What Is Pecan Wood?

Pecan wood is one of the famous hickory species. It offers people a wide range of benefits, such as the production of edible nuts, furniture purposes, and more. However, the color of Pecan and grain pattern may vary based on the origin of the environment.

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What Is Pecan Wood?

Pecan is a type of Hickory that contains a rich, buttery, edible nut. Pecan wood is a hardwood that comes in various colors and is often used in furniture, cabinets, and floors. Pecan wood also has a light aroma, and it is an excellent material for cooking and grilling.

This article will focus on everything you should know about pecan wood:

  • Origin & History
  • Property
  • Pros & Cons
  • Application
  • Different from other woods
What Is Pecan Wood

Let’s keep reading!

Property Characteristics

Scientific Name(s)Carya Illinoinensis
Origin/DistributionSouth-central United States and Mexico
ColorReddish hue to yellowish-brown
OdorLight pleasant smell
Texture/GrainStraight but can be wavy at times, medium texture with a low natural luster
Diameter2 m (6 ft 7 in) diameter
Log DurabilityDurable with great longevity
Specific Gravity(Basic, 12% MC): .60, .74
Janka Hardness1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
Rupture Modulus9.80 ksi
Crushing Strength7,850 lbf/in2 (54.1 MPa)
Elastic Modulus1,730,000 lbf/in2 (11.93 GPa)
Coeff. of Volumetric Shrinkage13.6%
Total Tangential Shrinkage (TS)8.9%
Total Radial Shrinkage (RS)4.9%
TS/RS Ratio1.8

Origin & History

The origin and history of Pecan are traceable to the 16th century. The name “pecan” comes from the Native American (Algonquin) word “pecan” which is described as “nuts” that require a very had object to crack.” 

Naturally, pecans grow in the wild in the Midwest, the Southeast, and South-Central states of Texas, including Oklahoma. Being a natural tree, pecans grow very large, even to an average of 120 to 130 ft tall. To grow a healthy pecan tree, you should look for fertile, deep, well-drained soil. In addition, the soil should have a loose to medium texture. 

The Spanish colonists and Franciscans in Northern Mexico were known to have cultivated one of the first-ever cultivated pecan woods. This took place in the late 1600sly 1700s. About sixty years before the first recorded planting of the colonists from the United States, these plantings are documented to around 1711

The pecan wood has to be traced to be around in the late 1600s or the early 1700s. Pecan plantings were documented about sixty years before the U.S. colonists took the first planting into the record. 

Appearance & Identification

1. Wood Color

Heartwood is likely to have a light to medium brownish appearance with a reddish hue. However, sapwood is paler yellowish-brown. At the raw pecan wood ages, it wears a new look, usually amber or reddish-brown. This is due to exposure to UV light. This ageing hue is similar to the color alteration of cherry wood.

pecan wood

2. Wood Grain

Although the grain of pecan wood can be wavy at times, it is usually straight. The texture is a medium with a low natural luster. When used for furniture and cabinets, pecan wood has to be stained with a warm rich tone. This way, it can maintain its natural look for years.

pecan wood grain

3. Pecan Tree

A pecan tree has a bark that is grayish in younger pecans and a reddish-brown colored bark on the more mature specimens of Pecan. Being a native to the United States, a single pecan tree can produce an array of nuts for a large family, while also providing deep shade. Without spreading its canopy, a mature pecan tree can stand about 150ft (45.5m.) tall. 

4. Pecan Leaves

As a species of Hickory, you can identify the leaves of Pecan if it is broad in size. Usually, the pecan leaf has distinctive flat compound leaves. This nature means that instead of a single large flat-leaf, Pecan has various leaflets in a group along the stem’s end. The size of the leaflets of the dark green pecan leaves vary. It can range from 9 to 17 reduced leaflets

5. Pecan Fruit

Naturally, the nut is oblong brown or tan with black streaks smooth, and a thin shell that is usually pointed. Pecan fruits have distinctive ridges and can be one or two inches in length. However, two main distinctions make Pecan vary: nut and size and shell thickness. Wild pecans have thicker shells but smaller nuts when compared to the improved variety of pecans. 


Pecan woods give off a light pleasing smell. It produces a perfume that is typical of what pecan vanilla and edible nuts produce. However, this smell will stay in the corner of your home for longer. Whether you put out the fire or not, Pecan’s reminiscent smell will perfume your home. 

Durability & Treatability

Pecan wood has lots of great qualities such as resistance to different types of rot and fungus. This is why it remains a popular choice for different applications such as paneling, cabinets, furniture, and flooring. Moreover, pecan woods can greatly resist expansion which can be a problem for other kinds of hardwood such as oak. 

Pecan wood is considered a hardwood. Hardwood is the one that does not produce cones. However, woods from trees such as Pecan are known as hardwood. It is best to identify these woods during winter due to their deciduous nature, meaning, they cannot retain their leaves during fall. 

