Friday, April 3, 2015

Pecan trees breaking bud

    All week, I've been watching pecan trees as the buds start to swell and the first signs of new green growth appear. What I've noticed is that not all pecan trees break bud at the same time. I'm not talking about the timing of pecan budbreak in Texas vs. trees growing in Kansas. The differences I've noticed this week have been among trees all growing in my local area.    
    Earlier this week, I noticed that the Kanza trees growing on my farm had buds that had split open to reveal just the first glimpse of green tissue. With my interest peaked, I immediately went down to the Pecan Field to check on the progress of Kanza trees at that location. What I found were Kanza trees with buds showing just the initial signs of bud development (photo at right).                    Here was the perfect example of how soil type can impact on early spring tree growth. The tree on my farm is growing in a Cherokee silt loam soil. The tree at the Pecan Field is growing in a Osage silty clay. The lighter the soil texture, the faster a soil warms up in the spring. Spring root growth is stimulated by warm soil temperatures and once the roots start to grow, bud growth follows shortly there after.
    In walking around the Pecan Field today, I spotted the obvious differences in bud development among pecan cultivars (photo above). Greenriver seems to be among the earliest trees to break bud while Chetopa was just barely splitting the outer scale.  By the time we get to pollination and nut set, the differences in budbreak date I observed today, will be totally indistinguishable.  However, all you need to remember is that last year we had a late spring frost that injured early leafing trees far more than the late leafing trees.