Cover Crop Uses in Pecan Silvopasture
It must be spring; pecan trees started breaking bud in late March in southern Oklahoma. This time has everyone thinking about a new growing season. So far this year, I have received more questions on cover crops than any other year in recent memory. With that in mind, it is a good time to discuss...Read more
What You Need To Know About Grafting Pecan Trees
Although the calendar shows that we have just started a new year and it is still winter, you wouldn’t know it by the temperatures outside. High temperatures have been running in the 60s and 70s during the first few days of January, but old man winter isn’t done with us yet. With the harvest season...Read more
Multiple Stresses Combine and Decrease Pecan Crop
This fall I have received a lot of phone calls and text messages about the pecan crop in the native range, specifically the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. If you hunt down your October issue of Pecan South, you will find estimates of the pecan crop made in June, July, and September, demonstrating...Read more
Why is water infiltration important?
We have made it through a long, hot, dry summer and have reached one of the most important times in a pecan orchard. The nuts have finished sizing, and it is time to start filling the nuts. Water is a crucial component over the next few weeks, not only involved in the nut filling process...Read more
How Do Pecan Biofungicides Work?
We have made it through another winter, and the pecan trees are growing catkins and nut clusters as we impatiently wait to see who will be happy with their crop and who will wish they had more. The first crop estimate will take place this month. It has been a typical spring, with questions on...Read more
Alternative fertilizer sources for orchards
As I write this article, Mother Nature is reminding us that it is still winter. After a couple of days with temperatures above 70 degrees F, I have seen freezing rain, sleet, and snow over the last 24 hours. Of course, the weather is a major concern in the short term, but if you ask...Read more
Using alley cropping on your farm
This week found me browsing through a few hundred 2×2 slides, looking for examples of diseases on pecan trees. For you youngsters that have grown up in a digital world, you missed out on slide projectors and C-41 film processing. During my search, I found a few slides taken on a Hort-418 class trip to...Read more
The importance of pecan leaf analysis
What a difference a year makes! Last year, the OPGA, Tri-State, and TPGA Conferences were all cancelled. Now, just last month, I joined Monte Nesbitt at the Montz Pecan Orchard for the Clay County Field Day. The second week of June, I attended the Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association Conference in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. This month,...Read more
Micronutrients for pecans, just a little makes all the difference
Ask any pecan horticulturist—and hopefully most pecan growers—what macro- and micro-nutrients do pecan trees need to grow, and they will quickly list that pecans require 17 essential elements for growth: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron...Read more
Pecan Limb Breakage Links to Tree Health
Most pecan orchard managers should now be finished with field harvest and cleaning. They may continue to weigh their options on selling the crop or putting it in cold storage to hold out for a better price. These managers will soon return to the chore of orchard cleanup and pruning that always follows harvest, preparing...Read more
Cleaning & Drying Your Pecans Can Impact Your Profits
Well, it must be time to harvest pecans. For the last few months, spotting a squirrel, crow, or pig in the orchard was an uncommon event, but now a trip to the orchard almost guarantees a photo-op for a few crows or squirrels, and even though you may not see a pig, you can sure...Read more
Analyzing Water Quality’s Effects on Pecan Nurseries
We are slowly moving toward a more typical work schedule, but COVID-19 is still impacting us at a personal, community, state, and national level. I have been traveling to a few locations but still doing most consulting by phone and email. Most of the issues I’ve seen have been typical of what we would expect...Read more
Protecting Our Crop, Protecting Our Fungicides
As I sit down to write this article, we are firmly in the “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” directives, depending on the state in which you reside. So, pecan orchard visits have been limited, but I still receive plenty of texted photographs, phone calls, and emails as we enter a new pecan season. Many of those messages...Read more
ID’ing Varieties & Examining Nut Abnormalities
As I start to write this article, outside Old Man Winter is throwing everything at us—freezing rain, sleet, and snow, a wintry mix. Fortunately, we have just about finished up pecan harvest because it will probably be too wet to do anything in the orchard for a while. While 2019 wasn’t a great year for...Read more
Understanding Pecan Tree Dichogamy
If you have been following the Pecan South’s Pecan Newsletter this fall, you will have read several growers’ comments on pollination issues affecting their crop. Here, I’ll review the mechanics of pecan pollination and how different environmental factors impact pollination each spring. This review should help you design new plantings in the spring of 2020...Read more
Watch out! These invasive species may threaten pecan production
No one has ever said that growing pecans is easy. From planting to producing trees, we have to deal with animals, diseases, insects, and weeds, all of which can have a devastating impact on our bottom line. For routine problems like scab, pecan nut casebearer, weevil, squirrels and crows, we know pretty well what we...Read more
Soil Health: Does your orchard need a checkup?
