6 Best Nut Trees to Grow in Texas (Includes Pecan Varieties)

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There are many species and varieties of nut trees you could grow in Texas and each one has different benefits!

Of course, because Texas is so big, there’s a wide variety of trees that can grow in the different climates.

Texas includes USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10, which is a pretty big range!

Whether you’re interested in growing a nut orchard, want to have home-grown nuts, or simply want some diversity in your landscaping, nut trees are a great tree to grow.

For starters, check out these six nut trees that thrive in Texas.

6 Fantastic Nut Trees that Grow Well in Texas

1. Pecan Tree (Carya illinoinensis)

Pecan tree
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

Since it’s our state tree, of course the Pecan tree is number one on this list! It’s a native Texas tree that can be found growing all over the state- both in orchards and in the wild.

Carya illinoinensis is considered the original species of Pecan tree, but there are now many varieties of Pecan trees (as you’ll see) that grow all over the country.

Since Pecan trees have huge, full canopies, they make great shade trees too and are often planted in parks!

Pecan trees don’t have much of a flower display and only have small, light green flowers.

After the flowers, in late summer, the nuts start to develop and are ready for harvest by mid-fall.

These large trees have rounded canopies of bright green leaves and thorny branches.

The wood from Pecan trees is also used for smoking meats because it’s a kind of hickory tree and has a slightly sweet flavor.

  • Other Common Names: Pecan Hickory, Hardy Pecan, Carya Pecan
  • Growing Zones: 5-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 ft tall by 40-70 ft wide
  • Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Pawnee Pecan Tree (Carya illinoinensis var. Pawnee)

As promised, here’s one of the several varieties of Pecan trees to grow- the Pawnee Pecan.

Pawnee was cultivated in 1963 to have consistent harvests of high quality nuts and since then has become one of the most popular pecan tree varieties.

Their nuts ripen sooner than other varieties and are ready for harvest in September.

The harvests are abundant and Pawnee Pecans are larger than most pecans. However, these trees hit peak nut production after about 10 years since they’re producing such large nuts.

Although, Pawnee Pecan trees are long-living and will continue to provide shade long after they stop giving nuts.

As these trees age, their large limbs begin to droop towards the ground and their trunk can reach six feet wide.

Pawnee Pecan trees are reliable in many ways other than their harvest: they’re disease resistant, drought tolerant, and can grow in many types of soil!

  • Growing Zones: 6-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall by 15-25 ft wide
  • Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Black Walnut Tree (Juglans Nigra)

Black Walnut Tree
Image by ECP via Flickr

Walnut trees are about as common in Texas as Pecan trees are!

This is because they can grow in almost any part of the state and are well acclimated to our climates. Although, walnut trees are really ideal for central TX!

This is because they don’t handle intense heat very well, so they might suffer in southern TX. However, walnut trees are very adaptable and grow to be strong trees in many conditions.

Over time, they become huge trees with large canopies and are great shade trees. Then, in the fall, their leaves turn yellow and orange, adding intense color to your space.

The easy part about harvesting walnuts is that they fall to the ground when they’re ripe- but the rest isn’t so easy.

Walnuts have thick husks and they contain tannins that make strong stains, so the process is quite messy!

  • Other Common Names: American Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut
  • Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 ft tall by 50-80 ft wide
  • Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Pistachio Tree (Pistacia vera)

Pistachio tree
Image by Dr. Alexey Yakovlev via Flickr

Along with pecan trees, there are other, more exotic nut trees we can grow in Texas. With the right conditions, pistachio trees grow in Texas and provide home-grown delicacies!

Pistachio trees are native to central Asia, so they thrive with dry, hot summers and cold winters.

They aren’t well acclimated to high humidity or heavy rains and they need 1,000 chill hours (hours below 30 F) to produce nuts.

And these nuts are beautiful! Although pistachios aren’t trees with stunning flowers, the shells on their nuts are bright red and very ornamental.

Pistachios would be ideal for growers in western or northern TX, along with dry regions of southwestern TX.

Growers in eastern TX will struggle to grow pistachios in the wet climate.

As long as you live in a climate where they can grow, they grow quite easily! Pistachio trees are drought tolerant and can grow in moist to dry soil.

