A single pecan tree is almost completely defoliated in a mature and leafed out orchard. This tree has bunches of brown and dying leaves scattered throughout its canopy.

Can’t diagnose by symptoms alone

Diagnosing a disorder is a process that involves critical evaluation by a team of experts. This team includes the pecan producer, orchard owner, certified crop consultant, pest control advisor, farm manager, Extension agents, state specialists appointed by the university, and a diagnostic clinic or laboratory. The combined evaluations by the team of experts require a...

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Catkins on a 'Wichita' pecan tree.

The pecan’s journey from flowering to nuts

It’s that time! Have you seen them? Most of you reading this probably so, but I’ll bet that the majority of the world has not seen pecan flowers. I used to think those long “tassels” hanging from the trees were somehow just part of the leaves. Those “tassels,” or to botanically correct the catkin, are...

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A one-year-old pecan tree has gray and brown edges that signals salt injury after being grown in salinity conditions.

Intensive cultivation in saline soil conditions

Over about six years now and the successful planting of 406 pecan seedlings of seven different cultivars at our University of Arizona Safford Agricultural Center, I am encouraged and enlightened by the observations and results so far that have come out of the research project. More pecan producers than just Arizona producers contend with the...

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A hedger travels down a row of mature pecan trees during dormancy and saws off the top part of the trees.

Plant hormones’ post-pruning balancing act

At the Arizona Pecan Growers Association’s Conference at the end of August, three local producers gathered for a “Grower’s Panel,” during which they explained their hedging and pruning programs. These producers used video and PowerPoint slides to further expound on their discussion. I remember one of the producers mentioned, “The pecan trees get used to...

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A graphic showing the different essential elements in pecan in their chemical abbreviations.

Essential elements in pecan

In the early 20th century, scientists Daniel Arnon and Perry Stout, through the inspiration and guidance of the renowned laboratory of plant nutrition founded by Dr. Hoagland at the University of California Berkley, determined the criteria that would ultimately ascertain if an inorganic mineral was required within a plant to be deemed an “essential element.”...

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Two rows of mature pecan trees separated by burgeoning cover crop.

Cover Crops—Cover up out there!

I have always wondered how many of us in the pecan industry utilize cover crops. Has there ever been a survey on this topic specifically for pecan production operations? I haven’t found any in my search, but there probably hasn’t ever been a formal one conducted across the entire pecan production belt. I bet if...

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Photo by Adult Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus, on a branch.

Pesky Pest, But Not a Threat

Adult Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus. Credit: David Cappaert, Bugwood.org.“Have you seen this before?” A common question that arises in early Spring as buds break and leaves unfold and development ensues. In late May and June, some pecan producers may even encounter nutlets with a tiny hole chewed out of it on one side. I wanted...

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A man grafts a new vaariety to the top of a pecan tree.

Successful Grafts Take a Careful Craft

Successfully grafting is a meticulous process that requires the producer to develop their craft. Before embarking on this mission, one should consider some essential factors when grafting or budding to propagate a pecan tree. Depending on the pecan growing region, orchard design, or planning phase, the pecan producer will choose a rootstock first—based on its...

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A young pecan tree with a short trunk that splits off into four branches. By training this tree, growers can help it establish a stable structure.

Training Pecan Trees, Setting Some Limits

From the words of late Chris Blanchard, creator of the “Farmer to Farmer” podcast and a MOSES Organic Farmer Conference organizer, “Farms are like two-year-olds. They’re very loud and very insistent about what they need and what they want. If you don’t set some limits, you’re going to be a slave to the two-year-old.” If...

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Accurate Diagnosis is Critical

Examine the rows upon rows of mature pecan trees in your orchard. Tall, sturdy with a full canopy, these trees may look close to perfect to an unfamiliar observer. But like with almost everything in life, once we enter the orchard, once we stand beneath the canopy, and once we look close enough at these...

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A row of trees have clusters of yellowed leaves.

Iron—Essential to Humans and to Pecans

All of us at some point in our attendance at various pecan industry events across the Pecan Belt have heard discussions of essential elements that are required by plants and especially those required to successfully grow pecan trees with relatively optimal yields, even though there may be some differences depending on the region where they’re...

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Catkins on a 'Wichita' pecan tree.

Pecan Flowering: Genesis of the Nut

One thing is for sure, just when you think you have something figured out, nature will turn around and show you differently. In my position thus far, I find myself making recommendations all the time, but I often have to remind myself not to make too specific generalizations for doing things one way across all...

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hands holding soil

The Soil is Alive

If you eliminate the other environmental factors (i.e., water, light, temperature), it could be agreed that growing an optimum crop with maximum yield potential is ultimately limited by the health and condition of the soil. This is especially true when your crop is a perennial crop like our pecan tree. After all, a healthy soil...

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An orchard in Arizona during the fall.

Colors of Fall, Colors of Health

Before I get into writing on another topic in pecans here, I want to take a moment and extend my deepest sympathy to our pecan friends who may have been injured or even worse affected by Hurricane Michael that swept through the lower southeastern pecan production region last month. One thing for sure, we all...

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No Holding Back, Good ‘Ole H20

Let’s face it. Fruiting is a high-stress event for any tree. If there are other stresses compounding this event, either this year’s fruit quality or next year’s performance will be impacted significantly. As a perennial crop, ultimately what you do this year sets that crop up for success or failure next year. However, there are...

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Grafting—Some Kind of Magic

In my experiences so far in the pecan industry, I have had the pleasure of meeting many fine folks with some outstanding skills. I just returned from the Western Pecan Growers Conference and added new friends to my contacts. It is fascinating to observe the many diverse skills some of us may acquire along our...

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The cotton square borer -- a fuzzy, green caterpillar -- crawls along a cluster of fruitlets. It has already eaten into several of the fruitlets.

An Unusual Insect: Just a Pest, Not a Threat

There is always “firsts” in the business of Cooperative Extension duties. First time seeing this. first time dealing with that. Back in early to mid-May, just after most catkins were dried up and the pecan female flower pollinated, I experienced a “first” while making farm visits with a certified Pest Control Advisor (PCA) and Certified...

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Transitioning from flood to micro irrigation

Recently I gave a presentation on transitioning to micro-irrigation at the Western Pecan Growers Association conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I thought I would present the same information here so that I can expand further on some of these considerations and reach some growers who may have missed the conference but are considering this...

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