Irrigation Remains Vital During Hot, Dry Conditions
By Clint Thompson
Pecan harvests are still at least four months away, but the crop is looking better than expected, according to Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist.
“Young trees look really good, most everywhere that I’ve been. Older trees are a little more hit and miss, which we’ve kind of expected that,” Wells said. “I am a little concerned with the way we’ve had such a cool spring, warm and then cool, warm and cool. I’m a little concerned with how that has affected pollination. We may have issues there. It’s a little too early to tell right now. That’s something I’m watching out for.”
Producers have also been watching the heat this week, as temperatures spiked across the Southeast. According to weather.com, temperatures in Tifton, Georgia were in the low-to-mid 90s with minimal chance for rain in the forecast. Temperatures in Auburn, Alabama were in the high 80s this week with the same minimal chance for rain.
Irrigation will be key throughout the growing season. It’s especially important for young trees that are 2 to 3 years-old. Wells recommends 100 gallons per week. Usually, about 3 to 4 hours every other day will provide an ample supply of water.
“If they get a one-inch rain or more, they can cut it off for three days but then go right back to doing it. That’s one of the keys, too, especially for these young trees is you want to keep good, even soil moisture,” Wells said. “You don’t want to let it get soft and wet and then get totally dried out. Just keep it consistent.
“If they’re irrigated correctly, pecan trees can handle the heat. The main ones that struggle in that situation is going to be the younger, more newly planted trees; I’d say three years and under.”