Between the flood earlier this week and a soaking rain today, its been difficult to get out to the Pecan Experiment Field to check on pecan ripening. However, I was able to collect some nut samples from trees on my farm. When I collect samples, I like to pull nuts right out of split shucks to ensure that I get the right nuts in each sample bag. While collecting samples, I was surprised to find Hark has an extremely thick shuck (photo at right).
But Hark is not the only pecan cultivar with this kind of thick shuck. I also collected nuts from Kanza and Yates 68 and found thick shucks covering both cultivars (photos at left).
All of three of these cultivars (Hark, Kanza, and Yates 68) have a common parent--Major. The photo at right shows Major pecan also surrounded by a thick shuck. Close inspection of these four cultivars reveals other common cultivar characteristics. The nuts appear more rounded than many pecan cultivars and the outside of the shells are dotted with fine black speckles. When these thick shucks split, they do do not pull back away from the nut. This results in nuts being firmly held in the tree until a hard freeze kills the shuck and the tree is given a good hard shake.