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Pecan Orchard Establishment. Making Your Orchard Yield Nuts (and $) as Soon as Possible. Richard Heerema Extension Pecan Specialist New Mexico State University. Goals. Long-term goal—maximize economic returns over the life of the orchard.

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Pecan Orchard Establishment

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Pecan Orchard Establishment

Making Your Orchard Yield Nuts (and $) as Soon as Possible

Richard Heerema

Extension Pecan Specialist

New Mexico State University


Goals

  • Long-term goal—maximize economic returns over the life of the orchard.

  • Short-term goal—reach economic production in the shortest time possible.

    • The kids gotta eat and bank’s gotta get paid!


Important things I’m not going to dwell on today

  • Site selection

  • Pre-planting soil modifications

  • Nursery tree size

  • Potted vs. bareroot

  • Pre-plant tree care

  • Irrigation & nutrition


Genetics: Cultivar Precocity

  • Precocity is the relative amount of time it takes for a tree to come into production.

  • Highly precocious cultivars have a tendency to over-bear once they are mature

    • alternate bearing

    • poor nut quality


Genetics: Cultivar Precocity

Precocious

Very Precocious

Non-Precocious

‘Bradley’ (‘Ideal’)

‘Burkett’

‘Elliott’

‘Hopi’

‘Shawnee’

‘Stuart’

‘Tejas’

‘Apalachee’

‘Barton’

‘Cape Fear’

‘Cherokee’

‘Cheyenne’

‘Chickasaw’

‘Mohawk’

‘Shoshoni’

‘Wichita’

  • ‘Apache’

  • ‘Caddo’

  • ‘Choctaw’

  • ‘Desirable’

  • ‘Kanza’

  • ‘Kiowa’

  • ‘Lakota’

  • ‘Mandan’

  • ‘Nacono’

  • ‘Pawnee’

  • ‘Sioux’

  • ‘Success’

  • ‘Waco’

  • ‘Western’


Genetics: Rootstock Vigor

  • Generally, high vigor and precocity are considered linked in pecan.

  • High vigor:

    • Cross-pollinated nuts

    • Complete dichogamy

    • Southern parentage


Genetics: Rootstock Vigor

Higher Vigor

Lower Vigor

‘Elliott’

‘Moore’

‘VC1-68’

‘Wichita’

‘Shoshone’

‘Giles’

‘Riverside’

‘Stuart’

Moderate Vigor

‘Apache’

‘Bradley’

‘Burkett’

‘Curtis’


Planting Density

  • Initially, yield should be proportional to tree planting density.


Planting Density

*Hypothetical Example*


Orchard Floor Management

Foshee et al, 1995


Orchard Floor Management


Orchard Floor Management

Smith et al., 2005


Orchard Floor Management


Training

  • Two truths:

    • Training young pecan trees is essential to growing a tree that is workable through the life of the orchard.

    • Pruning young pecan trees delays cropping.

Prune young pecan trees, but remove as little wood as possible!


Training

Remove basal primary buds on central leader during dormant pruning.

Photo courtesy of Monte Nesbitt

Year 1

At Planting

Year 2

Use a combination of winter and early-summer pruning to minimize the amount of wood cut.


Thank You!


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