  • Other Common Names: Fustuq,Green Almond
  • Growing Zones: 7-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall by 25-30 ft wide
  • Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

5. Almond Tree (Prunus dulcis)

Almond Tree Blossoms
Image by Peyton Warmack-Chipman (Own Work) For Tree Vitalize

Many people don’t realize how gorgeous almond trees are when they’re in full-bloom, but they’re just as beautiful as cherry blossoms!

Almond trees have pale pink flowers that cover the tree in a pink fluff in mid-spring.

All these flowers attract lots of pollinators and birds! Almond trees are medium-sized so they fit easily into gardens or landscaping.

If you’re growing an almond tree for its nuts, keep in mind that there are sweet and bitter almond tree varieties.

Bitter almond trees are gorgeous too but the nuts have a strong taste that many people find disgusting!

Almond trees can grow in most of the state, except for the northern panhandle (in zone 6).

These trees only need 300-600 chill hours to produce nuts, so longer and colder winters will be hard for them.

Almond trees need to be protected from frost damage and need moist soil but otherwise they’re drought tolerant and thrive with lots of sun!

  • Other Common Names: Sweet Almond, Amygdalus dulcis, Amygdalus communis
  • Growing Zones: 7-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft tall by 10-15 ft wide
  • Season: Flowers in Spring; Nuts in Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Elliot Pecan (Carya illinoinensis ‘Elliot’)

Of course, I can’t finish without another Pecan tree variety!

Elliot Pecan trees are one of the most popular along with Pawnee Pecans and often the two are grown together for cross-pollination.

Elliot is one of the varieties that was bred to have larger nuts, however, because they’re bigger, the tree doesn’t produce nuts for as long as other varieties.

So keep this in mind! So long as the tree is producing nuts, it gives huge harvests of sweet and savory nuts.

Elliot Pecan trees need to be planted with another variety for cross-pollination- and the Pawnee Pecan has proven to be a good companion!

These trees are tough and are cold hardy down to temperatures of 0 F. They’re also known to be highly disease and pest resistant.

Pecan trees love lots of sun and lots of water- something to keep in mind if you’re planting other plants around them.

  • Growing Zones: 6-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 ft tall by 60-70 ft wide
  • Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Comparing Texas Nut Tree Varieties

VarietyDescriptionGrowing ZonesAverage Size at Maturity
Pecan TreeNative to Texas, Pecan trees are known for their large canopies, small light green flowers, and thorny branches.5-970-100 ft tall x 40-70 ft wide
Pawnee Pecan TreeCultivated for consistent, high-quality nut harvests. Pawnee Pecans are larger than most and ripen in September.6-920-30 ft tall x 15-25 ft wide
Black Walnut TreeAdaptable, growing into strong trees with large canopies. Leaves turn yellow and orange in fall. Nuts have thick husks and contain tannins that stain.4-970-100 ft tall x 50-80 ft wide
Pistachio Tree Requires 1,000 chill hours. Nuts have bright red shells. Drought tolerant, grows in moist to dry soil. Ideal for western or northern TX.7-1125-30 ft tall x 25-30 ft wide
Almond TreeFeatures beautiful mid-spring pale pink flowers. There are sweet and bitter varieties. Suitable for most of Texas, except the northern panhandle.7-910-15 ft tall x 10-15 ft wide
Elliot PecanPopular for its large nuts, Elliot Pecans give huge harvests of sweet and savory nuts.6-970-100 ft tall x 60-70 ft wide

Nut Trees? Not So Nutty!

Many people don’t consider growing a nut tree unless they’re already planning to grow an orchard.

But, many nut trees are easy to grow and anyone can take care of them! The trees in this list would be great for growing nuts and for adding aesthetic value to your landscaping.

If you’re interested in growing an edible garden, you should also consider growing fruit trees along with these nut trees!

And if you’re not sure where to start, check out this article from Texas A&M with tips on growing and caring for nut trees.

I hope this article made you a little nutty about growing nut trees and having years of abundant nut harvests!

Just as with fresh fruit, nuts fresh off the tree are a special treat that you won’t experience unless you’re growing for yourself!

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Peyton Warmack-Chipman

Environmental Politics & Permaculture Enthusiast

Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community. Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening. She's most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.

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