Northern Pecan

The northern pecan and the southern pecan are very different from each other in hardiness, nut size, and length of season required to ripen. The northern pecans suited to the growing conditions in Ontario are from the northern tip of the growing range of the pecan. A distribution map of the native range covers much of the Mississippi Valley, with a finger of distribution extending northward along the Mississippi River into Iowa. It is in this area where the hardiest short season pecans are found. Though all of the pecans from this region are hardy in Ontario, it is the earliest ripening selections from here that get enough heat units to ripen in Ontario (zone 6).

These pecans are small, about the size of a native shagbark hickory or large hazelnut, but they have the fine flavor for which pecan is known. Selections that were the earliest to ripen, have been brought back in the 1980's from Green Island, Iowa by John Gordon, a nut tree explorer and SONG member. These selections from the wild have become the selection base for promising new trees.

A few of the earliest ripening trees are propagated as grafted trees. These named selections are: Snaps, Carlson 3, Lucas and Cornfield. They have so far proved to be perfectly hardy and productive. They need a warm September-October season to properly fill the nuts.

Pecan trees planted from seed tend to take about 10 to 15 years to begin to bear, while grafted trees will bear in 5 to 10 years. As with most of the nut trees, the hickories and pecans will take two or more trees to set nuts.

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