Lenny Wells, associate professor and Extension horticulture specialist for pecans at the University of Georgia (UGA), recently completed a five-year research project on fertilization and irrigation of young pecan trees.
Due to the increasing amount of new trees being planted in Georgia, there was concern over the lack of information regarding irrigation practices. Wells feared that young trees were being over-watered or under-watered, which was the reason for beginning the research. “We know water’s critical to getting these trees to grow as fast as we can, but no one knew how much was the right amount,” Wells said.
Wells found that the amount of water that needs to be used depends on the type of irrigation system the grower is using. When using a micro-sprinkler system, the trees will need approximately 100 gallons of water every week for the first three years to ensure optimal growth. However, with a drip irrigation system, water usage can be cut by more than half. If using a drip system, the trees only need about 48 gallons of water each week for the first three years.
For the sake of saving water, Wells believes the drip irrigation system may be the best way to go. However, neither irrigation system showed better results in terms of growth when compared to the other.
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