Fruit Thinning & Irrigation Scheduling

Pecans 007

We’ve had scattered rain so far this season, and nuts are beginning to size. Our scab levels are low thanks to  fungicide sprays and scattered rain. This is the period where our female flower is beginning to set physiologically in the tree, so any stress now is greater impact. There have been reports of aphids, and some growers have sprayed already. Here is some information from UGA Extension Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells on fruit thinning:

Pecans 008For the brave souls willing to thin some nuts from heavily loaded trees, now is about the time for most of our mid-season cultivars. Varieties like ‘Creek’, ‘Stuart’ and ‘Cape Fear’ should be ready as early as (last) weekend and certainly by (this) week for most of south Georgia. See here for a previous post on fruit thinning and how to cut nuts to determine if your crop is ready to thin.

Even though it is hot and dry, if you plan to fruit thin, it is wise to turn off the irrigation a day or two prior to thinning in order to minimize the chances of bark damage to the tree. Also, with the hot, dry weather many growers are anxious to begin running their irrigation at 100% capacity. Bear in mind that we are still in the nut sizing stage on most cultivars with the exception of ‘Pawnee’ and a handful of other very early cultivars. We don’t need to go to full capacity until we enter the kernel-filling stage. If you have a September harvest cultivar like ‘Pawnee’ you should be operating at full capacity now in order to fill the nuts. For most other October harvest cultivars change your irrigation to full capacity about mid-August (another couple of weeks).

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