Pecans and Tree Planting During the Fall
Dr. Mario A. Villarino, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources
There are 600,000 to one million acres of native pecans along the numerous rivers, streams, and creeks in Texas. The major rivers on which dense stands of trees are found are the Red, Sabine, Trinity, Neches, Brazos, Colorado, Guadalupe, and Nueces. Of the total number of native trees in Texas, approximately 40,000 acres are managed consistently as the native crop production is seldom over 20 million pounds. A native pecan management program should include nut production as well as livestock grazing, and recreational hunting of varmints. Native pecans have historically been a weak economic crop when compared to planted orchards because of alternate bearing, small nut size, low percentage of kernel, and traditionally low market price. Under such economic conditions, it has been difficult for native growers to make significant management inputs for improving the grove. Pecan market prices are difficult to predict both short-term and long-term. Pecan market prices for natives have recently been stronger than the historical average, encouraging native pecan tree owners to consider grove improvement practices. Besides small orchards production, native pecans are often seen as part of home landscapes, near ponds and as companions for other trees. Pecans have certain characteristics that attract landscapers and home owners. First of all, pecan trees grow fast and provide beautiful shade. If then we add the possibility of getting a pecan crop every other year the reasons to keep pecan trees around home sites make perfect sense. As you make plans to re established those threes lost during the last few years, I encourage landowners to consider pecans into their tree selection. Just remember to plant more than one variety with some early pollinators mixed with late pollinators and not to plant the pecans too close to buildings since pecans are self pruning trees that will lose branches due to shading (Pecan need full sun and any branch not getting plenty of light will die and fall).. An excellent alternative for tree companions to the pecans are Chinese pistachios. The Chinese pistachios are fall foliage charging trees that turn from an intense green foliage into a red kind during the fall. Fall is an excellent time to plant trees, unfortunately, very few are available in our local market during this time of the year. You can always purchase your tree selections during the springs and care for them until the fall. The root will have a chance to grow some more during the summer and you will have an opportunity to determine what trees are good for planting in the fall. Containers grown trees require watering often, since the soil-less media containing them has the tendency to dry out quick. Remember to take precautions and provide watering at least once per week.
Program updates: The professional Agricultural Workers Hay Show is scheduled for October 4, 2012 at 6:30 am. The show includes a free breakfast. The topics of Do and Do Not in weed control will be discussed by Dr. Curtis Jones- Texas A&M University Commerce. A fundraising charitable auction of competing hay will follow. The hay show will be conducted at 957 Connally street, next to Buford Park. The Grazing Management Field Tour is scheduled for Friday October 5th 2012 at the Lamborn Ranch, located at 1511 NW County Road 1090, in Sulphur Bluff, Texas. The tour is organizard by NRCS, the Faning-Hopkins SWCD and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Services in Hopkins County. 2 CEU’s for private applicator will be granted. The tour is free. Call 903-583-9513 to RSVP. Our yearly Dairy Outreach Program Area Training will be conducted at the SouthWest Dairy Museum October 31, 2012. Permitted Dairies are encouraged to participate. 4 DOPA credits will be offered. The cost of the training will be $10 per person lunch included. Our yearly pesticide applicator training is scheduled for November 7, 2012 at the regional civic center. The topics for this year are of special interest for herbicide applicators and beef producers. Call the Hopkins County Extension Office for more details. The cost of the event is $25 lunch included. New pesticide applicator applicants are encouraged to participate in our multi-county pesticide applicator training scheduled for November 7, 2012. Private landowners seeking pesticide applicator licensing will have an opportunity to get the mandated training and exam in our single day. The cost of the PAT training is $10. No lunch is included. For more information on these or any agricultural topics please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or e-mail me at email@example.com.