LUBBOCK, Texas — A mature pecan tree can extract up to 250 gallons of water from the soil during the growing season. So, for West Texas pecan orchards irrigation is a must.
Christoper Baldock owner of Pecan Ridge said his orchard was headed towards a 50% yield doing a little bit better than last year.
However, moisture and an early freeze in October did cause what is called stick tight to some husks of pecans.
“It’s kind of like a glue and instead of them popping open the husks adhere to the nut,” Baldock said. “Orchards incur more labor costs to have the husks removed and in some cases the husks can’t be removed.”
With a difficult year for weather, it is recommended to get plenty of water on your pecan trees in the spring. Pecan trees are a heavy user of zinc, applying a foliage spray will ensure quick uptake by the tree and help throughout the season.
With many Texas counties in quarantine because of the late season pecan weevil, some people may also consider using pesticides.
“You’ll be able to see them when you’re harvesting,” Baldock said. “They’ll be a little tiny hole in the husk going into the pecan and that’s the pecan weevil. They lay an egg in the pecan and they eat their way out. Once they’re in the ground, they’re very difficult to kill, and then two years later they could come right back.”
Annually 132 tons of pecans are produced in the United States with 75 percent of the crop coming from Texas, New Mexico and Georgia.
The primary business of Pecan Ridge is shelling, processing 5000 pounds per day with some orchards bring in 12 to 13,000 pounds at once.
This year Pecan Ridge started a new service where they will come to your property and shake and collect your pecans leaving you without the hassle.
There are many different recipes for pecans but you can also use the wood from the pecan tree for grilling.
“Pecan wood smokes really nice. It’s got a good flavor,” Baldock said. “It doesn’t give it a pecan flavor but it is a nice smoky flavor to anything that you use with it.”
Surprisingly, there are over 1,000 varieties of pecan trees but the most common you will find in Texas are Pawnee, Caddo, Cape Fear, Cheyenne, Desirable, Forkert, Oconee, Western and Wichita.
With so many varieties of pecans, the fruit can range from being real blonde to some being a little darker in color. However, avoid pecans that are a red color, this indicates they have been sitting around for too long and will not taste good.
It is recommended to start gathering your pecans once they start to fall to the ground. However, it is best to let the nuts dry out for one to two weeks in a dry place like a garage before shelling them.
This will eliminate the chances of the fruit from being squishy which is caused by the oils inside the shell.
Once your pecans have dried, get cracking as they are a great source of high-quality nutrients like magnesium, which helps support your immune system, bone health, and reduces inflammation.