Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
During harvest, I picked up nuts from both 'Greenriver' and KSU-OF1 and I had trouble telling them apart. Both shells and kernels looked identical. Oh, boy! Could these 2 trees be that same cultivar? I think not. We have 'Greenriver' and KSU-OF1 grafted in the same cultivar trial block on the same seedling rootstock and the yield difference between the 2 clones was consistent--every KSU-OF1 tree had far more nuts than the 'Greenriver' trees. The yields were so different you could see it by just looking at the trees. Although closely related, KSU-OF1 is a definite improvement over 'Greenriver'.
As I told the folks at the Harvest Tour, I've decided on a name for KSU-OF1. This new pecan cultivar will be called 'Oswego'. I chose this name to honor one of the little towns in SE Kansas that is known for pecan production. You might remember I started this tradition for naming new pecan cultivars when I named 'Chetopa', originally tested under the name KS112,
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
These same kids went up to my wife's apple orchard later that day to learn about apple harvest. They returned to school loaded down with pecans and apples. This week they will be making apple crisp with the produce they picked themselves.
As nut growers, we all have a duty to teach the children in our communities how their food is grown. Just think of it as investing in future customers.
Monday, November 15, 2010
|2010 Kanza crop|
With the passage of time, 'Mohawk', 'Maramec' and 'Cheyenne' have all developed serious problems that make their status as "best cultivars to plant" questionable. 'Mohawk' trees have been cut down by the thousands because of severe over production problems. Maramec's problem is just the opposite--light yields make this a difficult tree to keep profitable. Down in Texas, 'Cheyenne' seems to be the most attractive cultivar for aphids driving production costs through the roof.
What I've learned from my colleagues is that there has never been or probably never will be the perfect pecan cultivar for growers to graft. With that said, every year I see 'Kanza' produce another crop of nuts (see photo above), I get more and more impressed with this cultivar. 'Kanza' ticks all the boxes for me--Scab resistant, annual production, good tree structure, outstanding kernel color and quality, and excellent shell out (mostly halves). Is 'Kanza' the perfect cultivar for northern pecan growers? I guess we'll see in 30 years.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
I was out talking photos of different pecan cultivars when I spotted a Pawnee nut suspended from the shuck (photo at left). I like this kind of photo because it portraits the action of nuts falling out of the husk when the nuts are fully ripe. But this photo also tells the story of the importance the shuck to nut development. Look carefully at the fibers than are holding this Pawnee nut suspended from the shuck. These fibers are part of the vascular system that lines the inside of the shuck and are attached to the base of the nut. A healthy vascular system is critical for nutrients (minerals and carbohydrates) to be transported from the tree to the developing seed (pecan). The fibers you see in this photo represent only 1/2 of the shuck's vascular system. A networks of vascular bundles also covers the outside of the husk. When visualizing the vascular system of the shuck as a whole, start at the base of the nut where it is attached to the tree. The flow of nutrients from the tree into the nut starts through the outer vascular bundles towards the tip of the nut. Once the nutrients arrive at the tip of the nut they travel through the inner vascular bundles to the base of the shell. All the water, minerals, and carbohydrates needed to build pecan kernel enter the nut through vascular connections at the base on the shell. So it is easy to see that any pest that damages the husk of the nut will reduce kernel fill.
Monday, November 1, 2010
We now have our answer. In the photo at left you can see the shadow of large limbs that had be snapped off during the ice storm. From those broken limbs, new sprouts have emerged, first shooting straight up, but with time, developing many short side branches. This year, the third growing season after the storm, we are seeing nut production on the side shoots of new wood grown since Dec 2007.
Our recovery plan for getting back into nut production following the ice storm was simple. Keep doing what we always have done. That means we maintained our normal fertilizer program and continued to control insects and diseases as needed. Each year we apply 150lbs urea/acre plus 100 lbs potash/acre over the entire pecan grove around March 1. We add an additional 100 lbs urea/acre to the grove shortly after October 1. We have continued using early season fungicide sprays( in June) to maintain leaf health. We have also controlled all insect pests when they appeared. The key was to keep the trees in good condition so they could grow new, nut-bearing limbs that will replace those limbs lost in the ice storm.