Native to the southern and central U.S. While commercial production of pecans (Carya illinoensis) is largely limited to the Lower and Coastal South, hardy selections do quite well in the Upper and Middle South. Graceful, shapely tree to 70 feet tall and equally wide. Its upright, spreading limbs make it a good shade tree, but most residential lots aren't big enough for more than one. Prone to toppling during hurricanesa consideration if you live near the coast. Foliage like that of English walnut (Juglans regia) but prettier, with more (11 to 17) leaflets that are narrower and longer (47 inches.); foliage has a finer-textured look and casts less shade. Inconspicuous flowers are followed by nuts enclosed in husks. In autumn, husks split and mature nuts drop. To harvest, gather fallen nuts and remove any husks right away; then dry and store the nuts.
Papershell pecans have thin shells and are easy to harvest, making them good choices for home gardens. They need a 210-day growing season to ripen. 'Choctaw', 'Desirable', 'Jackson', 'Stuart', and 'Houma' resist scab (a common fungal disease) and are suitable for the Southeast. Western papershells, recommended for drier areas of West Texas, include 'Caddo', 'Pawnee', 'Shoshoni', and 'Wichita'. Hardy northern types include the prevalent 'Major', as well as 'Colby', 'Norton', and 'Peruque'. Most selections need a pollenizer (consult a local nursery about the best combination for your area).