Time to Read Your Trees

As the dawn of a new pecan season rises, there is a bit of a reason for optimism. Of course, every farmer, especially pecan farmers, is an eternal optimist, but it appears the weather pattern may be changing a bit. Areas have received rain and the landscape looks better, but lakes, rivers, and wells are...

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This mature pecan tree exhibits signs of stress as the extreme heat and drought continue this summer.

More Heat, More Tree Stress

The heat has been brutal in Texas for the last month or so, but then again, it is summer and supposed to be hot! Typically, pecan trees can take the heat if they have enough water. But now we see signs of stress even on 300-year-old native pecan trees. Most native pecans grow on great,...

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Sunlight bursts through a pecan orchard at dawn.

Let the Sunshine in This Growing Season

As we ponder the 2023 growing season, some serious concerns come to mind. Still, having said that, it is really nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to agriculture and the risks farmers take every year. Many times you have to wonder why they would do it. Reckon it is just something that gets...

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Bunches of bright green leaves grow amongst opening pecan shucks and dark, dying leaves.

What Happened to My Pecans?

Harvest is typically the culmination of a long, hard, strenuous growing season, and this year is no exception, as it was a brutally tough summer for many. Lack of rain and extreme temperatures, followed by an extensive outbreak of yellow aphids, was the norm in many areas. So, what should be an exciting moment in...

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It’s More Than a Lack of Water

We’ve made it through August, and the state of Texas is still immersed in a terrible drought. Typically, the quickest way out of such a situation is to talk about it, but we have been talking about it for months, and little has happened! Perhaps by the time you read this, the situation will have...

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A pecan tree with bunches of green leaves scattered about its canopy. Growers should remove this underperforming tree.

Water woes and tree removal go hand in hand

Like it or not, a new pecan “growing” year is well in hand, despite the continued numerous challenges faced by growers, including rising production costs and labor. Of utmost concern in my mind, though, is the ongoing drought. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, this drought engulfs about 89.5% of Texas and 44.38% of the...

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Pecan limbs and other brush have been piled up in a clear space between pecan trees. This brush pile will be burned later.

Thoughts for the 2022 crop and growing season

Hard to believe that another growing season is upon us, with spring right around the corner. For some, the coming growing season represents a chance at redemption after a miserable 2021 from the standpoint of a crop or management. One of the greatest challenges that growers face in the upcoming year is the skyrocketing costs...

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A picture of Dr. Jody Worthington

Remembering Dr. Josiah (Jody) Worthington

As has happened all too often in the last few years, another one of our premiere horticulturists has been called in for his next assignment. Apparently, the Good Lord was looking for help to rejuvenate the vast fruit gardens of heaven, and our own Dr. Josiah Wistar (Jody) Worthington was indeed the man for the...

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Bill Perry

Remembering Mr. Bill Perry

One of the few constants in life is death—something never easy to discuss, especially when it is a treasured family member or friend. Yet, it is important for us to remember those who went before us and not only made the world a better place but more than likely taught us a thing or two....

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A mature pecan tree with dense, green foliage stretches its branches toward the sky, which forms a deep blue background to this photo. To grow a better pecan crop, pecan producers should focus on leaves during dormant season.

Grow Leaves, Grow More Pecans

Perhaps you remember that well-known line from the poem “Twas The Night Before Christmas”—While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. This January, thoughts of lush, dark green leaves sprouting on your pecan trees should be dancing through your head. It’s somewhat hard to think about leaves in January, but growing leaves is exactly what...

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This tree has a very heavy crop load with many clusters with 4 to five shucks. The grower will need to thin these nuts to maintain their crop.

Getting a Handle on Your 2020 Crop

How can it be that it is harvest time once again? It seems that time is flying in these uncommon times! Still your pecan trees have carried on, despite the current challenges. Hopefully, you have been able to keep up with your tree management program and develop a plan to manage your crop load as...

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Here Comes the Sun

As a new pecan growing season begins in earnest, I hope you have your management plan for the new year firmly in your mind. Now is the time to think about the moments where you dropped the ball or the things you did not do so hot on. Perhaps you were late with a spray...

