What important area of our pecan orchard should we be working on at this time of year?
1. Pruning pecan trees
2. Planting new trees
3. Cutting and storing graft wood
4. Preparing equipment for the Spring & Summer Season
1.Pruning Pecan Trees
With the storms that pass through Louisiana many older trees still have broken or dead limbs within the tree. These limbs must be taken out so that decay will not spread throughout the tree and weaken the tree or kill it. Cutting the broken limbs will also promote new growth, which also provides increased production.
In young orchards it is important to prune your trees for proper growth. You want a central limb to provide strong structure to your tree. Also cut very low limbs that may be damaged when mobbing or spraying herbicides. It is very important that young trees are managed during their early growing stages.
2.Planting New Trees
The time to plant trees is from late October-March. It is best to plant the tree when it is dormant. If you are planting a bucket tree, make sure that the tree is well watered prior to taking it out of the bucket for planting. Dig your hole, fill with water and place the tree into the hole no lower than the top of the dirt on the tree. Planting too deep will kill the tree. Place the remaining dirt around the tree and pack it well to remove any air remaining in the hole.
3. Cutting and Storing Graft Wood (Scion Wood)
The main thing when cutting scion wood is to only cut one variety at a time in order not to mix up your selection. When choosing wood to cut from the tree you want only prior year growth. It is easy to identify this growth by the color of the bark. The new growth will be much lighter in color and has not hardened. Cut the size stick you most like to use and make sure that it has at least three buds on the wood. Place the wood in a storage bag, not a freezer bag with a very little water and cedar chips and store in a refrigerator at between 34 to 38 degrees.
4. Preparing Equipment for Spring and Summer
Now is the time to check your sprayer and equipment used during the growing season. Before we know it the tree will begin to bud and the insects and scab will soon follow. Usually the first insect spray will be late March or early April and first fungicide spray will be a few weeks later.