By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager
In the children’s fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldilocks enters the home of a bear family while they’re away. In one version of the story, she samples their chairs, their porridge, and their beds. Each time she decides that one is too much, one is too little, and one is JUST RIGHT. That’s June at Royalty Pecan Farms … it’s JUST RIGHT.
Spring is the wet season in this area, and that’s a good thing. The trees need water to get the season off to a good start, and they’ve been getting ample rainfall. At the same time, we need some dry weather to do our work. While the trees are enjoying the rainy days, we’re making the most of the dry days by mowing, fertilizing, and preparing the irrigation system for the upcoming heat of summer. The balance between wet and dry weather has been JUST RIGHT.
Every spring we must deal with our arch nemesis, the Pecan Nut Casebearer. It’s a tiny little moth that can wipe out up to half the crop. However, when our control measures are timed perfectly, we can eliminate the pest and still foster a strong beneficial insect population. We want plenty of beneficial insects in the orchard to control the next bad guys: Yellow Pecan Aphids. This year we hit it JUST RIGHT.
If we kill all the grass on the orchard floor, there’s not sufficient organic matter to “feed” the soil microbes, which are critical to healthy soil (and to the trees). But too many tall, rank weeds steal water and nutrients. June is the month that we finally gain control over the waning winter weeds and the waxing summer weeds. This year our orchard floor management has been JUST RIGHT.
April and May are usually very pleasant, but on occasion we get a sudden cold snap or even a freeze. July and August are always sweltering, and the trees experience stress in the 100 degree weather. But temperatures in June are neither too cold nor too hot. Like the last bowl of porridge Goldilocks sampled, it’s JUST RIGHT.
June marks the half-way-point in the calendar year. It’s also the half-way-point in the six month pecan growing season. If we continue to navigate the orchard operations well throughout the month of June, I’m going to feel JUST RIGHT.