Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tree age and drought stress.
In the photo above, the leaf on the left is from the older, larger tree while the leaf on the right was pulled from the young tree. Both leaves were taken from the mid portion of this year's growth. The smaller leaves on the younger tree were also lighter green.
previous post, I mentioned that young trees often produce smaller pecans than mature trees. But this year, the effect will be exaggerated by the drought.
The smaller leaves and nuts found on young trees is an above ground reflection of the fact that the tree has not yet developed a large enough root system to dominate its surroundings. A tree with a limited root system has a harder time competing for water and nutrients. Less water and nitrogen means smaller, lighter green leaves and much smaller pecans at harvest.
Have you ever wondered why young trees respond so well to weed control while older trees seem to tolerate ground cover plants growing right up to the trunk?. It all about becoming the dominate plant in the landscape. From my experience, pecan trees become dominate when the reach 10-12 inches in diameter.