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Growing Nut Trees in Oklahoma


Nut production is Oklahoma mainly involves pecans and black walnuts, but mostly pecans. All of the black walnut production and 80% of the pecans are from native trees.


All of the black walnuts are harvested from native wild trees in this part of the country. Only one place in Missouri processes these walnuts for the whole US. English, or Persian walnuts are grown mainly on the West coast. The trees can be grown here but spring frosts and fall rain usually ruin the crop.


Pecans are native to the Mississippi drainage system and are very common in our area. At least 80% of Oklahoma’s pecans are harvested from native trees which have a wide variety of size and quality of nuts. There are many of these original native pecans in Tulsa area yards and parks.  About 20% of the pecans in Oklahoma are planted by man in groves. These are varieties which have large nuts with thin shells—called “paper shells”. They usually are grafted, with the top being the preferred variety and the root-stock coming from a hardy native tree.


Oklahoma ranks 7th in the nation in pecan production, producing about 9 million pounds per year. Georgia is the leader and produces over 10 times this amount.


It takes a lot of work and time to establish a grove and a lot of care for all types of pecans to optimize production. It takes about 8 years from planting to ability to bear nuts.


The chief pests are: Pecan Weevil, Hickory Shuckworm, Fall Webworm, Stink Bug, Twig Girdler and Pecan Scab Fungus. They all require careful monitoring and a spray program for optimal control.


References concerned with establishment, care and coping with pests are listed below.




F-6247: Establishing a Pecan Orchard


F-6201: Pecan Varieties for Oklahoma 


F-6204: Bark Grafting Pecans


F-6217: Collecting and Storing Pecan Propagation Wood


F-6230: Four-Flap Grafting of Pecans


F-6206: Patch Budding Pecans


F-6205: Splice and Tongue Grafting Pecans


F-6207: Starting Pecan Trees


HLA-6229: Pollination Requirements for Fruits and Nuts




F-6200: A Calendar for Pecan Growers


F-6232: Fertilizing Pecan and Fruit Trees


F-6251: Pecan Crop Load Management   


F-6208: Improving Native Pecan Groves


F-6245: Training Pecan Trees


Disease and Pests:


Evaluating Pecan Problems, Texas A & M


EPP-7642: Pecan Diseases: Prevention and Control


F-7189: The Pecan Nut Casebearer


Epp-7079: Biology and Control of the Pecan Weevil in Oklahoma


Pecan Phllyoxera in Oklahoma