Many people always assume that pecans are a southern nut. This is probably because first of all, Georgia grows a great deal of Pecans, and second because pecan pie is such a distinctly southern dessert. Not many holidays go by without at least a pecan dish of some kind gracing the table. Most learn that pecan trees are a tough tree that can grow in over half of the United States and as far north as southern Canada.
The pecan tree actually originated in Texas and Oklahoma and spread outward from there. Native Americans discovered the pecan nutritious, easy to store, and easy to trade with. It was not until recently, however, that pecan trees had been discovered deep in the wilds of places like Wisconsin and Illinois. This is heartening because it means that if the rugged pecan tree can withstand the weather changes of those states then it is likely it can be adapted to grow in even colder climates.
There are actually over 500 species of pecans in life so that it’s not terribly surprising that some species of this tree would have the ability to withstand harsh northern winters. In fact, the tree itself can produce nuts for well over 100 years. The only difference between the varieties of pecans is your shape and a small flavor difference. This is to be expected given different soil compositions, sunlight and warmth accessibility, and access to a water supply. The pecan you consume has everything to do with where it was grown.
But if you are going to attempt to grow your own pecan tree, it’s important to purchase the right one. Since there are over 500 species, choosing the tree that’s ideal for your individual climate could be a challenge and is definitely a game of patience. For instance, the”Desirable” pecan tree species is native to Mississippi so it is going to flourish and produce best in warm, humid climates like that of Georgia or Florida. But the”Wichita” variety grows best in western and central Texas because it thrives best in arid environments. But be ready to wait. Even the most precocious of pecan trees, the ones that bear nuts of the fastest, still take about five years.
The fact that the pecan tree originated in Texas makes it easy to believe that this is a tree given the climate variety of the Lone Star State. Recent discoveries of the tree in harsh, cold surroundings lead one to think that what is understood about the pecan tree is simply getting started. All of this is fantastic news as it means that regardless of where you spend your time eating at the table (especially during the holidays, that is the time of year when pecans market the best), you’ll be able to get a delicious, locally grown, pecan pie.