Four years ago I laid out a tree thinning plan that maps out which trees will be removed and which will stay. At that time, only trees in the northeast corner of the block were actually starting to crowd so I decided to starting removing trees on a as-needed basis. Each year we measure tree diameter then use that information to determine which areas within the orchard might need thinning next. We have been removing 5 to 7 trees per year since 2012. Yesterday we cut down 7 trees.
Thinning a pecan orchard over a period of several years offers several real advantages over thinning the entire planting at one time.
- the impact of tree removal on total orchard yield is minimized.
- tree removal costs are spread out over time.
- trees are removed before overcrowding can cause limb loss and yield reduction.