Pecan Production in the Northern United States

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  • 1 Pecan Experiment Field, Kansas State University, Chetopa, KS 67336-0247.
  • | 2 School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

More than 93% of pecans [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] produced in the United States are grown in the southeastern and southwestern states. However, the native range of the pecan tree extends northward into Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. In these northern states, commercial pecan production is expanding as additional acres of native trees are brought under cultivation and orchards of short-season, cold-hardy cultivars are established. Native nut production dominates the northern pecan industry accounting for over 95% of nuts produced in the region. Cultural practices for native pecans have been developed for northern groves that feature low inputs and good yields. Pecan cultivars adapted to the north ripen their fruit in a climate that provides 155 to 200 frost-free days. Few generalizations can be made about northern cultivars. The nuts produced by these cultivars vary in size from small [4 g (0.14 oz)] to medium [8 g (0.28 oz)] with shelling percentages ranging from 44% to 59%.

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