Monday, August 4, 2014

Early ripening cultivars enter water stage

Goosepond 4 August 2014
    Cutting nuts open and checking on nut development during this first week in August gives me a pretty good idea when a cultivar will ripen in the fall. Today, I decided to look at several cultivars including cultivars new to our trials as well as some old standbys.  I took a photo of each cultivar that included a whole nut and nut cut in cross section that reveals the current stage of nut development. The photos were all taken using the same scale so you can judge differences in nut size between photos.
Lucas 4 August 2014
   Lucas and Goosepond were the most advanced in term of kernel development. These two cultivars are currently in the water stage pointing to a late September nut ripening date.

Mullahy 4 August 2014
     Mullahy had pushed kernel expansion to about three quarters of the way to the base of the shell. I expect Mullahy to ripen shortly after Goosepond and Lucas but still before the first of October.
    Next I found several cultivars at the one-half kernel expansion stage. These included Hark, Kanza, Major and Posey. These four cultivar should ripen during the first 10 days of October.
Hark 4 August 2014
    I was especially interested in seeing how Hark was developing compared to some of our better known cultivars. The original Hark tree is a seedling tree planted in Alexis, IL (a small town outside of Galesburg). However, the seed was originally collected from an orchard of grafted trees near Moberly, MO. The scaly bark of Hark is similar to  the bark of a Major tree which made me think that Hark may have had Major as one of its parents. Now that I have cut open a Hark and compared it to Major and Kanza (another Major progeny) my suspicions about Hark's ancestry has strengthened. However, simply sharing a similar stage of nut development doesn't prove Hark is related to Major. Posey was at a similar nut development stage and but has no genetic link to Major or Kanza.
    I think the most important thing I learned today about Hark is that, just because the original tree originated at the far northern limits of pecan culture, it doesn't mean that this cultivar will mature nuts super early.
   And finally, just to give you an idea of how far ahead our northern cultivars are as compared to a more southern cultivar, I cut open a Stuart pecan. By early August,  Stuart has just barely entered the nut expansion phase. Stuart won't ripen until early November and we might get a killing freeze before it splits shuck. 
Kanza 4 August 2014
Major 4 August 2014
Posey 4 August 2014

Stuart 4 August 2014