A look at feeder roots in the soil. These thin, hairlike roots stretch throughout the soil in clumps and tangles.

Pecan Roots—A Sight Unseen

Our eyes are one of our best tools for learning about our trees. It’s a relatively simple thing to see what’s going on in a tree canopy, but it’s a much more difficult process to see what’s going on underground with the tree’s root system. More than that, usually, when we look at roots, we...

Read more
Two trucks transplant young pecan trees to this sandy field.

Alternate Bearing Considerations for the West

Some fruit and nut tree species are famous for their alternate bearing, their tendency to swing back and forth every other season between really heavy (‘on’) crop loads and really light (‘off’) crop loads. You can see this kind of thing with apples, citrus, pistachios, olives, and avocados, among others. And, of course, you can...

Read more
Irrigation water runs between two rows of pecan trees. Trees water demand increases as the season advances.

The Downsides of Overwatering Pecans

When it comes to irrigation scheduling, we tend to talk most often about how important it is to make sure that irrigation water is applied in sufficient volumes and frequently enough to meet the consumptive demand or evapotranspiration (“ET”) of our pecan orchards. And there is no doubt that that is a really big deal!...

Read more
A tree split into a y-shape near the orchard floor. Training young pecan trees is one important winter activity growers should think about after harvest.

Pecan Winter Activities for Western Orchards

After the dusty whirlwind of harvest passes, outsiders may easily think it’s finally time to take a little break from pecan orchard activities. There is a certain amount of truth in that. After all, the trees are dormant. It looks so quiet and peaceful. The constant hum of zinc sprays, irrigation, insect pest control, and...

Read more
Microsprinklers water a tree.

Micro-Irrigation versus Flood Irrigation

Basin flood irrigation remains popular in some of the traditional pecan growing areas of the western region, but increasingly producers are making use of micro-irrigation. Recently I wrote an article in Pecan South about timing your irrigation events if you are using a basin flood irrigation system. In this article here, I will compare and...

Read more

Your Pecan Tree’s Piggy Bank & Water Budgeting

As we move into the 2020 growing season, we should take some time to discuss how to know when to irrigate and how to know how much water to apply—irrigation scheduling. There are several different methods that growers can use to schedule irrigations, some better than others. Some producers may prefer the completely non-scientific approaches,...

Read more

Pecan Trees Prepare to Face Winter Head-On

Winter can be horrible news for plants, even here in the “balmy” Southwest. The days get shorter and sunlight intensity decreases as we approach winter, making photosynthesis tougher and tougher. In addition, plants have no choice but to slow all activities way down as temperatures dip, since the rates of a plant’s metabolic processes are...

Read more

Reflect, Recognize, Resolve

The end of December is always a time of personal retrospection, looking back on the year to see what went as planned and what didn’t; what was accomplished and what wasn’t. It’s a time to think about ways we did things just right or mistakes we made and how we’re going to make next year...

Read more

What’s the Scoop on Nitrogen?

Nitrogen is a “building block” of a vast array of plant biochemicals. To farm pecans successfully, you probably don’t need to know the names of all of these, but you’ve definitely already heard of some of them: – amino acids and proteins: including enzymes that make all of the biological processes in the plant actually...

Read more

Mechanical Pruning in the West

It has become abundantly clear in the past 10 years that mechanical topping and siding (hedging or mechanical pruning) is the best method currently available for light management in pecan orchards in the West. People have been experimenting with numerous different strategies for mechanical pruning for a very long time. In particular, I think we...

Read more

The “Other” Micronutrients

It is well known that most pecan orchards, especially out here in the West, require zinc fertilizers for normal leaf expansion, shoot growth, and nut production. And in the past five years or so, most pecan growers have become proficient at spotting the telltale signs of nickel deficiency. But very rarely do they discuss other...

Read more

Stressing Out

No doubt a few of us have experienced firsthand how a “stressful” lifestyle — maybe worries about the economy or the kids — is bad news for our own health. Horticulturists and orchard managers also often speak about minimizing “stress” in our orchards so that we can maximize tree performance (and hopefully lower our own...

Read more

Managing Crowding of Orchards in the West

Pecan trees LOVE the light. That’s really all there is to it. In their native habitat, young pecan trees can rapidly grow to great heights if given a nice patch of sunlight — then once they’ve surpassed all the other surrounding trees in height, they’ve got it made in the sun, so to speak. But...

Read more

Irrigation Scheduling Using Soil Moisture Monitoring

I think just about everyone in the pecan industry already knows that maintaining water status in orchards is of utmost importance for consistently producing top pecan nut yields and top pecan nut quality. When trees become water stressed, photosynthesis slows, shoot growth stops, nuts drop, and the remaining kernels don’t fully fill—all bad things if...

Read more