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...

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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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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...

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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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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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