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In the Pecan Orchard: August 2017

By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager

The growing season for pecans lasts for six months beginning in April and ending in September. August marks the start of the final third of that season, but it is not a time to let up because the quality of the pecan kernels are determined during this last part of the growing season.

Row of Wichitia trees at Royalty Pecan Farms

Up until now we at Royalty Pecan Farms have successfully protected the trees from a variety of insects and diseases. We have managed the orchard floor well to minimize competition between the trees and weeds for the available food and water. By this time in the growing season, the nuts have expanded to their full size and the shell is formed.

The photo below shows what the nuts look like inside their green shucks right now. The variety shown here is Pawnee, a popular pecan variety due to its typically large size and rich flavor.

View inside a Pawnee pecan nut at the end of summer

Two more things need to happen to assure quality kernels in the fall: sufficient water and plenty of sunlight.

Without ample rainfall we are irrigating 24/7. Every tree gets a drink every ten days or less. Without water during the month of August the kernels will be thin in October.

Sunlight drives the photosynthetic engine, which is the mechanism that generates food for the trees. Without ample sunlight that engine slows down and the pecan kernels starve for nutrients. Our stellar hedging program assures that an adequate amount of sunlight surrounds every tree.

Sunlight shining through the orchard canopy at Royalty Pecan Farms

Prior to August, the nuts have attained their maximum size. While we can't make the nuts larger at this point, we can help the edible kernels become as full as possible. Now is the time we focus on the high quality you have come to expect from Royalty Pecans, and we are looking forward to a bountiful crop!