted in a city park and instead of pruning it properly and allowing it to heal they simply leveled it. It was too bad because it had a huge crop on it.

Here a few photos of the before and after. You see the guy sitting beneath the canopy? That’s the guy that grew it from seed (of Major) in a nursery bed of 1000’s of seedlings as a DNR contract grow. Of those thousands of seedlings he happened to pick that one out and plant it in his city park. The odds that it would become what it was were pretty astronomical.

I estimated it to be 75 ft. minimum about 5-years ago.

There wasn’t any heart rot so it could’ve healed despite how bad you might think it looks.

We all stood there and said, ‘these things happen’. It was a great loss.



Thanks for the seed explanation. Yes, a 10 year head start is quite significant! I’ve read that quite a few varieties tend to be biennial, is that true of these two?

Impressive tree, I know pecans can grow to some prodigious heights. There is one about 5 miles from here that just towers over the house it’s next to, at least 50ft. It’s the only pecan tree I’m aware of around here, but we are awash in black walnuts. There are at least four bearing trees in our yard. Pity as I cannot stand them, way too bitter for me. Grafting question, probably a dumb one, but can a pecan scion be grafted onto a walnut or hickory branch? Or are they incompatible?

Considering pecan’ s scientific name, can one assume there are other variety ortets in Illinois?


There are a number of them from Illinois. I can’t tell you which though. I’ve only been doing the nut thing for 6-years or so and the people I got connected with have been doing it 40 years of their life. So I hear names of people who found this or named that or grew it themselves from 100’s of seedlings planted 20-40 years ago and the stories literally are too much information for me to consume. I do have a drawer full of notes from a well known hickory and black walnut man regarding names and places and cultivars & someday I’m going to write them all to my hard drive. My local friend who’s 30 years my senior who’s name is Gary Fernald has found a substantial number of cultivars along with the man in the photo under the Hark tree, , Bill Totten, as both of them along with other ‘big time names’ (I won’t bore you with their names) but these gentlemen went up and down the Mississippi River for 30-years evaluating pecans and hickories and from those 30-years they may have selected 5-cultivars, , so you see how rare a good find is.

Pecans and hickories graft together great. You know you should always look at the grow rates of each for long term compatibility, of course. I’m sure you’re aware that if you graft something fast growing onto something slow growing that you end up with much less of a trunk diameter on the rootstock and a big-beefy trunk on the cultivar & vice-a-versa. (It’s better to have fast as the rootstock when grafting slower, always) and a prime example and a good horticultural practice is to graft Shagbark hickory onto pecan. The transition from rootstock to cultivar of that particular species to species within the same Genus is fine and not as fugly as pecan on Shagbark.

There have been reports of pecan/hickory on B. walnut living for a # of years but it’s unknown and the success rate is very low to my knowledge…

10-years is the minimum difference. There are many a seedling pecan that don’t produce a nut for 20-years or sometimes 25. Ballpark is 15-18 I would say.



Push a seedling pecan hard with fertilizer and irrigation and the interval to first nut production can be reduced to about 8 or 9 years. I have seedling pecans on my land that were not pushed. They are 17 years from transplant and just now starting to bear.