2001 Pecan Management Calendar For Texas
By Dr. George Ray McEachern, Extension Horticulturist
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2134
Pecan growers can be optimistic about the 2001 season and there is good reason: we have had a very cool but not extremely cold winter and we have had good rains over most of the state. The 2000 season was very short, so we are expecting a good crop this year. This calendar can be a guide in planning management steps for the up coming season.
- Clean up the orchard, shop, barn, and equipment.
- Collect and store graft wood in poly bags at 45 degrees F until needed in April and May.
- Prune all narrow "V" trunks by removing one trunk, the younger the tree, the better.
- Finalize records for year 2000 crop and expenses.
- Plant young trees only on deep well drained soil with irrigation, cut tree l/2, add bywall grow tube.
- Select, mark, and remove crowded trees as limbs touch, contract for firewood or BBQ wood.
- Select and cut back the best central leader on 2,3, or 4 year old trees, and remove other shoots at top.
- Tip prune very vigorous side shoots, to avoid crows feet on 4 or 5 year old trees.
- Remove l" or larger shoots from the lower trunk of 4 or 5 year old trees for shaker space.
- Trunk suckers should be removed below last year's grafts.
- Spray herbicide strip down row for large trees to kill overwintering weeds, before bud break.
- Spray herbicide strip or circle around young trees, using bywall grow tubes for trunk protection.
- Check out irrigation system for freeze damage.
- Get tractors and sprayers ready before the big April and May rush.
- At bud break begin weekly foliar zinc sprays on young or bearing trees, spray only until wet.
- Fertilize mature trees with 50 lbs of N per acre during the 4th week of April.
- Fertilize young trees, beginning the second year, every two weeks with small applications of N.
- Irrigate weekly if rains do not occur, caution do not saturate the soil with excess water.
- Grafting begins when bark slips with new growth, using grafts collected dormant in February.
- If frequent rains occur, spray with fungicide on bearing trees to prevent pecan scab growth.
- Continue irrigation weekly according to soil water-holding capacity, tree use, and avoid soil water saturation by using short cycles.
- Monitor pecan nut casebearer pheromone traps daily.
- Record and plot all casebearer counts to determine if a spray is needed. The spray window is 12-16 days after the first good moth catch.
- Sample 10 nut clusters on 32 trees (320 clusters) daily and count eggs. If two or more clusters have eggs, then 10% of the nuts will be infested and lost.
- Crop size should be determined by counting the number with cluster out of 10 shoots per tree, if 3 of 10 shoots have nuts the crop is low; 5 of 10 is a good crop, and 7 of 10 is heavy.
- Fertilize the second time with 50 lbs of N per acre on mature trees down the tree row in the weed free herbicide strip.
- Spray the 4th foliar zinc spray to mature trees, continue every two weeks on young trees if they are growing fast, if young trees are not growing, stop the zinc sprays.
- Spray for the pecan nut casebearer only if needed according to sampling and crop size, then cover entire orchard at peak insecticide effectiveness.
- Spray 2nd herbicide strip down tree row when weeds are 10" tall.
- Continue grafting as long as bark slips.
- Frequent rains require fungicide sprays for pecan scab prevention on susceptible varieties.
- Spray the 5th and final foliar zinc spray to mature trees, continue every two weeks for young trees.
- Scout for 2nd generation pecan nut casebearer, spray insecticide only if needed.
- Fertilize mature bearing trees with 50 lbs N per acre only if a good or heavy crop is set.
- Fertilize the last time for young trees to insure stoppage of growth in September and no freeze damage in October or December.
- Irrigate weekly if no rains occur to increase nut size on bearing trees; double water to young trees.
- Frequent rains require fungicide sprays for scab prevention.
- Count terminals with clusters for crop estimate for nut thinning and continued fertilizer.
- Nut-thin trees with a heavy crop by trunk shaking trees with crop size of 7,8,9 or 10 shoots with clusters. Do not delay because early nut thinning is best as it reduces excessive crop load, increases percent kernel, and insures a return crop next year.
- Irrigate weekly if no rains occur to prevent water stage nut drop; continue water to young trees.
- Fertilize with 25 lbs N per acre on all mature trees with a good crop or more.
- Spray the last foliar zinc spray onto young trees to begin slowing down growth.
- Continue to nut thin all trees with a heavy crop.
- Continue to irrigate weekly to reduce tree stress and insure nut filling and normal shuck opening.
- Continue to irrigate young trees at a reduced volume to slow growth.
- Apply 3rd herbicide strip down mature tree row or around young trees keeping it off foliage.
- Fertilize with 25 lbs of N per acre on all mature trees with a good crop or more.
- Monitor for shuck worm, stink bug, and black aphid, and spray only if needed.
- Place pecan weevil traps under target trees; if heavy emergence occurs, spray to protect nut in the gel-dough stage if needed.
- Continue to irrigate weekly to reduce stress, continue kernel filling, and insure shuck opening.
- Stop irrigating young trees to stop growth and prepare for first freeze.
- Apply herbicide if not used in August to maximize water use by the trees.
- Begin cleaning orchard floor in preparation for harvest.
- Service harvesting and cleaning equipment for harvest.
- Contact more than one buyer for estimate on crop size, quality and prices to be paid.
- Prepare equipment for crow, squirrel, and raccoon management; also plan to prevent human theft.
- Continue to irrigate weekly until shuck split, late season irrigation is the most important of year.
- Harvest nuts as soon as shucks begin to open for best early prices, two shakes may be needed for the entire crop, and all nuts need to be harvested in only 8 weeks or December 7th.
- Early season nuts need to be dried as soon as possible to insure good kernel color.
- Continue to visit with buyers.
- Collect 40 nut samples of each variety from best trees for entry in county pecan show.
- Grade nuts for optimum pricing; record percent edible kernel, size, and nut color; all kernels with flaws should not be used, and collect nuts at random to insure a fair grade.
- Guard for human theft and continue to fight crows, squirrels, raccoons, and turkey.
- Continue harvest, cleaning, drying, and marketing pecans by grade as soon as possible.
- Have nuts contract shelled for holiday retail sales at the orchard by November 14th.
- Continue to grade each variety in every load for determining optimum price with buyers.
- Locally advertise your crop according to volume, quality, grade, freshness, availability, and price.
- Finish harvest as soon as possible or by December 7th for ideal holiday prices.
- Drain all sprayer pumps and irrigation equipment to prevent freeze damage.
- Finalize record keeping for the season while all cost and expenses can be remembered.
Web page construction by Jill Stavenhagen.