Thursday, October 20, 2016
The date a pecan cultivar splits its shuck is an important indicator of how well that cultivar is adapted to the climate at a particular location. However, pecan maturation does not stop at shuck split. A pecan does not become fully mature and achieve full flavor until the kernel dries down to under 12% moisture. To demonstrate how pecan kernels change as they dry, I harvested some Stuart and Kanza nuts (photo above). The Stuart nuts were loose in the shuck but the shuck had yet to split open. The nuts inside the Stuart shucks are still at their maximum moisture content. Kanza nuts split shuck 3 weeks ago and the nuts inside have begun to dry down.
The obvious difference between these two cultivars was kernel color and appearance. The high moisture Stuart nut was white and covered in brown fuzz. The shell packing material in the dorsal groves was a sticky mess. The Kanza kernel appeared to have normal color and the packing material fell free of the kernel.
Looking at these two pecan cultivars gives us a pretty good idea of how pecan kernels mature after shuck-split. The drying process helps the kernel separate from the shell and all internal packing material. The outside of the kernel dries to a golden brown color. Full pecan flavor is achieved only when kernels dry down to less than 12% moisture.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
In the past, many growers have asked how I handle the fertilization of young trees. As the photo above shows, my approach has been to use conventional fertilizer spreading equipment to cover the entire orchard floor with fertilizer. Even though the trees look small on top, these 4 to 6 inch diameter trees have root systems that extend outwards twice the height of the tree. By spreading the fertilizer over the entire grove, I hope to encourage additional lateral root growth to help the tree be even more efficient in mining the soil for water and nutrients.
Of course, the added nitrogen will also stimulate the ground cover to grow like crazy. But the way I look it, I'm actually growing a green manure crop right in the orchard. Every time I mow the ground cover, I'm adding tons of organic matter back to the soil. Soil organic matter helps build soil structure, improves water availability, and makes micro-nutrients (including zinc) more available to the tree.
Monday, October 17, 2016
|Giles, 17 Oct. 2106|
Note that Giles, Chetopa, Maramec, Caddo, and Dooley have scab lesions on their shucks. Scab has reduced nut size and prevented normal shuck-split of Dooley especially. Greenriver, Lakota, Oswego, and Oconee are scab free.
|Chetopa, 17 Oct. 2106|
|Greenriver, 17 Oct. 2016|
|Lakota, 17 Oct. 2106|
|Oswego, 17 Oct. 2106|
|Maramec, 17 Oct. 2016|
|Caddo, 17 Oct. 2016|
|Dooley, 17 Oct. 2016|
|Oconee, 17 Oct. 2016|