There is some interest in pruning pecans with a large hedging machine (hedging). The goal of hedging is to control tree size and make it easier to control scab increasing spray coverage and light in the orchard while maintaining a high tree density. UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist, Dr. Lenny Wells, has this to say:
This is normally done in the winter and removes all the growth on one or both sides of a tree within a certain distance from the trunk and also usually tops the tree to control tree size. This is a common practice in the U.S. West and is beginning to be used here in Georgia.
- One method of hedging is to hedge one side of both rows on every other middle in two successive years (alternating rows), skip year 3 and begin again in year 4.
- Another method is to hedge every 5th row and over the course of 5 years, you hedge the whole orchard without taking too much growth at one time.
Preliminary research results here in Georgia indicate an increasing advantage to hedging as more of the fruit are within reach of more efficacious fungicide coverage, along with no negative effect on yield and usually a positive effect.