Pecans have a wide range of benefits they offer. Apart from the pecan tree’s rich, edible nuts, Pecan is a great wood material for furniture. Other than being used to build furniture, pecan wood can also be deployed for many construction purposes. In addition, the wood also provides a nice smell to homes. 

Pecan seeds are viable for a period of two to three months when you refrigerate them. Pecan’s rot starts at the end of the stem while gradually extending to the whole fruit.

Pecans in their shell remain fresh at room temperature without spoiling for about four months. To keep pecans longer beyond this period, you can do a couple of things to make this possible, such as freezing them. Freezing pecans can extend their shelf life to between 2 and 5 years while maintaining their flavors and textures. Storing pecans at room temperature can also extend their lifespan when you store them in an appropriate atmosphere that will keep them fresh. Room humidity is between 65 to 70%. This keeps the temperature as cool as possible. 

Old pecans do not mean the end of life for such pecans. The truth is, there’s more to old pecans. You may toast them in a dry pan or oven. This remains the best way to revive them. However, old pecans will go perfectly with any recipe that requires nuts. On the other hand, old or stale may smell rancid or taste bitter in some cases. In this situation, the bitter or rancid taste does not mean they are dangerous for consumption, but there may be a fall in the value of nutrients they provide. 

Allergies & Toxicity

Pecan woods are not really toxic. No evidence supports this claim that the minimal amount of juglone affects plants’ environments. Apart from standard health risks connected to dust from any kind of wood, the is no health reactions connected to pecan wood. It does not have an impact on the environment or people when composting as well as making nice mulch as a result of crushed leaves that undergo a slow decomposition process. 

Pecans and certain types of nut can lead to gastric, intestinal upset, and in some cases, can cause an obstruction that may sometimes be serious. Moldy pecans may have tremorgenic mycotoxins, resulting in seizures or neurological symptoms. Pecan leaves can be toxic because there is a presence of a toxin in the leaves know. As juglone, as you will also find in, may ni trees. While they are considered messy in pecans, they can be toxic to many good plants. 

Pecans can leaves can be poisonous due to two reasons. There’s the presence of a toxin in the leaves known as juglone which can be found also in different nut trees. Pecan leaves are also considered poisonous to many plants, contributing a good litter amount from the leaves and the flowers. 

Dry Time

Depending on the condition you want to dry the pecan wood, the drying time of a pecan wood usually takes between two to ten days. When you dry a pecan wood properly, it will have a brittle kernel and should not be difficult to separate from its exterior. Immediately you have dried the Pecan as required, it is also possible to extend their shelf life through refrigeration or freezing. 


They are good for woodworking because they remain one of the few reliable hardwoods not considered a true wood. Thanks to their usual low density with little resistance to shock loading. Hence, the reason pecan wood makes a better wood for woodworking. 

When it comes to cooking and smoking meats, pecan woods serve as flavor wood. You may come across pecan chips or chunks dedicated to this purpose. In some cases, Pecan may not be or is unlikely to be of size for turning and other rated woodworking applications. 

Pecan wood is suitable for a table. This is because of their variable markings, grain, and color, making them suitable for almost every modern and rustic piece of furniture. A dining table carved from pecan wood can star in a minimalist room coupled with flashy walls. 

Pecan woods are a great choice of wood for cutting boards. Think of your favorite food and you can use a pecan cutting board to dice or slice, including a charcuterie board to serve varieties of food. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry as all cutting boards from Pecan are finished with Howard cutting board oil. 

There are lots of easiest wood to turn. Being among the hickory species, Pecan remains one of the easiest woods to turn. Other easy woods include sycamore, ash, beech, yew, ebony, rosewood, and cherry. They all boast fine grain with higher versatility.


The wood remains one of the greatest favorites for builders and furniture makers. This is because its beautiful look makes it is easier to create beautiful furniture pieces and flooring. The appearance of Pecan makes it desirable. Their attractive look makes them suitable for a wide range of woodwork. 

Pecans are good for the environment. Being large and long-lived trees have a reasonable amount of carbon in store for a longer time. As it is with other trees that breathe in carbon dioxide, Pecan also breathes in carbon dioxide. They combine it with water in the presence of sunlight for the production of sugar (carbohydrates) we breathe. 

A mature pecan tree is worth between $2500 and $2,850. This estimation is a direct cost of purchasing and growing the original tree to twelve years. 

Pecan trees serve as good wildlife to animals. This is because many animals feed on pecans, providing them with vital nutrition for survival during the winter seasons. Pecan woods also host a wide range of insects and moths while providing birds and hatchlings’ meals. 

