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In the Pecan Orchard: December 2017

Unusual things are happening here on the farm! LEAVES! It’s December and the leaves are still on the trees! That is most unusual.

In one respect that’s good, though. Some of those leaves are still producing food for the trees through the process of photosynthesis. The trees are slowly going dormant as evidenced by the sparse foliage at the top of the trees but the lower canopy is still working. Even though the trees still need a number of hours of chilling (45 degrees or cooler) in order to flower well next spring the bulk of winter is still ahead so there is still time for that.

Another unusual thing that’s happening on the farm is that harvest is over EARLY. Normally we are still picking up pecans in January but the weather has treated us well this fall and we covered the acres quickly. That means we are getting a jump on our next big project, hedging.

Pecan trees want to get big….really big. If we let that happen at our current spacing the limbs would intermingle and shade each other out. The foliage would be sparse and photosynthesis would diminish virtually starving the tree. Nut production would go to zero. We can’t let that happen so we prune the limbs back.

This type of pruning causes shoots to develop deep within the canopy, all the way down to the trunk. Those leafy shoots become nut-producing shoots in two years. Our regular hedging program ensures top production for each tree.

Though the Saturday tours cover only a fraction of our 500 acres there is a chance you might get to see the hedger working this month. Besides, the Christmas season is a wonderful time to enjoy the orchard and the cultivated beauty God has allowed us to care for.

Merry Christmas!!

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