Can you Grow Pecans in Southern Adams County?

Bill Devlin
Adams County Master Gardener

(11/21) I think I can answer that question in the affirmative citing six pictures of three varieties of pecan, in three different sites.

If you search "Bill Devlin Pecans" you will find some of my articles on Emmitsburg.net. You will find a series of articles on the topic of pecans circa about 2002 or 15 years ago that discuss that question. I now have producing pecan trees at three sites: my residence at 10 Black Bass Trail, in Carroll Valley, the borough park across the lake at 23 Trout run on Lake Kay, and west of St. Maryís church on McGinley Ave / Track Road south of Fairfield, PA.

This favorable result is probably not going to happen every year, especially as we are at the fringe of pecan bearing latitude. My Southeast Kansas farm where I learned about pecans is about 150 miles south of the Mason-Dixon line, it being about 39 degrees, 43 minutes North.

I see the difference in the positions of the nuts on these trees, the tops being nearly bare while at my farm, about the latitude of Norfolk, Virginia, has pecans all the way to the top. This indicates that only the lower tree parts are not affected by late frosts.

A caution on site selection, pecans need sun and space. I use 30 to 35 feet between trees and good southern exposure as criteria. One major disease that may infect the crop is "Scab", a fungal disease. Treatment advice can be found on internet sites like this one from Garden Guides.

http://www.gardenguides.com/74836-treat-pecan-tree.html

Looking at the Pawnee Pecan pictures that accompany this article, two show vigorous pecans from trees with good sunlight, and one is severely affected by being in the shade. When I was on the borough parks committee I was planning on removing some shading trees but that was overtaken by events, thus the Scab.

Why not just use only a scab resistant variety like Kanza, pictured at left? Good Question. The answer lies in the fact that pecans require cross pollination. Male parts of the pecan are called Catkins, fibrous 2"-3" stalks protruding in groups near the ends of branches that give off wind driven pollen. The branch tips hold the Female receptors. Type I trees shed pollen before the buds are receptive. Type II are the opposite. Pawnee, despite its low scab resistance is the best Northern variety available, to my knowledge, and is generally paired with Kanza, the best Northern variety. Many, many varieties are available, but in my 70 some years of experience Kanza are the gold standard of varieties for Kansas and Pennsylvania.

If you would like to try your hand at growing pecans, youíll need: Space, a good southern exposure, and a great deal of patience.

My hobby is gathering new pecans, stratifying them in an apple-free refrigerator for 4 months, starting them in a 35" tree-pot and giving them away, then grafting them two or three years later.

You can send me an email at Devlinw1@aol.com and I will put you on my list. They will be available in September 2018, Lord willing and the creek donít rise.

Read other articles about trees

Read other articles By Bill Devlin