By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager
In an orchard with 15,000 fifty-foot trees covering 500 acres of land, one’s attention is easily drawn to the Big, but this month I’m going to talk about the Small.
A few small things to see around the Orchard ...
Pecan nut case bearer eggs. They hatch into damaging little pests which are present every year and can take half the crop if we fail to control it. The same is true for your yard tree. For a detailed explanation of how to scout for this little guy, visit other May blog posts I’ve written. Suffice it to say that this small thing is a big deal.
Lace wing fly eggs. These fragile looking eggs delicately elevated on spindly stalks will hatch into lime-green insects that are voracious feeders of aphids. The more of these small things we see the better.
Praying mantis. They eventually grow to about three inches in length, but they start their lives small. Besides keeping me company in my office on occasion, they normally feed on other insects that damage pecans, so we're happy to see a praying mantis or two.
Bluebonnets are the queen of Texas wildflowers, but look closely and you will find equally impressive sisters hiding among the grasses.
Pecan trees also have tiny flowers but not nearly as colorful and aromatic as you might expect. They depend on wind to spread the pollen so they don't need to attract insects.
Check out the female pecan flower in the photo above. If you've been around pecan trees in April or May, you may have seen flowers like this and never looked at them closely.
I like mushrooms. They come in all shapes and sizes and colors. In a pecan orchard they may even portend truffles!
I also like frogs. They can show up anywhere, any time. This one is guarding a Cheyenne nut in November. It may have even dined on a pecan nut casebearer moth last May.
There is a whole world of Small out there waiting to be discovered. Take a small bit of time this month to check it out.