Thursday, April 4, 2013

Late spring in the pecan grove

    It looks like we are going to have a late Spring in 2013. This afternoon the sun finally broke through the clouds and I went out to the pecan grove to check on bud development. Our trees seem to be in a holding pattern waiting for warmer weather. The photo at right is a Lakota terminal that shows the first signs of spring bud swell--a stage we call outer scale split. This photo was taken today but our trees were in the exactly same stage of bud development 2 1/2 weeks ago when we fertilized our pecan grove.
    It is  interesting to compare the timing of this year's bud development to the early spring we experienced in 2012. On March 26, 2012 I was photographing pecan trees that had buds in much later stages of bud development; from inner scale split to leaf expansion. Last year spring came 3 weeks early, this year things are going to leaf out late. How late?  We will have to see.
    One thing I know is that hickories and pecan/hickory hybrids (hicans) generally break bud 7 to 10 days before pecan. So I decided to check on the hickories. My first stop was a Grainger shagbark hickory (photo at left). This true hickory had also entered the outer scale split stage but showed no signs for further bud development.
Interestingly, our Henke hican had not even started bud swell and was still fully dormant (photo at right). I wonder if this will be one of those unusual years when pecans and hickories break bud and flower at the same time. We know that it is possible for pecan and hickory pollination to coincide at times because that is how naturally occurring hybrids develop.