Over the last few months, I have visited many potential pecan orchard sites in several states. As always, one of the first topics discussed is the soil at the proposed site. The importance of a good soil for pecan production cannot be overemphasized. Planting a pecan orchard is not a short-term goal and it often...Read more
To Mulch or Not to Mulch: What is best for my pecan tree?
SPRING! It is quickly approaching, but what is it. It is one of the four conventional seasons, coming after Winter, but preceding Summer. Astronomically speaking, it starts on the Vernal Equinox and ends at the Summer Solstice. If you ask folks what they associate with this season, they’ll say Spring is a time of renewal,...Read more
Have you heard the story of Ben Littlepage?
As usual, I turned onto I-49 driving south from Shreveport. I got off at exit 99, turned left and took the bridge over the Red River, driving northeast on Highway 8 toward Colfax. At McNeely Crossing, I would normally turn right at the farmhouse with the cannon sitting out front, but today, I continued on...Read more
Low Input Doesn’t Mean ‘No’ Input
Pecan Scab! Just mentioning this fungal disease makes grower’s grab their wallets. Ask just about any pecan scientist or grower and you will get the same answer. Pecan scab is the most economically important disease of pecan in the southeastern United States. It can devastate the leaves and nuts of susceptible cultivars in humid regions...Read more
As the World Turns, the Marketing Landscape Shifts
Growers that choose to get into the pecan business must love carnival rides, specifically roller coasters. Why would I make such a remark? In a nutshell, if you stay in it for the long term, you are going to go through a lot of ups and downs. If you take a quick look over the...Read more
If You Want to Have Nuts, Protect Your Leaves
Well, as I sit down to write tonight, it is early April. Spring is here…right? During this first week of April, the forecast was in the low 40s in Louisiana, and the weatherman said there would be over a foot of snow in the northern U.S. by the end of the week. During the last...Read more
A New Year, A New Crop to Care For
So much can change over a short period of time. I often look back to previous year’s conditions to compare with present conditions. Last year, many growers, especially those that had other fruit crops in addition to their pecan trees, were very concerned about the shortage of cold weather received over the 2016-2017 winter. It...Read more
Extreme Weather, Deja Vu, and a Chance to Learn
Once again, we find ourselves talking about wet conditions at a time of year when we are usually discussing drought and high temperatures. August and early September are usually dry and hot, so we spend our time discussing ways to increase irrigation to meet the water requirements of pecan trees during the nut filling period....Read more
So Far, So Good, but Summer Isn’t Over
We have reached the midpoint of the pecan growing season, and despite some unusual growing conditions, we appear to still have a good crop of nuts on trees in Louisiana. Looking back over the last few months, several articles were written outlining all of the possible adverse responses the pecan trees may have due to...Read more
Warm Winter May Spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E
The last couple of weeks have been busy, beginning with a trip to Mississippi for the Southeastern Pecan Growers Association Conference. That was followed by a trip to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for the Western Pecan Growers Association Conference. While both educational programs provided information on a wide range of topics, the meetings also allow...Read more
Liebig’s Law of the Minimum
Last month, Monte Nesbitt provided us with a great overview on biotic and abiotic stresses that pecan trees had to deal within the 2016 growing season. He also called out researchers and extension specialists (and I agree with him) for too often generalizing a problem with the “tree stress” response. Since I am as guilty...Read more
The Good and Bad of Abundant Precipitation
Last month, Monte Nesbitt shared information on the impact that above-average precipitation has had on pecan scab infection on several new varieties. Early spring rains allowed researchers and growers to get a unique look at how pecan nuts would fair when exposed to extreme scab pressure. While this provided us with great information on scab...Read more
Pecans, FSMA and GAPs, Oh My!
This spring I have attended a number of pecan and commodity meetings at the parish, state and regional level. As I have talked with growers and processors of various commodities, it has become apparent that Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP) Certification is gaining in importance and use across the nation. This type of...Read more
Rain, Rain, Go Away. Come Again Another Day!
As I sit down to write this article, the weather has been a dominant story in the news. A large, very slow moving dip in the jet stream crawled across Mexico, resulting in tropical moisture streaming across Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi for several days. A large portion of this area received 1.5 to 2...Read more
Tough Year Ends With an Unexpected Surprise
To say the last few months have been tough for pecan growers would be an understatement. Last month, George Ray McEachern discussed several of the quality issues the Texas A&M orchards suffered through this harvest season. We saw similar problems in Louisiana as well, with Oct. 22, 2015 being the pivotal date. In the 8...Read more
Late Summer Shuck and Nut Problems
Last month, Monte Nesbitt gave us an overview on the importance of maintaining good foliage in pecan trees and a description of the insects and diseases that can cause defoliation in pecan orchards in the southeastern U.S. I thought it would be a good idea to follow up his article with a discussion on shuck...Read more
Has rain washed away the pecan crop?
