By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager
Normally bud break occurs in pecan trees around April 1, and this year is no exception.
If you visit the farm soon and take the Saturday Orchard Tour, you’ll notice a hint of green in the tree canopy and a veritable sea of green on the orchard floor. Indeed, with the frequent rains we’ve been enjoying, the native rye and rescue grass is lush. But tall grass in the orchard right now is not a bad thing.
All that vegetation is organic matter, future food for the soil microbes. Soon, it will die in the summer heat and decompose. The resulting increase in microbial activity will help unlock nutrients in the soil for the pecan trees to use.
We’ll mow and manage the grass later in the pecan growing season. As the summer grasses grow and take over, we’ll need to stop them from competing with the trees for available water. But right now we’re pleased with the knee-high grass and are thankful for the rains, because when the heat of summer arrives, that water source will dry up.
While the trees are working hard to grow new pecans, they’ll need as much water, food, and sunlight as we can give them (maybe more).