Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stalked buds and branch attachment

    I mentioned the term "stalked bud" in my last post and this morning I thought it might be a good idea to show you exacting what a stalked bud on pecan trees look like. The development of stalked buds is most prominent on fast growing trees, so my hunt for buds to photograph started in our scion wood block. The trees in the scionwood block are severely cut back every spring to provide scionwood to growers across the area. This means that trees grow extremely fast in response to the heavy pruning often creating lots of stalked buds. The photo at left was taken  of a Colby tree. In the photo, you can plainly see the green leaf scar on the stem. Above the leaf scar is the secondary bud and above that is a "stalked" primary bud. Stalked buds are not usually associated with the Colby cultivar but under the right growing conditions any cultivar can produce stalked buds.

    On that same Colby tree, I noted a stalked bud that had begun to grow into a side shoot. In the photo at right, the leaf petiole is still attached to the branch. Above the petiole is the secondary bud and above that is the stalked bud that has started to grow into a side shoot. This shoot was about 8 inches long and you can already see the development of a bark crevice on the upper side of the branch attachment. This crevice will only get more prominent and deeper with each passing growing season. So when I'm doing summer pruning of young trees, I always make sure I remove all stalked buds as soon as I see them. It seems so much easier to pinch out a stalked bud than try to prune out a branch with poor branch attachment 3-4 years down the road.