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Catkins hanging on a 'Sioux' pecan tree

Fertilizer Keeps this Season’s Optimism Alive

Still smarting from quality woes and lack of market activity this past growing season, producers are struggling to find optimism as the new growing season kicks off in earnest. I must admit that I too am struggling for optimism, but in reality, all farmers—whatever the crop—are eternal optimists. Why? Because we have some assurances that...

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Tree by Tree, Step by Step

What a difference a year makes as we get ready for another exciting growing season! Our winter to date has been totally different from last year with periods of extended cold, some ice and snow and cold fronts on a regular basis. After a year of virtually no chill, it appears that we will have...

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So, what happened to my pecans?

Hard to believe another year has come and gone, and with it, another pecan harvest of some pretty iffy pecans in some areas of the state. Although other folks had very good pecans, the norm for many areas of Texas has been only fair to good pecans. Please, please, don’t get me wrong. I am...

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When the Storm Ends, Cleanup Begins

The dawn of the 2017 pecan harvest is upon us. As usual, it has its own set of unique challenges, which must be dealt with depending on where you are before one could even think about harvesting. First and foremost, many pecan bottoms were flooded due to Hurricane Harvey, and the cleanup of the debris...

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Unique Winter and Early Spring Weather

The dawn of a new growing season is upon us once again; it really seems like we just finished the last season and here we go again. What a unique winter and early spring it has been—hardly cold in some areas, but still those areas had two arctic blasts and the cold from those spells...

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A Farewell Salute to Sammy Helmers

It is once again time to bid a final farewell to one of Extension Horticulture’s finest: Dr. Sammy G. Helmers. It seems the Good Lord was in need of a new “storyteller” and our own Dr. Helmers was called in for the job on Nov. 15, 2016. Since we are talking about our one and...

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Rain Can Bring Blessings and Challenges

Rain!!… what a beautiful thing… just seems to be too much at times. But, my, does it make things grow, especially pecans. It seems like we have been talking about drought and the devastation it was having on native trees along rivers and creeks that had gone dry forever, and today we are talking about...

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Dawn of Another Native Harvest Season

The dawn of a new harvest season is upon us; in fact, the varmints have already captured those early maturing native pecans. More times than not, they get them long before we even know they are ready. What a crazy year it has been again — starting off wet, almost too wet in some areas,...

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Bluefford Hancock – Pecans were his true love

I was privileged to have been hired by Mr. Bluefford G. Hancock, Extension Horticulture Project Group Leader Emeritus for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, better known as the Texas Agriculture Extension Service in his heyday. As Mr. Hancock often remarked, “When he started out he was the only one (Extension Horticulturist for Texas)”; and he...

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Crop is good but varmints lurk

Whew! Looks like we are going to make it! Yes, as harvest begins it appears that the crop is going to be good despite the weather challenges. Many growers related that they were not sure they could make another season if it didn’t rain soon last year (2013) and even though there has been a...

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Exercise caution with weed, brush control

Unexpected rains have been nice across much of the state; that, coupled with a very heavy bloom in native pecan bottoms, is cause for optimism even though a late freeze greatly reduced the crop load in some areas. However, pecan nut casebearer has been quite low to non-existent in many areas. So theoretically we should...

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2011 Pecan Shortcourse coming up Jan. 24-28

The annual Texas Pecan Orchard Management Shortcourse conducted by Texas AgriLife Extension Service will again be held (Jan. 24-28, 2011) on the Texas A&M Campus in College Station in Rudder Tower. If you are planning to plant trees, or have young trees or simply need a refresher course on growing pecans, this class should indeed...

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Native Crop Looks Good in Texas So Far

It is with a great deal of sadness and respect that I note the passing of Belding Farms pecan grower extraordinaire, Mr. Jim Bennett. The first time I visited Belding Farms I was not only intrigued with the trees, but the size of the operation and the smoothness with which it ran due to Mr....

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The Passing of a Legend: Dr. J. Benton Storey

All involved in the pecan industry are well aware of the work of Dr. James Benton Storey as he was not only a distinguished and internationally recognized Professor of Horticulture and taught the Nut Culture class, Hort 418, at Texas A&M, but also was the heart and soul of the Texas Pecan Growers Association. His...

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Prepare To Fertilize!

The drought of this past year and previous years is but a distant memory today in most folk’s minds as many completed harvest in and around rain events. It is hard to believe exactly how dry 2009 really was. When you get to doubting how dry it really was, all you need to do is...

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