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In the Pecan Orchard: May 2012

What’s Happening on the Pecan Farm

  • Tiny pecan flowers emerge from the growing tips of the shoots
  • Pollination occurs
  • Foliage is growing rapidly and pecan nutlets are very slowly increasing in size
  • Continue feeding and monitoring the trees
  • Irrigate if necessary

May is usually the month when pollination occurs, but this year things started a little early. By the end of April, our pecan trees were pollinated. Now, as the growing season continues, we continue to monitor the orchard, mow, irrigate, and provide the trees with any nutrients they might need.

Pecans are pollinated exclusively by the wind, which means no insects are necessary. Since they don’t need to attract bees or other insects, pecan flowers are very nondescript and have no aroma.

On pecan trees, both male and female flowers are on the same tree. This is not at all unusual in the plant kingdom.

However, pecans are not efficient self-pollinators. For example, in some varieties the pollen from a tree is shed before the flowers on that same tree are receptive. In other varieties, the flowers are receptive before pollen on the same tree is shed.

So in an orchard situation, it is best to plant complementary varieties within three or four hundred feet of one another.