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" Top 20" Shade Trees for the San Antonio Area"
Custom Plant Information By Wilson Landscape Nursery & Florist, Helotes, Texas
#20 Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
You have come to a great tree in your search! We at Wilson's hope that you find this plant information to be helpful and interesting. Let us know if we can help you further as you search for that perfect tree. Our information is based upon decades of loving trees, learning about trees, growing trees, maintaining trees, talking about trees, selling trees, planting trees, watching trees grow, enjoying the beauty of trees and being grateful to God for creating trees!
"The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food." "And God saw that it was good." (Genesis 2:9; 1:12)
Strengths And Weaknesses Listed
All trees have strengths and weaknesses. In order to thoroughly evaluate a tree, you should consider both. Let me begin by offering some strengths of Pecan trees and then I will describe some weaknesses. You will be happy to discover that this trees strengths overcome its weaknesses. In fact, from our viewpoint, Pecan trees make our "Top 20" list.
Strength: A National Treasure And State Tree of Texas
The Pecan was declared the state tree of Texas in 1919. It was loved and used by native Americans long before that. Many throughout our nation have enjoyed and benefited from Pecan trees. In colonial times pecan trees were a new and exciting discovery. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted their own orchards. By the early 1800's the National Pecan Sheller's Association in their article on Pecan History say that "in San Antonio, the wild pecan harvest was more valuable than popular row crops like cotton!" Many special varieties have been developed since then--over 1,000 named varieties.
Strength: A Stately Tree With or Without Nuts
I have always been interested in the beauty of the tree itself, and the pecans are such a bonus. One of my favorite drives heads out of Bandera on Highway 16 toward Medina. It takes you through a beautiful grove of Pecan trees that lines the road alongside the Medina river. In older neighborhoods spanning out from Downtown San Antonio you can see majestic Pecan trees all over. As you drive throughout the surrounding countryside you can also see stately Pecan trees on old farm homesteads. The nuts are spread by squirrels and the trees seem to come up everywhere throughout the entire San Antonio area. At my own nursery in Helotes, I have had to cut down Pecan seedlings that are ready to grow where there is no room for such a large tree. They are tough survivors. Cutting them down to the ground is not enough. They will certainly grow back in no time. Texas needs trees that are tough survivors like our native Pecan trees. Pecan trees were the most popularly planted tree before the 1950's in the San Antonio area.
Strength: Large Shade Tree For The Right Spot
A Pecan tree in the right spot is truly a majestic tree in the making. This is a tree that you know will become a huge shade tree. Pecan trees look their most awesome when they stand alone out in the full sun where they can show off their massive character just like our other large native trees. Pecan trees are some of the most impressive trees you will see in the San Antonio area reaching 100' feet tall. The largest Pecan tree in Texas is found in Weatherford and measures 118' feet tall with a crown spread of 159' feet and a trunk diameter of 8' feet. If you are wanting a large shade tree then Pecan would be a good choice. Like most quality trees it has a moderate growth rate. With some regular watering in dry spells you can certainly speed it up.
Strength: The Pecan Nuts Are a Bonus
There is no other large shade tree that gives you shade and nuts!
"Pecan" is from an Algonquin native American word that means nuts that you crack with a rock. Pecan nuts are a favorite. They are great to eat shelled or better yet in a pecan pie or many other baked goods. Pecan tree growers, pickers, cooks and connoisseurs are everywhere! It takes about 7 years for a young grafted tree to begin producing pecans. Native Pecan trees may take 10 to 15 years to produce. According to AgriLife Extension service of Texas A&M "more than 1,000 pecan seedlings have been named and grafted as varieties." Native, ungrafted trees tend to make better landscape trees while grafted trees make better nuts. There are many lists of grafted varieties which are best for our area. However, our "Top-20" list is more concerned with what trees look good and make good shade. This is why we are mainly talking about native, ungrafted Pecan trees, the kind that may already pop up in your back yard.
Strength: Long Lived
You don't have to worry about your Pecan tree dying of old age. By planting one you will be leaving a legacy behind for future generations. Your tree will get better with age. I have read estimates of the lifespan of Pecan trees to be over 300 years and certainly over 100 years.
Strength: Moderately Fast Grower
Native Pecan trees are moderately fast growers achieving three feet per year. Grafted trees tend to be slower.
Strength: Drought Tolerant
Although Pecan trees grow most naturally in low lying areas near river bottom areas, they are still tough survivors on upland sites. They can be grown in Hill Country terrain but will certainly do better with soil enhancement and watering under those conditions.
Of course, all trees and landscape plants have weaknesses. Pecan trees overcome weaknesses through their strengths, making them desirable to plant after honest evaluation. The following are some weaknesses of Pecan Trees:
Weakness: Best With Supplemental Irrigation
Pecan trees are a more risky choice for planting in areas that will not receive supplemental irrigation. Live Oaks and Cedar Elms are a more drought tolerant choice for these situations.
Weakness: Aphids and Webworms
Aphids, a small sucking insect seem to visit Pecan trees yearly. They excrete a sticky substance called honeydew that falls in little droplets like rain and makes a mess underneath. Fall webworms are another problem. They make cottony bags of webbing around groups of leaves here and there that they feed on. The problem of spraying these pests lies in the difficulty of reaching trees that can be very large, so that a tree company with special spraying equipment would be needed. This can create a problem if your tree is close to neighboring properties who may become upset with chemicals being sprayed in the air. The smaller the tree the easier and safer it is to do this on your own with less danger of drift.
Weakness: Will Need Some Trimming
Pecan trees get large and their limbs get laden down with pecans which means some limbs are liable to fall during storms. In addition, Pecan trees need full sun to be fully healthy. In shaded areas they will shade out some of their older growth underneath which will cause some limbs to eventually die. It is a good idea to keep a Pecan tree at least 30 feet away from your house to avoid limbs dropping near your home. Your tree will also benefit from professional trimming.
Weakness: Fall Foliage
Pecan trees are not known for beautiful fall foliage.
Pecan Trees For Sale At Wilson's.
So if you are interested in browsing or buying a Pecan Tree in Helotes, please come check out our nursery at 14650 Bandera Road. We grow all of our own trees from the ground up and treat them with the best quality fertilizer so that you get a healthy, beautiful tree each time!
A Blessing For You
We hope that this plant information helps you as you search for that perfect tree. Whichever tree you choose, may it bring you many years of beauty and peace.
May you and your tree be "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither." (Psalm 1:3)
Other Trees Similar To The Monterrey Oak
If you are interested in buying or browsing Pecan trees in Helotes or San Antonio, Wilson Landscape has an impressive stock of all sizes and shapes of trees. We grow all of our trees from acorns and seeds and only use the best fertilizers. We have beautiful Pecan trees to choose from. We specialize in tree growing, and we only grow native and well adapted Texas trees, so you can be sure they will flourish. Best of all, Glenn and Sherry are plant experts and would love to answer any and all questions and concerns about your specific tree needs. Our knowledge is something that is hard to find. Come on in or give us a call today!
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