Tuesday, October 2, 2018

When is shuck split?

   While looking over trees in my orchard, I came across a young tree grafted to USDA 64-4-2. This is the third year after grafting and this tree was already setting on nuts. So I pulled down some lower limbs in the hopes of determining a shuck split date for this clone. However, I found two clusters in very different ripening stages. One cluster was fully open and appeared to be well on the way to shuck drying and nut release (photo above). Another cluster just one foot away on the same trees had not yet split shuck. Now, I was curious. Which cluster is more typical for the clone USDA 64-4-2?

USDA 64-4-2 not split yet
   I drove down to the old experiment station to check on the development of this clone on a more mature tree. On this tree, the shucks had yet to open (photo at left). I used my pocket knife to peel off the shuck and found that USDA 64-4-2 is very close to popping open. Last year this clone ripened just 2 days after Kanza. This year it will probably be closer to 4 days after Kanza.
   My observations on USDA 64-4-2 this fall confirms my long held belief pecan trees need to gain a little maturity before their true phenological characteristics become consistent and typical for that cultivar.