Pecan, Ultra Northern
Attempts to grow the so called northern pecans in Ontario have been a failure. None of them ripened regularly if at all. John Gordon and Gary Fernald, two pecan enthusiasts, searched for the earliest ripening pecans at the northern end of the wild pecan range near the Mississippi River in Iowa and Missouri. Gordon brought back nuts and grafting wood for testing. The best of these were established in Ontario at our nursery test orchard and are available as seedling and grafted trees. And so the Ultra-northern pecans became established as a distinct strain of pecan. The best ulta-northern pecans produce nuts the size of typical wild trees further south.
Our grafted trees are grown on 3 year old rootstocks in containers for two more years to encourage fibrous rooting for best transplant success and growth. In zone 5 and 6a, grafts need to be hilled up above the graft for the winter with garden soil like roses would need, to protect the cold-tender graft area. They do best with long hot summer conditions to fully fill the nutmeat, Tree size ranges from 20-22 m in height and 15 m wide (70 x 45 ft) at maturity.
Leafhoppers are a problem in the first 2 years with pecan trees. These sucking insects can cause the leaves to wrinkle and turn black on the edges. Spray with a fruit tree insecticide in late June and again in July for best results.
All of our seedlings are grown from our own grafted trees. They all ripen nuts in our climate. This makes sure that both parents are early ripening with a greater likelihood of passing on this desireable characteristic. These trees are as hardy as our hickory trees. Suited for zones 5b-8.
'Snaps' is one of our earliest ripening cultivars but the nut is small. It is an annual bearer ripening nuts along with the hickories in early to mid October. It cracks out in halves fairly easily. Recommended for short season areas. Suited for climate zones 5-8.
'Carlson 3' is one of our earliest ripening cultivars but the nut is small. It is an annual bearer, ripening nuts along with the hickories in early to mid October. It cracks out in halves fairly well. Recommended for short season areas and a good partner for 'Snaps'. Suited for climate zones 5-8.
'Lucas' is a good producer of medium size nuts. The nuts fill well, are good cracking and ripen late October. Suited for zones 5b-8.
'Deerstand' is a medium size nut ripening near the end of October. It is a productive tree but tends to have a good crop every 2 out of 3 years. It is a well-filled good cracking nut. The tree is very hardy originating from the wilds of Green Island, Iowa along the Mississippi River. Suited for zones 5b-8.
'Fisher' is similar to 'Lucas' in characteristics, ripening about the same time. Suited for zones 5b-8.
'Campbell NC 4' is an improvement over 'Colby', its parent, a northern pecan from Illinois. It was selected by Doug Campbell of the Niagara area. It is medium in nut size and good cracking. It ripens late October for us and tends to bear good crops 2 out of 3 years. Suited for zones 5b-8.