Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pecan seedlings produce simple leaves

    In yesterday's post on growing pecan trees in containers, I presented a photo of nicely-growing, tree seedlings. A copy of that photo is published at right.  Look closely and you'll see that the leaves on these trees don't look like the compound leaves we usually see produced by pecan trees.  The leaves on these seedling trees are simple, appearing as a single elliptical leaf. Are they really pecan trees?
   The answer is yes! The first few leaves produced by emerging pecan seedlings are always single bladed. Today, I took a photo of one of my seedling pecan trees (still in the pot) and a normal compound leaf pulled from a three-year-old seedling (photo at right). The leaves don't even look like they come from the same species of tree. However, the seedling in the container will begin to produce compound leaves as it continues to grow. The first compound leaf might have just 3 leaflets, but as additional leaves are produced the number of leaflets will increase.  Eventually, my container grown seedlings will starting looking like "normal" pecan trees.