What’s Happening on the Pecan Farm
- Pest Control
- Monitoring the trees
Natural Pest Control
Starting in April, we noticed an increasing population of ladybugs in the pecan orchard. As a result, there are virtually no aphids. If you have your own garden or orchard, it would be good to familiarize yourself with ladybug larvae and other beneficial insects. If you see any of these, don’t panic.
Since ladybugs eat aphids and other soft-bodied insects, they can be a natural form of pest control. Some people even buy ladybugs and release them in their environment at home as a way to naturally control aphids.
Lacewings can also be helpful. A lacewing is a green bug with clear wings. A characteristic you might look for is the lacewing eggs: a stalk with a glob on the end. We expect a huge influx of lacewings in our orchard soon.
Why Are Aphids a Problem?
Aphids puncture the leaf tissue and suck out the sap. Not only are they depriving the tree of moisture and all the nutrients that flow with it, they’re also creating a sticky substance on the leaves, called honeydew, which allows sooty mold. That’s bad. Aphids don’t just target pecan leaves, so keep an eye on your other plants, too.
Irrigation & Watering
Our irrigation system is a complex network of buried pipes and lines designed to deliver water and nutrients where the trees need it most. Drip tubing is buried fifteen inches deep placing the water exactly where the trees need it: the root zone. Buried drip is useful because we end up using less water, and there is no unnecessary waste through percolation or evaporation.
In addition to our irrigation, rainfall is still so important to nurturing pecan trees and producing quality pecans. A mature pecan tree, in the peak of summer, uses 150 to 200 gallons of water each day. One inch of rain falling on one acre of land is equivalent to 27,154 gallons. That means one inch of rain will provide a one-week supply of water to a mature pecan tree in the heat of the summer.
Monitoring the Trees
During this time, it's essential we continue to monitor the trees. We're checking to make sure the beneficial insects are able to maintain a checks and balances on the harmful pests, making sure the trees get enough water to mitigate the stress of the Texas summer, and the orchard has everything it needs to continue its growing season. Soon we'll see nutlet form where the pecan flowers used to be, and we'll begin monitoring their growth, too. Check back next month for another update, or join us for the last tour of the summer. Book tickets here.