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).
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.
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.