Pecans can produce every year. You must ensure it carries assimilated food reserves over the winter as this will help in supporting the first flush of fruit growth. On the other hand, you may consider fertilizing your land with 13-13-13 fertilizer per tree each of the years. 

A pecan tree must have spent between ten to fifteen years before it can produce. However, they reach maturity at about twelve years and it can be surprising that they can leave up to three centuries. 

The best way to prevent squirrels from pecans is by trimming the branches to ensure that far from the surrounding tree limbs, structures, or wires, for a minimum of four or five feet. This will prevent them from jumping from one tree to another. Moreover, you can prevent squirrels from Pecan by placing mothballs with naphthalene in mesh bags. Ensure to attach them to the Pecan’s branches. Alternatively, you can consider the use of electronic repellant manufactured to prevent garden pests. The only problem with this method is that you will need to monitor it frequently, especially the batterie closely. 

Pros and Cons


  • They are beautiful 
  • They provide shade for homeowners as well as tasty nuts 
  • They apply to different furniture works: perfect for building bed frames, chairs, doors, and more.
  • Hard and durable wood: the wood’s durability accounts for its use in building furniture
  • Stain and paints well: Pecan produces a great quality finish  
  • Highly workable: the wood stains, screws, nails, and glues properly.
  • Known for providing amazing smell and perfume to the homes. 


  • Improperly trained Pecan have the tendency to develop forked lower branches 
  • There are higher tendencies of splitting during a storm 
  • They are prone to scab due to reduction of airflow


The most tiring part of growing pecans is that they require a lot of patience. Most pecan woods will not bring any fruit until their sixth to the tenth year. Pecan woods need a minimum of 3ft of well-drained soil. It is pertinent to remind you that if you grow them in rocky areas with thin soil, they will not grow. Pecans remain the best to take up critical nutrients from the soil with a 6-7 pH level. It is also important to cross-pollinate pecans for proper reproduction.

Usually, it takes 3 to 4 years to see a few nuts after you plant them. However, it can take up to 6 to 8 years to have significant growth. The best production will start in the ninth or tenth year, which can be productive for a century or beyond. 


Pecan woods are not too valuable, considering the processes involved except if you have them in larger quantities. Before they can be valuable, you have to consider the processes involved such as transporting them, milling, planning into lumber, and lots more. 

A lot depends on the project you set out to buy. Then, the place or region where you’re buying it also matters. You have to factor in the size of the wood you’re buying. On average, a mill can sell a pallet of Pecan for about 50 cents per board foot. 

A board foot of pecan wood can cost between 40 and 50 cents. This price is a placeholder as price differences are everywhere. Another important factor when looking for the best price is buying in bulk. Some pecan wood sellers reduce prices for buyers who are out for a bulk purchase. You can consider that option.  

The cost may vary from country to country and even across a country. Generally, pecan wood will go for between $120 and $180 per cord. Another factor is the project you’re looking to build. You may find some sellers increasing Pecan’s price for intricate projects other than the general application. 

A hundred-year-old pecan tree is worth between $2500 and $2850. However, the price is not cast in stone as each seller has his or her price. The region you’re buying your pecan wood will also determine the price. But a good-quality 100-year-old tree will be anywhere this estimate. 


There are more than 500 varieties of Pecan with varying characteristics such as shape, color, texture, and other features that differentiate them from each other. The most famous among these types are Stuart, Moreland, Cape Fear, and Desirable. 

Pecan tree produces pecan wood which is hard, durable, and stiff. Pecan woods are the wood that comes from the pecan tree. Technically called the hickory tree, the pecan tree has 18 deciduous species. But pecan wood is the most famous of them because it can handle a wide range of projects, including flooring and tools handling. 

From its appearance and color, you can tell if a block of wood is a pecan. Pecan wood generally comes with a reddish hue to yellowish-brown. Pecan wood is naturally hard, stiff, and durable. Although it has no distinctive smell, you can perceive the light pleasant odor that is characteristic of pecan vanilla and edible nuts. 

Pecan has been rated as one of the most used woods across the world due to its characteristically distinct properties. Pecan wood has durability with great longevity. Since pecan nuts are light and have easy transportation, their lumber is comparatively inexpensive. In addition, pecan lumber adds a long-lasting scent to your home.


1. Furniture

Pecan remains one of the best options for home builders and furniture makers. It suffices to say that Pecan is made for furniture building. Pecan wood is highly suitable for a wide range of furniture works thanks to its attractive appearance. You can use it for built-in wardrobes, wooden electric sockets, cupboards, kitchen units and cabinets, and lots more. 