As I sit down to write this article, the spring season is coming to an end. Catkins have come and gone, and most trees are finished shedding pollen for the year. Normally, I would have spent the last couple of months watching my wife and kids suffer through another miserable allergy season in Louisiana. But...Read more
Dormant Season Activities to Improve your Orchard
In last month’s Pecan South, Blair Krebs provided us with an overview of the status of pecan harvest in various locations in the pecan belt. With it appearing that most growers have completed harvest for the 2014 season and hopefully have also sold the crop at a satisfactory price, I hope you had time to...Read more
Marketing for the small pecan grower
Over the past few years, the U.S. pecan industry has seen continual growth and strengthening in the export market. Some credit has to be attributed to USDA programs that support American producers and businesses. Specialty Crop research grants and state Block Grants, crop insurance, and Foreign Agricultural Service marketing programs have all helped to strengthen...Read more
Did you forget about the FSMA?
Everyone has to do it. Papers pile up on your desk for a few weeks and you have to take some time to straighten up your mess before you get buried under it. As I was sorting through a rather large pile of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) materials, I realized it had been over...Read more
Can’t find a tree to buy? Grow your own!
Has anyone tried to buy a pecan tree lately? You almost need to hire a private investigator to track one down for you. I’ve been receiving numerous inquiries from growers frustrated with their search for the appropriate variety on the right rootstock. Because of the explosion in new pecan acreage the last few years, nurseries...Read more
A Season of Extremes
While growing up in Texas, I was used to hearing the phrase “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes — it’ll change!” A similar statement is credited to the legendary Will Rogers, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.” However, this summer many pecan...Read more
Pesticide Drift Affecting Pecan Trees
With twin 5-year-old girls in the house, it is a pretty common occurrence for me to be reading a children’s book, including nursery rhymes. Most parents have probably read the poem: March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. It’s a cute little poem, but after working in agriculture the last few years, a...Read more
New food safety regs on the horizon
As I sit down to write this article for Pecan South, we’ve just finished up the holiday season and the kids have started school again. It’s a new year and I was pondering the idea of actually choosing a new novel to read over the next few weeks, something I haven’t had the time to...Read more
2012: the year the minors went major
As I write this article, we are at the beginning of another pecan harvest season. ‘Pawnee’, ‘Candy’ and ‘Kanza’ have all initiated shucksplit before Sept. 1, 2012. Therefore much of a grower’s time over the next few weeks will be devoted to getting equipment ready to go out into the orchard. However, try to find...Read more
Spring Came Early—Don’t Get Caught Unprepared!
From an astronomical point of view, spring made its earliest arrival in the U.S. since 1896. The vernal equinox (the first day of spring) arrived at 1:14 EDT on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. And just in case you didn’t notice, spring temperatures arrived earlier than that, as some parts of the country experienced spring-like, even...Read more
What to expect from your trees after a severe drought
With the 2011 pecan harvest in our rearview mirror, some of you probably had a little extra time to enjoy working on a puzzle. Some like jigsaw puzzles. Sudoku is pretty popular, but it’s tough to beat just like a good old-fashioned crossword puzzle. So, for you puzzle enthusiasts, what is a 7-letter word for...Read more
Aw Shucks! This Season Just Ain’t Normal
The last article I wrote discussed the flowering process in pecans and the different nut drop stages a grower could expect to observe through the spring and summer months. Now that we’ve managed to keep part of the crop on the trees until September, I thought we would spend some time discussing the effects of...Read more
How Will Weather Affect This Year’s Crop?
If you search on the internet for pecan pollination, you will generally find that pecan is referred to as a wind-pollinated, monoecious crop exhibiting heterodichogamy. What does that mean? Simply that pecan trees produce separate male and female flowers that mature at different times. When pollen is shed before the female flowers are receptive, the...Read more
The Importance Of Good Soil
Another year has passed us by and I’m sure you’ve heard or read many reflections on the events of 2010. As I sit here, pondering the last year’s pecan season, the overriding message has got to be “Wow, what a difference a year makes!!” Last year (January 2010) we were lamenting over the fact that...Read more
Steps to Protect Your Pecans This Harvest Season
It’s finally here! After spending months caring for and trying to protect your pecan crop, it is almost time to reap your rewards. Most varieties are in the final stages of kernel filling and soon it will be time to start harvesting. It is the time of year when most individuals involved in the pecan...Read more
Specialty Crop Assistance Available For Native Producers
The pecan industry in Louisiana is comprised of both native and improved varieties. The native trees concentrated along the Mississippi and Red River deltas account for approximately 80 percent of the state’s annual production. Point Coupee Parish (Louisiana) has the largest population of natives in the state, often producing over 4 million pounds in an...Read more
Is It Time To Make A Few Changes?
Well, we made it through Christmas and we rang in a new year, although I’m sure a few were sleeping when the ball fell in Times Square. This year we not only started a new year but a new decade as well. Some of the events of the last decade included multiple hurricanes, record drought,...Read more