Pecan Fertilization

As the weather begins to warm up in February and March, our thoughts start toward pecan fertilizer applications.

Fertilizer should be applied evenly beneath the canopy of the tree.

Fertilizer should be applied evenly beneath the canopy of the tree.
Mark Arena, ©2016, Clemson Extension

Correct fertilization is critical for pecan trees to achieve optimal nut yields. The process of fertilization begins with a soil test. There is still time to take a soil test to improve fertility. One note of caution is that lime if required, can take up to six months to take effect. Typically, the best application time for lime is late fall. For more information, refer to the HGIC video, How to Take a Soil Test.

One question I get is how to determine the amount of fertilizer to apply.

The soil test recommendations suggest an amount of fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter. How do you measure this?

  1. Assume a chest height of around 4 feet
  2. Measure the circumference of the tree
  3. Divide the rim of the tree by 3.14


We need to apply 1 pound of fertilizer per inch of tree diameter.

We measured 3 feet around the tree (36 inches)

Divide 36 by 3.14 giving 11 inches diameter

11 times 1 pound would be 11 pounds of fertilizer per tree.

Begin the application 12 inches from the trunk and spread it evenly around under the tree out to the drip line (outermost branches).

Note, wait to apply Nitrogen until the buds begin to break.

For more information on growing pecan trees, see HGIC 1356, Pecan Planting and Fertilization.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at or 1-888-656-9988.

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