Types of Pecan Trees

Types of pecan trees

Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Paul Guzman

Types of pecan trees in the Southwest.

These tips are for backyard or small pecan orchard landscaping.  You can learn more about large orchard pecan trees over at NMSU Pecan varieties. 

Types of pecan trees

Western Schley – This pecan tree will do best in the arid desert southwest. And is the most common pecan tree in the Southwest U.S.  It is a self-pollinator and produces heavy fruit at an early age.

It likes arid climates and is also excellent for southern California deserts and higher altitudes.

The photo below is a young Western Schley Pecan tree it can also double as a shade tree.  It does well in the colder Texas Panhandle and southwest region. It usually ripens in late October and early November.

Types of Pecan Trees

Where to plant Pecan Trees

They should be planted in a large area giving them room to grow.  Plant them at least 20ft. away from any type of dwelling as the root system does become a problem when the tree is fully mature.  The Western Schley Pecan is a heavy bearer of pecans.

How many pecans does a mature tree yield?

One healthy mature pecan tree will yield about 50-75 lbs. of pecans.  The going rate for the southwest area is about $1.15 per lb.  (2019).

Types of Pecan Trees

Types of pecan trees

Burkett – This pecan is a medium to a large round softshell nut. It is a rich, distinctive flavored kernel. It is a large tree and ripens in late September and through early November. Likes arid climates. The Burkett Pecan is a good hardy pecan for the southwestern states. Large round thin shell and excellent taste.  The root system is invasive but grows to about 30 ft. tall and wide.  Plant tree at least 20ft. from dwelling and or cement.

Cheyenne – Is a medium softshell with an excellent flavor. It produces fruit early in the season – Mid September. Can pollinate other pecan varieties. It like southern humid and arid climates including east and west regions. It is a semi self-fertile.

Mahan – A very large softshell kernel. This pecan bears heavy at an early age and is also a good shade tree. It prefers arid warm winter climates. Ripens in Mid November.

Mohawk – Very large softshell also a heavy bearer when young. It does very well in the Southwest and Southeast regions. It is a very attractive tree also excellent for the large backyard. Ripens in late October, early November.

Chocktaw – One of the larger pecan trees.  The nut looks a lot like the Western Schley and thin-shelled but large.  It does need a pollinator and the best one to use is the Western Schley.

Pawnee – This pecan tree was bred to produce large pecans.  The shell can easily be removed thus making it easier to extract the fruit.  It does grow more straight and narrow making it easier to plant 2 or more trees in a small area.

Hardy Pecan – The Hardy Pecan tree, Carya Illinoinensis, is a beautiful, majestic tree that grows to a height of 70 to 100 feet with a spread of 40 to 75 feet.  The tree has low wide-spreading branches. It provides a lot of sweet edible fruits and lots of summer shade after reaching maturity.

Hardy Pecan trees have moderate water requirements and they have a moderate tolerance to salt and alkaline soils. This deciduous, hardy, shade/pecan tree is ideal for lawns because it does not shed its leaves until late fall and it is practically immune to the attack of insects.  It is a late bearer of pecans right around 10-12 years after initial planting will it start to produce nuts.

Growing Pecan Tree Tips

Remember pecan trees need ample chill hours to produce a good crop. A good rule of thumb is to count the number of hours between November 1st and February 15th that are between 32 f.  and 45 f.

These hours are cumulative and not continuous. In the Las Cruces, NM area we normally have over 1,000 chill hours.  Harvest time is usually after the first good hard freeze in the southwest.

You should plant pecans about 2″ deeper than normal to allow for settling of the soil. Water every day for the first 2 weeks when planting any tree, and use a good root stimulator to stimulate root growth.  If leaves start to turn yellowish, it is time to fertilize.

If your tree is not bearing fruit or they are small and you probably need a fertilizer with ZINC and nitrogen.  Dead twigs in the tops of trees, small nuts, and yellowing of leaves are an indication of ZINC and nitrogen deficiency.

Pecan trees can also be used as attractive shade trees.  Learn more about shade trees right here.  Shade Trees. Most varieties of pecans trees will do better with a pollinator.  It is best to plant two types of pecans trees for pollination purposes.

Are Pecan Trees Susceptible to insects and diseases?

Yes, they are.  Aphids and the black pecan aphid will attack these trees. Do not use a systemic insecticide to kill these pests.  It is recommended to use a spray insecticide to remove them.

Check your local nursery for fruit/pecan tree fertilizer. Keep your pecan tree free of insects and diseases. Physically inspect your tree(s) on a weekly basis. Remove grass and weeds under the tree canopy. Always plant so the root is totally buried in the original soil line or landscape.

For large mature trees, it might be best to hire a legitimate tree spraying service.  Also, powdery mildew can damage the leaves but it is rare throughout the Southwest.

Pecan weevils are a big problem in the southern part of the U.S. but it rarely infects trees in Southwestern states.

According to Wikipedia, the following area is considered the Southwest. The pecan weevil is also native to the eastern U.S. from Texas to Georgia.

The Southwestern United States (also known as the American Southwest) is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions vary a great deal and have never been standardized–and many have been proposed. For example, it might include the stretch from east of Los Angeles to El Paso, and from the Mexican border to south of Denver.

Read more on how to protect your trees from the pecan weevil. Read this article in the Las Cruces Bulletin.

Types of Pecan Trees


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