By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager
Pecan production, and farming in general, is an annual event. That is, we don’t do the same thing day after day all year long. The season begins with activities that get the crop started in the spring then gradually transition into different activities of caring for the crop during the growth phase culminating in the final activity of harvest and marketing.
It’s June and we are entering the long days of heat and humidity. People may wonder what in the world a pecan farmer does to stay busy during this phase of the production season. Well, the answer is … plenty.
If you consider that the pecan nut is the seed of the plant (the offspring), then it makes sense that a majority of the tree’s energy is devoted to producing viable seeds. The only way a tree can produce energy is through the process of photosynthesis. That means healthy leaves are critical.
Much of our focus during the hot summer is to facilitate the production of big healthy leaves through foliar application of nutrients. Zinc is absolutely critical to healthy pecan foliage. Without sufficient amount of Zinc, leaves are small and narrow. Not a very good solar panel for producing food. Other elements are also important so we have a strong foliar feeding program. We feed the trees in this way every two weeks all summer long.
But that’s not all that has to happen during the summer. Next time I’ll discuss the importance of supplemental water and maintenance of the orchard floor.