By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager
Are we going to have an early spring or not? We’ve been wondering that for the past couple of weeks. You may ask why it’s important to know when winter will turn to spring. Well, there are several reasons:
First, we want to be ready to spray zinc when the pecan trees wake up. Normally we expect budbreak on or around April 1. When those first tiny leaves begin to unfurl about an inch or two in length we start spraying foliar zinc, which is critical for healthy leaves and efficient photosynthesis.
Second, we want to finish our winter jobs before moving into the spring growing season. Our main winter jobs are pruning and tree planting (see our February blog post).
And third, we run the risk of late freeze damage. Pecan trees are the last deciduous trees to come out in the spring (along with mesquite trees). A cold front that blows through bringing freezing weather would kill those tender new shoots.
We can’t affect the timing of budbreak, but we have already taken action just in case we do have an early spring.
How We Prepare for an Early Spring
- We have our sprayers ready and our zinc purchased. We make sure we’re prepared to spray if we have an early spring.
- We’ve been working 11 hours a day, 6 days a week since mid January to complete our winter jobs. If it stays dry we will certainly complete our winter jobs in time.
- There’s a product we could buy that when sprayed on the new foliage will lower the freezing point of the leaf cells three or four degrees.
So if you have a few trees of your own, now would be a great time to buy your zinc. You are going to use it eventually so it would be good to have some on hand when your trees wake up.
If you want to know more about what’s happening on the farm, join us for an orchard tour any Saturday at 12:30. The weather is great.