After nearly five years of research, University of Georgia Associate Professor Lenny Wells has thoroughly explored the fertilization young pecan trees need in order to achieve optimal growth.
According to Wells, the amount of pecan trees being planted every year in Georgia is steadily increasing. With all the young trees going in the ground, Wells was inclined to begin his research because there was a lack of information in regards to how much fertilizer is needed by the young trees. “There was concern that we were having a lot of trees that were way over-fertilized and way under-fertilized. You had both ends of the spectrum,” he said.
Wells said that the results of his research are quite similar to what was thought by many previous researchers, but no one had done the work on it until now.
Wells created a brief timeline for fertilization based on the results of his research. During the first year, the trees only need phosphorous, potassium and zinc. These fertilizers help the soil levels become more compatible with the needs of the pecan trees. Wells said that the trees are usually planted on row crop land. However, in some cases the trees are planted on old pine tree land. In those cases, the fertility levels of that land are very low, making it extremely important to provide phosphorous, potassium and zinc to the young trees. Wells noted that nitrogen is not a necessity during the first year.
Within the next couple of years, Wells said keeping up with the phosphorous, potassium and zinc is always a best practice. Nitrogen, but not too much of it, may also be needed to keep the trees growing smoothly.
Correctly fertilizing the young trees is critical in order for the trees to have optimal growth. Since Wells has completed his research, he hopes growers will apply these tactics to keep expanding the Georgia pecan industry.
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