By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager
The long days of harvest are over but we are still working the same long hours. Many people are surprised to hear that so much is still happening here on the farm in the dead of winter but there is.
February is the perfect month to …
• plant trees
• install irrigation
• prune trees
If you’ve been thinking of planting a tree in your own landscape, now is the time. The harshest part of winter has past and yet the trees are still totally dormant. They won’t even know they’ve been moved.
February is also the month that we maintain our irrigation system. Water is the lifeblood of any commercial agriculture operation so we want our irrigation system ready to go when the heat of summer arrives.
February is prime time to prune trees, too, and we are doing a lot of that right now. We are cutting low-hanging limbs that get in the way of tractor operations as well as suckers that have grown along the tree trunks. But the biggest pruning job is hedging. We cut the canopy back using a modified crane carrying a twenty-foot-long boom with eight circular saw blades. Our hedging program is critical to successful pecan production because it keeps the tree canopies from growing together which can reduce crop production.
Anytime sunlight is hindered from reaching all sides of a tree, photosynthesis is reduced and production is adversely affected. You may have a crowded tree in your own landscape. Perhaps a building or another tree nearby is blocking sun from getting to your pecan tree. Now is the time to remedy that. You can’t do anything about a building that is blocking sunlight, but you certainly can do something about close-spaced trees. Prune them back or even remove the problem tree completely. Just like water, sunlight is essential to pecan production.
We offer tours of the orchard every Saturday at 12:30. If you are lucky, you may even see the hedger at work.