Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Cultivars that ripen on the same day as Pawnee

Pawnee, 27 Sept. 2023.
     Pawnee is one of the most popular pecan cultivars adapted to short season climates (photo at right). Large nut size and early ripening are the main positive cultivar characteristics for Pawnee. Severe susceptibility to pecan scan disease is the primary production drawback.

     Since Pawnee is so widely known by pecan growers across the nation, I think it is important to look at a few other cultivars that ripened on the same day as Pawnee (photos below) This year, my Pawnee trees split shuck on 27 Sept. 2023.

Gardner, 27 Sept. 2023

Waccamaw, 27 Sept. 2023

Cultivar Notes:

1. Gardner was found as a chance seedling in Gardner Kansas. This cultivar is very similar in size and appearance to Pawnee but I prefer the nut quality of Gardner over Pawnee. Gardner is susceptible to pecan scab but is not as severely effected as Pawnee.

2. Waccamaw originated as a chance seedling grown in Golden City, MO. Waccamaw nuts are similar in size to Pawnee. I'm still evaluating this cultivar for its reaction to the pecan scab fungus.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Pecan shuck split dates for of early ripening cultivars

     This fall, timely rain showers have helped pop open pecan shucks on a more normal schedule. Over the past week,  I've been photographing each cultivar on the day I find at least 50% of nut shucks on the tree split open. Below you will find photos of named cultivars, USDA advanced selections, and a few numbered selections from my breeding project. 


Caney, 22 Sept. 2023

USDA 92-2-148, 22 Sept. 2023

KT121, 22 Sept. 2023

Liberty, 23 Sept. 2023

USDA 61-1-X, 23 Sept. 2023

Thayer, 25 Sept. 2023

KT307, 25 Sept. 2023

Notes on cultivars shown above:

1) Caney, Liberty, and Thayer are cultivars I've named from my pecan breeding project. Caney was tested as KT129, Liberty was tested as KT316, and Thayer was tested as KT255.

2) the two USDA clones have not been named and may never be given names. 

3) the clones KT121 and KT307 are from my breeding project. At this point, I'm still evaluating them but they look promising. All of my breeding selections are labeled starting with KT which is simply short for Kansas Tree.  The numbers denote the row and tree number in my pecan breeding block.

4) I've decided to name all my pecan cultivars in honor of small rural towns located in SE Kansas.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Strong thunderstorms roll through the area

      During the summers of 2022 and 2023 we suffered through extremely dry conditions in our area. However, last night we finally received some much needed relief. This morning I dumped 2.98 inches of water out of my rain gauge. Unfortunately, the strong thunderstorms that brought us the rain also came with extremely strong winds. Besides waking up to rain puddles and mud, I discovered several trees had broken limbs. In most cases, the wind broke just a single limb (photo at right). With a single limb broken, corrective pruning was simple; I just cut off the damaged limb at the point it was attached to the trunk.

   However, not every tree was easy to fix. The top of this tree (pictured at left) fractured and broke in 2 places, completely removing all leaf and nut bearing limbs. I could prune off the broken limbs but I'd be left with nothing but the trunk. Even if the exposed trunk resprouts new shoots next year, I've found that naked trunks quickly get attacked by wood-boring insects and wood rotting fungi. Ultimately, the tree would never regain a healthy condition. So in this case, I'll remove the entire tree and replant with a new tree this fall.
     Most of the limbs that broke out of my trees were one half of a narrow branch angle (photo at right). This fall I cut off the broken half of the narrow crotch but left the other half to mature its nut crop. With harvest a little over a month away, I want to maximize the number of nuts I collect this fall. The standing half remains in a much weakened condition which means that after harvest I'll need to prune out the rest this damaged branch. If left un-pruned,  the standing half has a high probability of snapping off during the next strong storm.

   Damage to the entire orchard was light. I took the photo above to show you the task I was faced with this morning. You'll note one severely broken tree and one with a single broken limb. However, the remaining trees in the background did not suffer any limb breakage. It took me about 3 hours to drive around and prune off broken limbs on 30 acres of pecan trees. Once the soil dries up, I'll go back with my tractor and grapple to pick up pruned limbs and haul them off to the brush pile.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Earlton: First cultivar to ripen in 2023

Earlton, 15 Sept. 2023

     It has been a long hot summer with just barely enough rainfall to produce a pecan crop.  Our dry summer weather has created smaller than normal pecans with some kernel filling issues. However, this year my pecans seem to be ripening normally. As expected, Earlton was the first cultivar in my orchard to split shuck (photo at right). Earlton originated from my pecan breeding project and is the result of a controlled cross between  Pawnee and Greenriver.

    The first pecan tree to ripen in any pecan grove often suffers from immense wildlife pressure. While I was collecting a nut sample from Earlton, I spotted the tell-tale signs that a bushy-tailed thief had stolen a pecan right out of the shuck (photo at left). Note that a portion of the shuck was chewed off to allow better access to a fully ripened pecan (now gone).

    On closer inspection I noted a pile of shucks at the base of the tree (photo at right). Squirrels often cut off an entire nut cluster then bring the cluster down to the base of the tree to remove the shucks. Once they free a pecan from the shuck they scamper back up the tree with the pecan to eat the nut or cache it away for future use. They definitely don't take the time to eat the pecan while on the ground; That would put them in danger of being eaten themselves by a hawk, owl, or coyote. Note that you can't see any shell fragments amonst the green shucks. It clear all these pecans where taken elsewhere.

   I will be checking nut ripening 3 times per week this fall. It will be interesting to see how the other cultivars in my orchard split their shucks in comparison to previous years.