For some reason, the normal timing of pecan fruit development is a little off this year. Today, I collected nut samples from several cultivars and cut them open to check on kernel development. The first two cultivars I looked at were Pawnee and Kanza (photo at right). The Pawnee kernel is at 1/2 water stage while the Kanza kernel was nearing the full water stage. This year our Pawnee nuts seem to be developing about 10 days behind a normal year while Kanza is right on schedule. I have no logical explanation for this observation and it make me wonder if Kanza will split shuck before Pawnee this year.
Next, I cut open nuts from three well known northern pecan cultivars (photo at left). Of these three, Mullahy was most advanced with full kernel expansion and a trace of kernel deposition. Peruque is at full water stage while the Colby kernel was three quarters expanded. When I cut these nuts open, I found the shells of Peruque and Mullahy were starting to harden while the Colby shell was still soft and easily cut.
I cut open two cultivars that normally ripen at similar times as Kanza and Pawnee. Hark usually splits shuck at the same time as Kanza. However, this year Hark kernel development is well behind the Kanza nut shown above. Judging from the current state of nut development, Hark will ripen later than Kanza this Fall.
Posey usually splits shuck at the same time as Pawnee in early October. When you compare the development stage of Posey to Pawnee this year, the kernels are very similar. Posey and Pawnee should ripen together again this Fall.
The final comparison I made was between Lakota and Giles. Typically, these two cultivars share a similar ripening date in mid-October. However, this year Lakota looks to be about a week ahead of Giles in terms of kernel development. It will be interesting to see how ripening dates for these two cultivars compare this Fall.