Pecan wood furniture isn’t expensive; furniture workers can get wood pallets for about 40 to 50 cents. Generally, Pecan is not costly wood. If you compare it to other types of hardwood out there, Pecan is a better alternative in terms of cost. The icing on the cake is that you can easily find the raw materials to use on this wood where they’re predominant. 

pecan table

2. Kitchen cabinets

Pecan wood makes a great choice of wood for kitchen cabinets being a very strong wood species. Kitchen cabinets need a durable kind of wood and can withstand the number of high traffic wooden cabinets experienced in the kitchen. Pecan won’t disappoint you as it can hold out against the shenanigans of the touches.  

3. Cutting boards

Pecan woods are great for cutting boards as it provides a great slicing and dicing experience. Regardless of the food, you want to slice and dice, a pecan-made cutting board is able to withstand the hits from the tool. It also works well for making a charcuterie board for snacks, including pecans, meats, and cheeses. 

4. Flooring

Hard, durable, and water-resistant hardwood flooring needs a wood species. Pecan comes as an aesthetically pleasing raw material and wood species used for this purpose. As a result, the wood fits perfectly for making beautiful flooring. As warm-looking hardwood, they vary from plank to plank.

good pecan wood floor

5. Carving

Due to the even texture of pecan woods, they are great for wood carving. They do not tear easily when you chisel them and can make clean cuts. Pecan wood also works exceptionally well with both machine and hand tools. It combines the features of hardwood and softwood.  

6. Fireplace

The characteristics and nature of Pecan make it a great choice for cooking and fireplaces since it is hardwood. Apart from being hardwood, pecan wood hardly produces smoke that pollutes the atmosphere. As it burns, Pecan releases very little smoke, reducing the chance of carbon inhalation. 

7. Smoking

Because pecan wood hardly produces smoke, it is best for smoking meat. In addition, a hickory tree can be used to smoke wood in several ways. Pecan can be cut into chips and lumps for smoking your meat as a hardwood. The meat will also receive a great smell. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to prepare pecan wood for smoking:

  • Fall the tree and allow it to dry
  • Chop the wood into chips or chunks. Note that chunks burn at a slower rate than chips
  • Soak the chips (you may not soak chunks) at a temperature under 2600C. This will prolong the burning time but will produce more smolder than flames
  • Drain the wood of water 
  • Add them to the fire

You should use chunks if you’re smoking your food or meat for more than an hour. For 30 minutes of smoking, a chip will be the best bet. 

Alternatively, you can prepare your pecan wood for smoking using these simple steps:

  • Soak the wood chips in water for about fifteen minutes and thirty minutes
  • Heat coals with charcoal started if you are using a charcoal starter
  • Turn coals into the grill while placing the wood in the direction of the charcoal

Best Pecan Wood Chunks for outdoor cooking 

Weber Store is one of the best suppliers of pecan woods for cooking. With the 350 cu. in. (0.006 m^3) sized bag 8s, you can be sure you’re getting the best chunks for outdoor cooking. 

The wood’s features and pros include: 

  • Absence of chemical treatment
  • Perfect for charcoal grills
  • Doesn’t weigh too much 
  • Easy transportation
  • The rich and sweet flavor 

What is the difference between Pecan wood and other woods?

1. Hickory

Pecan wood is a hickory species famous for its buttery and edible nuts. They are great for different furniture works as a block of hardwood. The wood is excellent for smoking as you can make chop them into chips and chunks. 

2. walnut wood

Pecan has a significantly lighter color compared to walnut. Also, they both share similar grain and general appearance and have an exact color of the stain. When it comes to Janka hardness rating, pecan wood has a higher rating than a walnut. With 1820 lbf, pecan wood hardness value surpasses and more than doubles walnut’s that stands at 1010 lbf.  

3. oak

Pecan wood consists of sweetened and slight tang. However, it has a less burning time than oak. For instance, pecan wood will take far less than the duration when oak or Hickory will burn for two hours. As a result, Pecan is suitable for short cooks.

4. mesquite

Pecan has better strength, compared to mist fruitwoods. However, it is milder when compared to mesquite. Pecan has a lower rating than mesquite in mildness, even though it boasts more strength. 

5. cherry wood

Cherry wood should be your ideal pick if you’re in for a barbecue. It does well for barbecuing beef and pork. It adds a more pleasing color to your meat as well as a vibrant mahogany hue. It burns longer than pecan wood.  

6. applewood

Pecan wood comes with a mild sweeter flavor than apple and can fit in various applications. However, there is limited use of applewood. It means that you’ll have to add some taste of Hickory or oak to applewood to be able to get a smoky flavor.

Final words

Pecan woods are a great choice of wood for different applications. Apart from their benefits to woodworking, such as furniture making, cabinets, and top-quality floors, they offer amazing livestock benefits, such as improving their health. 

However, watching the content they feed on is essential to avoid poisoning. Before you begin, be certain of what you’re using the pecan wood for. As said earlier, pecan wood is hardwood but softwood as well. The hardness does not mean you cannot use them for softwood purposes. 

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